Top 10 Terrarium Plants

Terrariums bring greenery to indoor spaces, and will flourish with the best terrarium plants. See our favorite selection of terrarium plants - in beautiful containers - to help you create your own.

Easy Terrariums
Terrariums came of age with the Victorians and are enjoying a newfound resurgence, fueled in part by their affordability and the continued interest in all things gardening. You can do it on a budget, do it with kids, do it with seniors. Here are 10 terrarium plants, along with tips and inspiration, that will make it easy for you to start your own garden in miniature.

1. Black Mondo Grass


Black mondo grass sends up shoots of strappy leaves that turn from green to black, with delicate flowers appearing in spring. At maturity it reaches 15 inches tall so it works best for large terrarium containers. Martin keeps this and other terrarium plants healthy by never misting them. You have to plant in terrariums like you plant in a garden.

2. Moon Valley Friendship Plant

'Moon Valley' friendship plant provides delicate patterning with deeply textured craters and valleys on two-toned leaves, which are tinted red on the underside. This plant is a perfect size to enclose in virtually any glass container that's fit for a terrarium, such as cloches or jars.

3. Variegated Spider Fern

Variegated spider fern seems to glow in a terrarium, thanks to the shine of its glossy leaves. A broad yellow center band on each leaf supplies visual interest for the easy-growing fern, which tolerates low light and enjoys the moist potting mix and high humidity found inside a terrarium.

4. Starfish Plant

The straplike leaves nearly glow with iridescent stripes, which range from red to maroon, white, and deep green; the plant also has tiny flowers. The leaf colors of starfish plant change with the intensity of light, and its slow-growing nature, it reaches only about 6 inches at maturity, makes it well-suited for a terrarium.

5. Nerve Plant

Nerve plant is a tropical choice with distinctively patterned leaves in burgundy and green. It thrives under the moist, warm air of a terrarium and will only reach 12 inches when fully mature. To plant a nerve plant inside a terrarium, starts with about a 2-inch layer of pebbles mixed with a tablespoon of charcoal; the latter acts as filtration to keep everything "sweet" for terrarium plants.

6. Variegata

Its foliage has little color variation, but the textural ripples or wrinkles on the leaves of Peperomia caperata 'Variegata' provide welcome contrast to terrarium plants that may be patterned with color. The plant stays 6 inches tall and likes the low but regular light and moist conditions under the glass of a terrarium.

7. Golden Clubmoss

Even though Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea', or golden clubmoss, stays compact in height - just up to 6 inches - it likes to spread. In fact, it can reach 2 feet across, so keep it trimmed inside a terrarium. The light green foliage works wonders to brighten darker-color plants. Keep the soil moist but not wet. In warmer Zones, it also can be used in shade gardens as a groundcover.

8. Aquamarine

Tiny variegation dots the small, silvery-blue, rounded leaves of Pilea glauca 'Aquamarine', a terrarium plant that loves high humidity and low light. Use its low-growing, densely matted, creeping pattern as a good base for other plants in your terrarium, or take it outside in warm weather for hanging pots or containers as an edger.

9. Air Plant

Interested in an air plant terrarium? Stunning, funnellike blue, purple, or pink flowers top its slender, pale green leaves, making the plant a natural terrarium choice for both color and texture. Variegation and chartreuse foliage really stand out. Other good textural plants include ferns and mosses.

10. Asplenium Bulbiferum

One of the bigger terrarium-suitable plants is the graceful arching fern Asplenium bulbiferum, which can reach 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide so needs to be regularly cut back. The diffused light inside a terrarium is perfect for this plant, also known as mother fern, as well as shade lovers, including Fittonia, creeping fig, dwarf coleus, and dwarf orchids.

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