What Plants Grow in a Terrarium

Updated April 17, 2017

A terrarium is a glass container used for keeping and observing plants or small animals, similar to a miniature indoor greenhouse. A home terrarium is popular for creating a microclimate suitable for unusual and exotic plants. However, not every type of plant is suitable for growing in a terrarium. For example, many cacti cannot survive in a humid terrarium environment and require special lighting conditions. Most terrarium plants do not grow larger than 12 inches tall.

Venus Fly Trap

The Venus fly trap is a small, carnivorous plant native to areas of South and North Carolina. Fly traps are one of the most popular species kept in a terrarium. The plant snares passing insects and spiders in its trap-like leaves. Owners may have to feed the plant with small flies every month. The terrarium provides humidity levels suitable for fly trap growth. However, monitor temperatures in the summer months to avoid overheating, advises the Botanical Society of America.

Miniature Ferns

Miniature ferns such as moss fern, asparagus fern and Boston fern make fast-growing and low-maintenance terrarium plants. The ideal temperature for fern cultivation is between 15.5 and 21.1 degrees C, with slightly cooler temperatures at night, according to Clemson University. Some fern species can swamp a terrarium unless pruned regularly. Placing ferns in the direct line of sunlight may result in discolouration or stunted fronds.

Swedish Ivy

Swedish ivy is a popular evergreen houseplant with a reputation for resilient, hardy foliage. Swedish ivy grown in a terrarium does not require a lot of light, so it makes a good plant for offices or dark apartments. The ivy may outgrow the container after a year or two, depending on the terrarium size.

Jade Plant

Jade plants have rich, dark green leaves with a waxy texture. The trunk can grow woody even in small plants, leading to a miniature tree or bonsai-like appearance. Jade plants need plenty of light in a terrarium and are often victim to root rot from overwatering, according to North Dakota State University. However, the plant does tolerate lack of water and fertiliser, making it a resilient addition to a terrarium.

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