Terrarium plants are the perfect solution for beginner gardeners or gardening enthusiasts looking to create a mini outdoor garden inside their homes.

20 Easy-care Terrarium Plants For Open and Closed Ones

Terrariums are mini greenhouses in a jar and have taken the gardening world by storm since the invention of the first one, the Wardian case. They are easy to care for, can fit anywhere, and are easy to carry around.

But before you jump into the world of terrariums, you must first choose the right plants. We have provided terrarium plants that are easy to care for, so keep reading.

List of Open and Closed Terrarium Plants

1. Strawberry Begonia

Like the strawberry plant, strawberry begonia, also known as Saxifraga stolonifera, spreads by runners known as stolons. You can always enjoy the beautiful foliage that comes with this plant as they can be planted at any time of the year and grow quickly.

– Features

This small, evergreen perennial has lobe-shaped dark green leaves with light green or silver veins. In addition, they are known beacause of the tall, slim stems bear small, white or pinkish star-shaped flowers that grow in spring. These beautiful low-growing plants are perfect for open terrariums because they require a dry environment.

Strawberry Begonia

– Growing Requirements

Growing your strawberry begonia in an open terrarium requires you to place it where it will get enough light but in partial shade and nutrient-rich, alkaline, and well-drained soil. Furthermore, you can also add compost to the soil before planting.

Note that watering should be done regularly when it is just starting to grow but should be reduced around winter. It would be best never to allow water to gather on the topsoil. You can also feed your strawberry begonia with an all-purpose fertilizer when it starts growing actively.

2. English Ivy

Hedera Helix, also called English ivy, and this is how it is popularly known. This ivy is a common petite houseplant that is easy to grow indoors, making it perfect for terrariums. This vigorous perennial has woody vines that can attach itself to any surface.

– Features

An evergreen plant, the outdoor version of the English ivy, grows intensely due to its vines that grow so slither and creep around. This plant has glossy, thick heart-shaped dark green leaves with yellow or light green veins.

English Ivy

On the other hand, when the plant is young, its leaves are lobe-shaped, but they take on an egg shape when it becomes an adult. The miniature version of this plant is best grown in a closed terrarium and comes in various colors and patterns, which is why you can mix and match with one variety but in different ways.

– Growing Requirements

It would be best to place your English ivy terrarium where it will get enough sunlight but in full shade, however, note that it does not thrive in direct sunlight as its leaves will get burnt.

The plant is best planted in moist, well-drained, nutrient-rich, slightly alkaline soil with a pH of about 6.0-7.8. Lastly, watering should be done only when the topsoil appears dry but do not soak the plant in water.

3. Watermelon Peperomia

The watermelon peperomia is a mini terrarium plant that is very easy to grow. Watermelon peperomias are indoor plants that love warm, humid conditions, so closed terrariums best suit them.

– Features

With its small bushy rosette, the Peperomia argyreia is considered succulent because its leaves are fleshy and rigid but thin and part pepper because of its round and variegated leaves, which are similar to that of the pepper plant.

Watermelon Peperomia

Its green and silver-white striped leaves resemble the skin of a watermelon, hence its name. In addition they would grow to 12 inches tall.

– Growing Requirements

When growing this plant in a terrarium, it is best to plant it in warm, moist, well-draining, nutrient-rich, slightly alkaline soil.

However, remember that the light conditions should be bright but partially shaded, water should be done moderately when it is just starting to grow, and the soil should be allowed to dry out before the next watering session. You can feed your watermelon peperomia with liquid fertilizer once every month during the growing season.

4. Lemon Button Fern

The lemon button fern, also known as Nephrolepis cordifolia in the word of botany. It is one of the smallest closed terrarium plants, and it is quite simple to maintain and to see it thrive, This plant is easy-care because once it has an established care cycle, you can take your hands off it, as it doesn’t require much maintenance, basically, it will be growing so well once it is established.

– Features

When crushed, the leaves of the plant release a lemon-like scent, hence the name. The small, round, golden-green, alternating leaves of the plant grow on either side of its arching fronds and look like small buttons, which is how the name continues.

