Terrariums are miniature gardens enclosed in glass containers that provide a beautiful, self-sustaining environment for plants. They require little maintenance and upkeep, and are great for anyone wanting to enjoy the beauty of nature indoors. Terrariums offer several environmental benefits such as air purification, increased humidity, increased oxygen levels, and reduction of airborne toxins. Plants in terrariums can also help improve mood and reduce stress by adding an uplifting atmosphere to any room.
Factors to consider when choosing terrarium plants
Light Levels and Exposure
Light is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting terrarium plants. Each plant species has its own unique light requirements, so it’s important to research prior to making a selection. Low-light plants prefer indirect or filtered sunlight, while medium-light or high-light plants require more direct exposure. The type of lighting used in the terrarium is also important - some plants may not do well with fluorescent bulbs, while others thrive in their presence. Additionally, some terrariums make use of natural light which will need to be filtered in order to avoid burning the leaves.
Humidity and Moisture Levels
Humidity and moisture levels are key components to consider when selecting terrarium plants as certain species require higher levels than others. Tropical varieties such as air plants and ferns tend to prefer humid environments while succulents and cacti prefer dryer environments with less humidity. Furthermore, different kinds of soil can affect the amount of water that’s retained, so it’s important to consider what type would be best for your particular plant.
The type of soil used for a terrarium plays an important role in determining what kind of plants you can successfully grow. Different types of soil provide varying amounts of nutrients which are essential for healthy growth and should be tailored according to the specific needs of each individual plant species. Generally speaking, most tropical species require a loamy soil with organic matter whilst succulents call for a sandy mix that drains quickly and doesn’t get waterlogged easily.
Size and Growth Habits
The size and growth habit should also be considered when choosing terrarium plants; ensuring that all elements within the enclosure fit together harmoniously is key! For example, small leafedshrubs and ground covers can fill gaps between larger specimens nicely whereas trailing vines help soften hard edges at the top portions of enclosures. Additionally, some fast-growing specimens will outgrow an enclosure quickly if they’re not pruned back regularly; thus it would be wise to take this into account before selecting such varieties!
15 Best Terrarium Plants
1. African violet
African violets are popular houseplants due to their attractive flowers and easy care requirements. These plants produce showy blooms that feature velvety purples, blues, pinks, and whites. They will bloom for several months at a time with proper care, requiring bright indirect light and regular waterings. African violets thrive in well-draining soil and like to be kept moist but not soggy. Regular fertilization can help keep the blooms coming throughout the year.
2. Asparagus fern
Asparagus ferns are unique looking plants that make an interesting addition to any terrarium environment. Their feathery foliage grows in a dense mound of stems and leaves, making them great ground cover options in terrariums or other small spaces. These ferns prefer bright indirect light and should only be watered when the topsoil is nearly dry—too much moisture can cause root rot in these plants. Fertilize asparagus ferns once a month during the growing season using an all purpose liquid fertilizer for best results.
Calatheas are known for their beautiful foliage which comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors depending on the species or hybrid grown. Leaves are usually patterned with stripes or spots of pink, purple, green, yellow, or white which adds interest to any terrarium display. Calatheas need moderate to high humidity levels as well as bright but indirect light; too much direct sunlight will burn their delicate leaves so choosing a spot away from any windows is best for these plants. Consistent watering is important; allow soil to dry slightly between each watering session but do not allow it to become completely dry as this can damage the plant's root system over time.
4. Creeping fig
Creeping figs are low-maintenance evergreen vines that make excellent additions to terrarium environments due to their ability to quickly cover objects or backgrounds while bringing lush green coloration into the space quickly! They require bright indirect light and even moisture—water when the soil feels slightly dry but avoid allowing it to get overly wet as this could cause root rot over time–and fertilize every few weeks during the warmer months using a balanced liquid fertilizer for best results.. These plants can also tolerate lower light conditions if necessary; however growth may be slower than when provided brighter light exposure regularly.
