A guide to terrarium plants

UK Home Improvement

A Guide to Terrarium Plants

Having plants in your home can offer a wide range of benefits.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, plants can also improve air quality and even boost your mood and the mood of the people you live with.  

But looking after various house plants, all with different needs, can be difficult. 

If you’re someone that loves having plants inside the house but is prone to neglecting them, terrarium plants might be the way to go.

There are a whole host of plants for terrariums that you can choose from, and this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to terrarium plants, as well as explain exactly what they are.

What Is A Terrarium? 

Before we look at plants for a terrarium and what options may be suitable for you, let’s define exactly what a terrarium is. 

A terrarium is a glass container in which plants grow, and they have proved to be a popular choice in households across the country. This is primarily because their environments, such as temperature and humidity, can be more easily controlled and adapted depending on the needs of your plants. This is mainly because they tend to act like mini-contained greenhouses that are simpler to maintain than typical house plants.

Terrariums come in two forms:

Closed terrariums: These plants thrive in a more humid environment, and as the name suggests are completely encased in glass. Closed terrarium plants recycle the airflow, and create their own moisture which means they do not need to be watered once they’ve been encased. 

Open terrariums: In contrast, open terrariums are not fully enclosed but will still have most of their sides covered. Normally, the top or the sides will be closed. The environment inside an open terrarium is not as humid as a closed version, due to the fact that it does receive a supply of fresh air.

What Are The Benefits Of Terrarium Plants?

Terrarium plants can provide a whole host of specific benefits. 

Let’s take a look at a few:

Low maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of plants for terrariums, and one of the core reasons people opt for them, is because they are far more low maintenance compared to conventional house plants. Once they’ve been set up, terrarium plants create their own self-sustaining ecosystem that requires very little attention. At most, they may need to be pruned or cleaned from time to time, making them a great option for people new to gardening or plant ownership. 

Improved air quality 

Just like other house plants, terrarium plants can improve air quality. In particular, open terrariums are able to absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and remove toxins and pollutants. 

Aesthetic appeal

Most terrarium plants are eye-catching and can act as stunning decorative features in the home. Due to the diverse range of terrarium plants out there, they often come in a wide range of colours, textures and patterns that can be admired by everyone. 

Saves space 

Terrariums are small and compact, making them a great choice for smaller properties or where space is limited- such as apartments and offices.  

Great Terrarium Plants For Your Home

There are so many plants for terrariums out there, it can be difficult to know where to begin. 

We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular terrarium plants you can choose from. 

Nerve plants 

Nerve plants are a tropical option that is commonplace in many humid and warm countries. The slow-growing plant is ideal for terrariums due to its love of the warmth as well as the stunning sprawling leaves it displays. 

These plants are quite often the plant of choice for those looking to own a terrarium for the first time. Due to its ability to thrive in intense, humid conditions, it requires very little water but it’s easy to tell when it is getting a bit thirsty. This is because it will begin to faint and flop, before springing back into shape once you’ve watered it.

Friendship plants 

Well-known for its bold and beautifully textured foliage, friendship plants are also a popular choice for terrariums. Again, they thrive in warm and humid environments which makes it an excellent option for a terrarium. The Pilea is the most common friendship plant you’re likely to come across, and you just need to keep it in a place with a medium to bright indirect light source to keep it happy. 


A Pothos is commonly used as both a houseplant and inside terrariums, making it among the most versatile choices out there. It’s earned a reputation for its durability, frequently referred to as the ‘indestructible’ plant. This is reinforced further when it’s contained in a terrarium.

Creeping fig

The climbing vine known as the Creeping Fig is perfect for any terrarium. Its small, heart shaped leaves makes it wonderful to look at and it can even be trained to climb up structures, something that can be utilised in a terrarium environment. The Creeping Fig prefers a closed terrarium, and much like other plants we’ve mentioned love the humidity that this environment provides. 

Polka dot plants 

If you’re looking to add a splash of colour to your terrarium, then polka dot plants are the way to go. This plant can lighten up any kind of terrarium, and is available in red, pink, silver and more. Extremely easy to maintain, these plants tend to prefer a closed terrarium.   

Prayer plants

So named due to its large leaves that fold up during the night, the prayer plant can grow up to eight inches tall. So, if you’re considering this type of plant for your terrarium, make sure you have a slightly larger container to hand. It’s also easy to tell if the plant isn’t receiving light as the leaves will remain folded during the day. 

Spider plants 

Another option that’s a great choice for beginners, spider plants are native to South Africa but popular in homes across the UK. They prefer hot, humid environments making them perfect for terrariums. They also favour bright but indirect light, and are extremely easy to propagate. All you need to do is take a small clipping from an existing spider plant, and add it to your terrarium. 

Bonsai plants

Bonsais are stunning additions to every kind of terrarium, providing it with a beautiful focal point. They thrive in warm, humid environments and can care for themselves with no problems at all. 


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