A terrarium is a glass container (sealable) for soil and plants, which can be opened periodically for maintenance. A terrarium is used as an ornament indoors. It can also be opened to allow in air rather than being sealed. Succulents, or succulent plants, are plants with thick, fleshy plant parts that usually retain water, like cactus and aloe vera. Together, a succulent terrarium is an arrangement of succulent plants inside a terrarium, usually to beautify an interior decoration or add a hint of nature to it.
Particularly if you’re an interior decoration enthusiast on social media like Pinterest, you must have seen how beautiful succulent terrariums can be. By “can be,” I mean if they are well taken care of.
Many people usually find their luck in planting terrariums with succulents, even though they may not do that well, keeping a vegetable garden.
However, if you plan to make your succulent terrarium at home from scratch and keep it living, you need to know how it works!
How To Plant A Terrarium With Succulents
Succulents are tough, water-retaining plants that can live much longer than regular plants with little or no water. To begin your succulent terrarium project, you will need the following:
- One glass terrarium
- Activated Charcoal
- Potting Soil mix
- Sphagnum Moss
- Assorted succulents (such as Hen & Chicks, Jade Plant, Alpines)
- Garden trowel, for scooping and pouring the potting mix
- Small brush for brushing off excess dirt off succulents
- Water-filled spray bottle
- Long tweezers for placing succulents
Making the succulent terrarium
- Add in pebbles. Start with adding pebbles to the end of your container, which will act as a drainage layer for excess water and dirt to settle. Add about an inch or two of pebbles, as long as your container tolerates it.
- Protect the terrarium with activated charcoal. Add charcoal (activated) over the pebbles to absorb any potential bacterium and odor in the terrarium.
- Continue with one layer of sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss will act as a barrier between the activated charcoal and the items above it.
- Prepare your plants. If you will harvest your succulents from their pots or another source, make sure to loosen the soil mass around the roots. You can also trim the roots if they’re quite long.
- Add soil to the terrarium. Add about three layers of soil over the sphagnum moss.
- Place the plants. Carefully place your succulents into the layer with long tweezers. Then, add up another thin layer of dirt around the plants, gathering it firmly but gently around the individual plants. Make sure to mix up the different plant colors to fill your jar aesthetically.
- Wet the succulent terrarium. Gently spray just enough water on the plants with a water-filled spray bottle. Don’t ‘pour’ the water in it, so you don’t ruin the layers and plants themselves.
Now, we’re done with placing the terrarium succulents. What else?
Your adorable plants will take about a week or more to grow new roots and get firmed up. During this period, provide ample sunlight or grow lights to get enough nutrients for rapid growth.
What happens if you accidentally forget to probably water or lighten the area around your succulents?
How To Keep Succulents Alive
Once you’ve started to notice your terrarium growth, you need to double pay more attention to the succulents.
Ensure to spray water regularly- not to get the soil watery, but to dampen the plants. Your succulents might also start to grow extra-long roots; all you need to do is repot them in another terrarium or space them out.
Below are more care tips to keep your succulents living:
- Use the right soil to start
Use a potting mix with materials like pumice, coarse perlite, or crushed lava. For you to use DIY soil users, make the recipe 1/5 amendment and 4/5 potting mix.
- Give some shade
Most people believe that succulents are used to the dry, hot desert environment, and so exposing them to the harsh ray of sunlight is no big deal. Well, it is a big deal. Particularly for succulents that are deep green, variegated or pale in color, excess sunlight will cause sunburn.
- Too much water kills
Succulents’ roots hate excess water more than almost anything, as it can cause rot. You have to prepare an efficient drainage system (with closing or pebbles) and avoid overwatering the plants.
- Food is important
Succulents have adapted to growing in areas with little nutritional values. But you could still feed your succulents at least once a year before planting them. It will go a long way in how healthy they grow.
- Avoid frost
Most succulent plants can withstand temperatures that are drastically below room temperature. They are made of a lot of water, so their cell walls can burst during cold weather. You need to keep them very warm during the cold season.
Common terrarium mistakes to avoid
Now that you’ve known how to plant a terrarium with succulents, making mistakes isn’t the best next step. To your succulents, try as much as you can to avoid:
- Exposing them to too much light
- Overgrowing them
- Placing them too close to hot areas
- Leaving dying plants unpicked
- Overwatering them
- Leaving the glass dirty
- Choosing the wrong plants
- Closing the terrarium
Interior decoration has made having a thriving indoor succulent terrarium a coveted idea. But can you take care of these ornamentals?
As much as succulents seem complicated to have, knowing how to keep them will make you the hero. Many people have tried and made their luck with succulent terrariums- you can too!