Cryptanthuses are tropical bromeliads that originate from rainforests in South America where they grow naturally as epiphytes on trees or other surfaces without taking nutrients directly from them like other epiphytic plants do! Unlike most bromeliads cryptanthuses don't require large pots and instead prefer being tucked away into small shallow containers where they grow into lush mounds of foliage with interesting colors and patterns ranging from red edged greens & yellows along with subtle pinstripes & streaks of pink & purple! These plants like medium-low light conditions such as those found near east facing windows plus regular misting of their foliage & plenty of ventilation; allowing air circulation around them will help maintain healthy growth & prevent problems such as fungal infections which may occur if kept too damp/wet for extended periods of time! Finally fertilizing cryptanthuses every couple weeks with diluted liquid fertilizer during active growth months helps ensure they stay vibrant & healthy while providing beauty within your terrarium environment!
6. Ficus elastica
Ficus elastica, commonly referred to as the rubber plant, is a popular choice for terrariums due to its wide availability and low-maintenance care requirements. The large dark green glossy leaves have an attractive waxy texture and can grow up to three feet in length. These plants prefer indirect light and require regular misting of the leaves but are quite tolerant of neglect. If given enough bright light and watered regularly, the rubber plant will produce small white flowers that may be followed by fig-like fruit.
7. Golden pothos
Golden pothos, also known as the devil's ivy or money plant, is an evergreen vine with thick glossy heart shaped leaves with beautiful golden-yellow variegations throughout. As they climb they produce aerial roots which often allow them to become self-supporting in a terrarium setup without needing extra help from a trellis. They require medium to bright indirect sunlight and should be kept moist but not overly wet so as not to rot the roots. Stems can easily be pruned back and propagated if desired with cuttings placed in water until new roots form before potting into soil.
8. Marimo moss ball
Marimo moss balls are unique and intriguing additions to any terrarium, providing interest both visually and biologically. These unassuming little spherical algae balls are native to Japan where their popularity has spread all over Asia and now throughout the world due to their amazing properties: they act like living filter systems by absorbing toxins from the water while releasing oxygen into it – making them ideal for aquatic tanks! They like cool temperatures between 16–20°C (61–68°F) with medium lighting levels although they do tolerate low lighting too. Regular maintenance is required by gently squeezing out any dirt or grime from time to time as well as swapping out old water for fresh every month or two.
9. Nerve plant
Nerve plants are easygoing plants perfect for novice gardeners who want some color in their terrariums without much fuss! Their striking mottled foliage featuring silvery veining on deep green leaves make them stand out amongst other common houseplants, especially when paired with other colorful choices in a terrarium display arrangement! Nerve plants prefer medium indirect light levels but will adapt to lower light conditions if needed – just keep away from direct sunlight because too much can damage their delicate foliage! Water regularly ensuring that no moisture remains on top of the soil after each watering session – this will prevent root rot which can quickly kill these plants so don’t let them dry out either!
Orchid is one of the most diverse families of flowering plants found around the world and makes an excellent addition to any terrarium setup due its various sizes, shapes, textures, colours, fragrances – plus it requires minimal care! Generally speaking these plants need bright indirect light such as near a window facing north or east – with temperatures ideally staying between 18–24°C (64–75°F). Keep humidity levels high by misting regularly or setting up a humidifier nearby – being sure not to overwater as this can cause root rot which could quickly kill your beloved orchid! With careful attention your orchid could last many years making it an ideal long-term addition to any indoor garden display!
11. Pilea peperomioides
Pilea peperomioides, commonly known as Chinese Money Plant, is an evergreen perennial plant that originates from the Yunnan province of China. It features compact rosettes of round, dark green leaves with a silver sheen. This low-maintenance houseplant is easy to grow and can also be propagated by stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Its dainty flowers have no scent and rarely appear indoors in terrariums. It prefers partial sun and moist soil but can adapt to darker environments too.
