Cacti, and Succulents, and a Terrarium… Oh My: Planning for a Terrarium

Hi, everybody!

What will I learn for my little summer project?

For my Networked Learning Project, I have decided to pursue building a terrarium… or two. A terrarium is basically an enclosed, miniature garden, typically with succulent plants, cacti, or ferns. They are usually kept inside to help brighten/liven up spaces like desks and offices. Terrariums are credited with helping decrease the doom and gloom associated with seasonal depression and help decrease the stress in a home or workplace by adding some life (Ranawake, 2014)! To help you imagine this, think of a small fish tank, filled with rocks, soil, and plants. 

As I began looking into terrariums, I noticed a couple major things I had to look into. First, I had to figure out what I was going to use to build a terrarium– I have both a medium sized, rounded out glass vase and an empty fish tank. Knowing which container I am going to use is important because it helps me figure out whether or not my terrarium will be open or closed. Figuring out whether an open or closed terrarium is best for me became important after I did some reading online.

I know that I want an open terrarium (no lid) rather than a closed one. Because of that, I know I need some succulent plants, soil, river rocks for effective drainage, activated charcoal, potting soil, and sheet moss (Norris, 2013).



The plants I choose to keep in my terrarium are dependent on whether my terrarium is open or closed to air and water. I know I want an open terrarium because I have no lids for my enclosures and it seems lower maintenance. Because of this, I know I will gravitate towards succulent plants.

I found a ton of blogs with information about how to care for an open/closed terrarium, how to built the terrarium, and which plants are best for a terrarium.

What are my goals and prior knowledge?

As a gardener, I know the gist of how to take care of plants in-ground. When planting flowers outside, I am attentive to how much sun and water each plant requires. Now that I am considering a terrarium, I need to educate myself about how succulents thrive. How much water and light do they require?

I already have the container. My plan is to first try a small terrarium within my empty, transparent glass vase before trying the entire fish tank. After looking at images of different types of terrariums I may experiment with a closed terrarium, a hanging terrarium, and mason jar mini-terrariums. I think I will consider these depending on what materials I can find and the cost of the different plants.

Buzzfeed came up with a list of some really cute ideas for simple D.I.Y. terrariums which are great for inspiration! Look at the series here.

My list of materials:

  • Succulent plants
  • Potting soil
  • Rocks for drainage
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Sheet Moss
  • Open container (Michaels, 2017)



Questions going forward:

Reflections on Learning & Engagement

Reflecting on aspects of engagement in education, primarily thinking of Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question (2016), I can already feel myself becoming more engaged in my learning because it is self-directed.

For this assignment in my Masters level class, I am able to direct my own learning by choosing a personal project that interests me. Much like my post on genius hour, I think this is essentially a genius hour type of thing, but for graduate students. I would like to think that if this approach to learning is working for me, it would totally work for my students!

I am so excited, and perhaps a bit over eager. It may be difficult to pace myself with this one. Being excited about learning is a good thing, right?


Lupe, Future Terrarium Mom!


Berger, W. (2016). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.

Michaels, K. (2017, April 6). Common Terrarium Mistakes [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Michaels, K. (2017, January 22). How To Make Terrariums [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Michaels, K. (2017, April 11). 10 Great Terrarium Plants [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Norris, A. (2013, October 12). How to create a simple DIY terrarium [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Peterson, J. (2015, December 2). Terrariums Grow a Micro-Ecosystem in a Jar [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Ranawake, S. (2014, June 5). Terrariums Are Back! How There Mini Gardens Can Help Boost Your Health And Mood! Retrieved July 15, 2017. Retrieved from

Wang, P. (2012, July 9). 21 Simple Ideas For Adorable DIY Terrariums. Retrieved July 17, 2017. Retrieved from

Images: All photographs were taken by Guadalupe Bryan.

**Header image courtesy of Flickr user, Terraria. Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Cacti, and Succulents, and a Terrarium… Oh My: Planning for a Terrarium

  1. Pingback: Preparing, Potting, Planting, & Perseverance | Ms. Guadalupe Bryan

  2. Pingback: Terrific Terrariums | Ms. Guadalupe Bryan

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