This open cube terrarium makes a chic home for desert plants like cacti and aloes, which are happiest in a dry location.
Topped with a mulch of pale grit and chunky pebbles, the effect is that of a landscape in miniature. Don’t be afraid to play with the top dressing if you want. You could use horticultural sand, or even pecking grit for birds – the grain size is somewhere between gravel and sand – which will add a more naturalistic feel.
Most garden centres will sell a decent range of small cacti and succulents to use in your terrarium. We opted for a varied selection including a globose gymnocalycium, glaucous pilocereus and speckled haworthia.
Consider bigger or differently shaped terrariums, too. There are lots out there, from simple cubes to geodesic designs with copper framing.
Follow these easy steps to planting up your desert terrarium.
You Will Need
- Cube terrarium
- Free-draining compost or cactus compost
- Small cacti, aloes or haworthia (3)
- Grit mulch
Plant a shallow layer of grit in the base of an open container (to avoid humidity building up), followed by a 4-5cm layer of cactus compost.
Plant the cacti, using kitchen tongs to handle the very prickly ones. Alternatively, wrap in paper and plant by hand.
Using a teaspoon, add a decorative mulch of pale gravel around the cacti. Once the gravel has been added, artfully place several of the pebbles on top. Water sparingly to settle the plants.
Start your cacti from seed
If you’re looking to save a bit of money, cacti are easy plants to grow from seed, which is cheaply obtained. You’ll often come across cactus seed mixes, so you’ll have fun observing the cacti as they grow and take the shape of different species. Find out how to grow cacti from seed.