Succulents can grow successfully in a variety of environments. This is because there are dozens and possibly hundreds of different species of succulents found in different environments across the world.
Therefore, it is not very difficult to find a succulent that is capable of surviving and thriving in certain conditions.
When set up the right way and exposed at least to indirect sunlight, terrariums are great ecosystems for housing dwarf or miniature succulents.
In this post, I will share with you the best succulents for terrariums. These are miniature succulents that do not grow beyond a few centimeters or inches. All the succulents look great in plastic or glass terrariums.
Any of them will automatically bring life to a terrarium and make it look like a delicate living art piece.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best succulents for terrariums.
Top 10 Succulents for Terrariums
1. Crassula Ovata ‘Baby Jade’
This is a beautiful succulent shrub that generally does not grow very tall. According to succulent botanists, it often does not go beyond 20 inches in height. And one of the best things about it is that it can be clipped carefully just like a bonsai to make it maintain a neat and compact appearance.
‘Baby Jade’ is a Southern Africa native and most gardeners agree that its bright green leaves with red margins make it quite attractive. It produces beautiful white flowers when it is blooming making it even more attractive.
You will love growing this succulent shrub in your terrarium because it does not need direct sunlight or frequent watering. It also does not need fertilizer.
‘Baby jade’ is perfect for making terrariums look like miniature tropical jungles.
2. Elephant Bush
The elephant bush is a succulent tree that can grow very tall. However, there are varieties of it that are short and compact and perfect for growing in a terrarium. The varieties can be trimmed like the bonsai tree.
The leaves of the elephant bush are tiny and perfect for terrariums despite the name of the plant. The name elephant bush is about the fact that this plant is a favorite for African elephants.
The most unique thing about the elephant bush is that it has reddish leaves and stems. Other varieties of it are also available.
3. Pincushion Cactus
The pincushion cactus is a small and supremely attractive succulent. This plant is most attractive when it blooms. This is because when it blooms it grows cute flowers that are very appealing.
So if your terrarium needs vibrant flowery appeal, you should strongly consider adding this cactus to your terrarium.
Despite this plant’s attractiveness, you should know that it needs a good amount of light. So only add it to your terrarium if it is under a growing light or if it receives good morning light every day.
4. Hens & Chicks
Hens & Chicks is probably the most commonly used succulent in terrariums. This is because it has plump petals and it makes terrariums more attractive. It is often used as a finishing touch when filling terrariums.
This succulent is native to the European and the African Mediterranean regions. It is referred to as Hens & Chicks because once one grows (once the hen matures), will lead to the development of tiny offsets (chicks) close to it.
5. Paddle Plant
This is also a beautiful plant to have in your terrarium. I say this because it has flat leaves that are clumped together and look very beautiful. They look just like petals because they are green and have a hint of red around the edges.
Paddle plants can are perfect in both single-plant and multiple-plant terrariums. The plant also has a nice scent that becomes very clear every once in a while. So it can really change both the appearance and the scent of your place for the better.
6. Burro’s Tail
Burro’s tail is a unique succulent plant. It is unique in the sense that it has short thick leaves that are usually either bluish-green or pale green. The leaves look like they are woven on the stems; they look very different from normal plants in a good way.
The plant is also known as donkey’s tail and it is native to Honduras and Southern Mexico.
Like most succulents, this plant is both drought and heat tolerant. There is no risk in exposing it to direct sunlight. While this plant is drought-tolerant, like all plants it does need water from time to time. Therefore, water it at least once weekly when the soil around its roots is dry or when it looks like it’s about to wilt.
7. Zebra Haworthia
This is the best plant to use to add character and uniqueness to your terrarium. This is because it looks very unique with its green and white stripe leathery leaves. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind succulent plant.
The plant is native to the Eastern part of South Africa where it is found in abundance.
The best thing about this plant is that it is very easy to care for. You simply need to follow the soak and dry watering method when watering it. In other words, you have to let the soil dry before watering it again.
