Totally Tubular Terrarium Tutorial

Today we are going to learn together.

About nature.

And the ecosystem.

Let's make a terrarium.

Shopping List

  • From the thrift store or dollar store:
    • Glass fish bowls, vases, bowls, glasses, etc
  • From the pet store:
    • Aquarium gravel (many style to chose from! Even awesome tacky bright pink.)
    • Activated filter carbon (also in the aquarium section)
  • From the garden store:
    • Potting soil for cacti/succulents
    • 1-2 feature succulents (~$2 ea) per terrarium
  • From your neighbors' yards
    • cuttings of succulents! I get them from my mom, but if she wasn't my mom, I would totally steal some from her yard. For a quick tip on taking succulent cuttings, see here. It takes about a 3 days for the cuttings to be planting-ready, so plan ahead.

In your glass of choice, add about 1" of gravel.

Top that gravel off with a sprinkling of carbon. Sprinkle in evenly until you only see a little peak of gravel (~1/4").

Add 2" of potting soil.

Remove succulents from garden store packaging and tickle the roots. Make a spot in the terrarium for the succulent and bury in the soil. Make your arrangement.

Add a wee bit of soil to fill in and make sure roots are covered.

Water moderately and evenly.

Place in a partially sunny spot (a window that gets light for only a few hours of the day) to give time to take root.

After 2 weeks, you may move to a bright spot in your home that is not necessarily by a window.

Some tips:
  • Try variety inside the terrarium for balance. Something tall, something leafy, something with tiny leaves, something big, something colorful for contrast (like a red or purple variety).
  • Try one large statement succulent and 1-2 complimentary mini succulents.
  • Try a micro terrarium (in a small glass or even stemware)
  • Top with sand (colored!) or gravel on top of the soil if you want to commit to the arrangement.
  • Spray paint miniatures a contrasting color (i.e. turquoise dinosaurs, pink kittens) and place inside for whimsy. 


  • Succulents like to stay dry. Sprinkle with a small bit of water once/week.
  • Do not leave in direct sunlight for long periods of time. The glass makes a microclimate and it can get too hot quickly.
  • Name them names like Sally, Spike, or Rhonda. Plants like to have names.

1 comment:

  1. I love these. How are they holding up since you made them? How often to water?