How to make your own succulent terrarium centerpieces

Guest post by Dragon Lady

Dragon Lady once showed us her monster movie wedding invitations, and now she's showing us how she made her succulent terrarium centerpieces. I have a total hard-on for succulents, so I'm very excited.

succulent terrarium 047I finished off the terrariums and my hands are killing me now — but they're done, and they look awesome! I'm super excited. I have no idea how many will actually go home with people, but I'm totally cool with keeping these for myself if I have to, haha. And a lot of my succulents had shoots so I have a whole bunch of starters for myself! Our last fish died, so I'm planning on turning our 35 gallon tank into a giant terrarium, so this works out great. Here's my tutorial for the succulent terrariums.

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What you will need:

  • Glass receptacles. I used the 6″ glass bowls.
  • Succulents (I got mine from Succulents Galore) approximately six per vase if using a 6″ glass bowl.
  • Activated charcoal
  • Succulent/Cacti soil
  • Sand (optional) — whatever and however many colors you want. I used a natural sand and an orange sand since our colors are orange and turquoise. This will contrast nicely with our tea candles which will be sitting in turquoise sand.
  • Spray bottle
  • Small paintbrush

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Add a small layer of activated charcoal to the bottom of your glass receptacle. The activated charcoal acts as a resevoir for the water in a terrarium and is extremely important to prevent your plants from rotting and dying.

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Select your succulents for the terrarium. Loosen the rootball before placing the succulent:

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Arrange the plants as desired.
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You can call it quits here, or add layers of sand as desired. Use your paintbrush to gently shake the sand and dirt off of the leaves. You'll want to do this at each layer, otherwise you'll mix the components. You'll end up mixing sand anyway if you are using multiple layers, but I don't mind the effect.

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After you're done assembling your terrariums, spray them well with water using the spray bottle. Spray down the sides as well to catch any sand or dirt.

Caring for your terrariums:

  • These guys like partial shade as they were grown in a greenhouse. If you place them in a window sill, keep them a few inches back and rotate them every once in awhile so the leaves don't stretch out.
  • Be careful not to overwater your succulents; this is the easiest way to have a terrarium fail. I like to water when I notice the leaves are getting slightly wrinkled. Otherwise every 2-4 weeks is fine.
  • If you incorporate tillandsias (airplants) in your terrarium, remove them before spritzing the succulents. You can spritz the tillandsia, but allow them to hang upside down. One of the biggest causes of tillandisa failure is rot at the base of the plant where the water can collect after you spritz them.
  • Even more fun — loose leaves can be removed and sprinkled on soil. They will take root and grow another succulent. And you will have oodles and oodles of succulents!

Here are a few more just for fun! I have a total of twenty-one — three per table that each family can take home with them if they want.

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Comments on How to make your own succulent terrarium centerpieces

  1. Beautiful. I didn’t quite understand the spritzing part. Why do you spritz them? Is this how you water them?

    • Yup! Spritzing is how you water them. You just need a spray bottle with a misting option and you’re all set for watering the terrariums.

    • YOU. ARE. MY. HERO. I’ve been finding all kinds of succulents all over the States… yet here I sit in Alberta. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this link!

    • Yup, I totally sent a heads-up to Cat already so that the Homies could be alerted to the awesome as well!

  2. These are exactly what I’m making for our centrepieces,using the tiny fish bowls that my sister is using at her wedding 2 weeks before ours. I just need to worry how I’m going to fit my man hands into the bowls to plant the damn things…

    • Tweezers! Seriously, large crafting tweezers are awesome for getting the plants into hard to reach areas, and the butt end of paintbrushes are also good for nudging them into place as well.

    • What a great idea; as I read your comment, I couldn’t help but think what a great a sense of connection that using something from your sister’s wedding, in yours, would create. Kudos!

    • It was approximately $250.00. It was costly, but I ended up having more succulents than I needed and these also doubled as centerpieces as well as favors so they served a dual purpose so I didn’t mind as much. Our other favors were little hot sauce bottles and monster movie poster magnets, so those were extremely cheap.

  3. I am obsessed with succulents, too! LOVE them, and neat idea. But, more effort and money than I’m willing to put into centerpieces.

  4. I like the way they look like little alien landscapes. I know these are perfectly NORMAL plants, but if you don’t see much desert, as I don’t, they have a bit of a “Lost in Space” vibe. I’d love to see these for an alien/sci-fi themed wedding.

  5. For anyone interested in a more colorful look, try spray painting your succulents. I know, it sounds really weird, but it does work! You can add some color or a lot. I finally figured it out after searching for some blue succulents that I’d seen on the web–arrghh! sometimes I wonder where my brain is!

  6. I absolutely love these!

    My fiancee and I are thinking about using these as our center pieces. Except we plan on using less succulents and then add some rocks and little flying saucer toys and whatnot to create mini scenes to fit with the whole 50’s sci-fi/monster movie theme we’re aiming to have.

    Would anyone happen to know if there is some kind of adhesive that we could spray on the sand to keep it in place? I know I’ve seen Bonsai trees with gravel covering kind of like that- I’m just not sure if we could also do that to these. We might end up having to transport them from Northern to Southern California- which is why I ask.

  7. I love this! So much, in fact, that I’m definitely going to use these for my wedding. We only moved to San Diego a few months ago, almost a year by the time of the wedding, and I love all of the different succulents around here. Awesome! Just need to find the right size bowls and I’m set.
    Does anyone know about how long these should live in here? It doesn’t seem like much soil but they also don’t seem like they need much.

  8. where did you find the glass bowls? we’re definitely going to do this for our wedding and now i’m searching for the perfect receptacle 🙂

  9. I got mine at the pet store! Depending on the size they will vary. You might also be able to pick some up at your local craft store, I just happened to be in Petco buying fish food at the time and it saved me a trip!

    • ooh thanks! i was thinking the pet store, but wasn’t sure if maybe there was a better option.

  10. So I am thinking of doing a combo of neon/pastel colors for our summer 2016 wedding, but had previously decided that terrarium centerpieces would be way cool and totally different. I was having a mental block figuring how I could get everything to fit or work together and googled neon terrariums and this post is the first thing that came up. This tutorial is perfect – I am thinking fewer succulents, colorful sand/rocks and some fun little aquarium decorations to funk everything up a little.

  11. These are amazing! I want to make some for my wedding. How long do they last? I’m somewhat wary because I’ve managed to kill every plant I’ve ever owned… -_-

  12. I just did a test-run terrarium centerpiece for my Sept. wedding yesterday – so I’m very happy to have stumbled upon this post! How far in advance did you make the center pieces? If you’re willing to take care of them as you would a house plant, it doesn’t seem like it would matter but I’m curious. Also, have you noticed a certain time of year that’s best for buying succulents?

  13. Hi, and thank you very much for sharing! Easy-follow steps, which I am looking forward to implement in the nearest future!
    I do have two questions about sand.
    1. When you water the plants, doesn’t the water mess with the sand arrangement?
    2. Does watering wash off the colors of the sand?
    Thank you in advance for your response!

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