What Do I Need For A Succulent Terrarium

  • an indoor terrarium
  • a variety of miniature succulents
  • Unhandled trowel
  • Gravel
  • gloves for gardening
  • ideal compost for succulents and cacti
  • decorations for the season of your choice
  • Moss
  • the size of a watering can

What do you put in a succulent terrarium’s base?

For succulents, the planting media is essential. Succulents are ideal for terrariums because of their sluggish growth, but if the proper medium isn’t used, the condensation that could form could harm the tiny plants. Fill the container’s bottom with small rocks or gravel. An inch or so of charcoal is placed on top of this layer. This removes any pollutants and odors that may be present in the water. Sphagnum moss should next be added, followed by lightly wet cactus soil.

In the cactus mix, put the little plants, and then compact the dirt around them. To dig the holes and fill them in around the plants, a dowel or stick is useful. Plants should be placed at least an inch (2.5 cm) apart to allow for proper airflow. For the first several weeks, plants may require a Popsicle stick or small stake to hold them erect.

The really enjoyable part now is designing the terrarium. Add some seashells if you want a beach theme, or place some pebbles to go with the succulents if you want a desert theme. There are countless products that can be used to improve the terrarium’s natural appearance. Some growers even include porcelain figurines to heighten the whimsical atmosphere. Just make sure everything you put in the terrarium has been well cleaned to prevent introducing disease.

What kind of soil do I need for a terrarium with succulents?

More than 60 different plant families contain succulents, and each has its own distinctive charm. Although cacti and succulents are more resilient than the usual houseplant, they still have specific soil needs, so you need be sure your terrarium’s soil mix will support their growth.

The finest soil for a succulent terrarium should allow for drainage and aeration, not water retention. Brands of pre-mixed soil that give a perfect balance of minerals to organic elements include Bonsai Jack, Hoffmans, Terra Green, and Fat Plants. Superfly and Miracle-Gro are both excellent pre-mixes.

The ideal soil for your terrarium will try to replicate the soil’s characteristics and take into account the natural habitat of your succulents. You’ll be better able to select the ideal soil for your terrarium if you are aware of the particular requirements of your succulent. Continue reading to discover your succulent’s needs and the six best ways to meet them.

How well do succulents fare in terrariums?

The terrarium setting is the absolute worst for succulent growth and development. Avoid using a succulent terrarium if you want to keep your plants happy and healthy and keep them in the proper container.

This article will cause controversy since it deviates from the fundamentals of modern interior design. And when I refer to “modern interior design concepts,” I mean a minimalist aesthetic à la Pinterest.

Without a doubt, they look fantastic. Nothing could be more awesome than a little environment in your living room.

Succulent terrariums (the plural of terrarium) are a nice way to capture some of the stark beauty of the desert, but they aren’t a long-term solution. Without the most precise care, succulents in terrariums will eventually perish; even then, they’ll be barely hanging on.

Both types of terraria—those that are entirely sealed and those that are partially open—have these issues. Most of these problems are exacerbated by being in a sealed terrarium. Only a few of these issues apply to “dish gardens.”

How can I plant succulents? What tools do I need?

Succulent gardening really doesn’t require much to get started.

  • Succulents
  • a container with a hole for drainage (see here how to select a container)
  • Screen for drainage or mesh tape.
  • Healthy Soil (or make your own)
  • Shovel.
  • Leading Dressing.

Need charcoal for terrariums with succulents?

A terrarium can and will run successfully without a coating of charcoal. The important query is whether a covering of charcoal has a long-term beneficial impact on terrarium health.

Sadly, there isn’t any hard research demonstrating how well charcoal filters out harmful contaminants from a terrarium.

It makes sense in theory, and there is anecdotal evidence from seasoned terrarium builders that suggests it’s a useful addition, but like many terrarium-building decisions, it comes down to personal preference and trial and error.

Personally, I find that I utilize it less and less. I opted not to use charcoal in the project for my Essential Guide to Tropical Terrariums and instead used springtails to keep my terrarium clean. It’s still my healthiest, to be honest.

However, if you do decide to utilize it, adding a charcoal layer to your terrarium is a simple modification that I’ve found to have no significant drawbacks.

Charcoal can still be used as a drainage component when creating terrariums with a false bottom. So it won’t be much of a hindrance to your plants if it’s placed between your drainage rocks and your substrate.

