8 Best Plants for Closed Terrariums

If you want a surefire way to pick the right plants for an ecosystem that can’t get any air in or out, closed terrarium plants might be the best choice for you.

This is a great place for these kinds of plants to grow, and I’m here to give you all the information you need to start your next build.

This article will teach you about the benefits of closed terrarium plants, the best plants for them, how to set up and take care of your terrarium, and some clever ways to keep your plants alive and happy.

Enclosed terrariums are miniature self-sustaining ecosystems that allow you to have a little garden under glass Choosing the right plants is key to success with closed terrariums. The best plants can thrive in the warm, humid environment with limited ventilation

Here are 8 great options to consider for planting enclosed terrariums:

1. Rex Begonia

With colorful, intricately patterned leaves, rex begonias are one of the most popular terrarium plants. They come in a huge range of leaf shapes, textures, and colors like silver, pink, red, purple, or green. Rex begonias do well in the warm, humid conditions and indirect light. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings.

2. Peperomia

Over 1000 species of peperomia exist, many with adorable round, succulent-like leaves. They stay compact and lush in enclosure’s high humidity. Water when the soil is just dry to the touch. Green or variegated cultivars work well. Reddish varieties may lose color without enough light

3. Nerve Plant

Nerve plants (Fittonia albivenis) have gorgeous vein-like patterns on their leaves and come in pink, red, green, or white-variegated forms. Native to tropical rainforests, they thrive in warm, humid terrariums with low to medium light. Allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings.

4. Polka Dot Plant

The splashy spotted foliage of polka dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya) adds dramatic pops of color to terrariums. Their vivid pink, white, red or purple leaves contrast beautifully with other plants. Polka dots need high humidity, moisture-retentive soil, and bright indirect light.

5. Asian Pitcher Plant

For something unique, consider adding an Asian pitcher plant (Nepenthes ampullaria). Their modified pitcher-shaped leaves collect water and trap insects! Pitcher plants need very humid conditions with good air flow, perfect for open terrariums. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged.

6. Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Delicate rabbit foot ferns (Davallia fejeensis) have fluffy rhizomes that look like furry rabbit feet! Their lacy fronds do well in the moist environment of closed terrariums with low to medium indirect light. Allow the soil to dry out moderately between waterings.

7. Cryptanthus ‘Earth Star’

Earth star cryptanthus features dramatic ribbed, pink-striped foliage. As epiphytes, cryptanthus thrive mounted on driftwood or bark in high humidity with medium to bright light. Mist occasionally and keep the roots moist but not soaked.

8. Crested Java Fern

Aquatic ferns like java fern add lush greenery. Their wavy rippled leaves look almost prehistoric. Java ferns are epiphytic so simply anchor the roots to driftwood or rocks. Keep them misted and the rhizome out of standing water. Low to medium light is ideal.

When planting a closed terrarium, choose 2-3 small plants with different colors, textures, and growth habits to create an attractive miniature world under glass. Vary heights, leaf shapes and foliage colors for visual interest. With the right plants and care, a closed terrarium can thrive for years!

Factors to Consider When Selecting Plants

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting plants for your enclosed terrarium:

  • Humidity – Choose tropical plants that thrive in very high, near 100% humidity levels. Avoid arid climate plants like cacti and succulents that could rot.

  • Light – Most terrarium plants do best in bright indirect light, with a few that can tolerate lower light conditions. Avoid full sun which could cook plants.

  • Watering – Select plants with similar watering needs, favoring those that like consistently moist but not soggy soil. Install a drainage layer at the bottom.

  • Size – Opt for plants that will stay small and compact as they grow. Pick petite varieties suitable for tight spaces.

  • Growth speed – Mix fast and slow growing plants. Aggressive growers like pothos may outcompete slower growing ones over time.

  • Air circulation – Include a small fan or vent holes to prevent stagnant dead air if sealing the terrarium long term.

By taking these factors into account, you can create a balanced enclosed ecosystem where selected plants will thrive!

