The Terrarium: Easy & Elegant Holiday Décor

The Terrarium: Easy & Elegant Holiday Décor

Terrariums are wonderful and easy-to-grow indoor gardens. All you need are inexpensive everyday items—like vases, mason and apothecary jars, a few decorative items—and an assortment of plants (we chose drought-tolerant succulents, which are available at most garden centers and even on Etsy, because they're easy to keep healthy). We love terrariums for their natural versatility, as they are endlessly customizable with different plants, textures, and container shapes. By simply rotating seasonal landscaping accessories, you'll have an elegant display to green your home (and air) during the holidays and beyond.

What you’ll need:

  • Wide-mouth Glass Container
  • Small Rocks or Pebbles
  • Activated Charcoal (Shards or Granules)
  • Decorative Sand (optional) – Whatever Color(s) You Want
  • Cactus Mix/Soil
  • Assortment of Succulents
  • Large Spoon
  • Accents (optional): Moss, Holiday ornaments, Small Toys, Miniature Pinecones, Dradles, Bells

Before Getting Started:

1. Pick out a glass container that you would like to use for your terrarium. Wide-mouth containers are easy to maneuver and help prevent moisture accumulation, which works well for an arid design (plants that require moisture thrive in closed containers). Make sure your glass container is clean, inside and out.

2. Select a variety of small succulents that all have the same water and sun needs.


1. Small Rocks or Pebbles: Cover the bottom of your container with a layer of small rocks. This layer should be at least 1” deep in order to be an effective reservoir for excess water.

2. Activated Charcoal (Shards or Granules): Using a large spoon add a layer of charcoal directly on top of your rocks. Your charcoal layer only needs to be thick enough to cover your rocks. The charcoal will help prevent mold and bacteria from building up.

3. Sand (Optional): The sand layer(s) isn't necessary, but looks great and definitely adds visual interest. Pour sand evenly over your layer of charcoal.

4. Cactus Mix/Soil: Add a layer of cactus mix on top of your activated charcoal or decorative sand. Make sure your soil layer is deep enough for your plants' roots to grow a little bit.

5. Plant Succulents: Loosen the soil around the roots. If the roots are very long you can trim them with scissors. Use your fingers or the end of a pencil to create a passage for the roots. When you’re arranging the succulents, try to keep the larger plants as close to the center as possible.

6. Accessorize: Add a layer of moss or decorative rocks on top of your soil. This helps give a more finished look. Get festive and add some holiday accents like mini-ornaments or pinecones. Once the holidays are over, these landscaping accessories can be removed or swapped out for other items like rocks, shells, or even toy figurines.

Watering Tips:

Only water your succulent terrarium when you notice the leaves getting slightly wrinkled. A small amount of water every 2 weeks should suffice. If you use different plants, the terrarium's ecosystem will have different needs; however, it will still be low maintenance.

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