How to make a pretty succulent terrarium in 7 easy steps

Nov 20, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

Succulents have grown to become the "it" girls of the garden — and for good reason. They're low maintenance, versatile and oh so pretty.

From wedding bouquets to fairy gardens, succulents can decorate just about any space. So, here's how you can have your very own piece of romantic paradise in any setting you choose. Terrariums are great for the office, the kitchen and can even add a little Zen to a bathroom.

Start by gathering all the necessary supplies and picking out your favorite succulents. When choosing the right container, consider the succulents' sizes and textures. Ideally, you'll want a completely glass bowl or vase — because half the fun is seeing the layers of the terrarium. Hint: Go to the dollar store. I found everything I needed there — for $1 each!

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

I used several kinds, including hen and chicks, string of pearls and rosas (Graptopetalum). If you are using plants from your own garden, be sure to snip the rosettes in the right spot.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

Layer the river rocks first — but be careful. They can crack the glass. This layer helps with drainage, so your plants aren't sitting in water if you happen to give them too much. Then top the rocks with 2-3 inches of potting soil.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

Make a small hole in the soil. You can use a pencil or the end of a spoon.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

Then, insert your first succulent and squish the dirt around it, so it stays secure. Looks beautiful already!

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

Continue to add more plants. Choose plants that differ in texture and height and consider colors as well. (Mine were just varying shades of green.)

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

If you are doing this indoors, take the store-bought plants out of their plastic containers and put them in a large bucket. You can then choose which portions of the plant you want to use — and it will save you, big time, on mess.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

For the finishing touch, sprinkle crushed rock (like those used in fish tanks) or sand on top of the soil and around the plants. Hint: Try to avoid (as best you can) getting the rocks or sand in the plants because it's kind of hard to get out.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

You will most likely have extra plants, since a terrarium only requires just a few sprouts here and there. So, why not make gifts while you've got everything laid out? I made several more for my co-workers.

Terrarium
Image: Nadine Avola/SheKnows

How to make a succulent terrarium

Supplies:

  • Variety of succulents
  • River rocks (or stones about 1 inch in size)
  • Potting soil
  • Decorative crushed stones or sand
  • Glass container (at least 5 inches tall)
  • Shovel
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels
  • Large bucket

Directions:

  1. Gather all your supplies and succulents. If you are using succulents from your garden, cut the tops or gently pull the leaves and lay them out on a paper towel. Rinse out the glass container. Remove any price stickers from the bottom.
  2. Add the river rocks, carefully, into the bottom of the container. This level should be about 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches high.
  3. On top of the rocks, shovel 2-3 inches of potting soil into the container.
  4. Create a small hole in the soil, about 1 inch deep, and insert the first succulent.
  5. Continue to fill in with other succulents, but be sure to leave some empty space between them. (To avoid mess, remove the plants from their plastic containers and place them in the large bucket.)
  6. Top with crushed stones or sand.
  7. Water the terrarium sparingly. If it stays moist too often, it may grow mold. To avoid this, let it dry out completely before watering again.

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