Even if you are a confirmed plant killer, terrariums are a great way to try your hand and make it a success. The best thing about terrariums is that it can fit in any modern decor and can be as traditional at the same.
Not only do miniature plants for terrarium add oomph to your home, but they also help improve air quality and breathe life into your humble abode with their vivid coloring. Acting like miniature greenhouses, terrariums made this possible for you to have a thriving indoor garden, welcoming nature into your home.
There are two types of terrariums, open glass containers (for succulents and cacti) and closed containers for humidity-loving plants.
While buying a terrarium container can be easily done, choosing the right type of plants can be a little tricky. So, we come up with this comprehensive guide on what miniature plants to choose and on what type of terrarium container they will thrive.
Miniature Plants For Open Terrarium
Miniature plants for open style terrariums require arid environment and healthy circulation of air. They are to give them lots of direct sunlight and watering them only once every two weeks or perhaps when the soil becomes too dry. Some of the most common plants being used for open terrariums are hens and chicks, aloe, desert cacti, succulents, and air plants. Many of these air plants can even be placed in open, hanging style terrariums.
Let’s take a closer look into each of these open terrarium miniature plants
1) Hen and Chicks Succulents
Hen and Chicks succulent are also known as house leaks. Their foliage gets red, green, copper or a mixture of different colors and these are perfect low-maintenance plants to be put in a terrarium.
They produce clusters of rosettes, the parent rosette being called “hens,” and the smaller ones that grow from them are called the “chicks” . This kit from Amazon contains 3 healthy vibrant plants which you can plant in an open terrarium.
2) Tillandsia or Air plant
These plants do not need soil to grow and can attach them to any host for survival. Place them on top of driftwood or perhaps, use river stones for the base. Do remember to use terrarium with holes to allow smooth airflow as their leaves tend to absorb water and feed from the air. They need to be watered twice a week other than misting, so an open terrarium is a good choice for it.
This Small Tillandsia Terrarium Kit is just perfect to kickstart your indoor gardening or terrarium project. With 12 Tillandsia varieties on this terrarium kit, you can finally create awesome terrariums for your home.
3) Kalanchoe Luciae or Flapjack
These succulents have smooth flat paddles shaped leaves that blush to a beautiful red with the right amount of sunlight. They need watering but ensure the soil is dried out before next watering.
You can get them shipped by Amazon and grow it in an open terrarium to ensure good air movement and low humidity.
4) Haworthia fasciata or zebra plant
This succulent gets its name because of the thick, dark green leaves with white horizontal stripes on the outside of the leaves. It’s perfect for beginners as it grows well indoors and can be planted in open terrarium as it needs normal watering as any succulent and partial sunlight.
Amazon is shipping a good, healthy zebra plant at a reasonable price. Check it out here
5) Jade plant
Jade plants need to be watered when the topsoil is just about dry to touch. It needs frequent watering, so an open terrarium is a good choice for it, It should never be kept without watering. If In case it starts losing leaves or has leaf spots, that is an indication that it is getting too little water. They also need direct sunlight for growth.
You can get a miny leaf bonsai jade plant here
6) Ghost Plant or Mother of Pearl
This low maintenance plant with its pinkish-grey succulent leaves is another good candidate for open terrarium. It grows best with bright sunshine and appears different in color depending on the amount of sun or shade it gets. Watering every other week is enough for these plants.
You can get this shipped in 3.5” pot from Amazon
Miniature Plants For Closed Terrarium
Let’s now take a closer look at the miniature plants for a closed terrarium
Let’s now take a closer look at the miniature plants for a closed terrarium
1) Psygmorchis Pusilla – Miniature orchid
If you got no time to frequently tend to your terrarium, choosing miniature plants that can thrive on their own is a great way to go. There are plants which can thrive in closed terrarium containers that basically don’t need constant fussing. Plants like baby ferns, cryptanthus, neoregelia, aechmea, and orchid gene plants like the Psygmorchis Pusilla can nourish themselves in a closed or sealed environment allowing water to recycle in itself.
The Award-Winning, Maintenance Free Orchid Terrarium — Psygmorchis Pusilla— for instance, is a favorite among avid indoor gardeners who prefer low maintenance plants due to their busy schedules. This type of orchid gene plant requires no food, water or even light source. It blooms and re-blooms even without sunlight or tending, like a synthetic flower, only that it’s breathing, thriving, living and adding more charm to your indoor haven.
2) Earth Star or Cryptanthus
This one is easy to grow, especially in the self-contained and high-moisture that exists inside a closed terrarium. These are so easy to care for that once set-up, they require almost zero red maintenance. The only thing to keep watch is the inside of the glass container does not get too hot. So during summertime you can open the lid to cool things down.
