You Had Me at Gardening

Best 10 terrarium plants to grow in your home

Did you ever wish for a green corner in your house or why not, your office? Start now, with these 10 terrarium plants you can grow at home!

Terrarium Plants: Prepare Your Terrarium

terrarium

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A terrarium is, as its name may suggest, an earth-filled version of an aquarium. It’s a transparent, usually glass container with a layer of soil and plants. Terrariums can be open, closed, or sealed, but we will talk about the open version here. 

No matter what plants you plan to put in it, a terrarium needs well-draining soil and a draining layer, because it has no draining holes. Pick your container and fill it with about an inch of gravel, pebbles, sea glass, or another similar loose layer, then cover that with an inch of charcoal. You can use horticultural charcoal from your local plant store or any wood-based BBQ charcoal available.

Add 2-3 inches of soil, depending on the plants you want to grow in your terrarium, add plants and decorate! Check out this list of potting soils for more advice on picking the best one! 

How To Take Care Of Terrarium Plants

Mix and match your terrarium plants based on their preferences! Like potted plants, terrarium plants need water, light, and a specific temperature, but they are much easier to overwater. I recommend only watering your terrarium once the soil is dry and you don’t see misting on the sides in the lower part, where the rocks are. If you feel your plants are not getting enough moisture, mist the leaves once they are out of direct sunlight.

Too much water can lead to root rot, so be careful! Ideally, place your terrarium in a well-lit spot, away from direct sunlight, unless your plants actually need shade or sun.

Best Terrarium Plants

terrarium plants

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Take a look at this list and pick your favorite open or closed terrarium plants!

1. Succulents

succulents and cacti

Succulents make great open terrarium plants and they have so much variety you can make a terrarium only for them. Put them in a well-lit, warm place, and watch them thrive! Take a look at these succulents and pick your favorites! Your glass bowl probably replicates the ideal environment for succulents anyway, so take care of them according to this guide.

2. Mosses

terrarium plants

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Mosses prefer moist, shady places and need very little to no care. This is why they are ideal closed terrarium plants. Use them as lone plants in a tiny terrarium or as decoration for bigger ones. You can even try sealing the container and watch the little ecosystem grow!

3. Spices

terrarium plants

You can have a spices corner and instead of having each in a little pot, put them all together. Thyme and rosemary both need rocky soil and good light, and mint grows in any environment, so make your own miniature herb garden in a terrarium! Here are more tips on how to grow rosemary indoors.

4. Air plants

terrarium plants

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Air plants can be a great addition to pretty much any open, well-lit terrarium, and since they don’t need soil to grow, you can use them to add layers and raise a spot in your micro landscape. Let them curl their roots around a branch or place them in a nook between two stones. Don’t forget to water them and take a look at this guide for more tips on how to take care of air plants!

5. Orchids

orchids

Orchids have the same advantage as air plants: they climb. They like their roots at least partly exposed to air, so have them twist around stumps and branches. Miniature orchids for smaller spaces can be found at gardening stores, along with orchid specific fertilizer, which they will need. Orchids, however, are more pretentious so keep them away from direct sunlight, drafts, or heaters and make sure their roots have enough moisture without overwatering!

6. Peperomia

Black plant - peperomia

This one is also great for open as well as closed terrariums and mixes well with orchids since they need the same soil. Keep in a spot with plenty of light but no direct sunlight and water scarcely. Take advantage of its unique dark leaves and match it with light-colored flowering orchids. For more tips on how to take care of the peperomia plant, check out this comprehensive beginner’s guide!

Pro tip: If you want to make a single closed terrarium, but have plants with different light requirements, partially cover or paint the side of the container facing the light source. Let the shade plants grow there and place the terrarium plants that prefer more light on the other side.

7. Oxalis triangularis (purple or fake shamrock)

oxalis

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Oxalis triangularis is an edible plant that grows pretty much anywhere it finds moist soil and shade. This makes it a great choice for closed terrariums and it will thrive alongside moss, mushrooms, and peperomia. In a darker terrarium it will grow long, spidery stems with a few leaves, while in a lighter one it will develop into a lush bush. Stay tuned for a guide on how to take care of it, coming very soon!

8. Mushrooms

terrarium

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If you picked a log from a nearby forest to decorate your terrarium and didn’t clean it, chances are it will start growing mushrooms on its own. Do not touch or eat those mushrooms! Clean any decorations you picked from the forest by pouring boiling water over them to avoid crossing moshrooms! Once the leaves and branches are spore-free, you can add edible kinds to your closed terrarium by buying spores or grow kits from your local gardening store.

Use old coffee grounds to add nutrients to the soil and provide a good environment for spores to grow the next generation of mushrooms. Don’t overdo it, though, as coffee grounds are acidic and too much can harm the plants.

9. Ferns

Boston Fern Plant

Ferns do well in shady, low light areas so they are perfect for your closed terrarium. They prefer rich soil and plenty of water, as they are native to forests, but there are some sturdy types that can resist pretty much any environment.

Pro tip: Plant the fern complete with a plastic pot and leave 1/2 inch of it poking above the soil level. Use stones and wood chips to mask it and add fertilizer and water to that pot more often than you do the rest of the terrarium.

10. Spider plant

spider plant

Spider plants do well in semi-shady to well-lit places, away from direct sunlight, but they are sturdy and adaptable so they do great in both open and closed terrariums. It needs rich soil so your “mini forest” closed terrarium should suit it well. For more information about spider plants and how to take care of them, check out this guide!

Final thoughts 

Now go and have fun designing your terrarium! Let me know how it turned out in the comment section below and tell me which of these 10 terrarium plants you used and how they did.

kate.may@youhadmeatgardening.com'
About the Author - Kate May

Hello! I’m Kate, your friendly neighbourhood plant parent with a passion for every green leaf under the sun (and some red or purple, why not?). I love gardening, the peace that comes with working in the earth and the joy of growing things. Over the years I gathered knowledge about both domestic and wild plants, how they grow and their uses. Here I combine my passion for writing with my love for gardening and bring you tips, tricks and cool ideas!

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