Lemon Button Fern

The beautiful dwarf foliage of this plant makes it the perfect addition to a small terrarium, because it will grow so well a maximum of 12 inches tall.

– Growing Requirements

The Lemon button fern prefers acidic soil with a pH of about 4.0-7. The soil must also be nutrient-rich, moist, and well-drained. This plant’s light should be in partial shade and indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight can cause the leaves to turn brown or burn the plant, the latter won’t make the terrarium look at its peak, which is why you must keep the light indirect.

On another note, the best watering plan for the plant is to water it only when the topsoil appears dried out.

5. Polka Dot Plant

The Hypoestes Phyllostachya is the perfect plant to brighten a space with its unique foliage. This perennial is also easy to grow and can readily be grown as a small house plant, making it a vibrant addition to your collection of terrarium plants.

– Features

The leaves on this plant are green but come with different colors of polka dots depending on the variety. The colors range from yellow, white, red, pink, or green, and some can come multicolored, making them very good as fairy garden plants. The polka dot plant will do well in both open and closed terrarium, but a closed terrarium will help control its rapid growth.

Polka Dot Plant

– Growing Requirements

The polka dot plant is best to grow appropriately in bright, indirect light. Too much bright light will fade its colors, as will too little light. On another note, a well-drained, moist, loose, and slightly acidic soil is best used for this plant, which is what should be set underneath the tank.

Not only this, but also the watering should be done regularly when it is in its growing stages but reduced when it is mature. Lastly, you must remember that you must fertilize your polka dot plant once per month with a highly organic fertilizer for indoor plants.

6. Prayer Plant

Popularly known as The Ten Commandments, or the Maranta leuconeura. This plant would come with beautiful foliage and an exciting habit; it folds its leaves upright in the evenings as if in prayer, which is how it got its name.

– Features

The prayer plant is a low-growing tri-colored plant with velvety, dark-green, oval-shaped leaves with yellow or light-green spots down the middle and red-colored veins. This common houseplant is best grown in a closed terrarium because it requires highly humid conditions to thrive.

Prayer Plant

– Growing Requirements

Prayer plants grow best in moist, well-drained, acidic soil and require bright but indirect sunlight. However, you would start to know that your prayer plant isn’t getting enough sunlight when its leaves are still folded during the day.

When watering, use warm water every two weeks but ensure they don’t get soggy, or else the roots will be vulnerable and would stress. Lastly, remember to fertilize your plants every one to two months with an all-purpose fertilizer.

7. Nerve Plant

Fittonia albivensis is a popular dwarf terrarium plant with colorful foliage perfect for beginners. Also called the mosaic or painted net leaf plant, the nerve plant is low-growing and easy to care for.

– Features

These tropical plants enjoy warm temperatures and are suitable for closed terrariums because they have high humidity and moisture requirements. When the moisture is sufficient, the foliage would be looking very vibrant.

Nerve Plant

The evergreen perennials usually come with striking, contrasting venations, often having dark green leaves with bright red or pink veins, dark red or pink leaves with dark green veins, or dark green leaves with white veins. Either way, the veins are what gives it an amazing feature.

– Growing Requirements

Nerve plants require bright, indirect sunlight to grow well in terrariums as they are sensitive to intense light and will burn. The soil must be moist, well-drained, and acidic.

On another note, watering should be done regularly once the topsoil is barely dry because the nerve plant can collapse if it dries out completely. During the growing season, they should be fed once a week with a liquid fertilizer specifically for tropical plants.

8. Golden Pothos

Golden pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a small trailing plant with yellow, cream, or white-colored marbling on its foliage. It is an easy-to-grow evergreen that is commonly grown as a hanging plant.

– Features

What’s most fascinating about this plant is that each leaf has a different color pattern. Also known as devil’s ivy, the golden pothos is best suited for closed indoor terrariums but can do well in open ones and tolerate different growing conditions. So it does not require so much plant care.

Golden Pothos

– Growing Requirements

Golden pothos is best grown in acidic, well-drained, and nutrient-rich soil. Although the plant can survive any lighting condition, it should be slightly shaded from the sun but should get enough sunlight daily to retain its variegated patterns.