You can get them from Amazon here.
3) Neoregelia Fireball
4) Mikado plant or Sungonanthus Chryanthus
This plant has long stems that end with small creamy-white round flowers and hence are suitable for tall vertical terrarium.
It blooms for about two or three months in the summer and needs higher humidity, around 70 percent which is why it is a good choice for closed terrarium. Check it our here.
The possibilities are endless now that you know which miniature plants for a terrarium to choose. But your role doesn’t stop there. While terrarium plants basically thrive on their own, these babies still need some TLC to thrive. Open terrarium plants love direct sunlight so make sure to expose them to natural light. Watering this type of plants must be done as needed, which is contrary to closed ones which require none at all. To prevent exposing closed terrarium plants to direct sunlight and open for at least 30 minutes once a month for healthy circulation of air.
Here are some more guidelines and do’s and don’t for terrarium:
- Avoid Too Much Light
If you are not careful you can easily roast plants living in terrariums. The glass container which makes the terrarium act as a magnifier and can burn your plants. Temperatures can get really hot inside a terrarium jar and can get as steamy as a sauna in short time depending on the sun it’s getting. For most plants this kind of heat is harmful, so it is best practice to keep terrariums out of direct sunlight.
- Avoid Too Little Light
While there are lots of plants that require low light, there is almost no such plant that does not require light at all. Yes, you can use grow lights or fluorescent lights for terrarium plants, for most plants, placement near a window works pretty well. To ensure your plants are getting some light wherever you place your terrarium.
- Avoid Placement Too Close to Radiators
The heat generated from a radiator can kill plants quickly. Have you noticed a car with closed windows sitting in the sun and how fast they can get hot; If you put your terrarium on or near a radiator your plant will have similar conditions. So never put your glass container near or on a radiator.
Do Not Allow The Plants Get Leggy
It is important to keep an eye on your terrarium plants and when they become squiggly, prune them. To keep the plants small you will also have to prune the roots of the plants. Always ensure the plants does not touch the glass.
Keep the Glass Container Clean
Once in a while, you should clean the glass of your terrarium both the inner and outside. The best way to clean is to use a damp piece of newsprint or a lint-free cloth. Avoid using any harsh cleaning agents on the inner side of the terrarium as it may be toxic and dangerous for your plants.
- Do Not Over Water
Be careful about watering. It is easy to over-water terrariums. Best way to prevent overwatering is to use a spray bottle instead of pouring water. A spraying bottle makes it is easier to water lightly. Jut in case, you do over water, absorb any extra with a paper towel. Also leaving the top off of your terrarium will help to dry out the water.
- Do Not Over Fertilize
You can kill the miniature plants with too much plant food or fertilizer. In fact, most terrariums do not need any fertilizer at all. Since the plants kept in the terrarium are miniature or small in size, you don’t need to feed them. This will result in new plant growth, as a result, it will outgrow the confined space of terrarium.
- Do Not Grow Succulents in Closed Terrariums
Succulents plants in common needs high light and low moisture environments. The environment of a closed terrarium is usually far too humid for them to survive. You can simply use a glass dish garden without a top. Even a large jar can be too humid; you want air to be able to circulate around your succulents. So only broad open-ended terrarium container should be used for succulents.
- Keep it simple:
Other than the terrarium container, the only materials you need are pebbles, charcoal, soil, small succulents, and snips to trim the plants
- Create a Proper Drainage
Layer half an inch or so of gravel or lava rocks at the bottom of the terrarium to create drainage of excess water to trickle down.
- Do not overstuff the container
Arrange the miniature terrarium plants inside the container in such a way, that there’s some room for new growth. After the plants are potted securely, use a toothbrush to remove any excess soil from the sides of the container or the leaves of your plants
- Never Use Air Tight Seals For Closed Terrarium
Use a loose-fitting lid that allows some air to escape so that the plants can breathe. Using the air-tight lid will invite molds which will kill the plants. Make sure that once a week, you open even a loose-fitting lid, to encourage air movement. Allow an enclosed terrarium breathe every 1-2 weeks by removing its lid completely or keeping the lid ajar for an up to 24 hours
- Rotate Terrarium To Help Plant Growth
In order to encourage plants to grow upward and fill-in extra space, rotate the terrarium every 1-2 weeks
If you’re using a different type of miniature plants, choose plants that thrive in very similar environments like those plants that prefer a similar amount of sunlight, humidity, and water. For example, you should never mix and keep succulents which like hot and dry in a terrarium, with moss, which likes cool and moist. If you want to keep succulents mix it with other plants choose other types of succulents and cacti. Similarly if you want to keep ferns, you can mix it with moss.