Pothos is an evergreen climbing vine native to Southeast Asia, the South Pacific Islands and parts of Australia. It’s recognized by its heart-shaped leaves with interesting patterned markings like gold flecks or variegation in shades of white, yellow, cream or green. As a terrarium plant it’s relatively low maintenance requiring moderate amounts of light and water for optimal growth; however it will still thrive in tricky terrarium conditions such as lower lighting levels or reduced humidity levels if needed. Pothos is great for removing toxins from the air making it a natural air-purifying plant!
13. Rex begonia
Rex begonia is a lush tropical plant native to South East Asia renowned for its bright foliage featuring intricate patterns and colors ranging from electrifying reds, oranges, yellows and purples through to pastel hues of pink and silver; this makes it one of the most popular plants for terrariums. While these plants may look delicate they are surprisingly hardy once settled into their environment; they prefer indirect sunshine or filtered light but regardless Rex begonias require regular watering (about once a week), but not over-watering which can cause root rot due to their shallow roots system.
14. Spider plant
Spider plants are one of the best plants if you’re looking for an easy care option when designing your own terrarium - they make excellent houseplants because of their tolerance for both bright light as well as shady corners! These plants have arching grasslike blades that bear mounds of white flower buds like clusters of spiders giving them their common name – spider plants! Their long stems produce offshoots called ‘babies’ which you can easily pop out of their parent pot, propagate in some fresh soil and create your own mini spider plant family!
15. Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant) is a semi-succulent native to Africa widely regarded as one of the toughest indoor plants around – this makes it perfect for beginners who may not be confident with caring for more fragile varieties! In addition its slow growing nature allows you to enjoy its lovely foliage without needing regular repotting - plus its high tolerance towards neglect means if you forget to water it occasionally (or quite frequently) there's no need to worry too much! Its glossy green leaves feature white veins while its robust underground rhizome stores water so even during dry periods ZZ Plant will stay alive and kicking - just give it some occasional TLC when needed and you'll be enjoying your ZZ Plant for years & years!
Tips for planting and maintaining a terrarium
1. Preparing the terrarium
A. Choose a suitable container
When selecting a suitable container for your terrarium, it is important to consider the size and shape of the plants you have chosen to include in your terrarium. Glass jars, fish tanks and other clear containers can provide excellent views of your terrarium; however, you may also consider ceramic dishes or shallow pans which are more suitable for certain types of plants. Ensure that any container used is free from cracks, chips and scratches that could cause damage to the plants inside.
B. Clean the container thoroughly
Cleaning your chosen container is an important step in preparing a terrarium as it will ensure that no contaminants are introduced into the terrarium and that no bacteria or fungi form on the inside of the container. Use warm soapy water and a soft brush to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior surfaces of your container. Rinse it with warm water until all traces of soap are gone then dry completely with a clean cloth or paper towel before continuing with preparation.
C. Select appropriate soil and substrate
Selecting an appropriate soil and substrate for your plants is essential for their growth and health within your terrarium. Peat moss, coconut coir, potting soil, sand or gravel can be used as substrates depending on what type of plant you choose to include in your terrarium. The pH level, drainage capabilities as well as nutrient availability must be considered when selecting soil or substrate; peat moss often provides excellent drainage while offering slightly acidic pH levels which some plants find beneficial while coconut coir offers buffered moisture retention capabilities along with good aeration properties but doesn't provide much acidity or nutrients to support some plants’ needs.
2. Planting the terrarium
A. Choose plants that are suitable
Before planting a terrarium, it is important to select the right plants. Choose plants that will thrive in low light conditions and high humidity levels. Research each plant to make sure its particular care requirements are met before adding it to the terrarium. Consider using tropical or desert plants for their vivid colors and interesting shapes.
B. Position plants for a balanced look
Place the taller plants towards the back of the terrarium and shorter plants towards the front in order to create a balanced look. This will ensure that all of the plants have enough room to spread out and grow within the confines of the terrarium. Make sure to leave enough open space between each plant so they can get light and air circulation.
