Best Plants for Terrariums: Creating a Miniature Green World

Terrariums have become increasingly popular in recent years as delightful, low-maintenance indoor gardens that add a touch of nature to our living spaces. A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem enclosed within a glass container, creating a self-sustaining environment for plants to thrive.

The best plants for terrariums are those that can adapt well to the limited space, high humidity, and low light conditions typical of these closed environments. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top 10 plants that are perfect for terrariums, providing you with a diverse selection to create your own charming and enchanting miniature green world.

1. Fittonia (Nerve Plant):

Fittonia, commonly known as the Nerve Plant, is a fantastic choice for terrariums due to its vibrant foliage and preference for high humidity. Its colorful leaves with intricate veining patterns come in shades of green, pink, and white, adding a delightful splash of color to your terrarium. Fittonia thrives in medium to low light conditions, making it ideal for enclosed glass containers. Regular misting and well-draining soil will keep this tropical beauty happy and flourishing.

2. Pilea Peperomioides

The Pilea Peperomioides has gained immense popularity in recent years and is a perfect fit for terrariums. Its pancake-shaped, glossy green leaves create an attractive display in a closed environment. This plant prefer indirect light and moderate humidity levels. With its easy-going nature, this plant is an excellent option for beginners and can be propagated easily, allowing you to share its beauty with friends and family.

3. Selaginella (Spikemoss):

If you seek to add a touch of prehistoric charm to your terrarium, Selaginella, also known as Spikemoss, is an ideal choice. This ancient plant reproduces through spores and boasts feathery, emerald-green foliage that brings a lush, forest-like appearance to your enclosed garden. Selaginella prefers high humidity and low to medium light, making it a perfect inhabitant for terrariums. Mist the terrarium regularly to maintain the humidity levels required for this primitive beauty.

4. Ferns (Various Species):

Ferns are a diverse group of plants that thrive in the high humidity and low light conditions found in terrariums. From the delicate Maidenhair Fern to the feathery Boston Fern, there is a wide range of fern species to choose from, each adding a unique texture and greenery to your terrarium. These lush green plants can transform your glass container into a tranquil, woodland-inspired oasis.

5. Maranta (Prayer Plant):

The Maranta, or Prayer Plant, is renowned for its striking leaves with intricate patterns and vibrant colors. This plant earned its name due to its unique behavior of folding its leaves upwards at night, resembling hands in prayer. In a terrarium, the Maranta adds a touch of movement and dynamic beauty. It prefers bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil to thrive.

6. Peperomia (Watermelon Peperomia):

Peperomia, commonly known as the Watermelon Peperomia due to its resemblance to the fruit’s rind, is a delightful addition to any terrarium. Its small, round leaves have attractive silver and green stripes, making it visually appealing. This plant thrives in moderate to bright indirect light and appreciates a well-draining soil mix to prevent overwatering.

7. Begonia (Rex Begonia):

Rex Begonias are a mesmerizing group of terrarium plants with stunning, colorful foliage in shades of silver, purple, green, and pink. These plants prefer moderate light and high humidity, making them a wonderful choice for terrariums. Their textured leaves create an eye-catching display and can serve as a focal point in your miniature garden.

8. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant):

The Spider Plant is a classic choice for terrariums due to its easy care and air-purifying qualities. Its arching, variegated leaves and ability to produce baby spiderettes create an attractive visual appeal. Spider Plants thrive in bright, indirect light and can tolerate occasional periods of drought, making them low-maintenance additions to your enclosed garden.

9. Dracaena compacta (Dragon Tree):

The Dracaena compacta, also known as the Dragon Tree, is a slow-growing, compact plant that fits perfectly into terrariums. Its stiff, dark green leaves add a touch of elegance and drama to your miniature landscape. Dragon Trees prefer medium to bright light conditions and well-draining soil, making them relatively easy to care for.

10. Moss (Various Species):

No terrarium is complete without a carpet of lush, green moss. Mosses are essential for creating a natural, forest floor appearance and also help retain moisture in the terrarium’s environment. Different moss species, such as Sheet Moss or Mood Moss, can be combined to add texture and depth to your terrarium design.

Best Plants for Closed Terrariums:

  1. Fittonia (Nerve Plant) – Vibrant foliage with intricate veining patterns that thrive in high humidity.
  2. Selaginella (Spikemoss) – Prehistoric charm with feathery, emerald-green foliage, perfect for closed environments.
  3. Peperomia (Watermelon Peperomia) – Delightful Watermelon-like leaves, ideal for moderate to bright indirect light.
  4. Cryptanthus (Earth Star) – Colorful, star-shaped rosettes that thrive in closed terrariums’ high humidity levels.
  5. Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) – Lush and delicate green cascading leaves, perfect for creating a lush carpet effect.

Pet-Friendly Best Plants for Terrariums:

  1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Non-toxic to pets and easy to care for, with arching variegated leaves.
  2. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – Safe for pets and adds a touch of elegance with its feathery fronds.
  3. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) – Pet-safe with attractive pink or white spots on its leaves.
  4. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) – A safe cactus variety that adds a pop of color with its festive blooms.
  5. Haworthia (Zebra Plant) – Small, low-maintenance succulent that is non-toxic to pets.

Best Plants for Terrariums in Cold Conditions:

  1. English Ivy (Hedera helix) – Hardy and adaptable to cooler temperatures, creating a lush trailing effect.
  2. Pilea Glauca (Silver Sparkle Pilea) – Cold-tolerant with silver-green foliage, adding a touch of shimmer to the terrarium.
  3. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus) – Thrives in cooler temperatures and adds delicate, feathery greenery.
  4. Mosses (Various species) – Resilient and well-suited for colder terrarium environments, creating a natural woodland appearance.
  5. Carnivorous Plants (e.g., Venus Flytrap, Sundew) – Some carnivorous plants can adapt well to cooler terrarium setups, offering a unique touch.

Best Plants for Open Terrariums:

  1. Air Plants (Tillandsia) – No need for soil, these epiphytes thrive in open terrariums with good air circulation.
  2. Aloe Vera – Succulent with healing properties, ideal for open setups due to its preference for bright light.
  3. Echeveria – Rosette-forming succulent that adds a touch of elegance to open terrariums.
  4. Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree) – Tall and striking, suitable for open terrariums with its upright growth habit.
  5. Peperomia Obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant) – Compact and low-maintenance, great for open terrariums with good airflow.

Best Plants for Terrariums Suitable for Frogs:

  1. Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola) – Safe for frogs, this compact plant adds a tropical touch.
  2. Bromeliads (Various species) – Suitable for terrariums with frogs, providing colorful and exotic foliage.
  3. Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila) – Frog-friendly plant that creates a lush green carpet on terrarium walls.
  4. Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) – Non-toxic to frogs and offers various leaf shapes and colors.
  5. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – Safe for frogs, this trailing vine brings a cascading green effect to the terrarium.


In conclusion, creating a terrarium offers a captivating and rewarding experience, allowing you to curate a miniature world filled with the best plants for terrariums. The selection of plants mentioned in this guide represents a diverse range of textures, colors, and growth habits, enabling you to design a unique and enchanting enclosed garden. Remember to consider the light, humidity, and maintenance requirements of each plant to ensure the longevity of your terrarium’s ecosystem. With a bit of creativity and care, you can enjoy a delightful green oasis right in the comfort of your home. Happy terrarium gardening!