The best plants to add to your terrarium

Plus, the difference between open and closed terrariums.
Loading the player...

Everybody loves an indoor plant, but not everybody has the time, patience or frankly, memory, to ensure they thrive. Between differing watering schedules, lighting demands, soil preference and feeding times, it can be hard to keep up with the demands of an indoor plant collection. But what if you could bring together low-maintenance, easy plants, all in one place? Enter: the humble terrarium.

WATCH: How to make your own terrarium

There are a number of different plants that can all thrive under the same conditions; so you can truly create a mini garden eco-system in one vessel.

Generally, there are two types of terrarium – open and closed. Open terrariums are best for dry climate plants that require air-flow, like succulents and cacti, whereas closed terrariums work well for moisture and humidity-loving plants, such as ferns and some flowers.

Get creating: here are the best 12 terrarium plants to add to your next creation!

The best plants for a closed terrarium

1. African violets


You may already be familiar with these purple beauties; their recent resurgence has seen them pop up in gardens everywhere. However, these humid climate lovers also thrive in a terrarium environment! Perfect for adding a pop of colour.

2. Begonias

(Credit: Unsplash)

Despite what you might think, many flowers are just as at home in terrariums as succulents, ferns and cacti – and begonias are one of these flowers! Given that these colourful, robust plants love moisture, it makes sense.

3. Peperomia


Peperomia are a popular choice amongst terrarium lovers. Depending on the variety, their lush leaves range from plump and green, to variegated, to purple-toned.

4. Baby’s tears


This sweet, small-leafed tumbling plant makes for excellent ground cover – given the right conditions, it will creep across the base of your terrarium like a carpet.

5. Nerve plant


Much like peperomia, the nerve plant (aka Fittonia argyroneura) makes for a striking addition to your terrarium. Its leaves vary from green and white, pink and white or green and red.

6. Maidenhair fern


You couldn’t talk about terrariums without touching on at least one fern variety. The green, delicate foliage of a maidenhair fern make for a great way to ground your terrarium design, while you add interest via colour and texture elsewhere.

7. Polkadot plant


Another fabulous plant that makes for great ground cover (and adds colour!), is the polka dot plant. Also known as freckleface, or by its scientific name, Hypoestes, this easy growing, leafy plant is happy in most situations.

The best plants for an open terrarium

8. Air plants


Air plants make for an easy addition to your terrarium – you don’t even need to plant them! Like other terrarium plants, they love moisture and sunlight. Simply choose different shapes and sizes, place them in, and you’re good to go.

9. Pincushion cactus


These sweet, flower-crowned cacti make an adorable addition to an open terrarium. Very easy to grow – and propagate – leave a space for one of these in your next creation.

10. String of pearls


Planning to hang your terrarium? Don’t go past a string of pearls. This tumbling, cascading, bauble-like succulent will definitely add a bit of interest.

11. Zebra haworthia


Resilient, interesting and stripey, the zebra haworthia’s leather-like leaves will be right at home in an open terrarium.

12. Burro’s tail


Last but not least, Burro’s tail. Another chunkier hanging succulent, it’s perfect for a hanging terrarium, but also works for a non-hanging one.

Related stories