Create a stunning succulent planter using sea glass and a mason jar
Layer sea glass, drainage materials, and compost in a jar to create a pretty sea glass succulent terrarium. You can see all the layers through the glass with the succulents as the crowning glory. The video at the end of this piece shows the full process of making them.
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I shared the first succulent terrarium tutorial on Lovely Greens. At that time I’d just learned how to make them from my pal Ashley, who makes succulent terrariums through her small business. Four years on and we now host succulent terrarium workshops together.
After our last workshop we had some materials left over so I took them home to make another terrarium for myself. This time I used something a little different too — sea glass that I’d found on the beach. Used as the bottom layer in a mason jar, light shines through the glass while the succulents and their drainage material sit on top. I’m so pleased with it that I decided to share how to make it.
More Sea Glass Projects
- How to make a Sea Glass Stepping Stone
- DIY Sea Glass Candle — it glows!
- 30 Sea Glass Ideas & Projects
Finding Sea Glass
If you live near the beach, you might already have a stash of sea glass to use for this project. If not, you can order it from places online like Ebay or Amazon. In the case that you can’t get a hold of it, you can also use coloured marbles or aquarium glass. If you’re on a budget, you can also try making some yourself.
Finding sea glass is one of my favourite hobbies. An afternoon of searching a rocky beach and finding shards of soft and shining glass fulfills so many needs — getting fresh air and exercise, getting free materials to craft with, and the fun of finding treasures. It’s like an Easter egg hunt! There’s a video just below showing one of my sea glass hunting excursions.
You can get some of these materials for free from the beach. Just make sure that you bake any sand or gravel in the oven at 130F for twenty minutes and allow to cool before using. The charcoal also helps to kill any bacteria or microbes that might still be lingering in the sand. If you don’t have access to the beach, I’ve provided links below to where you can purchase materials on Amazon.
- Miniature Succulents
- Quart sized canning jar
- A cup of sea glass
- A cup of white gravel or horticultural grit
- Half a cup of sand
- A quarter cup of activated charcoal
- A cup of cactus compost
Making a Succulent Planter
First of all, this planter isn’t a true “terrarium”. Terrariums are sealed environments that are self-sufficient in air, water, and nutrients. The plants that grow inside only need sunlight to grow and thrive. Succulents can’t live in such a damp environment so this is more of a terrarium style planter. The top of the jar is open and the materials used are there to create good drainage. Less water is more when growing succulents.
You can use both indoor and outdoor succulents together when making your sea glass terrarium. Purists might argue against it, but it does work. You might have spotted that I’m using hen and chicks and a jade plant cutting along with a variety of others. Choose smaller succulents if possible for this project but cuttings from those that might grow large, such as a jade plant, are fine too. Trimming keeps them small.
Tools you’ll find useful
You won’t need very many items to make them but you’ll find these tools useful:
- Wooden skewer
- Squirt bottle or watering syringe
- Long tweezers or a set of chopsticks (for placing the succulents)
Preparing your Succulents
Take cuttings of your succulents a few days before you plan on making your terrarium. Snip them so that there’s a good quarter inch of stem and then set them on a plate to dry out. Keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight and at room temperature so that the ends of the cuttings ‘callus’ over. Basically dry out.
How to make a Sea Glass Succulent Terrarium
It will take you about twenty minutes tops to create a succulent planter. If you wanted to make a few of them at a time I’m sure that it would take less time overall once you have your materials and tools assembled. The video below shows you exactly how I’ve created mine and it’s also a chance for me to say hello! I make a lot of DIY videos and I love ‘seeing’ and interacting with you. I also find that video helps me to learn better than just reading a list of instructions.
- Arrange the sea glass at the bottom of the jar. Use the skewer to settle the pieces before adding the next layer.
- Spoon in the gravel so that it has a level surface
- Repeat the same process with the sand
- Spread the activated charcoal on top of the sand
- Moisten the cactus compost with a little water. It shouldn’t be soaking wet, just barely damp.
- Spoon the cactus compost on top the charcoal. It should be at least an inch deep.
- Gently arrange the succulents the way you’d like. Make sure that the stems and/or roots are touching the compost
- Arrange pieces of gravel and sea glass on any bare patches
Caring for your Succulent Planter
After you have the jar completed and planted up, leave it undisturbed for six weeks. Keep it in a bright but not hot window — east or west facing is best — and water sparingly. In the winter every few weeks and in the summer once a week. It will take up to six weeks for the cuttings to grow roots.
Once it gets going, prune any bushy growth out with small scissors and use those cuttings to create even more planters. If any plants fail to thrive or bite the dust, just pull them out and replace them with others. You can keep a planter like this going for a year or more depending on how diligent you are with pruning.