Miniature Gardens Under Glass: Benefits of Terrariums

Terrariums are mini indoor gardens under glass. They have many benefits:

  • Add natural beauty without taking up much space. Perfect for small apartments.
  • Create a decorative, self-contained world inside the glass.
  • Provide a habitat for tropical plants not hardy outdoors in your climate.
  • Let you easily control conditions like humidity and light levels.
  • Allow close-up viewing of tiny plants and details.
  • Can be fully sealed to be self-sustaining for years in some cases.
  • Require less maintenance than standard houseplants.
  • Help purify indoor air.
  • Make an educational and fun project for kids and adults.
  • Variety of sizes from desk nano-terrariums to large display cases.
  • Can be quite affordable to put together. Many materials easily reused.

Terrariums are an enjoyable way to have a living ecosystem in your home or office. With good plant choices and care, they can thrive for years!

Troubleshooting Common Terrarium Problems

Enclosed terrariums create a challenging growing environment. Here are some common issues and solutions:

Problem: Condensation coats walls, fungus grows on plants.

Solution: Increase ventilation, leave terrarium open to air out periodically.

Problem: Mold in soil, plants decline.

Solution: Allow more time between waterings and use well-draining soil.

Problem: Plants outgrow space or crowd each other.

Solution: Prune and trim plants. Remove overgrown ones and restart.

Problem: Plants rot or wilt from excessive moisture.

Solution: Pick plants suited to drier conditions. Install ventilation holes.

Problem: Plants dry out too quickly.

Solution: Mist more frequently, use plants preferring moist soil, or cover some ventilation holes.

With some adjustments, you can achieve the right balance in a terrarium. Think of it as a learning process!

Miniature Garden Inspiration

For inspiration, here are just a few creative ways to use terrariums:

  • Showcase tiny succulents in a desert-themed enclosure.

  • Build a tropical oasis with mosses and ferns.

  • Make a Victorian-style terrarium using ornate glass and peperomias.

  • Bottle old glass containers like apothecary jars or cookie jars.

  • Arrange a zen meditation terrarium with sand, rocks and air plants.

  • Craft a woodland wonderland with mini orchids and ficuses.

  • Use terrariums as centerpieces or decorative accents.

  • Make living art with colorful nerve plants and polka dot plants.

With imagination and the right plant choices, you can create living art and decor. The possibilities with terrariums are endless!

Best Types of Closed Terrarium Plants

Some of the most popular plants for closed terrariums include tropical plants, moss, miniature ferns, orchids, and vines. Each of these plants is unique and requires different levels of care. Your closed terrarium plants will last for years if you set them up right and take care of them.

Vines For Closed Terrariums

Vining plants are great for closed terrariums because they can add color and texture to any space that is closed off. Not only that, but they can also help keep temperatures stable and circulate fresh air.

This is a closed terrarium. Philodendrons, Pothos, and English Ivy are some of the best vining plants to use there. These are hardy, easy-to-care-for plants that require limited light and will create stunning greenery in any terrarium.

Baby Tears is an ideal choice for a closed terrarium plant. This plant is a low–growing species that can form an attractive and dense mat. Its tiny, evergreen leaves are a bright, emerald green color and are reversibly oval in shape.

The Baby Tears plant is perfect for closed terrariums because it does well in the higher humidity and lower light conditions of these environments and can also handle some neglect.

It gives terrariums a nice texture and color, and because it doesn’t grow very tall, it’s great for layering with other plants or using as a carpet plant.

The Radiator Plant is a species of plant in the Piperaceae family. Its small size and low light needs make it a great choice for closed terrariums.

It has dark green leaves that are often striped with silver or red. It can grow up to 8 inches tall, which makes it perfect for small terrariums.

Radiator plants like temperatures between 65% and 80% of their original temperature and a maximum humidity of 60%, so they do well in many terrariums. They will also survive in lower light and need only occasional watering.

Lastly, because they don’t grow very fast, they are great for the bottom of your terrarium and will help make it a lush, rich environment.

As a plant that can do well in damp and dim conditions, Heartleaf Philodendron is a great choice for closed terrariums.

