How To Water A Terrarium With Succulents

Succulent, cactus, or tropical plant terrariums are like miniature universes. A self-contained plant environment inside of a glass container has a certain allure and beauty, and when set up and taken care of properly, these tiny ecosystems will flourish for years. Taking care of a terrarium may seem difficult, but with a few simple actions, you can make your terrarium happy.

How to maintain a terrarium is shown here. Succulents, cactus, and tropical plants are the three main plant types found in terrariums.

But first, it’s crucial to determine what kind of terrarium you have before we get into terrarium care.

The first kind of terrariums are “open” terrariums, which are the most popular and simple to maintain and the kind we sell in our brick-and-mortar and online stores. You will take care of your plants in these glass containers, which have an entrance for airflow. We will go into care details for open terrariums in this article.

A “closed” terrarium, the second kind of terrarium, is a little trickier to maintain and less typical. This is due to the glass’s lack of a sufficient hole through which to administer routine treatment. These confined terrariums behave more like self-contained universes and are a little more complicated to construct. There are a ton of excellent resources online that explain how to take care of a closed terrarium.

How to Care For a Terrarium with Succulents

The majority of plants found in terrariums are succulents, which have stems that hold water and thick, meaty leaves. This makes a lot of sense because succulents are ideal for small enclosures because they normally don’t mind getting too little water and don’t require a lot of root space to grow. Additionally, a lot of species remain small and compact, enabling them to survive for many years in a terrarium without being transplanted.

  • Light: Most succulents demand strong, if not direct, light, with the exception of a few species that can tolerate lower light levels, such Haworthia and Gasteria. Place your succulent terrarium in a bright area, but be careful because glass tends to magnify direct sunlight, which could cause your plants to burn.
  • Water: Although drought-tolerant, succulents are quite prone to root rot. You should only water your succulent terrarium sparingly until the soil has nearly entirely dried out, taking into account the lack of drainage holes in terrariums. Using a watering can or a spray bottle, water each plant’s base carefully. The majority of succulents will pucker their leaves slightly to let you know when it’s time to water them. This is an excellent sign that your terrarium needs watering.
  • How to fix shriveled leaves? I should water. black, brown, or mushy leaves? You water the lawn excessively. Replace these plants with ones that are similar, but don’t require as much water, and remove the old ones. Winter irrigation should be minimized.

How to Care For a Terrarium with Cacti

All succulents are succulents, but not all cacti are succulents. The majority of people are familiar with desert-dwelling cacti. With a few modifications, you can use the same directions for your succulent terrarium as for a terrarium with cacti:

  • Even more so than succulents, cacti frequently decay. Pay close attention to avoid overwatering.
  • Cacti require intense light to survive. Direct light should be acceptable for them.
  • There are always exceptions to the aforementioned laws. Rhipsalis, Hatiora, and Epiphyllum are examples of “jungle cactus,” which dislike bright light and require more water than typical cacti. Plant jungle cactus in their own enclosure or among other succulents that can tolerate less light for the greatest results.

How to Care For a Terrarium with Tropicals

A completely different game is played in tropical terrariums. We advise selecting species that are tolerant of wetness, such as philodendron, fittonia, and ferns. Remember that tropical plants will ultimately outgrow their terrarium confinement and require transplantation.

How to take care of a tropical terrarium is as follows:

  • The majority of tropical plants like medium-bright indirect light. If they are exposed to too much direct sunlight, especially when it is magnified by a glass vessel, they will burn.
  • Water: Although succulents and cacti are more drought-tolerant, care must still be taken not to overwater your tropical terrarium. Water each plant’s base with your watering can or spray bottle between waterings, letting the top inch or two of the soil dry in between. To encourage a humid climate, feel free to mist your terrarium in between waterings. Allowing the leaves to gently wilt in between waterings will help you determine when it’s time to water.
  • How to troubleshoot crispy brown or wilted leaves? I should water. Are the stems yellow or mushy? You water the lawn excessively. Replace harmed or overgrown plants with equivalent specimens. Winter irrigation should be minimized.

