How To: Make A Succulent Terrarium

Succulent Terrariums are low-maintenance options for adding a dash of colour around the home. After the initial set up the succulents will only require minimal care so let’s get building…  Here’s an overview of the steps required to create your succulent terrarium:

-Choose a terrarium container and clean it
-Pick and lay the drainage layer at the bottom
-Add a filter for separation
-Pour a charcoal layer
-Add the soil mix for your succulents
-Add your succulents and decorations

How To: Make A Succulent Terrarium

Find a Container

Succulents will thrive in an open container, such as old food jars, tea cups, or medium-sized glass containers. Closed terrariums are a no-go, as the high moisture content and humid environment will ruin these arid desert-loving plants. 

Glass containers with sloping curves are popular choices due to the volume, airflow and aesthetic viewing angle. Make sure whichever container you have chosen is clean, as they will be harder to maintain once everything is in place.


A drainage layer is integral to any succulent terrarium as your plants will be sensitive to waterlogging and overwatering – they will need time to dry out between waterings. They will not appreciate being sat in a soggy substrate. 

A drainage layer (or false bottom) can be created by adding a layer of gravel or river rocks at the bottom of the terrarium, this will help stop the plants’ roots from rotting. Around 1-2 inches of gravel or river rocks should suffice depending on the type of container being used.

How To: Make A Succulent Terrarium

Soil & Hardscapes

From here, soil can be added. Following the theme of keeping your succulents from becoming waterlogged, the type of soil used is crucial. Normal potting mix isn’t going to work here, but you can buy or create your own mix for this occasion. You are going to need a gritty mixture, which can include things such as horticultural sand, pumice, activated charcoal or worm castings. You can pop in-store at Holt Garden Centre for advice or to pick up these additional materials for your soil.

Next comes the hardscape. This includes any natural structural elements you might wish to add. For example, textured rocks or pieces of wood can add elevation, contrast and a backdrop for your terrarium.

Add Your Plants

Now here comes the exciting part – adding in your plants! Some great ideas for plants to add include: dwarf aloe, zebra plant, jade plant, panda plant and aeonium. Before adding your plants make sure they are healthy; remove any dead leaves and shake off any soil from their roots. 

If your plant is too tall or large it is possible to prune it a little bit or separate them into a few smaller plants. You can also prune back the roots a little bit to make sure they fit better inside the terrarium. Once you have placed the plants, cover the roots with the soil making sure the rootballs are completely covered. 

You can also add decorations to your container such as plants as well as small rocks and gravel on top of the soil to give it a nice finish. As for decorations, you could add such things as small fake plants, preserved moss, or even small figurines like you would with a fairy garden!

And there you have it, your very own succulent terrarium! In terms of care, they will only need watering once per week during the summer, and every other week throughout winter. Once finished, place your finished terrarium in a bright spot, but without direct sunlight. Also, make sure to allow for proper ventilation without being in a drafty area. 

If you’d like more advice or inspiration about building your own terrariums, just contact us at Holt Garden centre, where one of our friendly team will be happy to help.

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