DIY Succulent Terrarium: Simple, Easy, and Modern Greenery

DIY Succulent Terrariums are all the rage these days. From the impossibly tiny to the incredibly detailed, terrariums are a delightful touch to any home. 

succulent terrarium

Today, we guide you to create your very own terrarium with an easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial – In just a few minutes, and with some simple materials, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your space.

DIY Hanging Succulent Terrarium

DIY terrarium tutorial
Succulent terrarium kit for making a succulent terrarium

Materials Needed for Succulent Glass Terrarium:

Making a succulent terrarium is simple, just a few quick steps and key materials and you’re set. Here’s what you need.

  • Glass container (ideas include geometric glass terrarium cases, mason jars, vases, or whatever clear, glass container you like that allows for air flow)
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Tiny plants (not shown; succulents are used in this example)
  • Bark, rocks, reindeer moss, etc. to your taste
  • Plastic spoon & small paint brush (optional but recommended)

Part 1: Prep The Succulent Terrarium Layers

Step 1: Select your glass container

DIY terrarium tutorial

Be sure your glass terrarium container allows for air flow of some sort.

This geometric terrarium has one side that is glass-free, allowing you to plant and ensuring that those plants, well, survive.

Step 2: Have activated charcoal readily available

DIY terrarium tutorial

Because terrariums tend to be on the humid, closed-in side of things, bacteria can develop and start to smell. 

Using activated charcoal as your base helps to pull toxins from the soil and water and also works to deodorize the terrarium.

Step 3: Place activated charcoal

DIY terrarium tutorial

Place the activated charcoal in the bottom 1/2″ of your terrarium.

DIY terrarium tutorial

Note: The charcoal does tend to leave a charcoal-y dust film on the glass, so you can wipe it away with a bit of paper towel.

Step 4: Add the soil into the succulent terrarium

DIY terrarium tutorial

Next level in your DIY terrarium is the potting soil. Put less in than what you think you’ll need, because when you plant your plants, they’re going to add to the level.

Step 5: Level the soil out

DIY terrarium tutorial

Flatten out the soil with a plastic spoon or the back of a paintbrush or something.

DIY terrarium tutorial

Note: Be sure your soil is a little below the opening of your terrarium, to prevent its being spilled out. This one needs to have some soil removed at this point.

Part 2: How to plant a terrarium with succulents

Step 1: Choose your terrarium plant

DIY terrarium tutorial

To plant a terrarium succulent, choose the plant you want.

Step 2: Remove plant from plastic pot

DIY terrarium tutorial

Remove the plant and the potting soil from the plastic planter.

Step 3: Loosen the roots

DIY terrarium tutorial

Gently break up the roots a bit, and flatten the potting soil ball so it will fit into your terrarium.

Step 4: Plant from back to front in terrarium

DIY terrarium tutorial

Plant the largest and/or furthest back plants first.

Once you get some plants in place near the opening, it’s much harder to reach into the back to plant more.

Step 5: Press the soil in to secure plant

DIY terrarium tutorial

Place the succulent into a little hole you’ve created with your fingers, and gently press the soil up to the plant all the way around to secure it into place.

Step 6: Complete adding your other plants in same way

DIY terrarium tutorial

Add other plants to your terrarium until you’ve filled it in a way that you like.

Step 7: Use a paintbrush to clean soil from plants

DIY terrarium tutorial

Use a small paint brush to gently scrape away that soil off their leaves and get them nice and cleaned up.

Part 3: Add decorative touches!

Step 1: Add some pebbles and rocks to soil

DIY terrarium tutorial

Use a plastic spoon to place some small, pretty rocks around the plants on top of the soil. 

Don’t forget to turn your terrarium and view it from all sides to make sure you get the 360-degree look you want.

Step 2: Get creative with moss, bark or other natural materials

DIY terrarium tutorial

Here is where you can get a little more creative. 

Use bark, reindeer moss, or other small-scale pieces to complete the look of your terrarium. 

