Succulent container garden designer Marissa Engoy

Marissa’s Living Art Terrariums & More

I'm delighted to recommend to you a SoCal container garden designer and her workshops. Coming soon: terrariums. You'll also find intriguing how Marissa Engoy, owner of Good Morning Cactus, created a business model that anyone with similar skills might emulate.

Marissa calls her designs "living art." The former third-grade teacher and mother of three uses rosette succulents in appealing floral-style potted combos, wreaths, planted teacups and more. Marissa, who clearly has a good heart, told me how much she loves how her workshops bring people together.

Succulents, she says, are unifying "even for people who don't speak the same language. They're a language in themselves." Her DIY events offer a welcoming space "where people come together to learn something new." The inviting, friendly environment "helps to dispel loneliness and create community."

Marissa's workshops, held year-round, often tie into occasions like Mother's Day. The results make good gifts and home enhancements. "I love seeing moms and kids doing a workshop together, like succulent pumpkins," Marissa says. "The 4-year-olds do the mini ones." Wreaths follow for the holidays.

Living art succulent workshop

Coming Up: Succulent Terrarium Workshop

Wed., Sept. 20, 10 am to noon at The Golden Triangle Shop, 24605 Narbonne Ave., Lomita, CA

Options start at $38. Register online at Good Morning Cactus or call (310) 408-5503.

Concerned about growing succulents in a non-draining glass container? No worries, such terrariums can last years. The secret is to water barely enough to moisten the roots, twice a month or so. The good thing about glass is you can see exactly where the water goes! Learn more on my How to Water Succulents page

Succulent-Savvy Business Model

Marissa's "Good Morning Cactus" is ideal for a busy mom with three kids. "I’m able to bring in income but I'm not tied down to a store."

She began selling at farmers' markets, where she met a coffee shop owner who asked if she'd like to sell her items on consignment. "It was during the pandemic and their business was slow," she recalls. "They told me, 'Marissa, fill this place up!'" Potted succulents did well because staying home had spurred people's interest in gardening. Succulent containers also made ideal gifts "for grandparents they weren’t allowed to go and see."

Succulent pot by Good Morning Cactus with flamingo

She now partners with two stores in Lomita: Corridor Flow, a coffee shop famed for its Spanish lattes, and The Golden Triangle, a sustainability-oriented boutique; and in Redondo Beach, gift shop Aloha Bungalow.

In a recent Los Angeles Times lifestyle article, Marissa tells how succulents helped her recover from depression following a tragic loss. She was "drawn to these chubby plants basking in the sun. At first I saw them as distractions from my tough times, but they soon became more." She adds, "growing, nurturing, and arranging succulents became a colorful, creative way for me to connect---a gift from God to usher me out of that dark season.”

As for the name of her business? “I was looking at one of my succulents one day, and I was just like, ‘Hey, good morning, cactus! It stuck.”

Gallery: Marissa's Terrariums


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  1. Tamra on September 4, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Love it! Wish the terrarium course was offered online… I live in Florida.

    • Debra on September 4, 2023 at 10:40 am

      Hi Tamra — Good news: Succulent terrariums are included in the online class I teach, produced by Craftsy: Stunning Succulent Arrangements. 7 sessions, 3 hrs, $40.

  2. Phyllis A Brooks on September 7, 2023 at 6:03 am

    My terrarium looks great until the succulent outgrew the bowl. now what do I do?

    • Debra on September 7, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Hi Phyllis, Congratulate yourself for keeping a succulent so happy in a confined, non-draining, indoor container that it outgrew it! Now remove the plant, pot it in a larger container or in your garden, clean the terrarium and have fun selecting new plants for it at the nursery.

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