However, note that too much moisture allows the plant’s roots to begin to rot, so it is best to let the soil dry out completely before watering. In addition, you will see this firstly through the leaves color, which would begin to change.

The best way to grow this plant is to use potting soil, you should feed your golden pothos every two months with houseplant fertilizer to increase the soil’s nutrients.

 9. Baby’s Tears

Soleirolia soleirolii is commonly known as baby’s tears and is a low-growing evergreen with dense, mat-forming, apple-colored, round, or bean-shaped leaves. These fast and easy-growing plants work decoratively over a flower pot due to their spreading nature.

– Features

Baby tears grow best in a closed terrarium that requires medium-high humidity. This plant is one that would grow quickly and easily in standard potting mix and are even capable of reproducing asexually, which means that you might need to prune regularly to manage its rapid growth in your terrarium. Or else, they will be all over the place and none of the other plants would be seen.

Baby’s Tears

– Growing Requirements

Baby’s tears grow best in loamy, nutrient-rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Intense light will burn their leaves, so it is best in bright but shaded sunlight. Watering should be done once every week as baby’s tears are thirsty plants that don’t like to dry out, and that the humidity is maintained properly.

Lastly, note that a balanced plant or liquid fertilizer can be used every two weeks to keep its foliage green.

10. Friendship Plant

The friendship plant is also known as the Pilea involucrata, it is a tropical plant commonly grown as a garden plant in humid terrariums. This plant got its name from its cuttings that can be rooted to share with friends.

– Features

Small, velvety, bronze, quilted leaves with green edges characterize these easy-growing plants. The leaves can also have streaks of burgundy and silver.

Friendship Plant

Although their leaves appear hard, they are very soft and fuzzy to the touch. Your friendship plant terrarium should be closed to maintain the humidity.

– Growing Requirements

Friendship plants require bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained, acidic, nutrient-rich soil. The plant loves moisture, so you should water it regularly during its growing season and when the topsoil is dried.

You can also mist it occasionally, or even place some pebbles that will add humidity. In order to see this plant thrive, you can use a liquid houseplant fertilizer for your plants once in summer and once in spring.

11. Button Fern

Button ferns are small, low-growing evergreens with small round leaflets and arching branches. They are also bushy and compact, which makes them a popular container plant.

– Features

Button ferns, also known as Pellaea rotundifolia, display various green shades on their button-shaped leaves. Mature button ferns show darker green leaves, while the younger plants have a lighter shade of green.

Button Fern

These plants are the perfect lush addition to your terrarium because they require very little plant care and are drought-resistant, which is what makes them a resilient plant, just as you irrigate it, it will get back to life again. The leaves of the button fern remain green even during the dry season without much watering, and as a result, they are perfect open terrarium plants.

– Growing Requirements

Button ferns require filtered sunlight and can be placed a few feet away from a south-facing window. Watering should be done regularly when the fern is still young and once the topsoil is dry. Lastly, it should be planted in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil.

12. Golden Clubmoss

Golden clubmoss, or Selaginella kraussiana, are low-growing evergreen perennials that form a dense carpet of feather-like leaves and are commonly grown as mini terrarium plants.

– Features

Also referred to as Krauss’ spike moss, the leaves of the golden clubmoss have an oval-shaped, fern-like appearance, as they would grow in your terrarium.

Under ideal terrarium conditions, these plants thrive with bright green leaves with golden-yellow tips. They are easy to care for and make a lovely addition to your closed terrarium as they prevent it from spilling over the edge of the container.

Golden Clubmoss

– Growing Requirements

Golden clubmoss is best grown in nutrient-rich, well-drained, neutral, or acidic soil. Lighting should be moderate and in partial shade, as direct sunlight can burn the foliage, which is why you must not place it under a sunny area.

Note that the soil should always be moist, especially during the growing season, but your plant shouldn’t sit in water. Liquid fertilizer can be used monthly and should be diluted by half. You can prune your golden clubmoss during spring to control its rapid spread.

13. Creeping Fig

The creeping fig, also known as Ficus pumila, is a classic terrarium plant due to its small size and easy-care habits. However, the plant got its name due to the ability of its vines to proliferate and begin to attach to different surfaces.

