15 Best Plants for a Closed Terrarium that are Ideal for a Beginner

Plants that are ideal for a closed terrarium are moisture-loving or humidity-loving plants which require a constantly moist atmosphere to thrive.

A closed terrarium or bottle garden is always more humid than the surrounding room atmosphere which makes it an ideal environment to grow the delicate moisture-loving plants

A terrarium is one of the common methods by which you can display your indoor plants.

What is a Closed Terrarium?

A closed terrarium is a glass or transparent container inside which plants are grown. The top is naturally restricted or covered with a transparent material.

Closed Plants Terrarium

The closed terrarium completely surrounds the plants and as a result keeps off the plant-killing draughts.

The air within a closed terrarium is always moister than the room atmosphere which makes it perfect for growing the delicate plants which may require high humidity and protection from draughts.

Some containers that are ideal for a closed terrarium include a fish tank, a large bottle or even a large mixing bowl.

The only requirement is to have transparent sides and a restricted opening or an opening that can be covered with a transparent material. There are many types of beautiful closed terrariums on Amazon to choose from.

How to Select Plants for a Closed Terrarium

While selecting plants for a closed terrarium, select a variety of plants that vary in height, growth habits and texture in order to have an interesting landscape.

Select plants that have close or similar light requirements inorder to make it easier to maintain your plants thriving.

Avoid flowering plants as flowering plants have different light requirements through out the year.

If you select flowering plants for your closed terrarium, it will be difficult to remove dead flowers when they are spent.

Most flowers also require good air circulation in order to prevent powdery mildew and fungal diseases, a situation that is not feasible in a closed terrarium.

How to Prepare Plants for a Closed Terrarium

To prepare the plants for the terrarium; pinch off the growing tips and prune tall and spreading types to minimize their size. Remove dead and yellow foliage.

Check the plants for pest and disease infestations; do not use any infested plant as using them will introduce these infestations in the terrarium environment and they will be difficult to control.

How to Care for a Closed Terrarium

The two most fundamental care practices for a closed terrarium are watering and light requirements. Keep reading for more on these two practices.

How to water plants in a closed terrarium

Ensure the soil is moist at all times; water sparingly. In most cases if the terrarium is well covered, watering will not be necessary as there is minimal evaporation and the plants form their own ecosystem inside the terrarium.

If there is condensation on the inside of the glass soon after planting, open the terrarium to allow excess moisture to evaporate.

Light for plants in a closed terrarium

Place the terrarium in a bright spot but away from direct sunshine to avoid cooking the plants. Plants in a terrarium can also thrive under artificial light.

15 Best Easy-care Plants for a Closed Terrarium

Our list of plants for a closed terrarium perfect for a beginner include Creeping Fig, Fittonia, Polka Dot, Selaginella, Parlour Palm, Maranta among others.

1. Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila)

Creeping Fig, Ficus pumila

Creeping Fig also called Climbing Fig is a lowly plant which is useful as a trailer or climber which produces a dense green carpet and is one of the best indoor ground covers.

Ficus pumila prefers medium to bright, indrect light away from direct sunlight and warm and humid conditions like those present in a terrarium.

The soil needs to be consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soils and coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Read more on how to grow and care for Creeping Fig

2. Nerve Plant (Fittonia)

Nerve Plant, Fittonia

Nerve plant is a popular moisture-loving houseplant that is highly adaptable to low light conditions; the plant is perfect for a closed terrarium.

Nerve Plant also called Net Plant, Lace leaf or Snakeskin is easily recognisable due to its leaves which bear a network of white, pink or red veins.

The Nerve Plant is an easy care plant even for a beginner plant parent. It requires medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil.

Learn more on how to grow and care for Nerve Plant

3. Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Parlour Palm, Chamaedorea elegans

Though Parlour Palm will adapt to a wide range of growing conditions, it does very well in warm, humid conditions.

These coupled with its small compact growth makes Chamaedorea elegans an ideal plant for a closed terrarium where the warm and humid conditions can be maintained.

Parlour Palm has a high tolerance for low light and artificial light. However, it prefers bright indirect light and rich, well-drained soils.

Read more on how to grow and care for Parlour Palm

4. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka Dot Plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya

Polka Dot also called Freckle Face is a low-growing beautifully colored plant that is easy to grow and care for if given the right growing conditions.

The Polka Dot plant has a high requirement for humid conditions and is thus ideal for growing in a closed terrarium.

There are many varieties of Freckle Face available like Pink splash which is green and pale pink. Red splash which is green and red. White splash which is green and white among others and are spectacular in a terrarium.

Learn how to grow and care for Polka Dot Plant

5. Creeping Moss (Selaginella)

Creeping Moss, Selaginella

Creeping Moss is a creeping plant with simple, scale-like leaves borne on branching stems from which the roots arise and is ideal for a terrarium as its tiny leaves will shrivel in ordinary room conditions.

Some of the common species of Selaginella are the trailing types like Selaginella uncinata (Blue-green Peacock Fern), Selaginella apoda and Selaginella kraussiana aurea.

The upright types include Selaginella martensii (Spike Moss) and Selaginella emmeliana. Another common species is the resurrection-plant, Selaginella lepidophylla which is bought as a dried-up ball and is restored to life by soaking in water.

