Home & Garden

How to grow a terrarium

Growing succulents in an open terrarium is a snap, says Michelle Slatalla, editor of Gardenista.

“All you have to do is find a few like-minded plants, introduce them to each other, and place them in an environment they like,” she says. “Then leave them alone to get to know each other. That’s pretty much all there is to creating an open terrarium.”

A larger DIY terrarium you and your kids create can be just the thing for an Easter table centerpiece. Surround it with some mini bunnies and colorful eggs and you have nature at its best. Easy-care smaller terrariums can make thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts for the women in your life.

Here are Slatalla’s step-by-step, no-fail instructions:

Need to know: There are two kinds of terrariums: open vessels (for succulents and cacti) and closed containers for humidity-loving plants. An open terrarium will dry out quickly; it’s suitable for plants that love sun and don’t require a moist environment.

Keep it simple: The only materials you need besides a container are pebbles, charcoal, soil, small succulents and herb snips to trim them.

1 Spread a 1- to 2-inch base of pebbles at the bottom of the container. This will aid drainage if you water the terrarium (which you should do only once a month – and then, with teaspoons of water).

2 Sprinkle a 1-inch layer of charcoal on top of the pebbles to filter the soil.

3 Add a 2-inch layer of cactus potting soil (it’s specially formulated for succulents and other plants that like a dry environment).

4 Before planting them, arrange the succulents in the container with plenty of room to grow. Don’t overcrowd them. Trim with herb snips, if necessary, to give them room to breathe.

5 Hollow out a spot in the potting soil for the plants. Firmly pat soil to cover their roots. Give each plant a teaspoonful of water but don’t overwater.