How to Make a Succulent Terrarium

Terrariums are all the rage these days, especially succulent terrariums. Learn how to make your own with this step-by-step photo tutorial. Plus learn some dos and don’ts for using succuletns in terrariums!

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A couple weeks ago when I got together with my sister-in-laws we had a “favorite things” birthday party (you may remember how I left their succulent gifts outside and they got severely sunburned). The idea is every gives each person a gift that costs no more than $5 and is one of your favorite things. One of the gifts we got from my sister-in-law was this cute glass terrarium. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it!

Learn how to make a succulent terrarium and how to keep it alive!

I helped one of my sister-in-laws make a terrarium last year but it didn’t last very long. I knew with this one I wanted to make sure I planted and watered it in a way that would allow it to have a long life. The problem with the first terrarium is that the apothecary jar was so deep that water couldn’t evaporate so it ended up getting moldy inside and just didn’t look very pretty.

This terrarium though has a lot of things about it that will allow the succulents to have a nice long life. The first is that it isn’t very deep. Also, in addition to the main hole in front it has some smaller holes in the top that allow for airflow. I believe this will be crucial as succulents need to be able to dry out between waterings.

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Succulent Terrarium Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

I started by putting a little bit of soil in first. The soil I use is equal parts Turface, small pine bark shreds, and crushed rock (Here’s more about the soil). This soil drains really well so I thought it would also work well in the terrarium to prevent too much water from building up.

Succulent Terrarium Tutorial Step 1

Once the soil was in I added String of Pearls and had them hang out of the main opening.

Succulent Terrarium Tutorial Step 2

Next I added my two main succulent cuttings (I used Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ and Sedum Adolphii), being sure to put the stems under the soil.

Succulent Terrarium Tutorial Step 3 www.succulentsandsunshine.comSucculent Terrarium Tutorial Step 4

I used a little bit of bakers twine to hang the terrarium up on my wall. I really like how it turned out! Originally I had planned to put more plants in there, but after playing around with it I realized that simpler was better. If you try to fit too much in you’ll end up crowding everything and it won’t look very good.

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Make your own succulent terrarium! It's fun and easy!

I sprayed inside the terrarium with a spray bottle to get all the soil wet. With succulent terrariums you have to make sure you don’t over water. The glass keeps everything trapped in and acts like a mini greenhouse so it will take longer for all the water to evaporate. I like the design of this one because it has quite a bit of open space so I don’t think it will get too mushy or cloudy inside which is good. They also have a couple other shapes that you may like as well.

So, don’t delay! Get started on your own terrarium!




  1. Erika November 6, 2015 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Great site! Do you have any advice on succulents in a non-draining environment? I would like to repurpose a glass window frame into a coffee table and fill with succulents and moss.

    • Cassidy Tuttle November 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you! You have to be really careful with your soil and how much water your pour on the arrangement. You’ll want to measure out a specific amount of water that will soak the soil but not leave a pool of water in the bottom of the container. Then make sure the soil completely dries out before you water again. A wide and shallow arrangement is ideal as this will provide better air flow and allow the soil to dry out faster.

  2. Katie June 19, 2016 at 9:06 am - Reply

    My husband bought me a beautiful terrarium for my birthday but I am wary to put succulents in it after reading many failure stories – is your terrarium still holding up? I am pretty expereinced with succulents and know the basics, but want to make sure I’m not condemning them to a slow, water-filled death. Thanks for any advice!

    • Cassidy Tuttle June 22, 2016 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      This one got severely neglected, so it didn’t make it. Check out my video on watering for my tips on how to water succulents in containers without drainage. Hopefully that will help get you in the right direction for watering. I also recommend using a well draining soil and using a terrarium with a very large opening or one that is shallow and wide.

  3. Denise Grout August 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    I just made a succulent terrarium and also added a layer of carbon chips above the gravel before adding the soil for succulents. Do I need to replant this and remove the carbon chips. There are no holes for water drainage in my container? I’m a beginner and could use some advice.

    Thanks Denise

    • Cassidy Tuttle August 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm - Reply

      I don’t personally have experience with carbon chips, so I’m not sure how they will affect the succulents. You can leave them and see what happens (and let me know (; ) or remove them. You’ll want to be careful with watering. Pour on a measured out amount of water, roughly half the volume of the soil. You want just enough to soak the soil but not enough to cause the water to pool. You also want to make sure there is good air circulation around the terrarium.

  4. […] plants require even less maintenance. There are a ton of great guides on this that range from the simple to the more […]

  5. KC March 9, 2017 at 7:23 am - Reply

    Terrariums are usually very poor for the dry loving succulents. You said this one didn’take it because of neglect and another didn’t make it for some reason or another, but most likely the succulents just won’t thrive in this kind of environment. Have you had a terrarium or non-draining pot that lasted more than 6 months?

    • Cassidy Tuttle March 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      At the time of this post I hadn’t, but now I’ve successfully kept several alive for over a year. It’s definitely more work though! You can see my post about it here.

  6. Laura October 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I just got a bowl for my terrarium, but, I was wondering, should I use a top or just leave it open.

    • Chantile -- Succulents and Sunshine Success Team October 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      I would leave it open. That way your succulent gets adequate air flow, and you can control the temperature. You don’t want it getting too hot! :)

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