How To Make A Terrarium with Succulents

Steps in how to make your own beautiful succulent terrarium

Learning how to make a terrarium with succulents is easy peasy! I’ve laid it out with pictures, but it’s pretty simple for even the blackest of thumbs. I love terrariums. My mom teases me saying they’re nothing new and I wasn’t around in the 70s, but hey I wish I would have been. I’ll be posting more terrariums later as we get them made in the store, but I would love to see some of yours!

Supplies you’ll need:

*Glass container- be creative and different, it’s not just the plants that make a terrarium beautiful, but the container they are placed in. And note that for terrariums with succulents, you can not use containers with lids.

Square glass for succulent terrarium

Glass Cube


Clear Large Pillow vase for Succulent Terrarium

Large Pillow Vase

*sheet moss- found in flower shops and other craft stores

*river rocks or gravel

*activated carbon (aka activated charcoal)

*cactus and succulent dirt- it drains better

picture of suplies to gather, sheet moss, activated charcoal, cactus soil, river rocks

picture of suplies to gather, sheet moss, activated charcoal, cactus soil, river rocks

*Cacti and succulents- choose a variety of colors, textures, shape for leaves. You want you terrarium to be interesting so use plants that you like. And remember that you need to plant like plants together. Only plant succulent and cacti in the same container, and never plant succulents with other plants because in the end the odd man out will not survive.

pictures of different types of succulents

Different Types of Succulents

*Accent pieces- this is where you are only limited to your imagination. In the picture below starting with the box and going clockwise you have orange dyed reindeer moss, lotus pods, lime green dyed reindeer moss, faux moss covered rocks, orange deco rocks, and orange sand. Other ideas are drift wood, small signs, rocks or sea shells you find, and anything else you want, make it your own.

orange reindeer moss, green reindeer moss, deco rocks, lotus pods, ross rocks

Decorative items for a terrarium

How to make a terrarium with succulents:

1. First get your container and make sure it’s clean. Don’t use harsh chemicals though to clean it, it could harm your plants later.


Empty clear cube ready to make a terrarium

Start off with a clear empty container

2. Next layer the sheet moss on the bottom of the container. This is going to be where the water will accumulate if you over water your succulents.

layer of sheet moss

Layer of Sheet Moss

3. Then, cover the bottom of the container with river rocks or gravel. This will serve as a filter to keep the water away from your plants’ roots.

third step is to add river rocks or gravel

Add river rocks or gravel

4. Then sprinkle the activated carbon over the rocks. In this container, about 12″ x 12″, I used 3 handfuls over the river rocks. The activated carbon will help absorb water, odors, and colors from the terrarium. It is not a mandatory step, but will help with the longevity of your terrarium.

Add the activated charcoal

Add the activated charcoal

5. Next place another layer of sheet moss over the activated charcoal and rocks. This layer of moss will prevent the soil from seeping through and compacting over the life of your terrarium.

Second Layer of Sheet Moss

Second layer of sheet moss

6. Last step of prepping is to add the dirt. You want to add at least 2″ of dirt to give you plenty of room to plant your succulents. You can add more depending on the height of your container.

Add succulent or cactus dirt to container

Add succulent or cactus dirt to container

7. Finally the fun part. Plant your plants in the dirt, using an odd number of plants is usually better, but I only had 4 different types on hand. Think of where you want to keep your terrarium. If you will be viewing you terrarium from all sides, rotate your container around while planting to make sure you like the view from all angles. Then once the plants are in, add any accent pieces you want. And ta-da!!

Finished Succulent Terrerium

Finished Succulent Terrerium

Finished product- here is the front of the finished container. Like I said, learning how to make a terrarium out oIt turned out so pretty and I like the layer of moss showing to, it adds character. Also, the next time I make this, I will be adding a thin layer of the orange sand in between the last layer of sheet moss and the layer of dirt for color.

finished product in how to make a terrarium with succulents

Finished Succulent Terrarium – Desert Terrarium RM-703

I hope you have fun creating your terrarium, I sure did. I can’t wait to  make more. I love getting to create things to add to our website and sell to our customers. And if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

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