Are you looking for a creative and fulfilling DIY project? Look no further than the succulent terrarium! This modern twist on a classic favorite allows you to transform a simple collection of succulents into an elegant floral display in just a few easy steps. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, this guide will take you through the entire process, from plant and substrate selection to pro planting tips. Get ready to create a resounding succ-cess with your very own terrarium!
Let’s start by understanding the type of terrarium we’ll be creating. For any DIY succulent terrarium project, an open terrarium is the way to go. Closed terrariums, with their high moisture and humid environment, are unsuitable for these arid desert plants. Opt for a glass container with a sloped curve that provides ample volume, airflow, and aesthetic appeal.
All the supplies we’ll be using for our succulent terrarium!
1 | Building a Strong Foundation with a Drainage Layer
Solid drainage is crucial for a successful succulent terrarium. Succulents are more sensitive to overwatering than tropical plants, requiring the substrate to dry out between waterings. To create a reservoir for excess water to drain away, add a layer of river rocks or gravel at the bottom of the terrarium. This prevents oversaturation and protects the plant’s roots from rotting. A layer of 1 to 2 inches of gravel is usually sufficient, depending on the container’s size. Remember, proper watering technique is still essential for happy plants.
We’re using small chunks of lava rock, but any kind will do. Leca works well too.
2 | Choosing the Right Soil/ Substrate
A well-draining substrate is just as crucial as proper drainage. Ordinary potting soil or tropical terrarium blends won’t suffice. Invest in a specialized mix for arid plants that prioritizes drainage. Look for a gritty mixture that combines coco coir, horticultural sand, pumice, activated charcoal, and a small amount of worm castings. You can find these mixes on Etsy.
You can see how gritty this succulent mix is, and you’d know it if you felt it.
3 | Adding Artistic Elements with Hardscape
Hardscape elements are essential for elevating your terrarium into a work of art. Gnarling hardwoods and textured rocks are perfect for adding dynamic shapes to your succulent display. Experiment with different combinations and find elements that fit seamlessly. For example, a chunk of Mopani Wood can be an excellent addition to your terrarium, sloping the substrate up to create a sense of natural scale.
Mopani wood brings a natural scale to the terrarium.
4 | Planting with Care and Creativity
Preparation is key before diving into the planting process. Remove excess substrate from your succulents and consider separating them into smaller plants if possible. This not only makes your main plants more manageable in size but also provides smaller accent plants for added visual interest. Use gentle pressure to remove pups sprouting from the Haworthia and separate succulents like the Sedum Burrito.
These tiny Haworthia will make lovely accent plants.
Once you’re ready, it’s time for the fun part! Moisten the substrate with a light spritz of water to make it more malleable. Create a suitable depression in the substrate for each plant’s root ball. Place the largest plant, such as the Haworthia, at the center stage in the deepest part of the soil. Add the Echeveria ‘Magic Red’ next to it, leveraging the contrast in shapes and colors. Finally, incorporate accent plants like the Sedum Burrito for verticality and a Haworthia pup to maximize space.
The finished result with all of our succulents.
5 | Adding the Finishing Touches
To complete your succulent terrarium, add some final touches. If there is any uncovered soil, consider adding additional elements to liven up the space. You can choose from more hardscape elements like rocks or smaller branches, different plants like Air plants or cacti, preserved moss (as live moss won’t work in an open container), or shells, crystals, or figurines. In this case, we opted for a Tillandsia magnusiana (air plant) to contrast with the succulent leaves.
Definitely the air plant for this succulent terrarium.
Congratulations! You have successfully created your own stunning succulent terrarium. Now that you’ve mastered the building process, it’s time to explore a wide range of succulents suitable for terrariums. Look for variety in shape, color, and texture to create a dynamic arrangement. Choose smaller succulents to avoid overcrowding and ensure they have similar care requirements for easy maintenance.
We opted for an Echeveria, Haworthia, and a Sedum.
Lighting and Watering Requirements
Succulents thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your terrarium on a bright windowsill that receives several hours of direct sunlight, such as East or South-facing windows. Succulents generally need to dry out quickly, so water them when the substrate is fully dry. In a terrarium, spraying or lightly watering around the base of the succulents is recommended to avoid wetting the leaves excessively. Expect to water every 4-7 days, depending on factors like light intensity and relative humidity.
Proper lighting and watering are essential for succulent health.
You’ve reached the end of this succulent journey, but yours is just beginning. Armed with the knowledge and skills shared in this guide, you’re ready to embark on your own succulent terrarium DIY project. If you’re interested in exploring other arid plant terrariums, check out our Guide to Desert Terrariums. The possibilities are endless, and creativity is your greatest tool in creating stunning botanical displays. So let your imagination run wild and enjoy the beauty of your own succulent terrarium masterpiece!
This article was written with Markdown. For more information about Ames Farm Center, visit their website.