Learn how to grow and care for Creeping Moss

6. Brown Spiderwort (Siderasis fuscata)

Brown Spiderwort, Siderasis fuscata

Brown Spiderwort or Bear Ears Plant is a small plant whose short bronze-colored leaves form a rosette and is a moisture-loving plant ideal for a terrarium.

The spectacular bronze-colored foliage in Brown Spiderwort will add a contrast to the greenery in a terrarium.

Siderasis fuscata exhibits some characteristics similar to those of a Tradescantia Plant thus was intially classified under Tradescantias under the synonym Tradescantia fuscata.

Learn how to grow and care for Brown Spiderwort

7. Maranta Plants (Maranta leuconeura)

Maranta Plant, Maranta leuconeura

Maranta Plants are humidity-loving plants ideal for a closed terrarium where high moisture levels can be maintained.

Being low-growing plants which bear spectacularly patterned leaves, they are an excellent addition of color in a terrarium.

Some of the common varieties of Maranta Plants include Maranta tricolor (Herringbone Plant) with prominent red leaf veins, Maranta leuconeura kerchoveana (Rabbit's Tracks) with brown leaf blotches which turn green with age and Maranta leuconeura massangeana with blackish green leaves and silvery veins among others.

Learn how to grow and care for Maranta Plants

8. Calathea bachemiana (Goeppertia bachemiana)

Calathea bachemiana, Goeppertia bachemiana

Calathea bachemiana is an easy to grow, moisture-loving plant which thrives in a warm humid enviroment like that present in a closed terrarium.

Goeppertia bachemiana is native to the tropical forests in Brazil which grows as an understory plant where the conditions are warm and moist.

The Calathea bachemiana is grown for the pretty foliage as it is unlikely to flower under room conditions.

Learn how to grow and care for Calathea bachemiana

9. Emerald Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)

Emerald Ripple Peperomia, Peperomia caperata

Emerald Ripple Peperomia are easy growing, low-growing, small, moisture-loving plants that are ideal for a closed terrarium where high humidity can be maintained.

The beautifully colored and patterned foliage in Peperomia caperata offer an excellent display in a closed terrarium.

Emerald Ripple Peperomia is slow growing and grows to a maximum height of 1 ft and the leaves are about 1 in. long.

Learn how to grow and care for Emerald Ripple Peperomia

10. Polynesian Ivy Vine (Pellionia repens)

Polynesian Ivy Vine, Pellionia repens

Pellionia is a moisture-loving, low-growing vine which bears beautifully shaped and colored leaves.

Each leaf in Pellionia repens has a pale central band and the outer margin may be olive or bronzy green which offer a sight to behold in any space.

Polynesian Ivy Vine is an excellent choice for a closed terrarium as it also provides a spectacular display with its charming foliage.

Learn how to grow and care for Polynesian Ivy Vine

11. Alocasia 'Black Velvet' (Alocasia reginula)

Alocasia reginula, Alocasia 'Black Velvet'

Alocasia 'Black Velvet' or Little Queen, is a compact plant which bears broad, heart-shaped, dark-green leaves with a velvety background, pale green, white or silver veins and reddish undersides.

The Little Queen grows to a height of 1-2 ft and 1.5 ft wide. The leaves are about 6 in. long and 2.5 in. wide.

Alocasia reginula is an ideal choice for a closed terrarium as it will provide a magnificient contrast of colors.

Learn how to grow and care for Alocasia 'Black Velvet'

12. Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei)

Aluminium Plant, Pilea cadierei

Aluminium Plant or Watermelon Pilea is an evergreen plant which bears dark-green oval leaves, each bearing raised silvery patches.

The Watermelon Pilea is a low-growing plant which grows to a height of 1 ft only and 18 in. wide making it ideal for a closed terrarium.

The beautiful leaves in Pilea cadierei will provide a spectacular contrast of colors inside a terrarium.

Learn how to grow and care for Aluminium Plant

13. Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum raddianum

Maidenhair Fern also called Delta Maidenhair Fern bears wiry, shiny, dark stems which resemble human hair.

Adiantum raddianum is native to North America where they can be found growing on rocks and in between rocks around waterfalls where moisture seeping through sustains them.

Delta Maidenhair Fern requires moist air, warmth and bright indirect light, which makes it ideal for growing in a terrarium.

Learn how to grow and care for Maidenhair Fern

14. Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

Bird's Nest Fern, Asplenium nidus

Bird's Nest Fern bears spear-like leaves which surround a fibrous 'nest' at the center, hence, the common name.

Asplenium nidus is native to the warm, moist, tropical rain forests of East africa which means the moist conditions in a terrarium are perfect for this plant.

The magnificient green leaves in Bird's Nest Fern are a sight to behold in a closed terrarium.

Learn how to grow and care for Bird's Nest Fern

15. Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii')

Lemon Button Fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii'

Lemon Button Fern also called Button Sword Fern, Fishbone Fern or Little-leaved Sword Fern is a compact, small-sized, hardy fern which bears gracefully drooping stems.

Due to its compact growth, Little-leaved Sword Fern is ideal for a terrarium or for the limited spaces.

Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii' is native to the Pantropical regions of the world where it grows in swampy, damp, forest-like conditions.

Learn how to grow and care for Lemon Button Fern

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