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terrarium plants

There is a growing trend of terrariums along with indoor plants, especially, in urban areas. The art of creating these mini gardens was limited only to some, however, there is much more demand for terrariums nowadays. Modern terrariums are comparatively easy to make and also provide tons of options.

And to help you choose the right option we brought this complete guide on the best terrarium plants that you can grow in your mini gardens. So, beautify your indoor setup with these terrarium plants and create your own tiny ecosystem.

What are Terrariums?

terrarium plants

In simple terms, a terrarium is a display of beautiful indoor, ornamental, or other plants in a glass container. These containers have a big enough hole for planters to access the plants growing inside. However, most terrariums can be sealed or closed off to create a warm and humid environment for the plants.

The terrarium plants are arranged in such a way that they can thrive and at the same time look pleasing. Therefore, these terrarium plants are selected carefully, keeping in mind that they can survive in conditions different from the outside environment.

Other than being hardy, these plants are also very low-maintenance and can even survive with no care.

Fun Fact: Though considered modern, Terrariums have been around since the 19th century. 

Types of Terrariums

Before we get into the list of the best terrarium plants, you must decide the type of terrarium you want to create. Usually, the most commonly grown terrariums are either ‘open’ or ‘closed’. Other than this it is also good to consider the shape, size, and overall appearance of the container.

Open Terrariumsallow great ventilation and have a larger opening. Therefore, these are well-suited for terrarium plants that prefer dry air and do not do well in a humid environment.

terrarium plants

On the other hand, Closed Terrariums, are perfect for humidity-loving plants. Therefore, terrarium plants that are native to tropical regions can be grown in these containers.

terrarium plants

The selection of terrarium plants will be affected by this and other important factors.

Top 12 Terrarium Plants

Here are some of the best plants that can be grown in terrariums that you can choose based on the type of container you are selecting for your terrariums –

Closed Terrarium Plants


terrarium plants - Ferns

If grown correctly, ferns can turn out to be great terrarium plants. Ferns thrive in high humidity and low-light conditions, therefore, they are perfect for closed terrariums. These plants come in several varieties so it is important to research the one you select for your terrarium. Here are some of the most famous varieties of these terrarium plants – ‘Silver Ribbon Fern’, ‘Lemon Button Fern’, ‘Crispy Wave Fern’, and more.

Nerve Plants

terrarium plants fittonia

These terrarium plants can easily add color and vibrancy to your mini gardens. Moreover, these plants are also very easy to care for. The Nerve plant will tell you when it needs water by making its foliage appear droopy and will bounce back to its original shape when watered. These plants are recommended for beginners for their low care. A moisture-retaining soil mix is suitable for these plants that can be grown in terrariums.


Generally, grown as an indoor plant, Pothos is loved by many plant parents for its unique trailing foliage and extremely low maintenance. These plants are native to tropical regions and are considered aggressive growers. However, these plants are very easy to care for in humid conditions and are very hard to destroy. Some famous varieties of Pothos that you can grow in your terrariums are – ‘Pearls & Jade Pothos’, ‘Manjula Pothos’, ‘Njoy Pothos’, and more.


These plants that can be grown in terrariums belong to the nettle family and are widely grown as indoor plants. Pilea can serve two purposes in your terrariums based on the species. These plants come in two categories –

  1. Plants with striking and Large foliage, such as ‘Moon Valley Pilea’, ‘Aluminium Plant’, and ‘Friendship Plant’ can be added to the terrariums as the main event.
terrarium plants pilea
  1. On the other hand, Small and Delicate Pilea plants, such as ‘Silver Sparkle’, and ‘Baby Tear’, can be used to add texture to empty spaces in your terrariums.
terrarium plants pilea

Creeping Fig

terrarium plants pilea

Among all the plants that can be grown in terrariums, Creeping Figs are arguably the easiest to grow. Just drop a few cuttings in the container and the plant will do all the hard work. These terrarium plants can root up and grow quickly in humid conditions and can fill your terrariums with their beautiful foliage easily in no time. You can choose from the different types of Creeping Figs as most of them fit perfectly in any terrarium.


terrarium plants moss

Yet other hardy plants that don’t need much care are Moss. These terrarium plants just need a humid environment and no direct sunlight to thrive. By only keeping them moist they’ll surprise you with lush green foliage. Moreover, these plants don’t have roots so there is no risk of root rot. Sheet Moss such as ‘Hypnum Moss’ is recommended for beginners as it is a readily available carpet that can cover the floor of your terrariums.

Open Terrarium Plants

Air Plants

terrarium plants air plants

Similar to their name, Air Plants, don’t need soil. These terrarium plants absorb the necessary nutrients and moisture from the air itself, making them perfect for open terrariums. Native to the southeastern USA, and northern Mexico, the foliage of Air plants is very unique making them a nice display to have in your terrariums. Occasionally, misting these plants can help them thrive, especially, if your local climate is comparatively dry.


terrarium plants succulents

Succulent plants are also perfect for open terrariums. Plants such as Cacti, Echeveria, and others are very easy to grow and can be grown together as they are compatible with each other. Moreover, these plants are drought tolerant and don’t like regular watering, making them perfect for open terrariums. Succulents thrive in bright sunlight and only need watering when the soil is almost completely dry. And, under the right conditions, these terrarium plants can also reward you with beautiful flowers.


terrarium plants haworthia

These slow-growing plants are great for open terrariums. Haworthias are drought-tolerant and come in a huge variety of different and unique appearance. Some of the famous varieties of these plants that can be grown in terrariums are – ‘Haworthia fasciata’ which features dark green leaves with white stripes giving it a zebra-like appearance, and ‘Haworthia trunacata’, which has uniquely shaped leaves that are produced in rows. Place your terrarium under bright and indirect sunlight for these plants to thrive.

