The Heron Hawker step-by-step guide to open Terrariums

The Heron Hawker step-by-step guide to open Terrariums

If you’re the sort of gardener that only remembers to water every once in a while, then an open terrarium could be for you! Unlike a closed terrarium, where moisture-loving plants such as Fittonia and Ferns thrive, open Terrariums offer a drier environment, perfect for succulents and cacti that require low maintenance. We spoke to our friends Heron Hawker to get their step-by-step guide on building an open terrarium.

You’ll need…

A glass bowl or jar

Slate, sand or gravel

Cactus soil

Your choice if succulents and cacti



Your glass bowl’s lack of drainage means you want to create an internal solution to preventing the plants from getting root rot. Overwatering is the biggest sin for drought resistant plants.

We use a layer of slate or sand as the base, gravel will work fine too.

Then add a good cactus soil with small parts of pumice stone. You can layer with coloured sands around the edges to give it a more textured appearance, but this isn’t essential.


Now, the plants….


A real terrarium favourite that comes in various colours, shapes and sizes. Don’t overwater these succulents, but don’t let them become bone dry. They shoot stems to flower.

Crassula Gollum

A small shrubby succulent with tubular leaves. It’s commonly referred to as E.T’s fingers and is perfect to give some variation in height to your terrarium.

Haworthia Fasciata

Also know as the Zebra Plant, haworthias are slow growing, hardy succulents from South Africa. Their bold vibrant stripes will make your terrarium eye catching.

Crassula Muscosa

Commonly known as Lizard’s tail, or Princess Pine, and another native to South Africa, this small succulent has tiny light green leaves and will grow into an intricate bush, adding volume and texture, as well as some height.

Expert Tips…

Place your terrarium in a well-lit place. We water ours with a pipette at the root of each plant, once every 2/3 weeks from spring to autumn, less in winter. Let the soil dry out before watering again, and never spray your open terrarium.

Heron Hawker came into existence as a business through a frustration at buying house plants that didn’t agree with busy London life. Too often pretty green purchases would turn brown from neglect so they began to experiment with hardy succulents, aloes and cacti, and before long had numerous vessels full of beautiful desert-like landscapes.

For some open terrarium inspiration, take a look at the Heron Hawker website or follow them on Instagram.

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