DIY Decor


I’ve killed pretty much every single plant we’ve ever owned, including the pretty flowers we put in the carport planters last spring, and even the herbs we put in our fun little clothespin planters. Yep, I’m a plant assassin.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

Ever since my trip to California last June, I’ve been head over heals for succulents. I love the sturdy leaves and the bright green colors – especially the ones with the pink edges. There’s something fun and graphic about them too – kind of like a great patterned fabric. To curb my craving for warmer California weather and maybe, just maybe, not kill a plant for once, I thought it would be fun to start a little succulent terrarium.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

To get started, I gathered my supplies in the kitchen: a terrarium (I picked this one up from Target for about $25), a small bag of pebbles, a bag of cactus soil mix and of course, succulents.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

The pebbles looked like they had a bit of dust on them, so I started out by rinsing them off. Luckily, our hand-held pasta strainer came in handy for this. (Don’t worry–I gave it two really good washings afterward!) After giving them a good rinse, I laid them out on a flour sack to dry. I know it probably sounds absolutely crazy that I cleaned the rocks before I put dirt on them, but knowing they’d be seen through the glass, I didn’t want them to look chalky.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

Once the pebbles were dry, I lined the bottom of the terrarium – about an inch deep. The pebbles provide drainage to prevent the roots from rotting in water. I kind of wish I had a few more pebbles to put in the bottom to have a bit of a thicker layer – simply for aesthetics. If you’re putting one together yourself and have a similar size terrarium, pick up two small bags of pebbles rather than one.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

After I leveled out the pebbles, I placed the succulents one by one. We picked up five succulents at our local nursery – one of each “style” they had. Remember, I don’t have a green thumb, so I have no idea what each one is called… I just know they’re pretty, haha. Unfortunately, only three of the five fit in the terrarium. Four could have probably fit, but I didn’t want to overcrowd the box. I love this picture because the colors in my favorite one really pop.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

I scooped out the soil using a large spoon and placed it around the plants. Now I know why people have those special tools (like these) for terrariums. They would have been nice to have. Putting them on my “Wish List”!

DIY Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

I used the back of the spoon to press down the soil around the plants. I read in Martha Stewart Living that it’s important to do this so you don’t get a lot of air pockets in the soil – which isn’t good for plants. For a more scientific reason, you can check out this video.

Succulent Terrarium / 7th House on the Left

A scoop of soil here and a scoop of soil there, and ta da! We now have a new succulent terrarium! Bringing in a little bit of green and a few memories of sunny California isn’t a bad way to beat some of those winter time blues. If I can actually keep these succulents alive, this is my kind of gardening. It was a lot of fun to put together, super easy and took only about 15 minutes. The tag on the succulents said to water every two weeks and they “thrive on neglect”. I think I may have met my perfect match. Fingers crossed!

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  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I have had 2 succulents for 8 months now… about 8 times longer than I have ever managed to keep a plant alive previously.

  • Reply
    Hannah K.
    February 11, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I’ve been dying to make one of these – you might have just sparked my motivation!!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    February 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I kill everything also, and last year I bought four succulants….they are pretty hardy.

    I managed to kill three of them but on is still kicking! It was all my fault, I completely forgot about them!!!!

    Better luck with yours πŸ™‚ they are gorgeous

  • Reply
    Andi @ Estella's Revenge
    February 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I am totally in love with succulents and have wanted to put together a terrarium for a while now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    February 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I am such a sucker for terrariums. I think it is the they don’t take a lot of work thing. I am a plant killer too. I love this look though! Hopefully they live … up to expectations!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I have several succulents in individual pots around the house. I admit I’ve killed a few, probably due to overwatering. With one of them that looked like it was dying, I just let it dry out and it’s alive again! I read somewhere that they don’t need watering in the winter when they’re dormant…

  • Reply
    Kelli H
    February 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    While shopping on-line this past Christmas I saw terrariums were all over the internet! That obviously let me know they’re a big thing at the moment. You make it look so easy. I want to try this and place it on my patio when I’m done. This would be a fun project to do with my niece! I’ll probably make two. One for me and one for her mom:) Would also make a great Mother’s Day gift!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    So pretty! I am also a plant killer… including succulents. I’ve recently purchased some of these for a wood bowl I keep on my mantel and they are amazing! Good luck!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Yes! I’ve seen those! Might need to get a few if these don’t work out, haha.

  • Reply
    Anissa Carlisle
    February 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    The one on the left is a sedum or as some people call it “live forever”…. I think you will be okay! I once dug one up with a spoon and dug a hole with my thumb and replanted!!!! The ” leaves” break easily but they will be fine. Good luck.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Ah, good to know! haha

  • Reply
    Ashley S
    February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Succulents need a lot of airflow, so they’ll live longer if you take the lid off. 4 walls isn’t going to help, but a lid will be a quick way for them to die.

  • Reply
    Laura Hutchinson
    February 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Yup, I kill plants too. Hubby has been on a mission for quite a while to find plants I can’t kill. Succulents top the list thus far. But I’ve also found aloe vera plants to be pretty hardy. Would definitely recommend one of those. And aloe vera is great for soothing and healing the skin after a burn. Free burn gel! πŸ˜€


  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Its so nice to see something green and alive in the winter. I have some hen-and-chicks that I keep in a strawberry pot on my deck all winter long and they haven’t bit the dust in 5 years! Succulents are the best!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2013 at 8:56 am

    It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only blogger who can’t keep a plant alive. I received 3 spider plants over the years as gifts. Only 1 is alive – and it’s only because the gifter gave me very easy instructions. I love succulents and your terrarium…although I have managed to kill a few of these too.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Every two weeks might be a little often. I water mine about once a month with a real good soaking and then let them go. Side more on “neglect” and you should be fine.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Love your terrarium! I second the advice to keep the lid off and water less often – succulents plus humidity are not a good combo. The one on the left is an Echeveria. Good luck with your green thumb πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    February 13, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Love the terrarium! The succulents look so bright, I might need to pick some up for our house!

    Where do you plan to let the terrarium live in your house? Kitchen?

    • Reply
      February 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thanks! Not sure where yet… For now, they’re hanging out on the sofa table.

  • Reply
    Robin @ 3 Acres & 3,000sf
    February 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Looks great! If your plants start looking bad try repotting them with some crushed carbon. It is added to terrariums to keep the environment clean. With the big openable lid that may not be a problem for you though.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2013 at 3:44 am

    I like your terrarium! Makes me kinda wish I had one too…
    And I can totally relate to the problems with dying plants. Happened to me quite a lot, too. I won’t let that stop me, though. My ficus benjamini was the most forgiving so far and still lives a happy live πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    February 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Oh I LOVE succulents. I got married two weeks ago and had them EVERYWHERE at my wedding. I had some in grey sand in martini glasses on the edges of the bars, and tons around my cake, and the groom’s boutinere was only succulents. I also had them scattered about my arrangements too! I am OBSESSED. Perfect for a NYC winter wedding!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Sounds so pretty! Congrats!!

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