– Features

The creeping fig produces oval, dark-green, arrow-shaped leaves when it is young. And its climbing habits are a result of having two types of roots; subterranean roots, which grow into the soil, and clumps aerial roots.

Creeping Fig

When they are healthy, these roots will be able to extend along its climbing vines and produce a clear substance that allows the vine to stick. The creeping fig is best grown in warm, moist conditions, as found in closed terrariums.

– Growth Requirements

Even though it can survive low lighting, the creeping fig will grow best in bright light in full or partial shade. Moist, nutrient-rich, acidic, or alkaline, well-drained soil will suffice. However, remember that proper irrigation should be done once every week or when the top soil is dry. You can feed your creeping fig once a month with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

14. Pitcher Plant

The pitcher plant is an excellent choice if you want to add something exotic to your terrarium. Also known as Nepenthes, pitcher plants are easy-to-grow, low-maintenance, carnivorous plants that feed on small insects and reptiles.

– Features

Pitcher plants use modified jug-like leaves known as pitfall traps with downward-pointing bristles that prevent their prey from escaping and nectar-containing enzymes for digestion. To grow this plant, you would require a large terrarium that is closed but with a small opening at the top.

Pitcher Plant

– Planting Requirements

Pitcher plants are best grown in poor, moist, loosely draining soil. This is because they prefer to keep their roots wet and get most of their nutrients from the insect they feed on. The best type of sand for these plants is pure quartz sand.

However, when watering, do not use water from the tap as it contains impurities that could harm the plant. Instead, collect rainwater or use drinking water to water them, because these do not contain chemicals. Furthermore, fertilizers are not required but must always receive bright but shaded light.

15. Old Hens and Chickens

Old hens and chickens, or Sempervivum tectorum, are low-growing evergreen succulents that are alpine and drought-resistant. Although they are slow-growing plants, they are straightforward to care for.

– Features

Old chicks and hens produce fleshy leaves with pointy tips that form a rosette shape. These plants are perfect as fairy garden plants because they come in various colors such as burgundy, pink, green, blue, orange, and bi-colors.

Old Hens and Chickens

The plant takes on a mother and child persona, with the mother rosette blooming bell-shaped flowers and producing tiny rosettes known as the chicks, hence the name. They are best grown in open terrariums since they can survive in dry conditions.

– Growing Requirements

Hens and chicks are best grown in poor, sandy, well-drained, neutral soil but can also survive in rocky soil. They prefer dry conditions, so they should be watered only when the top soil is dry or every two weeks in scorching climates.

They require up to six hours of direct, full sun, however, make sure that the sunlight wouldn’t be prolonged because the leaves might be subjected to burn as well. Not only that, but they also don’t need fertilizers; however, a slow-release granular fertilizer will do if you choose to fertilize.

16. Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum moss is a genus of over 300 species and is more of a dried, fluffy material than a plant. However, most local stores don’t sell specific moss species; they usually sell them all as sphagnum. This moss is mainly harvested from wetlands and is often used by gardeners on other plants to retain moisture in potted plants or add vibrancy to a terrarium.

– Features

In a terrarium, either open or closed, sphagnum moss can be used alone or mixed with the substrate; it helps boost humidity and moisture and provide antimicrobial benefits.

You can use either dead moss or live moss in your terrarium, however what would be the difference is that the dead moss usually has a tan or brown color, while live moss takes on a green or deep red color, depending on the specie.

Sphagnum Moss

As a result, you can plant live moss in your terrarium for its color or dead moss for its benefit to other plants. Either way, sphagnum moss adds immense benefits to your terrarium.

– Growing Requirements

When using live sphagnum moss on its own, you must water or mist it frequently as it needs to hydrate consistently. On another note, the soil it is planted in doesn’t need to be acidic as it creates its acidic environment. But the soils must be moist and low in nutrients.

The greener moss doesn’t thrive in direct sunlight, unlike its red counterpart, that is tolerant of it. But partial shade is best for either type.

