DIY Terrarium for Pet Plants

by Lynn KirkMar 3, 2022


Why do you need a DIY terrarium? Because not every office allows pets — unless your pet of preference is a plant! Believe it or not, pet plants provide plenty of positives, just like pets with fur. That’s because pet plants connect you with nature, which can lower anxiety and ease stress. They enhance office ambiance with warmth and charm. Pet plants also earn a 4-star rating as purrr-fect office companions because they don’t jump on your keyboard while you type, don’t bark while you’re on the phone, don’t need untimely outdoor walks, and don’t require an ongoing outlay of $$$.

Convinced? We thought so! Time to build your DIY terrarium for pet plants. For easy maintenance, we’ll use easy-care succulent plants.

  1. Track Down a Topless Terrarium. Unlike standard houseplants, most succulent plants prefer a dry environment, just like the places they originated. That’s why it’s best to go topless! Avoid an enclosed or lidded container that restricts air flow and holds humidity inside the terrarium. Instead, purchase an open-top terrarium. Better yet, rummage through your basement, garage, or second-hand, second-chance stores. Creativity rules when you hunt for a clear-glass holder—serving bowl, candy jar, oversized mug, wide-mouthed vase, discarded aquarium—that can find new life as a DIY terrarium for plants. Tip: Thoroughly wash and dry the container before use so it doesn’t expose your plants to unseen, unknown contaminants.
  2. Select Some Succulents. This is the exciting part — especially if you log on, the country’s preferred retailer of succulent plants. Browse the photos to determine the colors, shapes, and varieties of your pet plants. Check out the featured collections or ‘stick’ with all cacti (pun intended!). The combinations are limited only by your imagination. Tip: Don’t mix succulents with houseplants requiring different amounts of water and light, for what’s good for one might be disastrous for another.
  3. Lay Lots of Layers. The next step for a DIY terrarium for pet plants is hands-on layering. Start by laying pebbles or small rocks (maybe colored ones?) in the bottom of the terrarium to support your construction and drainage. Next, add a thin, porous filter such as a standard coffee filter, cheesecloth, or perhaps Sphagnum moss. This liner will prevent seepage and keep layers separated for visual appeal. The next tier is a layer of horticultural charcoal (that is, activated carbon) to absorb odor, purify any toxins, reduce rot, and discourage fungal growth. Finally, top it all off with specially formulated succulent potting mix that again promotes drainage. Or, if using cacti and succulents with arid origins, opt for multiple layers of multi-colored sand. Tip: As you layer, rotate the container to check for evenness since the final product will be a 360-degree garden.
  4. Plant Your Pet Plants. Determine how you want to style and position your mini plants, then use a mini scoop or spoon to dig shallow holes in the dirt/sand layer. Gently remove a plant from its container, shake off excess soil, place it in the prepared hole and cover lightly with soil. Repeat the process until finished, then sparsely sprinkle water along the roots. Tip: Space plants a couple inches apart to allow air flow and room for growth.
  5. Decorate with Decoratives. Jazz up your creation and share your interests by theming your DIY terrarium for pet plants. Naturalists: tuck in small pinecones, acorns, twigs or other treasures of nature. Creative types: stage fairy figurines and gnomes along with whimsical furniture and decor. Sports enthusiasts: feature miniature props with team colors. Beach bums: top a layer of white sand with seashells and teeny shoreside props. Cactus collectors: add western miniatures and relics. Or, google “terrarium themes” for plenty of other ideas! Tip: Be sure to carefully clean everything before installation so there’s no transfer of unwanted germs.
  6. Monitor with Minimal Maintenance. Show off your terrarium in a high-traffic area that enjoys bright light, but not harsh sunlight that can scorch your new pets. Don’t add fertilizer since most succulents do well without extra nutrients. As for future watering, stick your finger down an inch in the soil to verify total dryness before adding more water. Tip: Your terrarium may not need water but once or twice a month, depending on the variety and season.

Voila`! Your DIY terrarium for pet plants is sure to be the talk of the office … and you’re sure to be one proud plant parent. Post your photos and tag them: #SucculentMarketPetPlants     #SucculentMarketTerrarium     #SucculentMarketIsMyInspiration 


References: Gardening Know How, Bonnie L. Grant. Terrarium Planting Guide.