How to make a Succulent Terrarium at Home

Succulent terrariums are the perfect way to bring your succulent plants indoors as home decor. There are so many different types of succulent plants , planters, and layers of soil you can use to tailor your terrarium to your taste, but we’ll keep it basic for the purpose of this tutorial. Use the simple guide below to make your first DIY succulent terrarium garden:

You Will need

Succulent plants

Small Rocks or Pebbles

Cactus/Succulent Potting Soil

Terrarium Planter


  1. Fill the bottom of the planter with your rocks or pebbles. You’ll want to fill it about an 1/8 of the way full. Since terrariums do not typically have drainage holes, rocks are used to aid in water drainage. The helps to eliminate root rot that would most likely.

2. Add several inches of pre-mixed succulent soil to the planter. Leave enough space from the top to add your succulents as well as a final layer.

  1. Wet the soil, but do not drown it.
  2. Plant your succulents where you prefer, then stabilize them with extra potting soil. Be sure that the succulents are spaced far enough apart and close enough to the opening that they receive adequate airflow.
  3. Add a layer of sand or decorative rocks to the top. This top layer will actually help to reduce the humidity that the terrarium retains.
  4. Enjoy your new succulent terrarium! Make sure your succulents receive enough sunlight, and only water when the soil is completely dry. Do not drown them with water! Water slowly to allow for absorption and to avoid over watering.

How to Care For a Terrarium with Succulents

Succulents — plants with thick, fleshy foliage and stems that store water — are by far the most common plants seen in terrariums. This makes a lot of sense, because succulents are typically comfortable not receiving too much water, and don’t need much root space to thrive, making them perfect for small enclosures. Plus, many species stay small and compact, allowing them to live for years in a terrarium without transplanting.

Here’s how to care for this type of terrarium

Light:  Except for some lower-light tolerant species like Haworthia and Gasteria, most succulents prefer bright, if not direct, light. Place your succulent terrarium in a very bright spot, keeping in mind that glass tends to magnify direct sun, and can potentially burn your plants.

Water: Succulents are drought tolerant plants, and are highly susceptible to root-rot. Combined with the fact that terrariums do not have drainage holes, you’ll want to water your succulent terrarium very sparingly, when the soil has gone almost completely dry. Water sparingly around the base of each plant using a watering can or a spray bottle. Most succulents will tell you when it’s time to water by puckering slightly in their leaves. This is a great indicator for when it’s time to water your terrarium

Troubleshooting: Shriveled leaves? Time to water. Mushy, brown or black leaves? You’re watering too much. Remove these plants and replace with comparable specimens, taking care not to water quite as much. Reduce watering during winter.

How to Care For a Terrarium with Cacti


All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

The cacti that most folks are familiar with come from the desert.

For a terrarium with cacti, you can follow identical instructions for your

succulent terrarium, detailed in succulents section, with a few adjustments:

  • Cacti tend to be even more susceptible to rot than succulents. Take extra

care not to over-water.

  • Cacti need very bright light to thrive. They should be fine to receive direct light.
  • As always, there are exceptions to the above rules. “Jungle cacti” like

Rhipsalis, Hatiora and Epiphyllum, will not like bright light, and prefer more water than most cacti. For best results, plant jungle cacti in their own enclosure, or with other lower-light tolerant succulents.