17. Jewel Orchid

Ludisia discolor, or jewel orchid, is fast becoming an everyday terrarium staple due to its beautiful foliage and easy-care habit. And even though it springs forth beautiful, fragrant flowers, it is mostly grown because of its foliage.

– Features

The soft, suede-like leaves of the jewel orchid can be black or bronze with maroon or white veins. The plant blooms grow on spikes with dozens of tiny white flowers with a faint yellow tip. These flowers produce a pleasant fragrance. Jewel orchids can be grown in closed and open terrariums as they can adapt to any condition.

Jewel Orchid

– Growing Requirements

Jewel orchids are very tolerant of low light, but a few hours of filtered sunlight daily will do much good. The soil should be moist, nutrient-rich, and well-drained. It should be watered regularly and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out, but do not let it become waterlogged to prevent root rot.

Remember that you should be fertilizing it, as it is an essential requirement for jewel orchids to keep them nutrient-rich. Furthermore, you can use a liquid orchid of houseplant fertilizer once every two months in spring and fall.

18. Air Plant

Tillandsia, known as air plants, are epiphytes that grow on other plants without depending on the host. They have the propensity to attach to anything.

– Features

Air plants usually grow in a rosette pattern with narrow, triangular-shaped leaves, they typically come in two foliage colors; silver and green, and sometimes would even have stripes on them too.

Air Plant

The ones with silver foliage are more drought-resistant than those with greener foliage that dry out quickly. They are easy to care for, and you don’t require sand to grow them in an open terrarium.

– Growing Requirements

Your air plant would need bright, but shaded sunlight as direct sunlight can burn its leaves. Since it doesn’t grow with soil, watering this plant would require you to soak them in a water bowl for about 30 minutes once every two weeks, but make sure that you hang them instead.

Some air plants prefer misting or shorter soaks, so you would need to find out what specie of air plant you have and what it likes.

19. Croton

Croton are also called Codiaeum variegatum in botany, and they are evergreen perennial shrubs that have some very vibrant striking colors. This dazzling plant grows quickly and is very easy to care for.

– Features

The glossy, green leaves of the croton plant can have stripes or blotches of colors ranging from yellow, red, orange, cream, black, or pink. It has woody roots and stems and enjoys warm, humid conditions. But the plant does best in open terrariums.


– Growing Requirements

Crotons are best grown in loose, moist, acidic, well-drained soil. They prefer humid conditions, so mist your plants daily during the growth period and water them weekly.

Remember that you should especially water it when you notice the topsoil drying out. In addition, fertilizing should be done every growing season thrice, once in spring, summer, and fall, with a slow-release fertilizer.

20. Aluminum Plant

The aluminum plant, also known as Pilea cadierei, is a low-growing, easy-care plant that is great for terrariums. Its metallic coloration and dark foliage help brighten any terrarium.

– Features

These fast-growing plants have glossy, oval-shaped, dark green or gray quilted leaves lined with silver streaks.

Aluminum Plant

This plant grows best in a closed terrarium as it prefers a humid environment.

– Growing Requirements

The aluminum plant is best grown in moist, well-drained, sandy soil. It also thrives in bright but partial light, as direct sunlight can scorch its leaves. Watering should be done regularly when the plant is in its growing season and, subsequently, only when the topsoil is dry.


There is a wide range of beautiful, easy-care plants to start growing your own mini tropical house. All you have to do is figure out what plants best suit your personality, and what theme you are going for and ensure you have the necessary requirements.

Whether you go for an open or closed terrarium, here are a few things to take note of;

  • Each terrarium plant has a different planting requirement, so ensure you only put plants with similar needs together.
  • Always put your terrarium plants where they can get enough sunlight.
  • Make sure that you would set together some of the plants that have similar requirements, so that they would thrive together in the terrarium.
  • Maintain the proper humid conditions in your terrarium for your plants.

When you are going to be investing in a terrarium, you must remember that not all plant would be ones that would grow together in harmony, because some would grow with a highly moist envionment and others would have different conditions. From this list, which ones will you be investing in?


  • https://home.howstuffworks.com/aluminum-plant.htm
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Air-Plant-Terrarium?amp=1
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selaginella_kraussiana
  • https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/pilea-involucrata/
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