How To Make Your Own Succulent Terrarium in 5 Easy Steps

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium
Posted by on January 21, 2017

“What I stand for is what I stand on”

Wendell Berry


A Terrarium is an ‘on trend’ ecosystem and the perfect way to add a touch of green to a little corner of your home. Choosing to feature succulents and cacti is perfect for us ‘desert dwellers’, as these plants require little water to grow. Here are the 5 simple DIY steps you need to follow to make your very own.

This week is Sustainability Week here in Abu Dhabi and our family got involved by spending the day at the annual Festival at Masdar City. This Festival is held over the entire weekend and offers the chance for residents and visitors to enjoy a range of interactive activities, street stalls and entertainment.

The event is organised into specific zones designed to educate visitors on sustainable living principles in a fun, family friendly environment. You can read more about the Masdar City Sustainability Festival, complete with images of this unique eco village, in a previous CWMS blog post here.

Those who have previously read this Festival post, or attended today’s event, let’s move straight to the Greenhouse Zone (my personal favourite), where you can join me in making a Terrarium.

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium


You Will Need:

  • A glass Terrarium, bowl, jar or vase with large opening
  • Potting mix
  • Drainage pebbles/gravel
  • Succulent, cacti or indoor plant
  • String (optional)
  • Decorative stones


Step One:

Today we were provided with a glass Terrarium. The shallow depth ensures water can quickly evaporate, a wide opening at the front for easy placement of the plant and holes at the top for airflow.

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium

Keep your eye out when visiting local charity shops for suitable vases, bowls or jars and even have a look at what you might have at home, tucked away in the depths of your cupboards. This is the perfect opportunity to create a unique and quirky homemade gift for yourself, or to give to someone special.


Step Two:

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrariumNext we added the potting mix, either a succulent or indoor plant blend. Be careful not to overfill your Terrarium, you need to leave room for the plant and the pebbles.


Step Three:

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrariumAt this stage we added a layer of pebbles, as succulents need good drainage. If the soil remains too wet the root system can rot, which could mean the end of your plant.


Step Four:

Now the Terrarium is ready for planting. If you are using a bigger terrarium you will be able to choose more than one plant. Maybe you are lucky enough to know someone with a succulent collection who is happy to share clippings?

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium

Indoor plants also work well in Terrariums however, not in with succulents or cacti. Make sure you only combine plants which need the same amount of water. A succulent or cacti, which is watered once a week, isn’t going to enjoy living with an indoor plant which may need to be watered every couple of days.

Keep your Terrarium interesting by grouping together plants with a mixture of textures and colours, remembering to place the larger ones towards the back. Loosen the roots first and, if you are having trouble with the arrangement, try chopsticks or tweezers to help move your plants into place.



The next step for us was to add the string. Brown string is definitely a personal favourite of mine and is a great environmentally friendly option.

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium

Do you have a collection of string and ribbon saved from unwrapping presents? This would be the perfect place to look before you pop out and buy something new.


Step Five:

The finishing touches. Today we were given the choice of white, pink or blue stones to finish our Terrarium. I love the simplicity of the white, especially with the rustic string.

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium

Shells would also be a great option and something we certainly have no shortage of at home thanks to our little beach combers.


Home Maintenance – this is the part where I would appreciate some feedback!

The recommendations so far, to ensure our little Terrarium enjoys a long life are:

  • Keep in bright, not direct, sunlight, as the glass can radiate and amplify the suns rays. No we don’t want to cook the little plant thank you very much!
  • Let the soil dry out between waterings to prevent mould and root rot, which is bad news for these little eco systems.
  • Spray water onto the inside of the glass to keep it looking nice and clean.


Is there anything else I need to know?


Sustainable Message from Masdar:

“Want to conserve your water usage?  Grow more Air Plants! In the UAE, 80% of the soil is sand and alkaline (high in salt), which makes it difficult for plants to gain the nutrients they need. The amazing thing about succulent plants, also called Air Plants, is that they do not require a lot of water to grow!”


The Greenhouse was definitely our favourite zone at this years Masdar City Sustainability Festival. Here are some other featured ideas sharing creative ways to reuse and upcycle household items into practical and quirky pieces. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of waste we generate and lessen the impact on landfills around the world.

But wait – there’s still more !

Use this link to our Instagram Stories to see more clever up cycling ideas and activities, enjoyed during our visit to Masdar.

conversationswithmysister_upcyle herb garden

conversationswithmysister_make your own succulent terrarium

conversationswithmysister_upcyle herb garden

OK I know this is blurry – blogger fail – but it is such a great idea I had to include it and hope you don’t really notice…😜


Pin For Later

How To Make Your Own Succulent Terrarium in 5 Easy


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And remember to get the children onboard, these are easy hands on ideas the whole family will enjoy!

Who could you share this post with and (hopefully) inspire to begin the New Year with greener lifestyle ambitions?

Join the conversation

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X Shea


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12 Responses to How To Make Your Own Succulent Terrarium in 5 Easy Steps

  1. One geek of a Parent

    Children would love these for sure. We are blessed with a big, bright backyard and try and grow veggies and herbs from time to time. We’re also water conscious hence tend to use a lot of leftover water from cleaning fruits and vegetables. Have you heard of Bokashi? We’ve tried making our own manure using that equipment although the smell can get very overpowering.

    • Shea

      Oh that sounds incredible Priyanka, it certainly is great weather to be outside pottering in the garden right now. We have a classic ‘Aussie Backyard’ back home in Australia. Veggie garden, compost, chickens, climbing tree, trampoline – the whole works. Life is very different now 😂! Yes I have heard about the Bokashi compost bin, it has been on my mind a lot lately since we are living in a townhouse. It is my understanding you still need to bury the compost in the garden during one of the stages. Is this correct?

  2. Zeyna S. Mummy On My Mind

    I was on a Terrarium making rampage at the end of last year, except I managed to actually KILL the succulent. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either. I was obviously doing something wrong, so this time I will follow your instructions carefully when making another attempt!

    • Shea

      I am also following these instructions Zeyna, this is my first one! Maybe you over watered yours and killed them with kindness…? X

  3. Savitri

    So cool!!! And cute! The girls would love to do this!

    • Shea

      It really was a great little activity and so super easy Savitri. Hunting for plants also opens up a great excuse to explore a local nursery or market for a big dose of green!

  4. Abigail

    This is lovely and easy to do with kids. I’m proud to say that I have managed to take care of indoor bamboo plant for 3 years now, this one is easy though as I need to change water every two weeks.

    • Shea

      That really is an accomplishment to be proud of Abigail, I keep getting the Mealy Bugs on mine and they don’t make it through. In the process of experimenting with natural insecticides as we speak!

  5. Diorella Joy

    I have saved this article, and I would like to try this one weekend 😉 thanks for sharing this!

  6. Paula Medronho

    This is such a cute idea to do with the kids, especially if matched with hunting for jars to repurpose! Thank you for sharing Shea!

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