10 Best Terrarium Plants

Easy care houseplants for your terrarium

Terrariums are miniature greenhouses and they’re an attractive, low-maintenance, space-saving way to display your indoor plants.

In this article I’ve listed the best plants for terrariums and some handy tips to make your own beautiful terrarium at home.

This post about terrarium plants contains affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more info.

What are the best plants for a terrarium?

Choosing the right terrarium plants will depend on whether your terrarium is open or closed.

A closed terrarium creates its own microclimate by trapping moisture inside.

Closed terrariums are a good choice for plants that grow well in warm, humid conditions like air plants, ferns and orchids.

Open terrariums are suited to plants that prefer dry conditions such as succulents and cacti.

When choosing your plants, it’s important to keep in mind that the plants will be sharing a habitat, so they should all have similar light and moisture requirements.

plants in an open terrarium


1. Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Air plants are one of the easiest plants to grow and care for because they don’t need soil.

They’re able to capture moisture and nutrients from the air through tiny scales on the surface of their leaves.

Air plants flower at maturity and will only bloom once in their lifetime, but the flowers can last for months, depending on the species.

Tillandsia help to purify the air indoors and they’re a great terrarium plant, but they need constant air circulation, so they’re only suited to open terrariums.

Air plants need to be misted in warm weather and fully submerged in water once a week in summer.

RELATED: How To Grow Air Plants

Air plant terrarium

2. African Violet

African Violets are beautiful petite plants that grow to 6 inches (15 centimetres) tall.

They produce flowers in a range of colors including white, pink and purple.

African violets will grow in most soil types but they don’t like their leaves getting wet.

They’re best suited to open terrariums to avoid the leaves rotting.

African violet

3. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plant, also known as the Money plant is a succulent with thick rounded leaves.

They’re a low maintenance plant that will happily live in an open terrarium.

Jade plants need a well-lit position and prefer to dry out between waterings.

Jade plant

4. Nerve Plant (Fittonia spp.)

Nerve plants are tropical plants with dark green leaves and white, cream or pink veins.

They love constant moisture and humidity, so they’re perfect for terrariums.

Nerve plants grow to about 6 inches (15 centimetres) tall, but they can be made more compact and bushier by regularly pinching out the stems.

In open terrariums, the leaves can be misted with water during hot, dry weather.

RELATED: 10 Beautiful Small Indoor Plants

Nerve plant

5. Peperomia

Peperomia is a compact, easy to grow houseplant that is suited to growing in a terrarium.

It grows well in moderate light and prefers moist soil but doesn’t like to be overwatered.

Peperomia plant

6. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka Dot plants, also known as Freckle Face plants have beautiful foliage in a variety of colors including green, pink, cream, red and burgundy.

They love humidity and grow well in terrariums.

Polka Dot plants will tolerate low light but they may stretch to reach the light.

Older plants can be cut back to maintain the shape of the plant.

Polka dot plant

7. Pothos

Pothos is an attractive vine that has smooth, heart-shaped leaves.

It’s a great, low-maintenance plant that can tolerate low light conditions and it’s one of the best air purifying indoor plants.

Pothos doesn’t like to be overwatered and it will need regular trimming to keep it tidy.

Pothos plant

8. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants are hardy, easy to grow houseplants that get their name from the new growth that hangs down from the plant, like spiders.

These low maintenance plants are adaptable to many different conditions including terrariums.

Spider plants like bright, indirect light but direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

striped foliage

9. Succulents

Many types of succulents can be grown in an open terrarium.

Succulents don’t require much water so they’re a low maintenance terrarium plant.

RELATED: 10 Popular Indoor Succulents


10. Cacti

Cacti can be grown in a terrarium that has a large opening. This is necessary for air flow to keep humidity low.


Tips for Growing Healthy Terrarium Plants

  • Combine plants that have similar temperature, light and water requirements
  • Ensure your plants have access to natural light
  • Some plants in open terrariums will need regular misting during warm dry weather
  • Cut off any leaves that are moldy

Terrariums can be placed near a window, on a shelf or hung from the ceiling.

small glass terrarium

Here’s a quick video that shows how to make a beautiful terrarium.


Do you have a terrarium at home? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Indoor Plants and Gardening Tips that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

Best terrarium plants

Best Terrarium Plants

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Jessie

    My favorite by far is the violet! Wow! Cannot wait to dig into these more and grow one of these!

  2. Erin Knight

    I do not have terrarium at home, but if I did, I would like to plant an African Violet in it. It looks so beautiful!

  3. Mayuri Patel

    Love all the suggestions, I love open terrariums. Your post gives me the incentive to try and create one as I have quite a few succulents.

  4. GiGi Eats

    This is actually great to know. My husband and I are looking into getting new plants really soon!

  5. Quin Cl

    I love this idea, I have always thought about having a terrarium at home since plants have that relaxing effects on people. Now, I have to really consider realizing it.

  6. Ruchi Verma

    Plants really give positive feeling and bring happiness..I was looking for some indoor plants thanks for sharing this!!

  7. Viktoria Altman

    These are so pretty! Are terranium plants pretty hardy? Most of my plants die, I have a terrible black thumb 😉

  8. Emman Damian

    I love African Violets! They bloom so pretty! I love color violet too so I have a personal affinity to it!

  9. Emily Fata

    I’ve made terrariums at home for around my house! They’re such a cute addition and really help add life to a room.

  10. Annemarie LeBlanc

    I have seen those air plants the last time I was at an ornamental plants shop. They are so pretty and delicate. I will have to get some the next time go there.

  11. Sara | mshealthesteem.com

    I love succulents! And you’ve inspired me to try making a beautiful terrarium with some. Eeee! Thank you for the inspiration ♡

  12. Lyanna Soria

    I’ve always wanted to make my own terrariums to decorate my house with. Paired with the fact that I like succulents. I’d try looking for those other plants listed above as well.

  13. Laurie

    Hi 👋 Kelly,
    I love the video… My question to you is…
    I have 3 closed terrariums with glass domes that have 2 holes in the domes. What would you recommend I plant in them please? I wanted to do succulents but I can do ferns too 🌱🥰

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Laurie, ferns would be a better choice for closed terrariums because they like humidity. Succulents are better suited to open terrariums.

Leave a Reply