Try adding extra terrarium moss instead of charcoal if you’re not keen on that. In any case, moss naturally filters water and is capable of removing contaminants like arsenic.

Is charcoal really necessary for terrariums?

Except for horticultural charcoal, the majority of individuals already have all the materials necessary to create a terrarium. Because it aids in the removal of pollutants and odors, charcoal is a crucial component of any terrarium. You can still create a terrarium without charcoal, but you’ll need to take extra precautions to keep your plants healthy and the environment in your terrarium fresh and odor-free.

Drainage Layer

This layer is necessary to properly store extra water at the terrarium’s base without it covering the roots and posing a risk of root rot. For additional details, see my article on how to grow plants in pots without holes. Although some individuals prefer to add charcoal or a decorative layer at the very bottom, the drainage layer is often the very bottom layer.

One to two inches of drainage material should be placed in the bottom of your terrarium, depending on its size. This layer, which you shouldn’t skimp on, will let extra water drain away from your plants so they don’t sit in water and develop rotten roots.

Pea gravel is a typical sort of drainage layer, but you may also use intriguing little rocks you’ve collected, colored aquarium gravel, or small river rocks. Sea glass, decorative stones, and marbles are also excellent choices.

Your terrarium will have lots of drainage thanks to these clay pebbles without adding a lot of weight like gravel might. Due to LECA’s pH neutrality, your plants will have plenty of room to establish roots. You could use your layer of LECA to store water in a miniature aquaphor, which would eliminate the need to water your terrarium.

Moss Layer

If you simply add dirt on top of the drainage layer, it may eventually start to seep through the drainage layer and disappear into the terrarium’s base. If this occurs, your terrarium might not survive and you might get mold and rot.

Put a layer of dried moss or sphagnum moss on top of your drainage layer to stop this. By doing so, part of the extra moisture will be absorbed while also preventing the soil from washing through.

The moss layer will give the intermediate layers of your terrarium a lovely color and texture. In order to prevent soil from washing through into the drainage layer, make sure it is thick enough.

Charcoal Layer

Although it is an optional layer, I believe it to be crucial to the health and longevity of your terrarium. The charcoal layer serves as a filter in your terrarium, removing pollutants and preventing the growth of odors.

Although some people merely add it to the very bottom of the terrarium, I believe this layer works best when it is placed above the moss layer.

For this, you can use activated charcoal or horticulture charcoal. Even BBQ charcoal has been utilized in the bottom of some terrariums. Without this layer, your terrarium can still function, but you’ll have to take extra care to keep the conditions ideal.

Soil Layer

Your plants will grow in the top layer of soil. The soil layer offers the nutrients your plants require to flourish as well as acting as a support for the roots.

It is important to bear in mind the type of terrarium you are creating and base your soil selection on the plants you intend to grow inside. The soil layer has a number of choices.

  • Potting soil is the simplest and least expensive type of soil for terrariums. Due to its affordability and availability, this is a popular option that works well for tropical plants.
  • a soil rich in violas
  • African Violet soil is advised by Cornell University Extension for your terrarium. The soil used for African violets is quite light and will keep the plants hydrated without becoming soggy.
  • DIY SoilIf you so desire, you can make your own soil mixture using sterilized dirt, peat moss, and either vermiculite or perlite. As a result, your terrarium will have better drainage and bacterial or mold growth will be prevented or slowed down.
  • Plants and Soil With Cactus
  • If you are creating a terrarium for succulents and cacti, you might need to utilize soil designed for those plants. Compared to other types, this soil will drain a lot more quickly.

Decorative Soil Layers

After deciding on the materials for the fundamental layers, you can express some creativity by including decorative soil layers. I prefer to divide the soil layer, which is typically the thickest layer in the base of a terrarium, with beautiful sand or stones. This significantly improves the terrarium’s exterior’s interest and appeal.

This layer could contain any inert, decorative elements, such as colored stones, glass beads, tiny seashells, etc.

Plant Layer

Of course, one of the best parts of making the terrarium is picking your plants. Smaller plants are preferable for terrariums with limited space because they won’t compete for space as they grow.

You should only grow one kind of plant, such as cacti, succulents, or tropical plants since they all demand different levels of moisture.

While tropical terrariums can have closed tops and provide more humid, damp conditions, succulent terrariums can have open tops and require less moisture.

How should a terrarium’s succulent plants be watered?

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!