Best Tropical Plants For Terrariums

The rising popularity of indoor gardening attracts more gardeners to create a mini ecosystem that can be grown in a small glass or clear plastic containers–which are known as terrariums. Along with increasing your creativity by designing your tiny jungle, a terrarium could be a perfect pick for those of you who live in smaller areas, for example, apartments. Another best thing to add, these plants are suitable for both newbies and expert gardeners since they are relatively easy to grow. Keep reading to know more about these best tropical plants for terrariums.

best tropical plants for terrariums

How To Pick The Best Tropical Terrarium Plants?

Terrariums are clear plastic containers or glass that are filled with small plants to keep indoors with minimum care. There are two types of terrariums, one is the closed terrarium, or simply terrariums with a lid, while the other one is the open terrarium. All terrariums should be clear, not cloudy or tinted with colors since this could reduce the light absorbance–making it difficult for the plants to grow.

How To Pick The Best Tropical Terrarium Plants

Terrariums are usually kept indoors as ornamental plants and decorative displays. For closed terrariums, it’s best to go for tropical plants that thrive under high humidity. Make sure the lid allows heat and light to enter the terrarium, providing a high organic matter soil, and remove the excess water regularly to prevent the growth of microorganisms and unwanted fungi or diseases.

Open terrariums usually work best for plants that require less humidity and more direct sunlight, for example, succulents. Both terrarium types need regular pruning to prevent the plant from outgrowing its growth space. Depending on how massive your terrarium is, when choosing the best plants for a tropical terrarium, you can pick plants as tiny as just 10 to 15 centimeters or more. Play with hue, foliage, and bloom shape, as well as texture to get the desired terrarium theme. 

What Are the Best Plants For Tropical Terrariums?

Choosing the best tropical plants for terrariums could be daunting because sizewise, not all tropical plants are suitable to be grown in terrariums. If you’re new to terrarium gardening, it’s recommended to try and stick with an open terrarium first. Even though open terrariums need to be watered more frequently, they tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases since the humidity escapes through the opening. Plus, you don’t have to worry about water condensation, which occurs more in closed terrariums.

Best Tropical Plants For Open Terrariums

Mexican Gem (Echeveria elegans)

Mexican Gem (Echeveria elegans)

Mexican gem is a succulent with thick rosette-like foliage. This perennial is not only easy to grow, but it would create such a spectacular view of your terrarium with its blue, grayish-silver, or velvety-green color.

Variegated Jade Plant (Crassula ovata ‘Variegata’)

Variegated Jade Plant best plants for tropical terrarium

Variegated jade plant is among the most popular and the best tropical plants for terrariums for several reasons. First, they produce stunning fleshy oval-shaped foliage with various variegated colors, and foremost, this perennial plant has a shallow root system that makes them best grow in small areas like terrariums!

Dinteranthus (Dinteranthus vanzylii)

Dinteranthus best tropical terrarium plants

This succulent is known to grow just fine in very dry areas, usually among quartz stones. Dinteranthus are often mistakenly identified as Lithops or the ‘living stone’ because of their striking similarity.

Stonecrop (Sedum)

Stonecrop (Sedum)

If you’re looking for the best tropical terrarium plants that survive in most hardiness zones, try stonecrop or sedum. This sun-loving plant has more than 300 cultivars, ranging in colors from lime-green to purplish-pink, and is tolerant to poor soil and dry conditions.

Orchid (Dendrobium)

Dendrobium best tropical plants for terrariums

You might be a little surprised to see orchids as one of the best plants for tropical terrariums, but in fact, you really could grow orchids in terrariums! But as a rule of thumb, pick cultivars that could thrive well under the limited terrarium area, such as the delicate moth orchids or the jaw-dropping arranges orchids.

Best Tropical Plants For Closed Terrariums

Southern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)

Southern Maidenhair Fern

When talking about the best plants for tropical terrariums, it isn’t complete if we don’t add ferns to the list. One of which is the southern maidenhair fern or the Venus-hair fern. This plant is usually found in moist and cool or tropical regions of the world. They bloom from June to August.

Common Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

Platycerium bifurcatum

A native to South-East Asia, Africa, and Australia, common staghorn ferns are known for their foliage shape, which resembles male deer or elk’s antler. Because of their ease of maintenance and eye-catching foliage shape, common staghorn fern are mostly grown as ornamental plants.

Peacock Moss (Selaginella uncinata)

Selaginella uncinata

With their bluish-green tiny foliage that looks like a peacock’s feather, it’s easy to spot why these best tropical plants for terrariums are popular. Peacock moss loves to be placed in areas with moist soil and thrives well under lower light conditions.

Angel’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)

Soleirolia soleirolii

This perennial plant is mostly used as ground cover, but it also will bloom thoroughly inside the closed terrarium habitat. All you need is to provide angel tears with moist and well-drained soil, along with proper sunlight exposure, and they will grow according to your closed terrarium’s size!

Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides)

Coleus scutellarioides

The following best tropical plants for terrariums are admired for their arrowhead-like foliage color, which can be lime-green, yellowish-green, dark purple, or white. They require more regular pruning to maintain their size since this plant will continue growing and multiplying.

Best Tropical Plants For Bigger Terrariums

Umbrella Grass (Cyperus alternifolius)

Cyperus alternifolius

Also known as the umbrella palm, unlike most tropical plants which require only regular watering, this plant would appreciate lots of watering. In fact, this African and Arabian Peninsula native habitat is resistant to diseases like root rot and yellowing leaves because of over-watering!

Flame African Violet (Episcia ‘Pink Brocade’)

Flame African Violet terrarium

Notable for their green and pink foliage along with tiny orange or red occasional blooms, these best tropical plants for terrariums are the cultivated species of the common episcia plant. Flame African violet’s Propagation can be easily done using the stem-cutting technique. 

Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)

Pilea involucrata

You can easily propagate a friendship plant and give the new plant to your family and friends, thus the Central and South America native plant got its name. Friendship plant has beautiful oval-shaped bright green and dark purple foliage with deep dark purple nerves.

Flytrap (Sarracenia)

Flytrap best plants for tropical terrarium

Are you a fan of carnivorous plants that can bloom inside terrariums? Then you should try flytrap. Although they are challenging to grow and may not bloom at all if placed in poor growing conditions, watching flytraps inside your terrariums could spark some enjoyment!

Maple Leaf Begonia (Begonia cleopatrae)

Begonia cleopatrae

Finally, the following best tropical plants for terrariums are the maple leaf begonias. Don’t be confused by their name because they’re not related to the Maple Family. This plant is favored for its maple-like green and deep dark brown foliage. They produce tiny pink blooms during spring and winter.

Wind Up

If you are not able to provide enough gardening space and time, looking for something to sharpen your creative mind, or are trying to create a therapeutic and relaxing atmosphere in your house, then taking care of these best tropical plants for terrariums is made for you. Terrariums, along with their alluring view that consists of numerous small plants, surely could invite more warmth and ravishing gaze to your house. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to grow some of these best tropical plants for terrariums and build your mini ecosystem!

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