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Do It yourself: desert terrarium

It’s no secret that I kind of love terrariums. Like all sorts of other vivariums, a terrarium is an enclosed case that you raise “life” in, in this case plants. But in the case of the Desert Terrarium, it’s for desert plants, and other desert things, like sand. After finding a bunch of magical desert terrariums online, I decided to make my own. All I had to go out and buy for this project was the sand.

In true Katie-style, I didn’t bother looking up how to do it properly. I just went for it and made it up and it turned out okay. So clearly this is one easy DIY!

Step 1: Adopt unwanted Cacti from a friend. “Stabby” is on the left, and “Sticky” is on the right.

Step 2: Gather other necessities, such as your clear terrarium container (in this case a repurposed big ‘ol mason jar), soil, and sand.

Step 3: Put some potting soil in the bottom. It has lots of nutrients for your plants and I happened to have a bag on hand, so why not?

Step 4: Add some sand on top of the soil layer, and make a ditch where you want the plants to sit.

Step 5: The hardest step! WITH GLOVES ON, nestle your cactus(es) into the ditch you made.

Step 6: Fill the rest of the terrarium up with sand until it reaches the base of your cacti. Add whatever other decorative items you please (or can fit)!

Sticky and Stabby thrived in their little terrarium and outgrew it in about a week or two. To give you an idea, Sticky was almost poking out the top of the mason jar, and Stabby was squished up against the glass when I repotted them. Now they have their own pots and are very happy! But a warning… it was near impossible getting them out of their container! Working with cactus ain’t easy.

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3 Responses to “Do It yourself: desert terrarium”


the best way to do it with it not hurting would be to use a pair of leather gloves or just a good set of construction gloves


    Katie Bresner

    Wise advice! Thanks Shawn.

Marina Welham

These are not terrariums for living plants. They are coffins for cacti. Desert cacti will not tolerate the moist conditions provided by a terrarium. They will simply rot off. If you want to have plants ideal for these containers, try bromeliads.


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