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19 Best Terrarium Plants

One of the most common questions for terrarium enthusiasts is "what are the best plants for a terrarium?" Terrarium containers can support a variety of micro environments for plants. A low open-top dish could make a wonderful succulent garden. A large lidded fishbowl would be round enough to support a fluffy fern while trapping moisture with a lid.

Long story short: a lot of the "fun" of making a terrarium is some trial and error; you may need to try a few different plants out in your terrarium before you find the right plant for your container.

Where to start? Here is a list of frequently recommended plants for terrariums.

Saintpaulia ionantha 'Pink Amiss' African Violet
Saintpaulia ionantha 'Pink Amiss', by
Kor!An (Корзун Андрей)

African Violets
African Violets have a reputation for being finicky, but also may be a plant suited for terrarium life. Proceed with caution and follow all instructions for care of violets.

Soleirolia soleirolii leaf
Soleirolia soleirolii leaf,
by Hugo.arg

Baby's Tears or Soleirolia
A small plant with delicate leaves on short stocks. Baby's Tears can become invasive given proper growing conditions- you may need to pinch it off.

Begonia plants in full bloom
Begonia plants in full bloom,
by Raffi Kojian

Begonias are a diverse group of tropical flowers that love humid and moist conditions, and some of them prefer low light as well. Look for compact varieties or plan on pruning.

Bromeliad Terarium
Bromeliad Terarium,
by Steve Falconi

Small bromeliads can thrive in humid terrariums.

Lycopodiella cernua Club Moss
Lycopodiella cernua,
by Eric Guinther

Club mosses
Club Mosses were historically grouped along with Spike Mosses, but are now recognized as separate classes.

Gold Dust Dracaena Dracaena surculosa houseplant
Gold Dust Dracaena Dracaena surculosa

Dracena is a shrub-like houseplant, probably too large for most terrariums. "Lucky" bamboo is a dracaena species!

Maidenhair fern
Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum pedatum)

Ferns thrive in a variety of climates. Look for smaller ferns as most do not like having the fronds press against glass.

Fittonia albivenis 'Argyroneura minima'
Fittonia albivenis 'Argyroneura
minima' by Daniel J. Layton

Another popular houseplant with variegated leaves, Fittonia has a reputation of being difficult to grow. Can grow as a ground cover.

Hypoestes phyllostachya
Hypoestes phyllostachya
by Forest & Kim Starr

Hypoestes or Polka Dot Plant
Compact plant with variegated foliage in pink, silver or red varieties. Hypoestes enjoys bright, indirect light. May need to be pinched back if they get too spindly.

Hypoestes phyllostachya
Hedera algeriensis
by Digigalos

Ivy or Hedera
Ivy makes a great terrarium plant when managed carefully. Look for small varieties.

Vanda cultivar orchid
Vanda cultivar
by José Manuel López Pinto

Orchids might be the unicorn of terrarium plants. Everyone wants one but it can be difficult to find the right orchid for a terrarium, and the right terrarium container for an orchid. Read more about orchid terrariums.

Peperomia caperata
Peperomia caperata
by Jerzy Opioła

There are many varieties of peperomia, with a large variation among leaf size and shape. Prefer low to bright indirect light.

Aluminum plant
Aluminum plant
by Fanghong

Pilea or Aluminum Plants
Pilea like low to medium light and warm temperatures. The leaves show veined 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.

Prayer Plant Maranta leuconeura
Maranta leuconeura
by Kurt Stüber

Prayer Plant or Maranta
With chevron patterned leaves, Prayer Plant enjoys warm temperatures and medium, indirect light.

Spider Plant or Chlorophytuma
Spider Plant or Chlorophytum

Spider Plant or Chlorophytum
Spider Plants grow in a rosette pattern, sending out spear shaped leaves. They are easy to grown in nearly any condition but may outgrow their terrarium.

Spider Plant or Chlorophytuma
Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
by Jon Zander

Long stems with spade-like leaves. There is evidence that spiderwort performs well in bottle terrariums.

Spike Mosses or Selaginella
Spike Mosses or Selaginella

Spike Mosses or Selaginella
A little bit like moss and a little bit like a fern, spike mosses look perfectly at home in a terrarium. Many varieties available.

Crassulaceae, Sempervivum tectorum
Crassulaceae, Sempervivum tectorum
or Hens and chicks by MamaGeek

Succulents prefer sandy soil, infrequent water and bright sun. Do not plant succulents alongside moss - you'll never keep both happy!

Zebra Plant or Aphelandra
Zebra plant flowers
by Fanghong

Zebra Plant or Aphelandra
Zebra Plant or Aphelandra is a common houseplant in North America. They may outgrow a small terrarium.