How To Layer A Cactus Terrarium

These minimize the amount of humidity the container can produce and aid in maintaining airflow around the plants.

How are succulent terrariums layered?

Make sure your chosen container is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to start. Fill the bottom of the container with two inches of gravel or sand. In order to prevent water from becoming stagnant and accumulating around the roots of your plants, this creates moisture drainage. Add one inch of cactus soil on top of this layer.

Place each tiny succulent in the ground. A pair of chopsticks is an excellent tool for placing your plants firmly if you have tiny ones. Once you’ve positioned them where you desire, you may add a few decorative elements to cover any empty spaces.

Can you put succulents and cacti together in a terrarium?

Everyone is talking about terrariums, and with good reason, if you read gardening and fashion websites. They are intriguing. An full ecology is housed within—your own miniature world to see develop and alter. Infinitely varied in terms of colors, forms, and textures, they are also stunning. Although cacti and succulents don’t normally thrive in terrariums, you can still use them successfully with a few straightforward modifications.

For your terrarium, pick a big, open container. Recognize that cactus and succulents require drier conditions with lower humidity and better air circulation than closed terrariums can provide, despite the fact that classic terrariums are closed.

Plant your succulents and cacti such that they aren’t touching one another or the terrarium’s sides. Succulents need space between them so they can eventually spread out and grow.

By transforming your finished terrarium into a fanciful environment incorporating pebbles, toys, figurines, plastic animals, and other treasures, you can take this trend to the next level. Make sure the products you purchase won’t corrode or break down in humid, wet environments.

Because most cacti and succulents require a lot of light, place the terrarium in an area that gets lots of bright, indirect sunlight. The terrarium shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight or close to a bright window because the heat from these areas could kill the plants.

After your plants have been in the terrarium for a full seven days, water them for the first time. Watering should not be done before this since damaged roots require time to recover and establish themselves. Only when the soil begins to dry out should you rewater.

Cacti thrive in terrariums, right?

The beauty of a rich, flourishing landscape can be brought inside using terrariums, as the answer indicates. Terrariums are ideal statement pieces for the house because they are essentially self-sustaining ecosystems contained in frequently closed, glass pots. Visitors will be wowed by their unique beauty.

Even though terrariums are frequently low-maintenance environments, if the proper steps are not taken when planning and establishing these intimate, protected ecosystems, they may not succeed.

A healthy terrarium depends on wise plant selection. The best plants grow best in moist soils with regular exposure to indirect sunlight, should be relatively small, and thrive in humid environments.

When grown in a humid environment, cacti and other succulents don’t do well.

However, they can still develop well in terrariums. Make careful to choose a container without a lid, though. As a result, the humidity will remain substantially lower than it would if the container were sealed.

Keep in mind that every plant has varied requirements, which also applies to growing a variety of plants in terrariums. Once you’ve decided the succulents you want to cultivate in your terrarium, you should look up the requirements for each plant online or from a nearby nursery (such as soil, light exposure and watering needs).

Cacti can they survive in a sealed terrarium?

It’s wonderful to make terrariums, but your first thought presumably is, “Which plants should I chose for my terrarium?” The best plants for both open and closed terrariums will be discussed in this essay. Around 60 of the best plants for open and closed terrariums, including those that thrive in cramped conditions and can withstand high humidity and temperature swings, will be included on this list.

Air plants, or Tillandsia

Since they are epiphytes, air plants may survive without soil. For survival, these plants glue themselves to a host. Through their leaves, they take up water. For a number of reasons, air plants work best in open terrariums. One of them is that your air plant needs to be watered pretty frequently—about twice a week (apart from misting).

It is better to submerge air plants in water to water them, but this will be difficult in a confined terrarium. A few times a week removal of the plant will destroy the pattern. Because air plants don’t enjoy humidity or being wet, they are better suited for open terrariums. You must dry the plant after submerging it in water before putting it back in a terrarium.

