25 Best Plants For Terrariums
Building a terrarium allows you to customize an indoor nature display to your own taste and style. You choose what shape and style of glass container to use as an enclosure, the plants to grow, and the overall design. Often times the choice of plants is overwhelming due to the variety of options; to help make the decision a little easier, here is a rundown of the 25 best plants to include in your terrarium!
What Makes a Good Terrarium Plant?
Most common houseplants thrive in terrariums, but its important to weight a couple of important concepts when choosing species:
- Opt for foliage plants. They often have ornament-like leaves that draw attention to their interesting design or color.
- Choose plants that grow slowly or have dwarf varieties.
- Pair plants that have similar light and moisture requirements.
- Match plants types to the terrarium style. Tropical plants like closed terrariums due to the higher humidity levels; succulents prefer the slightly drier nature of terrariums with open tops.
Plants that Do Well in Terrariums
The following plants are tried and true varieties that are known to thrive in either enclosed or open terrariums, depending on their water needs:
- Venus flytraps use specially modified snap-trap leaves to snare insects, drawing nitrogen and phosphorus from their meal.
- Pitcher plants have a thin, cylindrical “pitcher” that comes in a variety of colors and has a hood or lid that partially covers the opening, keeping rainwater out and prey in.
- Sundew plants use sticky pads on their brightly colored rosettes to trap gnats and other small insects. Naturally found in bogs, they thrive in enclosed terrariums.
- Polka dot plants have dark green foliage dotted with pink or white splotches. They love low-light, high humidity terrariums.
- African violet plants thrive in the high humidity environments of closed terrariums and typically stay under 6” in height.
- Strawberry begonias add color even when not flowering. Red vertical stalks and variegated leaves make this 8” plant a great addition to a high humidity terrarium.
- Peperomia is another staple plant, thriving in high humidity terrariums. These plants often have very distinct foliage, coming in a variety of sizes and colors.
- Tillandsia, or “air plants”, require absolutely no soil to grow. They can be suspended in air, grow in rocks/gravel, or trained to attach themselves to items like branches in open containers.
- Friendship plants are known for their gorgeous, deeply textured leaves boasting vibrant shades of green with accents of silver, bronze or red.
- Silver nerve plant is also known for its beautiful variegation of white, burgundy and green; they are 12” when fully mature.
- Dwarf palm varieties help fill in taller terrariums. Their slow-growing nature means they won’t quickly overtake the space.
- Aquamarine has teeny tiny rounded leaflets and makes a great accent plant for enclosed terrariums because of it’s small stature (12” tall when mature).
- Starfish plants send out their leaves in a distinctive whorled pattern, looking like stars. Iridescent stripes on the leaves glow in hues of dark green, white and maroon.
- Black mondo grass is a striking contrast to green foliage with its dark hues of black. Growing to only 15” in height it sets itself apart as a great contrast plant for terrariums.
- Variegated spider ferns are a common houseplant that thrives in terrariums. Their long, slender, green and white/yellow striped foliage adds contrast and shine to a planting arrangement.
- Maidenhair ferns grow 12-24” tall, with dainty, delicate leaflets. These high humidity loving plants are a favorite in enclosed terrariums and do best in low-light conditions.
- Birds nest ferns are on the larger size, but make a great statement plant in large terrariums. Their glossy leaves love the high humidity of enclosed displays.
- Button fern plants have arching fronds displaying small, round leaflets making them a great accent plant in closed terrariums.
- Cacti are staple plants in open terrariums. Available in many colors, shapes, and sizes, they add great visual interest to displays. Just make sure to give them plenty of airflow.
- Haworthia is a go-to succulent for open displays containing low-light plants. Varieties are sometimes striped with white, sometimes displaying jewel-toned colors, and are always hardy.
- Aloe vera is a great plant to add to your terrarium because of its medicinal properties. This succulent will tolerate full sun if in an open display, and indirect light if in an enclosed.
- Crassula varieties, including the ever-popular jade plant, are thick leaved succulents perfect for containers. Their odd shaped leaf patterns add intrigue to terrariums.
- Echeveria is a class of succulents known for their tightly-formed, small rosettes. Varieties come in a palette of pastel colors and need very little moisture to grow.
- Golden clubmoss adds a splash of bright yellowy green to terrariums, serving as a great accent against darker colored foliage. At only 6” in length, this diminutive specimen displays a profound effect.
- Moss is often used as a filler plant in an enclosed terrarium to cover open soil space. Regularly trim to keep mosses from getting unruly in their confined space.
No matter your style preference, or the size of the container you are creating, there are many plants well-suited for terrarium gardening. The aforementioned 25 plants thrive in open or enclosed terrariums — depending on the plant — adding color, texture, and interest to your beautiful, indoor nature display.