15 Best Plants for a Closed Terrarium that are Ideal for a Beginner
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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.
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 terrariums 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
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.
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 prefers warm, moist conditions similar to those found in a closed terrarium. It is a low-growing small-leaved plant that will fit perfectly in a small space like in a terrarium.
Creeping Fig grows vigorously, is easy to grow and does well under low light conditions. Read more on how to grow and care for Creeping Fig.
2. Nerve Plant | Fittonia spp
Nerve plant is a popular moisture-loving houseplant that is highly adaptable to low light conditions; the plant is perfect for a closed terrarium.
The Nerve Plant is an easy to grow even for a beginner plant parent. Learn how to grow and care for Nerve Plant.
3. 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 make it an ideal plant for a closed terrarium. Read more on how to grow and care for Parlour Palm.
4. Polka Dot Plant | Hypoestes phyllostachya
Polka Dot also called Freckle Face is a low-growing beautifully colored plant that is easy to grow.
The Polka Dot plant has a high requirement for humid conditions and is thus ideal for growing in a closed terrarium. Learn more on how to grow and care for Polka Dot Plant.
5. Creeping Moss | Selaginella spp
Creeping Moss is an ideal choice for a closed terrarium as its tiny leaves will shrivel in ordinary room conditions.
The moist terrarium conditions are similar to the conditions in its natural habitat. Read more on how to grow and care for Creeping Moss.
6. Brown Spiderwort | Siderasis fuscata
Brown Spiderwort is a low-growing plant whose leaves form a rosette and is a moisture-loving plant that is ideal for a closed terrarium.
The bronze colored foliage of Brown Spiderwort will add a contrast to the greenery in a terrarium. Learn how to grow and care for Brown Spiderwort.
7. 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. Read more on how to grow and care for Maranta Plant.
8. 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 plant 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 | Pepperomia 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.
Their beautifully colored and patterned foliage is an excellent display for a terrarium. Read more on how to grow and care for Emerald Ripple Peperomia.
10. Polynesian Ivy Vine | Pellionia repens
Pellionia is a moisture-loving, low-growing vine which bears beautifully shaped and colored leaves.
Each leaf has a pale central band and the outer margin may be olive or bronzy green.
Polynesian Ivy Vine is an excellent choice for a closed terrarium as it also provides a spectacular display. Read more on how to grow and care for Polynesian Ivy Vine.
11. Alocasia 'Black Velvet' | Alocasia reginula
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.
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 more on how to grow and care for Alocasia 'Black Velvet'.
12. Aluminium Plant | Pilea cadierei
Aluminium Plant or Watermelon Pilea is an evergreen plant which bears dark-green oval leaves, each bearing raised silvery patches.
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 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. Read more on how to grow and care for Maidenhair Fern.
14. 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. Read more on how to grow and care for Bird's Nest Fern.
15. 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. Read more on how to grow and care for Lemon Button Fern.