Cactus Terrarium Guide And Tips

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Cactus terrariums are like the kings and queens of Instagram-worthy décor, and who doesn’t love a good cactus pic right?

cactus terrarium, cactus garden
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Now, here’s the thing – you might be tempted to pop those prickly pals into any old terrarium you’ve got lying around. But hold your succulents! Cacti and tropical vibes don’t exactly go hand in hand, and that’s not a match made in terrarium heaven.

If your top priority is style and you’re willing to let plant health and longevity take a backseat, those cool cacti might only go a short distance away.

But fear not! If you’re determined to keep your cacti thriving, you’ve got to put their needs front and center. It’s all about getting the setup and substrate just right. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out how to make it happen.

Thinking About Cactus Terrariums

Terrariums are great, but cacti and closed containers don’t mix well.

Why? Cacti love dry, desert-like conditions, but terrariums create too much humidity, like cacti’s kryptonite. Also, cacti can’t stand soggy soil, and terrariums keep things moist.

cactus terrarium, typical terrarium, potting soil
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Good drainage helps, but if you create a mini swimming pool, that’s no good. Plus, cacti need airflow, which most terrariums don’t provide.

So, classic cactus terrariums are a no-go. But with an open setup and the proper care, you can still make cool cactus displays.

Create a thriving cactus oasis with this carefully chosen terrarium, designed to complement your green thumb aspirations. Discover the perfect vessel for your prickly pals and enhance your indoor gardening journey. #ads #commissionsearned

Why Choosing Cactus Terrarium

Why go for a cactus terrarium? Simple. Cacti are as easy as it gets when it comes to plant care. They don’t demand much water or attention, making them the go-to choice for people with busy schedules or a tendency to forget about their plants. Plus, cacti bring a unique and stylish desert vibe to your home with their spiky, cool looks, adding a touch of natural charm to your decor.

cactus terrariums, drainage holes, open terrarium
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What’s more, cactus terrariums are perfect for small spaces. Cacti are compact and can thrive in tiny living areas, making them a top choice for folks living in apartments or looking to make the most of their space. Whether you’re a newbie to plant care or want a fuss-free, visually appealing addition to your home, a cactus terrarium is an intelligentexcellentCacti pick. It’s a simple way to bring the beauty of the desert indoors.

Setting Up the Best For Cacti Terrarium

small rocks, cacti, full sun
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Wide Open Containers

Just like when you’re cooking up something delicious, we’re kicking things off with a big, clear glass mixing bowl.

The one you have in your kitchen is perfect for this. You want something wide and open, like a dish or a shallow bowl.

Now, here’s where you’ll need to exercise some caution – avoid sealed containers or jars. Even those fancy deep vases or narrow openings should be kept on the shelf for this project. They might look appealing, but they tend to trap too much humidity, and that’s a cactus’s arch-nemesis. So, stick with the open, comprehensive options for your cactus terrarium adventure.

Drainage Layer

When you’re making a cactus terrarium, having a drainage layer is a must.

Think of it like a safety net for your cacti. This “false bottom” gives extra water a place to go, far away from the cactus roots. Watering cacti just right is a bit tricky, and it’s easy to overdo it.

Add a layer of lava rock or LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate) to ensure the water doesn’t reach the roots. I like to use both in my cactus setups.

Here’s a handy tip: Using a mesh is a good idea for cactus terrariums, unlike in closed terrariums. It’s like an extra shield for your prickly pals.

Soil of Cactus Terrarium

Your cacti deserve the suitable soil.

You’ve got two choices for cactus soil: the rocky one and the soil-based one.

The rocky type is like a cactus paradise. It’s made of volcanic rocks and clay pebbles, with no regular stuff like coco fiber. This gives your cactus roots plenty of air and ensures excess water goes away quicklyand things like perlite, sand, pumice,. But you’ll be watering your cactus more often.