You can utilize a variety of air plant species. The lengthy leaves that emerge from the core of air plants give them an incredibly gorgeous appearance. Top Tillandsia for terrariums include:

  • Xerographic Tillandsia
  • ionantha T.
  • Houston
  • Guatemala
  • Tectorum
  • Scaposa
  • Aeranthos
  • Stricta
  • Peach, or capitata
  • Caput-medusae
  • Streptophylla
  • Hondurensis

For your open terrariums, you can get a single air plant or a small collection similar to this. Here is a detailed guide to taking care of tillandsias.


The best plants for open terrariums are succulents. To prevent overwatering succulents, be cautious when watering them. Succulents prefer drying out in between waterings and bright, indirect light. Ensure that the terrarium containing the succulents has an opening that is at least modest to medium in size. The following succulents make excellent terrarium plants:

  • Jade tree (Crassula ovata). Deserts are where jade plants, which have heavy leaves, are found in nature. These plants require low humidity and strong light. Jade plants come in a variety of varieties; avoid picking any that can grow to be more than 4 feet tall! Select smaller varieties like “Mini Jade” or “Hobbit.” Jade plants require direct sunlight, good airflow, and rarely watering.
  • Tiger Jaws, also known as Faucaria Tigrina, is a stunning plant with spiky leaves and star-shaped rosettes.
  • Chickens and hens (Sempervivum). Chicks surround the main hen plant in these attractive succulent plants called “hens and chicks.” Hens and chicks can be used jointly or individually. They should only be planted in an open terrarium because higher humidity containers will cause them to decay.
  • Aloe Vera, also known as the “medicine plant,” is a widely common plant with sharp leaves.
  • the Chocolate Soldier, or Kalanchoe tomentosa
  • Kalanchoe luciae, or the flapjack plant
  • Ghost Plant, or Graptopetalum
  • Alpine Aloe
  • Haworthia, or the Zebra plant, has stunning leaves with striped surfaces.
  • Sedum morganianum, often known as burro’s tail, has leaves that resemble beads.
  • Gasteria
  • Beautiful little round plants called lithops have a stone-like appearance. Read more here about Lithops care.

Cacti, or cactuses

Cacti need to be dry in order to look their best in terrariums. In closed terrariums with high humidity and poor airflow, these plants won’t survive. Make sure the container has a medium to large opening when making cactus terrariums. Because many cacti grow very enormous when they are fully mature, only choose little ones.

Baby tears, or Soleirolia soleirolii

a really lovely plant with leaves that have spots of various colors. These plants thrive in humid settings and adore dampness.

The adorable strawberry begonias are the ideal flowers for open terrariums. Be cautious because they require open terrariums with dry foliage. If not, the plant will begin to wilt.

Using croton plants, you may make incredible terrarium designs. You will need to prune these plants because they grow pretty tall. Make sure to grow them in terrariums with open doors. This plant will do well in Wardian case terrariums.

Best plants for closed terrariums (or better those with small openings):

It is always a good idea to have at least a little gap in the container, even though you can make a terrarium that is completely closed. Fully closed terrariums can fog up, make it difficult to care for plants, and yet result in rotting roots. Small, spherical glass spheres like this are the most common containers that produce lovely patterns.

There are many different types of bromeliad plants, and some of them enjoy warmth and humidity. The following are some of the top bromeliads for terrariums:

  • Earth Star, or Cryptanthus It is the perfect plant for a sealed terrarium. They enjoy moisture, and

warmth. You can grow numerous varieties of Cryptanthus in a terrarium. Choose plants that don’t expand rapidly or get very large.

  • Another lovely plant for a closed terrarium is neoregelia. Its lovely pink/violet blossom is of exceptional beauty.
  • The magnificent Silver Vase plant, also known as Aechmea fasciata, has lovely flowers. This plant should be placed in a terrarium with a small to medium opening.

Long stems from this plant terminate in tiny, spherical, creamy-white blooms. They fit tall terrariums like Wardian enclosures and are ideal for humid conditions.

Popular and attractive plants like orchids work well in Wardian instances. Sphagnum moss must be present surrounding the roots of the plant.

The majority of carnivorous plants thrive in moist, nutrient-poor environments. For this reason, insect-eating plants capture them and consume them to obtain nutrition. These fascinating plants thrive in humid environments and intense direct sunlight.

