If you’re the sort of person who has trouble remembering to look after house plants, then succulents could be the answer! Hardy succulents are low-maintenance plants that are hugely popular and can be successfully grown in a sunny spot inside and outdoors. They only need a small amount of water to keep them going, so are ideal for looking after, and look great planted in both pots, various forms of glass jars or a terrarium.
Read on to discover how you could create your own planted glass jars or succulent terrarium with these wonderful low-maintenance plants.
Types of succulent
Succulent plants are desert plants which have adapted to dry conditions by evolving fleshy stems of leaves. They use these to store water, so are fairly self-sufficient. There are hundreds of different varieties, some of which flower and some of which produce attractive, unusual foliage – some even do both! Many don’t grow to any great height or size, so they’re perfect as small houseplants on a desk or windowsill. They also grow well in glass containers, such as a glass terrarium, as unlike many other houseplants they’re fairly resistant to being scorched and love the sun. You can make the jars look really attractive by adding ornamental stones, shells or even crystals.
The term ‘succulent’ also includes cacti, which may or may not be your sort of thing! It also includes plants such as aloe vera, rock roses, euphorbia, jade plant and bear’s paw. Some of these plants have striking, architectural shapes and some produce small flowers. All need a warm position away from draughts and some high-quality soil in which to thrive.
Advantages of growing succulents in glass jars
Here’s an overview of some of the key advantages of choosing to grow succulent plants in glass jars:
- Basic glass jars are easily obtainable and it’s a great way to recycle and old jam pot or pickle jar.
- A variety of glass containers can be used, from empty mason jars, jam jars and shallow glass bowls, to a clear glass bubble bowl, an empty wine bottle planter (as long as it has a wide neck) or another small container made of glass.
- You can create a stunning display using a single large glass container or multiple smaller jars.
- Glass jars are easy to clean and won’t rust or erode over time.
- You can easily move your glass jars around, to ensure that the plants get plenty of light, or are moved out of areas of bright light.
- Glass jars don’t have drainage holes in the bottom, so there are no issues with water accidentally leaking out of the bottom onto the surface of your windowsill.
- With clear glass jars, it’s useful to be able to see into the pot so you spot if the plant has had too much water and if excess water is in the bottom of the container. If you’re new to dealing with succulent plants, this can help you learn to give them proper care and enhance your gardening skills.
- Succulents grown in mason jar terrariums can be displayed both inside your home and outside, providing lots of versatility.
It’s important to bear in mind that, depending on the type of jar you choose to plant, some glass jars can be fragile. So they may be prone to breaking if accidentally knocked. Plus, if you live in a cold climate and the plant is outside, the jar could potentially freeze and result in killing the plant it contains.
How to plant succulents in glass containers
Many succulents bought from a garden centre are tiny, so will fit nicely in a recycled glass yoghurt pot, mason jars or a small jam jar and look very cute. As well as planting succulents in individual small pots, you can group several different plants into glass planters, a glass vessel or buy a glass terrarium or succulent bowl to use.
1) If you’re using household glass pots or jars, remember to clean the containers thoroughly first with warm, soapy water and remove any labels.
2) Pop some small pieces of stone or gravel in the bottom or the jar (succulents dislike sitting in water, so will need good drainage), and add a thin layer of succulent compost (sometimes called succulent mix or cactus soil).
3) Choose which type of succulents you’re going to plant. For a small jar, a single succulent is likely to be sufficient, but for a bigger glass container, you may want a variety of different succulents. Good types of succulents to start out with include sempervivum’s and sedum’s, which are both easy to grow and care for.
4) Carefully remove the plant from its plastic pot, taking care not to damage its roots, and place it in the glass jar.
5) Fill in the spaces with compost, and press it down lightly around the plant.
6) If you’re using a bigger jar, you could also fill in the sides with decorative elements, such as clay pebbles, white sand, shells or sand to make the jars look pretty. Small stones are best, particularly for small jars, and you should take care not to cover any of the leaves with decorations.
How to look after succulents
When it comes to care of succulents, you may be pleased to learn that most succulents are pretty good at looking after themselves! Good places to position your succulents in glass containers include windowsills or patios, where they get access to either the morning sun or the afternoon sun. I
The most important thing is not to over-water – less water is best. Unlike most houseplants, which prefer their soil to be slightly moist at all times, succulents prefer to struggle a bit. Never water them until they have dry soil – that means bone dry and crumbly – and then only water a little. During the hot summer months, watering your succulents once a week with the right amount of water should be sufficient. In the winter, you can go to once every one or two months, but always check the soil before watering. Try to water the soil rather than the leaves, as wet leaves are susceptible to developing water stains, burning in the summer and going mouldy in the winter.
Although, as we’ve said above, succulents are resistant to being scorched, they are more susceptible when newly planted or very young. They do need a lot of light, but young new plants would probably prefer not to be blasted in full sun for hours. They love light so much that they can actually end up growing towards it, leaving you with a lop-sided plant, so you may need to turn the glass containers around occasionally to avoid this.
Larger plants that have been growing a while may get dusty, particularly if you’re keeping them indoors on a windowsill. Dust on the leaves can inhibit the benefit they get from sunlight – a quick wipe every so often with a damp cloth should sort this out.
If you spot any plants that have dead leaves, it’s safe to remove them from the plant. Likewise, if any of your succulents have flowered, the flower stems can be removed once the flowers have died.
Once you’re confident with growing small succulents in glass jars, you can progress to creating bigger terrariums – large containers filled with different varieties. These look really eye-catching, especially if you mix different foliage shapes and colours.
Succulents are beautiful plants and are the ideal easy care plant to grow inside or outside your home. Whether you choose to grow smaller plants in tiny jars, or a mix of varieties in a bigger glass container, you can be sure that with the right care and attention, your succulents will provide you with a lovely display.