How Not to Kill: Your Succulent Terrarium

So guys, I’m back with another instalment of ‘How not to Kill…’ and this week is all about terrariums! I’ve seen them grow in popularity recently and after making and maintaining my own, I wanted to pass on all the things I’ve learnt so far.

Your terrarium is your very own mini garden and if it’s succulents you’re kitted out with, you’re very much in luck! Succulents are pretty forgiving plants, and that makes them super popular.

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How to Make a Terrarium

Although you can put pretty much anything in your terrarium, I totally recommend succulents. Super easy to make and easy to maintain, succulents are your best bet as their fleshy foliage and thick stems are fabulous for storing water- they’re definitely the kind of plants that’ll still be thriving even if you leave them for a week and head out on your hols.

What You’ll Need: 
– A glass vessel
– Small pebbles of your desired colour
– Potting soil
– Desired Succulents
– Spray bottle for your water
– A spoon

How to Make: 
1. Grab your vessel, this can be anything from an old fish bowl, to a large jar or a specially bought terrarium.
2. Fill the bottom of your vessel with about an inch and a half of small pebbles.
3. This is where you add your potting soil- about 2 1/2 inches should be fine, it just needs to be enough to sit the succulent’s roots in.

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4. Use the spoon to make a hole in order to plant your first succulent in the soil and nestle inside. Repeat the process until all your succulents are planted.
5. Once you’ve got the desired layout, add your pebbles. In the terrarium class I attended (you can read about it here and book here (use code ‘lifewithmaria10’ for £10 off)) we were asked to think about the terrarium’s decorative pebbles as mini pathways and I thought that was so cute. Use your pebbles to make cute patterns and paths to finish.

How to Water Your Terrarium

The concept for watering succulents is pretty easy, it’s all about more water, less often, a bit like cacti. So whether you’re buying your terrarium ready made, or first establishing it, make sure you give it a generous water before letting the soil dry out completely then watering again. There’s also a method of watering itself- if you think about the concept behind the terrarium, it’s an enclosed area without a place for water to drain, and if you water in just one concentrated area, then the other areas will become neglected.

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The best way to water is to keep the flow of watering low over a large surface area- for example misting is always good- it’s subtle and ensures a fairly even distribution. Just remember the key is not to over water or water too often! There is no specific time frame, but it’s definitely something to be judged on sight- keep your beady eyes on that soil and make sure it’s dry before you touch it again.

Where to Put Your Terrarium

Most terrariums, especially those with succulents will enjoy bright if not direct sunlight. Place your terrarium in a really bright spot, but also bear in mind that due to the glass magnifying the heat of the sun, you don’t want your plants getting scorched.

How to Re-Pot Your Terrarium

I made my terrarium back in April, but because I teamed succulents with moss my little collection needed a refresh. Here’s a step-by-step process to the best and most unobtrusive ways to refresh your terrarium, helped out by my pet cat Pumpkin !

  1. The image below shows how my terrarium looked after 6 months. A tiny bit bedraggled with the moss dried up (oop).

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2. The first thing you need to do is separate all the elements. Take out the stones and place them in a sieve before washing them. Remove any dead moss (if you have any!) and discard then carefully remove the succulents.

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3. Time to re-plant! arrange your succulents and plant accordingly.

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4. Add your stones in and dust stones from the succulents with a small brush- take care the plants are super delicate…
and you’re done!

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Common Terrarium Problems

Shrivelling Plants 
Try not to panic too much guys! Shrivelling is caused by too little water, but do refrain from giving your plants a ridiculous amount of water, dry succulents are pretty hardy. Water your plants using a low flow spout and keep an eye on them for the next week.

Mushy, Brown or Black Leaves?
Succulents are tolerant to drought, so over watering can lead to root rot and browning of the leaves.

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If your plant does end up dying, do take it out of the terrarium- that plant could be diseased and effect the rest of the terrarium. Replace with similar plants, but do make sure you water a lot less, using the care instructions above.

Scraggly-looking plants? 
From time to time, your plants will look a little bit leggy but all you have to do is a little bit of pruning! Remove dying leaves and keep your plants small so they don’t swamp the terrarium.

Do you have a terrarium? Let me know if you’ve had any issues with them!

Want to Attend a Terrarium Class like Me?

Book your terrarium class via Obby and get £10 off with the code ‘lifewithmaria10’ ! Read about my experience HERE.

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