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10 Great Terrarium Plants

Easy to grow and gorgeous


Choosing terrarium plants an be difficult, because there are lots of amazing plants that will look great and thrive in terrariums. The terrarium plants listed here are so easy to grow, even a complete novice or a convicted plant serial killer can have success. In a closed terrarium, plants almost never need water and will grow happily for years with minimal care. Make sure to buy plants that are small enough to fit into your terrarium jar, preferably without touching the sides. A good way to make sure they'll fit is to bring your jar with you to the nursery or store.

Artillery Fern

terrarium plant picture of an artillery fern
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Artillery ferns aren't actually ferns at all, they are a members of the Pilea family. Artillery ferns are delicate and have a lovely, interesting texture. They like medium or bright indirect light and a warm humid environment, which is perfect for a terrarium. They are easy to grow and should thrive with minimal care.

They are called Artillery ferns because they shoot their seeds with a popping sound - sometimes quite a distance.

Aluminum Plant

terrarium plant picture
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Aluminum plant, a native of Vietnam, likes low to medium light and warm temperatures. The leaves have lovely, almost iridescent white markings. This plant grows fairly quickly, so you may have to pinch it back occasionally. Aluminum plant is easy to root, just by taking a small cutting and planting it in moist soil.  

Polka Dot Plant or Hypoestes

terrarium plant picture of polka dot plant or Hypoestes
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

I love polka dot plants. They come in pink, red and silver varieties. They are are cheerful and easy to take care of. They like bright, indirect light and may need to be pinched back if they get too tall or start to get spindly.

Red-Veined Prayer Plant or Maranta

terrarium plant picture of Red-Veined prayer plant, or Maranta leuconeura erythroneura
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Red-Veined prayer plant, or Maranta leuconeura erythroneura is a stunning plant. Prayer plants came by their name because they fold up their leaves at night, as if in prayer. Prayer plants prefer medium, indirect light and will let you know if they're not getting enough of it, because the leaves will stay folded even during the daytime.

Prayer plants like to be warm, so don't keep your terrarium next to a cold window or in a cold draft.

Golden Pothos Vine

terrarium plant picture of golden Pothos Vine
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

While golden pothos vine can look pedestrian as a houseplant, it can look fabulous in a terrarium. Golden pothos has a well-deserved reputation as a bulletproof, iindestructible houseplant, which means that is even more true in the controlled environment of a terrarium. Be careful not to over-water this plant and keep in in bright indirect light. Prune it back regularly so it doesn't become unruly and your pothos should look good for years. Easy to propagate by rooting in stems in water.


terrarium plant picture of peperomia caperata
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

There are about a 1000 peperomia cultivars. This is the common peperomia caperata, which can either have all green leaves or leaves that are blushed with some red. This slow grower does beautifully in terrariums, prefering low to bright indirect light. Peperomia sometimes produce cool-looking flower spikes.

Baby's Tears

terrarium plant picture of baby's tears
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Baby's tears is a small plant with a lot of common names. It is called, angel's tears, mind-your-own-business, peace-in-the-home, Pollyanna vine, mother of thousands and the Corsican's curse. The curse may be referring that given the right conditions, baby's tears can be seriously invasive, taking over whole gardens. In a terrarium, it will behave itself quite well, and is a lovely, low-growing plant that prefers bright light and consistent moisture.



Button Fern

terrarium plant picture of a button fern
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

There is something about a small button fern that is terrifically apealing. They are slightly mop-headed, but also kind of delicate and elegant at the same time. Button ferns like bright filtered light and consistent moist conditions - perfect for a terrarium.

Creeping Fig or Ficus Primula

terrarium plant picture of creeping fig
Photograph © Kerry Michaels
Creeping fig, with its small, variegated heart-shaped leaves, makes a lovely addition to almost any terrarium. It is a perennial climbing vine, so can be trained to creep up structures, which could be interesting to try in a large terrarium. Creeping fig prefers bright indirect light but will tolerate shade. You can easily propagate this plant by rooting a branch cutting in water.


terrarium plant picture croton, gold dust
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Crotons can really add bling to your terrariums. Their shiny, thick leaves come in a huge array of amazing colors and shapes. This 'Gold Dust,' croton is one of the narrow leaved varieties. Crotons like bright light, and are not well known as terrarium plants, but I've had good success, particularly growing them in open jars.

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