Any inquiries about terrarium maintenance? Share your questions and stories with us in the comments. As soon as we can, we’ll address your questions! Gardening in terrariums is fun!

How frequently should I water my terrarium of succulents?

Understanding how to water succulents is only the first step in caring for them. Here are our 4 best suggestions for developing the ideal succulent watering routine, plus a bonus:

1. Succulent planter containers

Although they thrive in terrariums with drainage holes, succulents can also be kept in non-drainage-holed pots. To allow the water to flow away from your plant in a terrarium without drainage holes, place a substantial layer of stones at the bottom of the container. Beautiful hydrostones are available that enhance your terrarium’s appearance while yet being very practical. It’s crucial to avoid letting water collect at the base of your plant, as this will damage the roots.

2. Ideal Succulent Soil

Your plants’ life depends on you picking the correct soil for them. Succulents require soil that drains properly. Because of its density, regular potting soil is NOT the best option for your succulents. To allow extra water to drain away from your plant, you must cover your stones with a soil that is grittier than usual. If you’re unsure of which soil to purchase for your succulents, we offer the ideal terrarium soil for you.

3. The area

You might need to water your succulents more frequently or less frequently depending on where you live. As a general guideline, you should water your plants every three to four days if they are in the proper mixture of grit and sunlight. You may need to modify how frequently you water your plants if you reside in a very dry or possibly a really humid region. The quantity of sunshine your plants receive and whether they are indoor or outdoor plants both influence how often you should water them. You must test several strategies to see what works best for you and your plants. What works for one person might not work for another. It is more likely for succulents to perish from overwatering than from underwatering, so be sure to experiment first with less water.

4. Succulent Watering Techniques

Many people make the incorrect suggestion that you should water their succulents using a spray bottle. Your plants will take moisture from the air if you live in a humid area, therefore you must moisten the soil to provide water for the roots as well. Spray bottles can be helpful for providing extra moisture in particularly large terrariums and arid areas, but a little mist does not encourage good root growth. The easiest way to water your succulents is using a little watering can because it directs the water where you want it to go and won’t leave water stains all over your transparent terrarium. Bao Vo provides some amazing suggestions for you if you’re looking for some watering can substitutes. These are great methods for watering more difficult-to-reach hanging terrariums and smaller terrariums.


Here is a simple tip if you’re still unclear about how to water succulents. The best way to water succulents is to thoroughly moisten the soil, then let the plants absorb all the moisture they require, letting any extra water drain away from the roots. Before rewatering, let the soil entirely dry up; this may take a while depending on your region and container, as noted above. Try watering a little bit each day if your terrarium contains stones instead of drainage holes to prevent overwatering. Keep in mind that succulents require less water than other plants.

How should a terrarium be watered?

Learning how to water your terrarium properly is one of the largest learning curves in terrarium living. It can be tough to find the appropriate method because it seems more like an art than a science. We’ll go over how adding water to your new terrarium varies from watering houseplants, the best way to employ, and how to prevent the common mistake of overwatering.

Overwatering and drowning are the major dangers new terrariums face. Unlike typical houseplants, this one can’t let excess water run over the bottom of the pot. The water must also be restricted and controlled in quantity because it will be contained and recycled repeatedly within the ecosystem.

Unfortunately, there is no simple formula to determine how much water is necessary. This is dependent on a variety of elements, including the terrarium’s size, enclosure style, soil content, and plant density. As a general rule, we advise using 1/4 cup for a quart-sized terrarium, 1/2 cup for a half-gallon-sized container, and 1 cup for a gallon-sized or larger container.

The soil should ideally feel damp to the touch after watering, but not soggy and waterlogged. Root rot is a fungus that develops when the roots are unable to breathe because they are submerged in too much water. Overwatered soil deprives the root system of oxygen, resulting in brown, mushy roots that eventually die and cause the plant to wilt. Fortunately, we can avoid this by watering properly and including a bottom drainage layer when assembling the terrarium.

