What are the best plants for a closed terrarium? – Part 2

So, you’ve made a few closed terrariums with the easier plants such as fittonia or hypotheses and you’re looking for the next challenge. These plants that I’m going to outline can be a little bit more tricky – but if you’ve got a developing green thumb it might be a fun challenge.

Lets start with the fussy queen herself – Calathea. Don’t recoil in horror, we’ve all killed a few Calathea and though “never again!”, but think about it…what do Calathea love? Humidity, warmth and moist soil. Perfect conditions to put in a closed terrarium! The only issue with these guys is they can get quite large – so a taller terrarium is definitely a must!

Calathea ‘Dottie’ in a glass Sweet Jar
Calathea ‘Dottie’, ‘Rosy’, ‘Makoyana’, ‘Blue Grass’

Peperomia have the cutest most unusual little rounded leaves – but do they make good closed terrarium plants? Well, yes and no. They CAN thrive in a closed terrarium, but you do have to be careful. I tend to find Peperomia can rot pretty easily, depending on the species. Something like Peperomia ‘Variegata’, with its thick waxy leaves can handle the excess humidity a bit more than something like Peperomia ‘Piccolo Banda’.

Peperomia ‘Variegata’ has thicker leaves, and tends to be more hardy
Peperomia ‘Piccolo Banda’ has thinner leaves, and tends to rot more easily

Tradescantia is by far one of my favorite family of plants. They come in such beautiful colours, and when they trail and spill out of a pot they just look beautiful. Plus – they’re super easy to care for! So why am I including them under intermediate plants? Well, I have had Tradescantia species rot in the past – and what it seems to be is they don’t like getting their leaves wet and staying wet. So when a closed terrarium condensates, or you spray it with water, some leaves can rot. However, I have also had great success with Tradescantia. My favourite species to use are Zebrina, Purpusii and Nanouk.

Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’
Tradescantia ‘Zebrina’ alongside Satin Pothos and a Bromeliad pup

We talked about the asparagus fern in the previous post, and now it’s time to talk about…most other species of fern! I know it’s sort of common knowledge that ferns love humidity, however I have actually had ferns rot in a closed terrarium before. So it’s not always as easy as shoving any old fern in a terrarium and it will thrive – sometimes they just die! Be careful about ferns touching the side of the glass, they can get a bit fussy (or more fussy than they already are) if that happens.

3 different species of Fern in a closed terrarium
‘Silver Leaf’ Fern

On most other blogs or posts about closed terrarium plants, you will probably read about ‘Baby Tears’ (or Helxine soleirolii) and usually these articles say it’s one of the easiest terrarium plants to use. Unfortunately, I’ve not had much luck with this plant and I think it’s because it likes good air flow and circulation. Try and put it in a closed terrarium and it will often rot almost immediately, and I’ve also discovered it does not ship well…hence why I don’t stock it in my shop.

A terrarium with a large opening may be best for ‘Baby Tears’ to allow for more circulation

Shopping Cart