DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums

 DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums | Terrariums are a fun DIY project you can put together surprisingly quickly, easily--and mucho cheapo. It's a great way to liven up a dull space and add a breathe of fresh air to small apartments or dorm rooms. If you don't have a back yard or garden, it's a wonderful alternative and a way to bring the outdoors inside.

You can build terrariums with many types of plants but cacti and succulents require the least amount of care (aka EASY and who doesn't LOVE easy). If you lack the green thumb and kill basically everything you touch--don't worry--these hearty plants are actually hard to wipe out. 

Grab a friend, throw a fun DIY terrarium building party, or give them as unique gifts. It's so fun to become a designer of your own little glass bowl world. You can create simple, chic terrariums or add dashes of eccentric color and figurines. 

DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums |


  • - Cacti and Succulent Potting Soil
  • - Assortment of cacti and succulents (different shapes, sizes and textures)
  • - Glass mason jar, fish bowl, candle jar or vase (with mouth large enough to insert hand)
  • - Pebbles or rocks 
  • - Small decorative pebbles or sand
  • - Sphagnum moss
  • - Spoon and/or small measuring cup 
  • - Small paint brush or makeup brush 
  • - Optional: mini figurines or mini holiday signs 


*Note- I recommend doing this project outside since it will get messy


Cover bottom of jar with a layer of small rocks or pebbles. This layer can be as deep as you want as long as it completely covers the bottom. This will create a water drainage chamber for your terrarium.


Cover pebbles with about 2 inches of sphagnum moss. This will ensure soil doesn't seep down in between the pebbles.


Use a small measuring cup or spoon to place potting soil over the layer of pebbles you just laid down. Place down enough to cover pebbles but not so much that your plants will peek out of the jar. 

DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums |


Remove some cacti and succulents from their pots (I recommend around 3 or 4 depending on size of your glass bowl). Shake off a bit of the soil so that roots are no longer constricted. Make sure that a decent amount of the original soil remains so that the roots can easily grow accustomed to their new environment. Arrange and place cacti and succulents on top of the new layer of soil from the previous step. Using a spoon, then scoop out some potting soil to fill in any gaps you may have until all plants are level with one another. Avoid packing the soil in too tight--keep it relatively loose so that the roots can easily push their way through the soil. 


When you have your plants planted and arranged how you want, dust off any excess soil that might have landed on leaves or in between cacti spikes with a small fluffy paint brush or old makeup brush. Run the brush along the inside of the jar to dislodge any soil stuck to the glass. 

DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums |


Add a thin layer of decorative rocks, pebbles or sand over the soil and in between plants. This will give your terrarium a clean, polished look.  I recommend white, gold or silver pebbles for a sleek, sophisticated look or bright colors for a fun, lively twist. You can even add small figurines or create a "theme" to your terrarium (like little dinosaurs for a mini Jurassic Park or a painted blue telephone box for a Dr. Who theme). I added a cute "Ho, Ho, Ho" sign inside of mine for a little Holiday fun. 

DIY Cacti and Succulent Terrariums |


  • - Use a glass jar with a wide opening instead of a traditional closed terrarium. Cacti and succulents like more air circulation and drier conditions than other plants. 
  • - Place cacti and succulents of different shapes, sizes, heights and colors  to create a more interesting terrarium with an array of gorgeous textures. 
  • - Use an old small makeup brush or paint brush to dust off the glass and dislodge any soil stuck to plants.
  • - Use a spoon to get dirt in crevices and tight places (especially with bowls with mouths on the side so you can reach back into it)


  • - Place your terrarium on or near a window sill that faces Westward if possible. Cacti and succulents fair best in bright or filtered light. 
  • - Water for first time after one week (to let roots heal) and then once every 2-3 weeks. Let soil dry out in between waterings. Do not water already damp soil as this will result in mold. Your plants may require more watering in hot summer months.

Et voilà! You have a beautiful terrarium ready to adorn your home with a bit of green happiness. Don't forget to tweet me your terrariums (@Amitchellblog) or tag me on Instagram (@annemariemitchellblog) #annemariemitchellblog


Are you going to build a cacti and succulent terrarium?