C. Plant the plants according to their specific care requirements
Once you've chosen and arranged your plants, it's time to start planting them in their new home! Depending on what type of plant you selected, you may need to prepare specific soil mixtures ahead of time in order to provide adequate moisture, nutrition, aeration, structure, drainage, and pH levels. Be sure to follow all directions regarding fertilizing schedules and water requirements for each individual plant species as well as for general maintenance of your terrarium environment. After adding soil and gently packing it around each plant’s roots, use a spray bottle or watering can with a fine mist nozzle setting to lightly water them until evenly moistened throughout their root systems without over-watering or creating soggy spots that could cause root rot or other problems down the road.
3. Maintaining the terrarium
A. Monitor the plants' growth and health
Checking the terrarium regularly is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy and vibrant terrarium. This can include looking for signs of wilting or discolouration, and assessing whether the plants are growing at the intended rate. It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may affect the plants in the terrarium.
B. Water the plants as needed
Watering is an essential part of caring for a terrarium. It is important to ensure that the soil remains moist, but not saturated or overly dry. A good way to check this is by using your finger to poke into the soil and feel if it is still damp; if it’s too dry, water should be added gradually until it reaches optimal moisture levels. Additionally, when watering, try to avoid wetting leaves and flowers as this could lead to fungal issues such as mould or mildew.
C. Prune and trim the plants as needed
Pruning and trimming help keep plants healthy by removing dead leaves and branches, controlling their size and shape, enhancing air circulation to reduce disease risk, encouraging new growth and improving overall aesthetics. In addition to these points, pruning can also be used as a form of pest control; removing damaged or diseased parts of a plant can help prevent further spread of an infection throughout the entire terrarium.
D. Check for pests and diseases
Checking for pests and diseases is one of the most critical steps in maintaining a healthy terrarium. These can include small bugs such as aphids or mealybugs, large insects such as ants or beetles, fungal infections like powdery mildew or rust spots on leaves, bacterial diseases like root rot etc. If any pests or diseases are spotted in the terrarium it’s important to take appropriate action quickly in order to prevent any further damage being caused to other plants in the environment. Common solutions include treating affected areas with appropriate insecticides or fungicides (depending on what type of pest/disease has been identified) and pruning away any infected parts of plants so they don’t spread further throughout your terrarium ecosystem.
4. Enhancing the terrarium's environment
A. Add visual interest to the terrarium
Consider adding elements such as rocks, moss, and figurines to add visual interest to the terrarium. Rocks can be used as a substrate for growing moss and plants, as well as provide an attractive base layer in the terrarium. Moss can offer an air of tranquility and bring life to a terrarium when paired with small figurines or other décor items. The addition of these elements can make all the difference in creating an inviting environment that is both pleasing to the eye and beneficial for the ecosystem of your terrarium.
B. Improve drainage and prevent odors
Use a layer of gravel or activated carbon to help with drainage and prevent odors. A layer of gravel or activated carbon provides useful benefits beyond acting as a substrate for plants and décor. Gravel helps to create necessary drainage, allowing excess water to run off instead of pooling inside the terrarium. Activated carbon is also useful in preventing odors from accumulating inside the terrarium from decaying organic matter. Both materials are available in natural colors that will blend nicely with any existing décor and enhance the look of your terrarium's environment.
C. Find the appropriate lighting and temperature conditions.
Place the terrarium in a suitable location with appropriate lighting and temperature conditions. The location of your terrarium is just as important as its contents when it comes to maintaining an appropriate environment within your small ecosystem. When considering where you place your terrarium, it is important to choose a spot where it will be exposed to adequate indirect sunlight without being subjected to direct sunlight that could lead to overheating. Additionally, consider placing your terrarium near windows or other areas where it may benefit from natural temperature shifts occurring during different times of day; this will allow access to varying temperatures essential for certain plant species while avoiding extremes like cold drafts or direct hot air that could harm delicate plants or disrupt growth cycles.