Create a sand terrarium in 5 simple steps

Building a sand terrarium is actually a simple process, and it is also a great opportunity to get creative by customizing your terrarium to your own taste! This tutorial will show you how to build a cactus sand terrarium for a special occasion!

Prep work:

  • Polish your terrarium before doing anything! Finding fingerprint marks when you have finished your terrarium is a difficult problem to solve!
  • Water your plant two days before planting it

Which plants to choose?

Typically, a cactus or succulent is not well suited to terrariums for the long-term since they don’t enjoy moist conditions, and terrariums don't have drainage holes. However, we chose a cactus for this terrarium since it is a temporary one for the Christmas holiday and will be re-potted soon! We will soon release a tutorial for long-term terrarium plants!

What you will need:

  • Cactus soil (this allows good drainage for the cactus to prevent rotting)
  • Terrarium (shop our Pyramid terrarium here)
  • A size-appropriate cactus or succulent (measure it against the size of your terrarium)
  • Colored sand (choose colors to match your home décor, or to represent a celebration such as Christmas or Halloween)
  • Aquarium stones (these not only look pretty but also provide drainage)


Line your terrarium with a thin layer of stones for drainage so that water can drain from the roots of your plant.


Using a teaspoon, place two layers of sand around the edges of the terrarium, leaving a dip in the middle for your plant.


Place a thin layer of stones in the middle of the sand for extra drainage for your plant. 


Place the cactus soil into the dip of the sand and place the cactus on top of the soil.


Using your teaspoon, continue to surround your cactus or succulent with layers of sand before placing the aquarium stones on the top layer of sand to finish.

Remember that this is a temporary terrarium and you may want to re-pot your cactus or succulent after 2-3 weeks ensuring you use a planter with a drainage hole since cacti and succulents don't enjoy moist conditions!

Tag us in your sand terrarium creations @thegeometricplanter on Instagram!



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