The soil-based mixes have some regular stuff but also things like perlite, sand, pumice, or orchid bark to improve drainage. Be cautious, though. Read the label, and avoid mixes that aren’t meant for cacti or have sphagnum moss, which holds too much water.

Credits: SerpaDesign


What Cactus Plant is Suitable for Terrarium

Cacti don’t come with a unique list of “terrarium-friendly” types. They play by their own rules.

But the cool thing about cacti is that, in general, they all want the same care. So you can mix and match them without much worry.

cacti, suitable terrarium, mini ecosystem
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Some cacti can grow pretty big, but they’re not in a hurry. Unlike those sealed terrariums that create their little ecosystems, open cactus setups are easy to access and replant as the years pass.

So, feel free to plant a bunch of different cacti, even if some might grow a bit larger.

Recommended Small Cactus Terrarium

But if you’re on the hunt for some super tiny cacti that’ll stay small in your terrarium, here are some true pocket-sized champs:


  • Mammillaria rhodantha – also known as the Rainbow Pincushion.


  • Opuntia rufida ‘Minima’ – the Cinnamon Cactus.


  • Echinopsis chamaecereus – the Peanut Cactus.


  • Mammillaria gracilis – Thimble Mammillaria.


  • And don’t forget Echinopsis subdenudata – Domino Cactus.


These little guys are perfect for your miniature desert oasis.

Difference Between Cactus Terrariums
and Succulent Terrariums

Cactus and succulent terrariums both fall under the category of miniature gardens enclosed in glass containers, but they have some key differences:


Cactus Terrariums

  • Mostly cacti (spiky plants).


  • Need minimal water and fast-draining soil.


  • Have a minimalist, spiky look.


Succulent Terrariums

  • Include various succulents (fleshy, water-storing plants).


  • Need less water but can handle a bit more moisture than cacti.


  • Offer a wide range of colors and textures, making them look diverse.


So, cactus terrariums are like the spiky, low-water, minimalist option, while succulent terrariums are more colorful and flexible with watering. Both are easy to care for and look great in glass containers.

Care for Cactus Terrarium

Taking care of a cactus terrarium is different compared to tending to a tropical terrarium.

The good news is, with cacti, you don’t have to fret about creating a delicate, self-sustaining ecosystem like you do in tropical setups. It’s more straightforward in that sense.

cactus care, narrow opening, good air circulation
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However, the catch is that cactus terrariums don’t have a nifty self-watering feature. You can’t just set it and forget it. You’ll need a more hands-on approach, like looking after potted plants.

In other words, your cacti are relying on you to give them a drink when they’re thirsty, and you’ll need to keep an eye on the moisture levels in the soil. So, while it might not be as complex as a tropical terrarium, it still requires some regular care to keep those spiky beauties happy.



Cacti are sun-worshippers, so put your terrarium where it can soak up some bright, but not direct, sunlight. A sunny windowsill is perfect.



Cacti like their soil to dry out between drinks. Typically, you’ll water them every 2-4 weeks. And remember, it’s better to underwater than overwater.



Please ensure your terrarium can escape excess water, like a layer of rocks at the bottom.



You can use unique, a unique cactus mix that drains well. This keeps the roots happy and dry.



If your cacti start getting too big, don’t hesitate to trim them with small scissors or pruning shears.



Cacti aren’t big eaters, so a diluted cactus fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) is plenty. Skip the feeding during the winter.



Keep the glass of your terrarium clean so that the cacti get all the light they need.



If your cacti outgrow their cozy home, it’s time to move them to a bigger pot every few years.


Watch for Pests

Keep an eye out for unwanted guests like mealybugs or scale insects. If you spot any, gently remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Cactus Terrarium Common Problems

Let’s talk about some common problems you might run into with your cactus terrarium and how to handle them:

common problems, cacti common problems
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Overwatering –
Giving too much water to cacti is a typical slip-up. Remember, they like it dry, so wait until the soil is dry before you water again. If they look soggy, take a break from watering.