This vine is evergreen and grows very quickly. It can reach 6–8 feet long or even longer! Its heart-shaped, shiny green leaves look beautiful in any closed terrarium.

Heartleaf Philodendron is also known for cleaning the air, so it’s a great choice if your terrarium doesn’t get much air flow. When it comes to caring, this plant requires moderate amounts of water and moist soil.

This is why closed terrariums are the perfect environment to ensure that the Philodendron stays healthy and happy!

Trailing Jade is an ideal choice of plant for closed terrariums. With bright green and lime–yellow foliage, Trailing Jade is a great addition to any enclosed terrarium. This plant is a low-maintenance, slow-growing succulent that has compact and succulent leaves.

It can bring the terrarium to life without taking away from other decorations. Trailing Jade is a great humidity-loving plant and prefers bright, filtered indirect sunlight.

In a closed terrarium, the plant should be misted often and only watered when the soil is dry for the best results. With the right care, it will steadily grow with length and gracefully trail down out of the terrarium.

The Polka Dot Plant does very well in low light and damp conditions, making it a great choice for closed terrariums.

The plant originates from Madagascar and has attractive green leaves with unique pink and white spotted markings. The plant can get up to 30 cm tall. For best growth, feed it often and put it somewhere with indirect sunlight.

The Polka Dot Plant is pretty easy to take care of, and it does well in closed terrariums because it doesn’t need a lot of water or light.

The plant is also pretty, and its leaves will give your terrarium some fun and color.

Ficus pumila, or creeping fig, is an easy-to-take-care-of evergreen perennial vine with glossy green leaves that look like a carpet when you look at them.

It is an ideal choice for closed terrariums because of its unique flame–like trailing or climbing stems.

This plant not only looks lush and colorful, but it can also handle shade and drought, making it low-maintenance and perfect for a closed terrarium that needs little care.

Creeping Fig is a great plant for adding style and texture to any terrarium. It’s also great for making a cozy, green atmosphere.

Hedera helix, or English ivy, is a small evergreen vine that grows well in closed terrariums.

It is a very hardy and resilient plant and is known for its glossy, dark green foliage. When grown outside, its arching stems can grow up to 80 feet long, but they will stay small in a terrarium.

Its leaves display interesting variegation, ranging from white, green, and yellow, creating an eye–catching color variation. Its ability to clean the air makes it a great addition to a terrarium. The air inside will benefit from its natural filtering abilities.

English ivy is easy to take care of because it only needs sun and a little water. It can also grow well in almost any environment, which makes it a great choice for a closed terrarium.

Devil’s Ivy is a robust climbing evergreen tropical vine, native to warm moist climates. It is a great choice for closed terrariums because it is easy to take care of and can grow in warm, damp places.

With high humidity, its leaves develop a glossy sheen and become more vibrant in coloration. It also acts to remove toxins, making it great for air purification.

Its trailing stems and heart–shaped leaves create a lush vibrant filler for creating a beautiful terrarium display. Its fast growth makes it an important evergreen backdrop for low-light terrariums.

The Aluminum Plant is an evergreen perennial plant in the family Urticaceae that is easy to take care of and looks great in closed terrariums.

With its flower-like leaves and silver–scalloped edges that catch the light and sparkle, this tropical evergreen is one of a kind.

Its classic arrowhead–shaped leaves are glossy green with a lovely silvery aluminum sheen. It grows best in moderate humid conditions in bright, indirect light and requires well–drained, moist soil to grow.

Aluminum Plant does well in closed terrariums because they are humid, and its glossy leaves make the terrarium look nice. It is also resistant to many garden pests.

Creeping Jenny is an excellent choice for closed terrariums. This trailing houseplant is native to Europe and features small round, velvety leaves and roots that form nodules.

Creeping Jenny is one of a kind because it can grow in low light and water. This makes it perfect for closed terrariums.

It also grows quickly and doesn’t need much care, making it a great choice if you want to quickly fill up your terrarium.

It can instantly bring life to any terrarium with its bright colors—deep green leaves and bright yellow flowers.

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