Water should be added to a spray bottle, and the stream setting should be selected for the nozzle. Here, the goal is to open the terrarium and spray the glass walls on the inside. Make sure the water is trickling down the glass’s sides rather than sprinkling the ground. Rotate in a circle of 360 degrees. Spray until the entire surface of the glass is covered, then cover the terrarium.

A drainage layer, or region on the bottom of the container meant to hold excess water, is required for any plant in a pot or terrarium without drainage holes. Fill the bottom layer of your terrarium at least 1/4 inch high with horticultural charcoal and rocks. On top, add the soil. Instead of sitting around the roots, extra water will now gather on the lowest layer between the rocks.

Accidents do occur! If too much water was added and the soil is too wet, try using a pipette to remove the water that has accumulated there.

This also relies on the terrarium’s type of enclosure and its contents. Generally speaking, terrariums with a regular, loose-fitting glass lid will need to be watered minimally every three months.

Without any water, a terrarium with a cork, rubber, or tightly-fitting glass container can remain closed. The self-sustaining ecosystem will continue to recycle the initial amount of water.

No, the fog is expected and welcomed. Condensation in your terrarium indicates that the water cycle is functioning properly and that everything is in good operating order. The ability of your terrarium to adequately recycle the water is compromised if you open it to cycle the fog out.

We sell sets of magnetic scrubbers if you want to gaze inside and enjoy your terrarium while keeping the condensation. These practical instruments safely remove the condensation while preventing moisture evaporation.

Join us for an in-person class or a remote terrarium workshop here if you’ve been considering creating your own terrarium but haven’t yet made the commitment.

In a terrarium, how do you keep succulents alive?

Place the terrarium in a well-lit area, but keep it out of direct sunlight because it can burn the plants inside. The best location is close to a fan or blower because it will improve circulation and lessen damping off.

Succulents cannot tolerate being overwatered, and they will perish if left in standing water. You won’t need to water your succulent garden very frequently. Before watering, let the soil almost entirely dry out. Use off-gassed tap water or pay extra for filtered water.

Care for succulents in terrariums is quite similar to care for succulents in pots. These plants benefit from neglect and only require additional fertilizer once a year. The succulents should gradually fill out, giving the entire terrarium a more attractive, natural aspect.

In a glass bowl, how do you water succulents?

In the normal course of things, I would advise against planting anything in a container without drainage. In most cases, drilling a hole in a container is simpler than dealing with the effects of improper drainage. However, because succulents need so little water, you can use a bowl as long as you use high-quality potting soil and don’t overwater the plants. Water stains on your table are also avoided by the lack of a drainage hole!

Some bowls without drainage holes do allow a tiny bit of drainage because the bowl material is slightly porous, like the concrete bowl shown above. A small amount of water will pass through the walls of concrete, terra cotta, and unglazed pottery bowls. These are suitable options for succulent indoor gardens.

Because they are non-porous, glass and plastic bowls will prevent air or water from passing through the walls. Avoid overwatering your succulent glass bowl when learning how to plant succulents in glass containers! Health problems with succulent bowls are typically caused by overwatering rather than underwatering. Succulents have evolved to require very little water to survive!

Although there are many suggestions for growing succulents in glass in this article, Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens Using Easy-to-Grow Plants and Inexpensive Glassware is a great source for even more details. It is definitely worth reading.

Watering Succulent Glass Bowl Gardens

The simplest way to ruin your succulent terrarium is to overwater it. When watering the plant, keep in mind that you don’t have to completely wet the dirt in the bowl. Succulents are adept at locating and utilizing the meager amounts of water that are present in the soil near their roots. If your succulent appears unhappy and you’ve recently watered it, it’s probably drowning.

What steps can you take to prevent overwatering your succulent glass bowl? Once you’ve planted it, weigh the bowl to determine how heavy it is. A few days later, pick up the planted glass bowl of succulents to see if it has lost any weight. In contrast to times of high humidity, dry weather may cause it to dry out more quickly.

Wait until the potted glass bowl of succulents weighs considerably less than it did at first. After that, lightly water it. You don’t have to completely saturate the ground! Simply soak the dirt at the succulent’s base. The succulent will come across the liquid. Succulent plants require water and air for their roots to function properly.