Revitalize Your Space: The Power of Tropical Plants in Terrariums

tropical plants for terrariums

Creating a lush, vibrant terrarium? Tropical plants are your go-to. These plants love warm, humid environments, making them perfect for terrariums. Let’s dig into why tropical plants rock for terrariums and how to set up the perfect environment for them.

Terrarium Basics

Closed terrariums, aka mini-greenhouses, mimic natural environments inside a sealed container. This setup is a dream for moisture-loving plants, providing the perfect conditions for them to thrive. Think ferns, mosses, and orchids—plants that might struggle in your living room but flourish in a terrarium.

The magic of closed terrariums lies in their self-sustaining water cycle. Plants release moisture, which condenses on the container walls and drips back into the soil. This keeps the humidity high and reduces the need for constant watering.

Why Go Tropical?

Here’s why tropical plants are a hit in terrariums:

  1. Moisture Lovers: Plants like Delta Maidenhair, Black Velvet Alocasia, and Golden Pothos thrive in the humid environment of closed terrariums. They’re used to rainforest conditions, so they’ll feel right at home.

  2. Air Purifiers: Tropical plants naturally clean the air, reducing toxins like carbon dioxide. This makes your space healthier and fresher.

  3. Eye Candy: With their vibrant colors and unique shapes, tropical plants turn your terrarium into a mini jungle paradise.

When picking tropical plants, think about their growth habits, light needs, and how they get along with other plants. For closed terrariums, ferns, mosses, and orchids are great. For open terrariums, which are less humid, try succulents and small tropical plants.

Check out our articles on moss for terrariumssucculent plants for terrariumscarnivorous plants for terrariumsferns for terrariums, and miniature plants for terrariums for more ideas.

Picking the Right Plants

Choosing the right plants is key to a thriving terrarium. Here’s a quick guide for both closed and open setups.

Best Plants for Closed Terrariums

Closed terrariums are perfect for plants that love humidity. Here are some top picks:

Plant Name Description
Delta Maidenhair
Delicate fern with lacy fronds
Black Velvet Alocasia
Dark leaves with striking veins
Golden Pothos
Vining plant with heart-shaped leaves

These plants thrive in moist environments and add lush greenery to your terrarium.

Best Plants for Open Terrariums

Open terrariums don’t hold as much humidity, but many tropical plants still do well. Try these:

Plant Name Description
Compact with attractive foliage
Lush, carpet-like appearance
Nerve Plants
Colorful leaves with intricate veins
Various types adapt well
Polka Dot Plants
Vibrant, dotted leaves

These plants can handle slightly drier conditions and still look great.

Setting Up Your Terrarium

To keep your tropical plants happy, you need the right setup, including proper lighting and humidity.


Most tropical plants love bright, indirect light. Place your terrarium near a window with filtered sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight—it can overheat and damage the plants.

If natural light is scarce, use LED grow lights or fluorescent lights designed for plants. Position them at a suitable distance to provide enough light without burning the plants.


High humidity is crucial for tropical plants. Closed terrariums naturally maintain high humidity, perfect for moisture-loving plants like ferns and orchids.

Keep your terrarium in a room with temperatures between 60-85°F and humidity above 60%. If humidity drops, mist the plants or place a small dish of water nearby.

Different plants have different humidity needs. Research your plants to ensure they get the right conditions.

Plant Care Tips

Keeping your tropical plants healthy involves proper fertilization, pruning, and maintenance.


Fertilize your plants to keep them strong and vibrant. Use slow-release pellets like Osmocote Plus or granulated fertilizers like Sea Grow. Apply near the roots and adjust the concentration based on your plants’ needs.

Pruning and Maintenance

  • Remove dead leaves: Regularly check for and remove dead or yellowing leaves.
  • Trim overgrowth: Keep plants in check by trimming overgrown branches.
  • Monitor for pests: Watch for pests and diseases, and address issues promptly.

Customizing Your Terrarium

Make your terrarium unique by adding decorative elements like moss, rocks, and small figurines. Choose a clear glass or plastic container for optimal visibility and ensure it has good drainage.

Step-by-Step Setup

  1. Base Layer: Start with gravel or decorative stones for drainage.
  2. Potting Mix: Add a well-draining potting mix.
  3. Planting: Place your plants, considering their growth habits and needs.
  4. Focal Point: Add a taller plant or decorative element for visual interest.
  5. Watering: Lightly water to settle the soil.

Enhance your terrarium with decorative stones, twigs, or miniatures to create a stunning mini-garden.

By following these tips, you’ll create a beautiful tropical terrarium that brings a touch of nature into your space. Enjoy your green oasis!

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