DIY: Fall Succulent Terrarium

Make your very own succulent terrarium with a step-by-step guide from Vancouver floral designer Jennifer Chu

Keep your indoor plant game strong during the colder months

By now, you’ve probably come across terrariums in some shape or form—the mini eco-systems are a welcome way to add some low maintenance green to your home (they’re the perfect spot for drought-tolerant and hardy succulents, after all) and they make a fun DIY project, to boot.

To keep your indoor plant game strong into the colder months, we’ve tapped Jennifer Chu—floral designer and owner of Vancouver’s Green With Envy—to teach you how to create your own succulent terrarium with a decidedly fall twist. Whether hung on your front porch, used as a centrepiece or placed in your office, this DIY will add a beautiful touch of green to any space—all while helping to increase oxygen levels and purifying the surrounding air (ah, the magic of Mother Nature).

Click through for Jennifer’s step-by-step guide on how to make your own fall-themed terrarium.

What You’ll Need Part 1: Succulents, Pebbles and Soil

Shopping List:

  • Cacti soil (contains potting soil, sand, perlite, charcoal, and peat)
  • Pebbles (for drainage and décor)
  • Succulent plants

Tip: Try to select succulents that vary in height, size, colour, and texture, but keep in mind that they need to be proportional to the container (in other words, allow room for them to grow!). Inspect each plant to avoid bugs or mould; dry leaves can be removed as needed.

What You’ll Need Part 2: Container, Decorations, Tools

Shopping List:

  • Clear glass container, open or semi-open (no lids as these will trap moisture—not ideal for succulents, which prefer dry and well-drained soil)
  • Decorations (dried florals such as crespedia, echinacea, scabioas pods, and lotus pods; assorted reindeer moss; branches; and driftwood wrapped with yarn, etc.)
  • Tools
  • Scoops for soil and pebbles
  • Pruners
  • Small paintbrush
  • Thin piece of wire
  • Gloves (optional)

Getting Started

  1. Clean and dry your glass container—this helps prevent bacteria growth that can be harmful to plants.
  2. Using a scoop, add a layer of pebbles (approximately 1/4 inch) to the bottom of your container to create drainage. Set some pebbles aside to add as decor later on.
  3. Using a scoop again, add soil to the container until it’s approximately 1/4 full. Save some soil to fill in uneven areas later.

De-potting the Plants

  1. Take a few minutes to plan your plant placement. Start with the largest or tallest plant first and note that groups of odd numbers typically look more aesthetically pleasing.
  2. Once you’ve decided on your plant quantity and placement, tilt each plant and gently remove it from its potted container. Squeeze the pot if the plant does not come out easily and remove any excess soil.
  3. Set the plant aside.

Adding the Plants

  1. Using your fingers, make an indentation in the soil, and “drill” down to the pebbles. Place the plant into the hole, stabilize it with your fingers, and gently push the soil toward the base of the plant to create a new home, ensuring the roots are covered. Here, we’ve used euphorbia (also known as fire sticks—the leaves turn from shades of yellows and oranges into reds during the fall!), red-tipped gade, and Gasteraloe Green Ice.
  2. Repeat this process with the remaining plants, using extra soil as needed to ensure the soil is level.
  3. Using a brush, brush off any excess soil on the inside of the container and plant leaves.

Planning your Decorations

  1. Take a moment to plan out what type of decorations you’d like to add and where you’d like to place them. (Pro tip: A variety of colours and textures is good, but try not to overcrowd your terrarium to prevent it from looking cluttered.)
  2. Start decorating by covering the base of the soil with stones or pebbles. If the pebbles fall into the leaf crevices, use a thin wire to remove them.

Additional Decorations

  1. Add your other decorations, using pruners to trim dried floral to desired height as needed. To accentuate our fall theme, we’ve opted for an assortment of reindeer moss and pieces of driftwood wrapped in yarn, which helps add a warm, cozy feel.

Plant Care Instructions


Natural or artificial light is fine.


Succulents prefer dry soil and good drainage so take care not to overwater. Suggested watering is 1 tablespoon for larger plants and 1 teaspoon for smaller plants, once every 3-4 weeks. If you’re unsure, place a finger in the soil to test for dryness. Watering may need to be adjusted based on individual home temperature throughout the year.

Enjoy watching your succulents flourish! You might even see them bloom and have “pups”—new growth.