How to Make Cacti Terrariums

Written by cheryl starr
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How to Make Cacti Terrariums
Using a plastic or clay pot instead of a glass container will make a happier cacti environment. (small potted cactus plant image by Wimbledon from

When it comes to making cacti terrariums, simplicity is best so that the focus is on the cacti. Too often terrarium enthusiasts make the mistake of placing cacti into dangerous environments by placing them into glass containers in the sun and not watering them often, thinking this is the cacti way of life. This is not so. Cacti need a water and need to be in an environment where they can breathe and not be overcrowded or stressed. Cacti make beautiful plants for terrariums. Many will even flower in terrariums if cared for properly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic or clay pot (with drainage dish)
  • High quality poting soil
  • Cacti
  • Decorative stones
  • Desert themed ornaments (optional)
  • Sand (optional)

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  1. 1

    Pour the potting soil into a plastic or clay container that has a drainage dish beneath it. If using a plastic container, consider spray painting it with Krylon Make it Stone spray paint for plastic that will allow you to paint the plastic pot with a faux stone surface that will give flair to the decor of the pot. Glass containers are not recommended for cacti.

  2. 2

    Place some sand, if desired, on top of the potting soil. The sand needs to be appropriate for cacti. Do not use sand that you have picked up at a beach or park. These sands have contaminants and will not be healthy for the terrarium.

  3. 3

    Plant the cacti into the container carefully. Do not plant them close together and overcrowd the terrarium. Overcrowding the terrarium will not allow proper breathing or growing room for each individual cactus.

  4. 4

    Arrange the stones and the decorative pieces in the pot. Do not overcrowd the terrarium. Decorating it with natural stone will give it a more realistic feel. Using stones that are odd in number will be more pleasing to the eye. Some decorative touches to add may be tiny plastic scorpions or lizards purchased at aquarium or pet stores.

  5. 5

    Place the terrarium in a location that receives sunlight.

Tips and warnings

  • Water the terrarium often. Contrary to popular belief, cacti need watering often.
  • Some terrarium enthusiasts place soil or pebble layers in their terrariums for cacti and place them in glass containers. This is not suggested, as cacti need air to breathe and do not need their feet wet in soil that has no drainage system. Using a container with drainage and with a shallow, open mouth is recommended.

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