Terrariums have been an H Potter classic since we founded our business. These glass boxes have covered a wide breadth of designs and sizes over the years. Today terrariums remain a favorite among gardeners who want a year-round and low maintenance garden, while also allowing those with smaller homes or with no garden/backyard, a place to garden. However, terrariums are not an average garden, they are not the same as an indoor garden pot and they are certainly not the same as your outdoor garden. As a result of these differences, the plants that are grown in a terrarium may be a little different from what you would chose to grow in any garden outside your home, it gives desert-dwellers a place to grow lush ferns, and inhabitants of cold and snowy locales a place to grow cold sensitive plants year round.
In this post we’ll look at a few of the most popular plants to grow in your terrarium, ranging from hardy cacti that you’ll water only occasionally during the year, to finicky violets that will need a steadier hand, and we’ll even toss in some carnivorous plants for our adventurous gardeners out there.
We’ll start with one of the staples of terrarium plants; moss needs almost no introduction to even the most amateur gardener. A primitive and non-vascular plant, moss grows in sheets along the forest floor, existing in a cooler and more humid climate. Moss is a great plant to grow as the base of your terrarium plants since it takes up almost zero vertical space and its light root system allows for other plants to grow around it. Keep it in an enclosed terrarium and preferably out of direct sunlight, mimicking the forest floors it is native to.
Another cornerstone of terrarium plants, ferns are a leafy plant that grows in humid and forested areas. Ferns are relatively easy to care for, not exacting serious water requirements or ideal soil conditions. In fact these little plants are so good at growing in terrariums you will periodically need to prune them back. Look for different variations such as Maidenhair, Button Ferns, Autumn Ferns, and so many others.
One of the biggest trends in the indoor plant world has been the rise of succulents. These tiny plants are perfect for terrariums and growing indoors as a result of their lack of general needs. If you’re the type of person who can barely remember to water their plants, these little guys are the perfect plant for you. Succulents might look cute, but they are tough plants that will grow with little water and suboptimal soil, as their thick leaf structure makes them durable and unlikely to fall apart. Look for popular species of the plant like Echeveria, Jade Plant, Haworthia, Burros Tail, and myriads of others.
Ok we’re definitely cheating with this one a little bit. Cacti are technically succulents and they share pretty much all the same characteristics as succulent plants. But, there are just so many different types of Cacti and they are a lot of fun to grow. You will have to water these plants maybe once a month, and they’ll be fine in direct, hot sunlight. On top of all of that, cacti will last for years, run down and find the coolest mini-Cactus you can throw in your terrarium! (But watch out for the spikes!!)
Another fun plant that you can put in your terrarium, air plants literally grow in the air. This bizarre plant is able to exist, because while it is a plant, it’s also technically a parasite (don’t worry it won’t hurt you, these are harmless parasites that just need somewhere to live). Air plants are able to suck moisture and nutrients out of the surrounding environment. To plant your lovable little parasite, you can use a piece of wood or a small rock on which to ‘plant’ it. From here just make sure that there’s plenty of moisture in the air and your air plant will be happy as can be.
Also called ‘Devil’s Ivy,’ this plant has an uncommon name, but its shape will be recognized by most. This quick growing plant will be easy to maintain inside your glass terrarium, just keep it out of direct sunlight and water when the soil seems to be about half dry. These plants will grow quickly in ideal conditions so you may need to prune them back occasionally, but wear gloves while handling, as these plants contain a mild irritant which may cause itchy skin.
Also called Angel’s Tears, this crawling plant will form a horizontal mat that’s similar to, but not the same as moss. The plant is aptly named as it forms numerous tear-drop shaped leaves. These plants are relatively easy to grow and maintain as they will need to be watered about once a week and prefer to be out of direct sunlight.
The pickiest plants on this list, violets are also different as a vascular plant that forms a number of flowering blooms. These blossoms come in a number of different colors, from purple to blue and even pink. Violets will want to stay out of direct sunlight to keep their leaves from withering, while also maintaining a relatively humid environment and needing a moderate temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you follow all of these needs, you may be rewarded when your violet blossoms. Be careful with these plants as they are very delicate and will need significantly more care than other plants on this list.
A fun and unorthodox plant that you might add to your indoor terrarium. These plants are able to survive not only as typical plants, but also through trapping and ingesting small organisms like bugs. With these exciting and bizarre plant characteristics, a carnivorous plant may be an exciting plant to keep in your terrarium. Because of their carnivorous habits, these plants don’t need much in the way of soil nutrients and water, and they will certainly survive if you leave the roof of the terrarium open for extended periods of time. Types of carnivorous plants include species such as Venus fly traps and Butterworts among others.
This plant forms a blanketing sheet along the ground where they are grown in a terrarium, similar to the formations in moss and baby’s tears. However, these plants are a little more distinctive and less of a doormat than their creeping counterparts. Like the other two plants they won’t need any extra love, but their sharply contrasting leaves display their green and white colors to perfection. A small plant with some powerful showmanship, nerve plants are an incredible addition to provide layering as a terrarium plant.
Another small plant for your terrarium, peperomia are similar to succulents in a number of ways regarding their hardy composition, though they will need to be watered more consistently than a succulent. Evolving in a sub-tropical environment, these plants will thrive in a closed system where humidity is high, while upper moderate temperatures and moderate to high levels of sunlight will lead to the best results. Peperomia’s colorful green composition will make them a fantastic newcomer to your terrarium, and with the right care can become a staple in your little enclosed garden.
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