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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”!
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.
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!