12 Best Plants to Grow in Your Terrarium

Terrarium – The word may sound to be a bit complex and fancy but, it is just a miniature garden in a glass jar. All that it takes is a little patience and dedication to transform your glass container into a terrarium just by following a few instructions and using some soil. Not all plants will grow and survive in a terrarium. There are plants meant for this environment. Without much ado, let us first explore the world of these indoor plants and then help you choose the right one for your terrarium.

Basics about the terrarium plants

Here are the common characteristics of a terrarium plant.

  • The plants can tolerate humidity which they need to live in when in an enclosed container. They also can tolerate low and indirect light.
  • The plants need to be petite so that they do not touch the sides of your container.
  • The potting mix may need some sand to mimic the native environment. This is especially true for plants like cacti and succulents.
  • Each plant species has its watering requirements.

Working of a terrarium

Terrariums are indoor gardens set in sealed containers. The soil and the plant in the terrarium recycle water by releasing vapor. The vapor gets collected on the walls of the container and trickles down to reach the soil. The nature of the terrarium makes the plants self-nourishing, which is why they need very low maintenance.

Building a terrarium

You will first need a case for your terrariums, like a fish tank or a soda bottle. Fill the bottom with half the soil that you need to use and layer it well. You may want to add rocks to the soil, but this is optional. Make a large hole in the soil for the plant’s roots to rest. Now position the plant in the soil layer that you have created. Once you place the soil, add a second layer of soil around the terrarium plant. Add different plant species, mix and match various sizes and colors of plants, and your terrarium is ready.

Benefits and how to care for the terrarium

Terrarium plants:

  • Are unique plants that would usually not grow in dry air
  • Creates a decorative mini garden
  • Can grow with artificial light
  • Does not need a lot of water

The terrarium is low maintenance. If you grow ferns, then trim the leaves to prevent them from overgrowing. Remove any brown and yellow leaves if you notice them as signs of pest or diseases. Look out for pests like gnats if your terrarium is open. For a closed terrarium, you may have to open the lid at times so that some fresh air can get in.

12 Best Terrarium Plants

Now that you are well educated about what a terrarium is, it is time to select the right plant to build the aesthetics of your garden. Below is the list of 12 terrarium plants from various plant varieties.

1. Mosses

Best Plants to Grow in Terrarium

Easy-to-find mosses are the first plants that any terrarium creator would choose. Tolerant to low lightning conditions, carefree, with no maintenance needed for years together, and visually appealing is what characterizes this plant variety. Mosses come in varied types with different textures and different green shades. Experiment with some of them to let your terrarium create an aesthetic appeal.

2. Polka Dot Plant

Polka Dot Plant

If you are looking for a tiny weeny plant with an irregular shape and polka dots, then the Polka dot plant is what you are seeking out. It can grow to a height of 20 inches and, in favorable conditions, produces tiny flowers like lilacs. The plant, however, needs bright light for its leaves to stay green and fresh. Pinch to extend the plant’s lifetime. A significant drawback of this plant is that once it flowers, the plant withers away. Even if you remove its flower stem, it does not help. So make sure to get a cutting and root to create a new plant when the old one withers away. If the plant completes its entire lifecycle, then it can propagate with seeds. The plant has carmine, pink, green, and white leaves, and its colors could be in the form of streaks, stains, or dots. They could be varied shades of green too.

3. Nerve plant 

Nerve plant

With small-sized leaves and low height of growth, the Nerve plant offers an artificial appeal to your terrarium with its unique peculiarity: its leaves in pink, red, and white color. You can mix and match them to create a fantastic landscape. The plant survives in high humidity with indirect light. Pinch it to keep the plant intact.

4. Button Fern

Button Fern

Ferns give your terrarium a foresty feel. The plant is native to New Zealand and likes shade and humidity. It is tolerant to drought and needs water just once a week.

5. Spider Plant

Spider terrarium Plant

Look to add some of the baby Spider Plants to your terrarium. These are pretty and add elegance to your setup. If the plants grow very large, pull them out of the terrarium. Make sure that you propagate it and introduce a new plant in its spot.

6. Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos

The light green and yellow leaves of the plant make it the center of attraction in your terrarium. The plant loves moisture and can thrive in a bright room with an indirect source of light. The plant grows vigorously, so you will have to prune it in intervals.

7. Venus flytrap

Venus flytrap

A plant that draws everyone to its charm, kids and adults alike, the Venus flytrap is a wonder. Its sensory hair present on the leaves closes its segments, mimicking a jaw, and its teeth at the tips do not let the insect escape. A perfect addition to your terrarium, the plant needs a damp condition to grow. Its root should stay wet, and the water should have a neutral pH with no minerals. Distilled water is the best to use as it prevents the formation of limescale on the leaves. Venus flytrap has a hibernation period which is required for its healthy growth.

8. Butterwort

best terrarium plant

Butterwort is another addition to the list of carnivorous terrarium plants. They need high humidity levels to survive. These plants have a period of dormancy.

9. Sundews

These are delicate with tiny spines and have thick dew on them, which traps the insect. There are many species of this plant so make sure to understand the living conditions of the particular plant species.

10. Stonecrop

These are hard, small in size with peculiar leaves, and available in different green shades.

11. Zebra Cactus

The succulent boasts of its contrasting leaves and a bit of layering that adds liveliness to any setup. Zebra cactus can be seen as a centerpiece in most terrariums. The plant needs high humidity and is sensitive to low light. The terrarium should have two sides open if you wish to introduce this plant.

12. xCremnosedum

xCremnosedum is a hybrid plant. The only cultivar which is ideal for placing in a terrarium is the Little Gem. It is small in size and flaunts its leaf clusters which are decorative to look at. The plant also produces little tiny flowers.


Now that you are aware of the immense variety and diversity that the terrarium has to offer, why not work towards creating an ideal setup at home? You are sure to appreciate the diverse flora that a neatly crafted terrarium has to offer.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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