DIY Alert: Easy Succulent Terrariums

I think we can all agree that the terrarium is on fire right now when it comes to indoor plant decor. Add succulents, and you have one very trendy (and pretty much self-sustaining) tabletop garden on your hands.


Poolside terrarium.

I’ve been wanting to do a terrarium DIY for a while, but haven’t been too crazy about the idea of spending hours at my local garden store searching for decorative rocks and sand. For those of you who are not regulars at Lowe’s/The Home Depot: these items were surprisingly easy to find (and inexpensive). This project was so easy, I may even consider returning to my neighborhood Lowe’s in the near future.

I used Real Simple’s “How to Make a Terrarium” tutorial as a guide, and I think it was a good one because my succulents are still alive and thriving. I do not claim to have a green thumb but am hoping I can keep plants alive that only require twice weekly watering. TBD.

Lowes has a great assortment of cacti...I chose yellow and pink colors with lots of greenery.

Lowe’s has a great assortment of succulents…I chose yellow and pink colored cacti with lots of little green guys too.


Succulent prep station.

You’ll need:

  • a clear glass vessel (I purchased a couple of vases at Central Market – they didn’t have them at Lowe’s)
  • small pebbles/decorative rocks
  • succulent and cactus potting soil
  • succulents and cacti in various shapes and sizes
  • white decorative sand
  • a spoon
  • gardening gloves (a must!)

Note on the setup: my vases came wrapped in a ton of paper – which made a perfect workstation. Definitely do this outside or use newspaper or towels to catch the soil/sand/debris if you are inside!

Step-by-step directions:

  • Start with a medium-sized, clear glass open-top container. There were several options at Central Market – I chose the vases pictured, but you could also use a fish bowl or a special terrarium bowl!
  • Fill the bottom of the vessel with a 1 1/2-inch layer of small rocks to collect the water drainage.
  • Add a layer of potting soil made for succulents and cacti. It should be deep enough for the plants to root to, about 2 1/2 inches.

Pebbles first, then soil.

  • Put your gloves on! Remove the largest plant from its container and dust excess soil off the roots. Using the end of a spoon, make a hole in the soil big enough for the roots and nestle the plant inside,  pressing the soil down firmly to hold it in place. Plan for approximately one plant per inch of container diameter.

I have a feeling the chic blue gardening gloves will be making a future appearance…


Wine + cheese board always enhances the DIY experience.

  • Continue planting the rest of the succulents, working from largest to smallest. It’s easiest to start at the back of the container and work your way forward. Tip: Play around with the arrangement—mixing up the types of plants, colors, and sizes to make it more visually pleasing.

My terrarium.


Lauren (LL)’s terrarium.

  • Once the plants are arranged, add about a 1/4-inch layer of white sand around the plants.

Sand sprinkling.

  • Finish with some landscaping. Place a few additional pebbles here and there to complete the look.

Finished products!

  • To keep your terrarium alive: succulents like direct sunlight every day. Lightly water the base every two weeks or once the soil dries out.

I want to see your terrariums! Tag #LibertyListed when you post 🙂

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