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The 11 best plants to grow in your terrarium

The 11 best plants to grow in your terrarium
Posted at 10:30 AM, Feb 14, 2024

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Terrariums are little indoor gardens in a glass jar or other container, and they happen to be all the rage. All you need to create one is a can-do attitude and the ability to follow some simple step-by-step instructions. You can turn any glass container and some potting soil into a beautiful miniature centerpiece with a fancy name.

So what are the best plants for a terrarium? First, it is important to know the plants you choose all have the same watering needs.

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In general, terrarium plants should be petite. You don’t want them to touch the sides of your container. They also need to tolerate humidity and low, indirect light. (You can also take all the difficulty out of the process by getting a DIY Terrarium Kit from The Sill or Cute Farm on Amazon.)

Or, create your own. Drop in your drainage layers (popular options include gravel, activated charcoal and sheet moss), then add soil made specifically for terrariums, like this option from Soil Sunrise.

Woman places plants in glass terrarium

Here are some plants to consider when planting your own terrarium.

1. Friendship Plant

friendship plant

$21.64 at Amazon

Moon Valley friendship plants (Pilea involucrata) grow to 12 inches tall and have distinct leaves with deep craters. They are a good choice for terrariums because friendship plants prefer moist soil and full shade to partial sun.

2. East Indian Holly Fern

East Indian holly fern

$8.99 at Amazon

These ferns, also called Arachniodes simplicior, enjoy the moist potting mix and high humidity found inside a terrarium. Their glossy leaves shine behind the glass, creating texture and visual interest.

3. Watermelon Peperomia

watermelon peperomia plant
Garden Goods Direct

$19.95 at Garden Goods Direct

Watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) plants feature green and silver variegated leaves, resembling watermelon skin. These plants enjoy moist conditions and grow up to 8 inches tall, making them ideal for terrarium life.

4. Starfish Flower Cactus

huernia starfish cactus

$32.18 at Wayfair

Star-shaped starfish cactuses in the Huernia genus like the warm, sheltered conditions of terrariums. They have stunning strap-like leaves that change color depending on the light and a slow-growing nature.

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5. Nerve Plant

Nerve plant

$7 at Amazon

The nerve plant is a tropical plant in the Fittonia genus with beautifully patterned leaves in white, burgundy and green. It thrives under the moist, warm air of a terrarium and will only reach 12 inches when fully mature.

6. Baby Tears Plant

baby tears plant

$21.57 (was $25.09) at Amazon

These plants, Soleirolia soleirolii, have delicate rounded leaves and love high humidity and low light. Use their low-growing, carpeting nature as a good base for other plants in your terrarium. Baby tears plants will stay small — only 12 inches tall — making them easy to tuck into any terrarium.

7. Golden Clubmoss

golden club moss

$10.40 at Amazon

Even though golden clubmoss (Selaginella kraussiana Aurea) reaches only 6 inches in height, it likes to spread, so it’s important to keep it trimmed inside a terrarium. The light green foliage provides a bright pop of color amidst darker-color plants.

8. Spiderwort

spiderwort plant

$13.95 at Burpee

Spiderwort plants (Tradescantia virginiana) have long stems with spade-like leaves. Once upon a time, a spiderwort lasted at least 53 years in the same jar. Given this, we’d say the evidence that spiderwort performs well in glass terrariums is quite strong.

9. Air Plant

air plants in glass

$17.87 (12-pack) at Amazon

Interested in an air plant terrarium? These amazing plants in the Tillandsia genus don’t even require soil; they get all of the water and nutrients they need through their specialized leaves. When they bloom, they have stunning, funnel-like flowers top slender, pale green leaves. They make a different, yet great terrarium choice.

10. African Violet

african violet

$24.99 (was $29.99) at Amazon

Delicate African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) produce blooms in blue, pink, purple and white. They are ideal for terrarium life because they grow from a mere inch to 6 inches tall and like moist soil.

11. Strawberry Begonia

strawberry begonia

$29.45 at Amazon

Red vertical stalks and flowers lend the Saxifraga stolonifera plants the nickname of strawberry begonias. Reaching a max height of 8 inches, this sweet plant offers a pop of color even when the flowers are not in bloom.

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