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Project

Succulent Terrariums

Showcase the beauty of low-maintenance succulent plants within a glass container.

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

It's easy to see why the popularity of succulents has skyrocketed in recent years. The plants look modern and require little maintenance—just several hours of sun and not too much water. There are many succulents that can thrive in your indoor space. From petite-sized hens-and-chicks succulents to sprawling jade plants, you have many options to choose from. When choosing a succulent for your new terrarium, there are a few things to consider: What kind of light does the succulent require to thrive? How will it grow in size? And, most importantly, can it successfully be transferred or replanted into a terrarium? 

 

For the purpose of this project, it's recommended to choose one of the following succulent varieties: Aloe marlothii, which features thick leaves and three-inch orange spikes of flowers; Cotyledon orbiculata, distinguished by its red bell-shaped flowers; Crassula lycopodioides, a taller lime-green variety that grows vertically; Echeveria, featuring mini rosettes of blue-grey leaves; the Chinese Dunce Cap, which forms tiny rosettes form spires as it grows; and Voodoo succulents, recognizable for its 6-inch rosy-red flower heads. If you already have succulents growing at home, you can use the cuttings to plant new ones. Propagation is the process of growing new plants from clippings or other parts of the succulent—the varieties mentioned here are known to propagate pretty easily. When choosing a glass container to house them in, look for one with a wide opening to prevent accumulation of moisture. Remember that these desert and dry-climate natives never want to stay soggy, so soil with a healthy amount of drainage is a must. If mixing your own soil for succulents, follow this formula: four parts all-purpose soil mix, five parts perlite, and one part coarse sand. 

 

Care Tips

Once the plants are situated, keep them indoors and out of direct sunlight. These desert plants require only a drop of water every two weeks or so. The water should be able to drain to the bottom. After watering, there shouldn't be more than an inch of water visible in the gravel located in the bottom of the terrarium. Fertilize your terrarium twice a month, but only through the summer months, from May to September—here are five tips to finding and using healthy fertilizer. Be sure to use only half the fertilizer indicated in the box's instructions every other watering, which is once a month.

materials

  • Clear glass container with opening

  • Succulents

  • Gravel

  • Cactus mix soil

  • Decorative elements like pebbles, shells, miniature figures, river rocks, and preserved reindeer moss (optional)

steps

  1. Deposit two inches of gravel into the bottom of the clean container. (Note: This provides drainage.)

  2. Sprinkle an inch of cactus soil into the container. (Note: This is a fast-draining soil that retains little moisture.)

  3. Divide the succulents into single-stem plantlets, each with roots. Nestle each plantlet into the soil, one at a time. (Tip: Chopsticks work well as a tool.)

  4. Optional: Add decorative elements sparingly. (Tip: Using a straw, blow into the container to create the look of windswept bluffs.)

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