8. Panda’s Plant
This plant pairs very well in terrariums with the Zebra Haworthia. It is scientifically known as Kalanchoe tomentosa. It pairs well with Zebra Haworthia because it is similar but at the same time contrasts beautifully with the zebra plant. For example, while the leaves of the zebra plant have spiky leaves, the leaves on this plant have rounded tips.
The leaves of this plant also have spotted edges that look amazing on their leathery surfaces.
The Panda plant is a great succulent for terrarium because it does well in partial shade, does not need a lot of water, and grows only 50 cm tall.
9. Aeonium Kiwi
This is a rare succulent plant. It is not easy to find it in local gardening shops. This plant is native to the exotic Canary Islands off the northwestern coast of Africa.
The appearance of the succulent is quite exciting. Its leaves look like perfect blooming yellow flowers. The yellow color of the leaves looks like the inside of a kiwi fruit hence the kiwi part of this succulent’s name.
This plant does well in porous sandy soil and full light.
10. Tiger Jaws
Tiger jaws are great succulents with leaves that look like jaws. The leaves and the plants, in general, are harmless. They are not spiny or sharp hence they are definitely not meant for defense.
The scientific name for Tiger Jaws is Faucaria Tigrina and it is native to South Africa’s Cape Province.
What You Need To Know About Succulents And Terrariums
The information below will help you to create the best terrarium ecosystems for your succulents
- Open-top Terrariums Are The Best
There are many types of terrariums available on the market. However, it is important to note that note all of them are perfect for growing or hosting succulents.
The best terrariums for succulents are open-top terrariums. The reason why is that open-top terrariums allow airflow and prevent a lot of condensation. In other, open-top terrariums create the perfect conditions for succulent survival.
If you want to use a closed terrarium to host succulents, you will need to make sure it has good-size air holes. Because succulents do not like excess humidity.
- You Need The Right Size Terrarium For Your Succulent
If there is a specific succulent you are really interested in hosting in a terrarium, you need to find the right-size terrarium for it. To do this, you need to know the average adult size of the succulent you want to grow or host and then to find a terrarium that is approximately 2.5 to 3 times larger than the size.
If you do this, your succulent will look perfect in the terrarium you will purchase and set up. Remember, do not try to force a terrarium-succulent match-up that does not look right in terms of size. There are plenty of different size succulents and terrariums that can match perfectly.
- You Need To Set Up Your Terrarium’s Drainage
Once you get a terrarium, you need to set it up right. When setting it up, one of the things you need to strongly consider is layering. Layering is important because it ensures proper drainage. And proper drainage is important because it prevents waterlogging which can damage your succulents.
Layering is also important because if done properly, it improves the aesthetic of the terrarium and keeps it smelling great. Proper layering is what will create an ecosystem for your terrarium to thrive.
- You Need To Expose Your Terrarium To The Morning Sunlight
You need to expose your terrarium and succulent to the morning sunlight. This is important because like all plants succulents need sunlight to survive and thrive. And the morning sun is perfect because it is not too hot and it will not heat up your terrarium. Three to four hours of the morning sun are enough for most, if not all, succulents.
If you expose your terrarium to the afternoon sun, you are asking for trouble even if your terrarium has the recommended open-top design.
- You Need To Add Water Only Once Weekly
Succulents are popular because they do not need too much water. This is probably the main reason why many people prefer them as houseplants. However, they do need water to survive and thrive. This is why you should add water once weekly.
Once is great because terrariums, unlike pots, generally do not have great drainage. So you only need to add water once because the soil in them does not dry very quickly. If you add water several times every week, you risk waterlogging the roots of your succulent or succulents/
Succulents can survive and even thrive in terrariums as long as the conditions are right. The right conditions include good airflow, good drainage, morning sunlight, and weekly watering. The best succulents for growing in terrariums include Hens and Chicks, Tiger Jaws, and Elephant Bush.
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