Both open and closed terrariums are capable of supporting carnivorous plant growth. The only issue you might run into with carnivorous plants in tight terrariums is feeding them—they can have trouble collecting insects. You can either choose a terrarium with a tiny entrance or give your carnivorous plants their food by hand. Following are some of the top carnivorous plants for terrariums:

  • Venus flytrap is a potential choice, but it will need to hibernate over the winter.
  • The Tropical Pitcher Plants, often known as Nepenthes. Given that they grow very large, they might not be the greatest for small terrariums. Large terrariums can be used for planting plants, but the proper temperatures must be maintained. Nepenthes come in two varieties: Highlanders and Lowlanders. You may need to heat the terrarium during the day and chill it at night, depending on the type.
  • Sarracenia, or American Pitcher Plants Since the majority of them grow huge and require winter dormancy, they are not the greatest plants for terrariums. However, you can choose Sarracenia for a terrarium, such as S. rubra or S. purpurea (purple pitcher plant). Select young plants, and make sure to give them a winter dormant period.
  • Drosera, or sundews. For the winter dormancy, you must remove them, although they require bright light.
  • Heliamphora, or Sun Pitchers. They enjoy high humidity, but they also require colder temperatures, as the nighttime temperature drops.
  • Follicular Cephalotus Note that during the winter they require chilly temperatures.
  • Pinguicula or butterworts
  • Utricularia, or bladderworts
  • Drosophyllum lusitanicum, also known as Dewy Pine, but only in an open terrarium. They require excellent ventilation and bright lighting.

The majority of ferns are quite hardy and can withstand high humidity. Ferns give any terrarium depth. The following ferns make excellent terrarium plants:

  • Bird’s nest fern (Aspleniumnidus)
  • Little Holly Fern
  • Hemionitis arifolia, sometimes known as heart fern

Nerve plants prefer high humidity, therefore they will do best in a closed container or, preferable, one with a tiny aperture. You must routinely monitor the soil’s moisture because they dislike soggy dirt.

Mosses are a wonderful addition to terrariums that are closed. You can utilize a wide range of mosses, such as moss balls or Golden Club moss plants.

Pilea microphylla, often known as artillery ferns, are stunning plants that are simple to grow and maintain in terrariums. They enjoy moist environments and direct, bright light. Additionally, the seeds shoot out with a popping sound!

High humidity and indirect light are favorable to creeping fig. It is a fairly resilient plant, but because it grows so quickly, you will need to clip it frequently.

High relative humidity and direct light are favorable to pothos plants. Additionally, they enjoy warm temperatures of about 70 degrees, so in the winter, be sure to keep them away from windowsills that are too cold. However, you will also need to constantly clip its leaves, so think about getting a terrarium with a little hole.

Cacti are able to survive in sealed containers.

A cactus in a jar or any other sort of closed cactus terrarium should not be used; stay away from all sealed containers. Even lengthy vases with an open top or those with a hole cut out will still retain too much moisture.

Cactus Terrarium Layers

Your substrate selection is crucial in ensuring that cacti receive the extra drainage and root aeration they require.

Volcanic rocks and clay pebbles make up the majority of the grit mixes, with only a minor amount of normal substrate bases (e.g. coco fiber).

Root rot doesn’t have much of a chance to form because the rocky mix gives roots plenty of room to breathe and drains and dries out quickly. On the other hand, you’ll have to water your cactus terrarium much more frequently.

A grainy mix might be a suitable option if you’re seeking for a simple all-in-one solution.

check out Etsy’s selection of mixes.

On the other hand, if you purchase a pre-packaged bag from a garden center, you are more likely to find soil blends. They frequently contain the standard terrarium substrate component mixture, but with a higher proportion of additives that improve drainage, such as perlite, sand, or orchid bark.

Always verify the label as ratios and components might vary greatly. In my experience, some of these can be pretty ill suited. You should specifically steer clear of any that contain peat moss or sphagnum moss since, in my opinion, they retain way too much water.

As it is imperative that the water cannot wick up to the roots, I would also advise you to use cacti terrariums to make a false bottom (LECA is a good option here).