Drainage Issues –
If the water doesn’t have a way to escape, your cacti can end up with wet feet. Add some rocks at the bottom to help water run out.

Not Enough Light –
Cacti are sun fans. They might get leggy or lean towards the light if they don’t get enough light. Please make sure they’re in a spot with good, indirect sunlight.

Pests –
Keep an eye out for mealybugs, scales, or spider mites. If you see any of these critters, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Root Rot –
This happens when the soil stays too wet. Remove the affected cacti, cut off the bad parts, and repot in dry soil if you suspect it.

Color Changes –
If your cacti start changing color, it’s usually a sign they’re unhappy. Check drainage, light, and watering to sort it out.

Mold or Fungus –
Mold can show up in very humid conditions. If you spot mold, remove it and try to reduce humidity. Make sure there’s some air flowing in your terrarium.

Outgrowing the Terrarium –
As your cacti grow, they might need more space. When that happens, switch them to a bigger home.

By watching these common issues and taking these simple steps, your cactus terrarium will stay happy and healthy.

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Start Your Cactus Terrarium Journey Now

In conclusion, a cactus terrarium is a fantastic choice for a hassle-free, good-looking, and space-savvy indoor garden. Cacti’s unique spiky charm brings a touch of the desert into your home, making your space stylish and appealing. Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or just starting, cacti are easy to care for and can teach you a thing or two about plant life. They also do a great job of cleaning your indoor air.

Plus, designing your little desert world inside a glass container lets your creativity shine. So, if you’re searching for a simple yet captivating way to invite nature into your home, a cactus terrarium is the perfect choice.



Can I use any glass container for a cactus terrarium, or does it have to be a specific type?

You can use various glass containers, from jars to vases, as long as they are clear and allow light to penetrate. Just ensure there’s enough space for your cacti and proper drainage.

Can I keep different types of cacti together in the same terrarium?

Yes, you can mix different cacti in the same terrarium, but be mindful of their growth rates and care requirements. Ensure they have enough space and don’t overcrowd the container.

How do I prevent my cacti from getting too tall and leggy?

To keep your cacti compact, ensure they receive adequate sunlight, and rotate the terrarium occasionally to encourage even growth. Pruning or beheading taller cacti can also help control their height.

What should I do if I notice pests in my cactus terrarium?

If you spot pests like mealybugs or scale insects, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. You can also use insecticidal soap if the infestation is severe.

Can I keep a cactus terrarium outdoors in direct sunlight?

While cacti love sunlight, direct, intense sunlight can overheat the terrarium and harm the plants. It’s best to provide bright, indirect sunlight indoors or offer some shade if you want to place your terrarium outdoors.

Can I repot my cacti if they outgrow the terrarium?

Absolutely. When your cacti outgrow the terrarium, carefully transplant them into a larger container with well-draining soil, ensuring they have room to grow.

Are closed or open terrariums better for cacti?

Open terrariums are generally better for cacti because they allow for better air circulation and lower humidity levels. Closed terrariums tend to trap too much moisture, which cacti don’t prefer.

🌵 Elevate Your Space with a Cactus Terrarium! 🌵

Discover the beauty of nature without the hassle. Our cactus terrariums are the perfect blend of style, simplicity, and charm. Why choose a cactus terrarium?

✨ Low-Maintenance: Busy schedule? No worries! Cacti thrive on neglect and need minimal care.

🌵 Stylish Decor: Add a touch of the desert’s unique charm to your home. Cacti’s spiky, cool looks make your space visually appealing.

🏡 Space-Saving: Short on space? Cacti are compact, fitting perfectly in small living areas.

🌱 Educational Fun: Caring for cacti is an enjoyable way to learn about plant growth and water conservation.

🌬️ Clean Air: Cacti not only look great but also purify your indoor air by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen.

🎨 Get Creative: Design your own mini desert oasis! Choose your container, rocks, and decorations to match your style.


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Bring the beauty of the desert indoors. Get your cactus terrarium today and transform your space into a stylish oasis!


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