Jade Plant

terrarium plants jade

Jade Plants are also great for open terrariums as these plants can grow big. Therefore, you can shape these terrarium plants into bonsai trees or you can use a smaller/young plant for your terrariums. Moreover, Jade plants need regular watering so you can’t mix them with succulent plants. You can use several different varieties of Jade plants, each offering unique foliage.

Ox Tongue

terrarium plants ox tongue

The smooth and paired leaves of these plants that can be grown in terrariums look like tongues hence their name. These plants can be paired with other succulent plants to create a striking display in your terrariums. Ox Tongue plants need bright and indirect sunlight to thrive but can also survive in low-light conditions and need water just when the soil is about to dry out.

Burro’s Tail

terrarium plants burros tail

These trailing plants are great to display in your terrariums because of their unique foliage. The striking foliage of these terrarium plants can grow out of the terrarium but can be shaped to settle beautifully inside the container. Use a free-draining soil mix for these plants and place their container in a well-lit location. You can also pair Burro’s Tail with other succulents in your terrariums.

Choosing The Right Terrarium Plants

There are many factors that can influence your choice of terrarium plants. And these are some important things to consider. Therefore, you must keep these factors in mind before choosing your terrarium plants – 

  • Assess Necessary Conditions – Firstly, you need to assess the environment of the space in which you are planning to place your terrarium plants. Conditions like temperature, humidity, and lighting can play a major role in choosing the plant.
  • Terrarium Type – Plant selection will also depend on the type of terrarium. Both Open and Closed terrariums can only accumulate certain types of plants that can survive in them.
  • Theme and Appearance – Each terrarium can be designed differently giving them a new theme. Therefore, the type of plants you select should be compatible with the theme of your terrariums.

These are some of the main factors that you should consider while selecting your terrarium plants. Moreover, the availability of certain plants can also play a big role.

How To Set-Up A Terrarium?

terrarium plants

Setting up a terrarium is not a tricky task and with enough practice, you can even master it. There are some steps that you need to follow in order to set your terrariums perfectly. But first, take a look at the materials that are required to build a terrarium –

Materials Needed –
  • A glass container
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Pebbles and Small Stones
  • Potting Soil
  • Plants
  • Decorative Materials

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1 –

  • Start by cleaning the glass container thoroughly with soap and warm water to prevent any contamination of the plants.

Step 2 –

  • Next, you can begin layering the base of the container. Since terrariums lack drainage holes, you’ll need to add a 1-2-inch layer of pebbles and stones at the bottom.
  • Then add a layer of activated charcoal that will help in absorbing excess water and odors. You can also add a layer of moss before adding soil as it will give an interesting visual appearance to your terrariums and also prevent the soil from mixing with charcoal and pebbles.

Step 3 –

  • Now that the base is set you can add the potting mix. The depth of the potting mix depends on the size of the container and the plants. For small plants, 2 to 3 inches of soil is enough, however, for larger plants you’ll need more soil.
  • You can add soil at different levels to provide varying planting depth and a more natural appearance to your terrariums.

Step 4 –

  • The next step includes adding the plants to your terrariums. Place the bigger plants first and in the center or at the back. Arrange smaller plants around the edges leaving enough space for each plant to grow.
  • Make sure to press down the plants gently in the soil to keep them standing upright.

Step 5 –

  • Finally, you can add any decorative material such as shells, pebbles, or figurines to improve the appearance of your terrariums.

Note: Water your terrarium after adding the plants. For Closed terrariums minimal watering is enough as they will retain moisture. And, for Open terrariums water according to the watering needs of the plants.

Terrarium Maintenance Tips

Maintaining terrarium plants requires regular monitoring and fulfilling the care needs of the plants. Here are some tips you should follow to keep your terrariums well successfully –

  • Watering – For closed terrariums water only when the soil appears dry, a good sign of enough water is the condensation on the container. For open terrariums water when the soil feels dry to touch and according to the needs of your terrarium plants.
  • Lighting – Place the terrariums under sufficient lighting that would fulfill the requirements of your plants.
  • Pruning – Regularly trim the plants to keep them in shape. This would also ensure your terrarium looks tidy. Prune away any yellowed or dead foliage.
  • Disease and Pest Control – Regularly monitor your terrarium for any signs of plant diseases and pest infestation. Provide proper ventilation, and remove any diseased plants. For treating pests use insecticidal soap.


This is mainly everything you need to know about plants that can be grown in terrariums. Making terrariums is easy and by making one yourself, you’ll get to experience a new domain of the plant world. So, make sure to add these beautiful mini-gardens to your indoor space and improve its overall appeal.

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