From Novice to Pro: Essential Terrarium Plants for Beginners

terrarium plants for beginners

Picking plants for your terrarium? It’s all about knowing what each plant needs and the kind of terrarium you have. Terrarium plants fall into two main groups: open terrarium plants and closed terrarium plants. Let’s break it down.

Open Terrarium Plants

Open terrariums are perfect for plants that like it dry and sunny. These plants need lots of light and good airflow. The open setup lets moisture escape quickly, keeping things dry. Here are some popular choices:

  • Succulents: Think aloe vera or echeveria. These guys love dry conditions.
  • Carnivorous Plants: Venus flytraps or pitcher plants need a bit more humidity but still prefer it drier than closed terrariums.
  • Miniature Plants: Mini cacti or small grasses add a touch of green without needing much humidity.

Want more plant ideas? Check out our articles on succulent plants for terrariums and carnivorous plants for terrariums.

Closed Terrarium Plants

Closed terrariums are like tiny rainforests. They need small, tropical plants that love humidity. Here are some top picks:

  • Ferns: Maidenhair ferns or button ferns thrive in moist, humid conditions.
  • Tropical Plants: Fittonia (nerve plants) or syngonium have vibrant leaves and love the humidity.
  • Moss: Adds a lush, carpet-like look and thrives in the moisture-rich environment.

For more plant ideas, check out our articles on best plants for closed terrariums and tropical plants for terrariums.

When picking plants, think about their growth habits, light needs, and humidity preferences. Match them to the right terrarium type, and you’ll have a thriving, beautiful mini-ecosystem. For more on terrarium basics, container choices, and care tips, keep reading.

Best Plants for Closed Terrariums

Closed terrariums need the right plants to create a lush, self-contained environment. Let’s look at two types of plants that work well: small-leafed plants and tropical species.

Small-Leafed Plant Recommendations

Small-leafed plants are great because they’re easy to trim and you can fit more in a small space. They add depth and texture. Here are some popular ones:

Plant Name Common Name
Nerve Plant
Callisia repens
Turtle Vine
Aluminum Plant

These plants are adaptable and easy to care for, making them perfect for beginners. They thrive in the humid environment of closed terrariums and bring vibrant colors and unique foliage patterns. For more options, check out our article on indoor plants for terrariums.

Tropical Plant Species

Closed terrariums mimic tropical habitats, so tropical plants are a natural fit. Here are some recommended ones:

Plant Name Common Name
Various Species
Carnivorous Plants
Various Species
Air Plants

These plants need high humidity to thrive and bring exotic beauty to your terrarium. For more on ferns, check out our article on ferns for terrariums.

Choose plants with similar care needs and growth rates to keep your terrarium balanced. Avoid fast-growers that might outgrow the space quickly. With the right plants, you can create a stunning, low-maintenance mini-garden.

Terrarium Plants for Beginners

New to terrarium gardening? Here are some easy-to-care-for plants:

Nerve Plants (Fittonia)

Nerve Plants are popular for their striking colors and contrasting veins. They’re easy to care for and add a vibrant touch. They “faint” when they need water and perk up after a drink, making them ideal for beginners.


Syngonium comes in bold colors and funky leaf shapes. It’s visually appealing and easy to care for, making it a terrarium superstar.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos is a hardy plant that thrives in humid conditions. It has heart-shaped leaves and comes in various colors. It’s versatile and perfect for beginners.


Moss is a classic terrarium plant that thrives in humidity. It doesn’t need roots and can be placed on soil or rocks. Moss adds lush green vibrancy and comes in different species for various textures.

By choosing these beginner-friendly plants, you can create a thriving mini-garden. Consider each plant’s needs, like watering and light, to keep them happy. For more plant options, check out our articles on succulent plants for terrariumscarnivorous plants for terrariumsferns for terrariums, and miniature plants for terrariums.

Terrarium Basics

Before you start, let’s cover the basics of creating and maintaining a terrarium.

Terrarium Ecosystem Overview

A terrarium is a sealed environment where plants can thrive with little external help. It’s like a mini-ecosystem, recycling water and requiring minimal maintenance.

Container Selection

Choose a transparent container to let light in. Glass is common, but any clear, clean material works. The container should be sealed to create a humid environment, but open terrariums need good airflow to prevent moisture buildup.

Layers in a Terrarium

Layers are crucial for a healthy terrarium. Start with a drainage layer (LECA, sand, or gravel) to prevent waterlogging. Next, add a substrate layer (potting mix or tropical substrate) for plant roots. These layers help maintain a balanced ecosystem.

By understanding these basics, you can set up a thriving terrarium. Now, let’s look at some recommended plants for beginners.

Terrarium Care Tips

Proper care is key to a healthy terrarium. Here’s what you need to know:

Watering Guidelines

Watering depends on the type of terrarium and plants. Open terrariums need weekly watering, while closed ones may only need it every 4-6 months. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Use a gentle stream or spray bottle.

Fertilization and Maintenance

Terrarium plants usually don’t need fertilization. Focus on removing yellowing leaves and cleaning the container. Remove dead plants to prevent disease.

Light Requirements

Terrariums need bright but indirect light. If natural light is limited, use a 100-watt bulb for 16-18 hours a day. Too much direct sunlight can overheat and damage plants.

Follow these tips to keep your terrarium thriving. Water according to needs, avoid over-fertilization, and provide the right light. With proper care, your terrarium will bring joy for years.

Terrarium Kits for Beginners

Terrarium kits make it easy to start your own mini-garden. Here are some options:

DIY Terrarium Kit Options

DIY kits include everything you need to create a terrarium from scratch. They usually come with a glass container, soil, rocks, activated charcoal, and decorative elements. You get to choose the plants and customize the design.

Live Plant Kit Considerations

Live plant kits are convenient and include live plants along with materials. They’re perfect for beginners who want everything bundled together. These kits often feature plants that thrive in terrariums, like mosses, ferns, or mini plants.

Availability and Delivery Information

Check availability and delivery options when buying a kit. Some kits are only available for local pickup or delivery. If you can’t find a local supplier, look for online retailers that ship to your location.

Terrarium kits are a great way to start your terrarium journey. Whether you choose a DIY kit or a live plant kit, these options make it easy to create a thriving mini-garden. Enjoy the process and follow the care guidelines for long-lasting beauty.

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