Super easy succulent terrarium DIY

Remember this post where I basically complained about how awful I am at gardening? In some post-exam studying frustration (does anyone else get that?) I decided to do something about my non-green thumb and get some succulents. After looking up how easy it is to kill succulents (apparently not very?), I went down to my local gardening store and picked up these three. I'd like to say that I picked them out because they are visually appealing or that my research showed that they would live well together, but honestly it was because these are the three types that my store had. So there.


To make the terrarium I used a large glass bowl with an asymmetrical opening that I had from having tried a terrarium once before. Just FYI, my first terrarium didn't work because I tried to put in three different types of plants, which all needed varying amounts of water and sunlight. Duh, Emily.

There are a bunch of different how-to's online, but I went with Martha Stewart's succulent terrarium directions because I didn't have activated charcoal and had no idea where to get some.

All I bought was my three succulents, a small bag of sand, a small bag of gravel, and a large bag of desert potting soil. Since succulents are generally native to dry areas, you need that type of soil since it is better for water drainage. I wish that I could have found a small bag of it, because you don't need much, and now I have a massive bag of desert potting soil sitting in my laundry room. Luckily, the bag was only around $4, so I didn't waste much.


Ready for instructions?
  1. Buy your NO MORE THAN THREE succulents, because seriously, you will underestimate how big they are (like I did), and you will struggle to get them to fit in the bowl (like I did). 
  2. Pour in a two inch layer of gravel. I bought one little bag from Lowe's thinking that it would be enough (I was wrong), so my gravel layer is only about one inch thick, if that. Cross your fingers that it's fine! I would definitely buy more than you think you'll need.
  3. Pour in a one inch layer of potting soil.
  4. Next, put in your biggest succulent first. I put my biggest one in last and regretted it immediately. You may have to tear off the bottom part of its roots to get it to fit in, but dig it a little hole in the potting dirt and you should be fine.
  5. Pour in another one inch layer of potting soil, then pat it around the succulent so that the soil is about level. (NOTE - this is where Martha and I differ. She said to put in a two inch layer of potting soil FIRST, then put in your succulents. I had a hard time moving around all of the soil after the first succulent, which is why I say to put only a bit, then put the rest in later.)
  6. Put your next two succulents in, from largest to smallest. I'd suggest putting them as close to the sides of the glass as you can get, because you don't want them cramming up together.
  7. Pour in a one inch layer of sand around the plants, but try not to get it on top of the actual plants. It will happen, but try to get it around them instead of straight up dumping the sand.
  8. Take a straw and blow off the sand that is in/on the succulents so that they look prettier. I tried to do that and didn't do a great job, but I was also just ready to get it done.
Then you're done! After buying all the supplies, actually making the terrarium took about an hour for me, but that was due to the fact that I was doing it on my kitchen table and was worrying about getting debris all over my table and floors. Here's to hoping I've gained a green thumb through this whole experience!

personal, DIYEmily L.Comment