DIY terrarium tutorial
A plastic spoon is used to tuck the moss into a few areas where it completes the aesthetic of the DIY terrarium.
DIY terrarium tutorial

Part 4: Transform into a hanging succulent terrarium!

Step 1: Tie a string around the top

DIY terrarium tutorial

If your terrarium is a hanging one, tie a string or attach a chain to the hanging loop, and hang it up!

Step 2: Hang wherever you desire!

DIY terrarium tutorial

It’s such a simple, natural décor detail, but it’s also pretty complex. 

This dichotomy makes terrariums appealing on many levels. Plus, you can hang it wherever you desire.

DIY terrarium tutorial

Last thing: For watering your DIY terrarium, you can simply add one or two ice cubes whenever the soil is mostly dry. 

This makes it easier to reach the back plants and also prevent overwatering.

DIY terrarium tutorial

The result!

Closed Terrarium Plants:

In the event that you choose to build a more self-sufficient, closed terrarium with plants, there are few key things you’ll want to consider:

  1. Make sure that the plant you use is slow to grow. 
  2. It’s important to make sure that the plant chosen is also low maintenance so it doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. 
  3. Use plants that require low-medium sunlight exposure. 

Here are several plant options that can work for a closed terrarium: 

  • Peperomias 
  • Spike Moss 
  • Baby’s Tears
  • Polka Dot Plant 
  • Golden Pothos 
  • Spider Plant
  • Miniature English Ivy

This list is not all-inclusive, feel free to do some research and find plants that fit your aesthetic!

Best Terrarium Plants

Best Terrarium Plants

Wondering what type of plants to use in your upcoming DIY terrarium? Here’s a list to kickstart your inspiration: 

Prayer Plant 

A prayer plant is a great one to use in a terrarium. This plant only needs medium, indirect sunlight to grow. Watering won’t take too much effort either, it only requires more attention during spring and summer; other times, less so. 

Pro tip: keep away from cold windows, this plant dislikes that!

Button Fern 

A mini button fern can make a great addition to your diy terrarium. This beauty needs only filtered light, perfect if you have a basement apartment or room, and requires watering just once weekly. 

Creeping Fig 

This plant, the creeping fig, works well in an open terrarium. With only needing to be watered occasionally, and partial sun exposure required, it’s a great addition to any setup. 


Croton is another plant option for a terrarium. You’ll only need to water this one occasionally and unlike some plants, this one prefers bright, indirect light.


The pothos plant is a terrarium dream. With the need for relatively little water and only a requirement of indirect, bright light, it’s pretty much low maintenance as can be. 

Pro tip: Prune regularly to keep this plant from overgrowing and becoming wild.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What kind of plants do well in a terrarium?

The best plants are ones that require less maintenance than others, thrive in low light environments, and need less watering. That means succulent plants for terrariums are pretty much a go-to option. However, you can also find that moss, or ivy work well, too.

Are succulents good for terrariums?

Yes! Succulents are the preferred terrarium plant. They are pretty resilient and can work in a variety of environments. Not to mention, these plants can create a stunning amount of DIY terrarium options – fish tank succulent terrariums, desktop succulent plants in glass terrarium, and even a more luxury succulent terrarium, to name a few!

Can you put real plants in a terrarium?

Real plants are your golden ticket to an authentic succulent terrarium setup. However, if you’re wondering how to plant a terrarium with faux succulent plants–the good news is it’s still possible.

Do terrariums need sunlight?

They do! While they won’t require as much light or water as traditional house plants, they will need exposure to sunlight or mock sunlight (via artificial lighting) to stay healthy.


There you go; with a DIY terrarium, you can have something you’re truly proud about. This fabulously easy succulent terrarium idea is sure to leave an impression in your home, no matter where it is placed. Much better than a store-bought version!

Plus, you can get all the DIY succulent terrarium from dollar tree, which means a happy wallet, too!