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imageThe ideal plants for a terrarium are small hardy plants that require only moderate sunlight and don’t grow at all. And before you start selecting plants for your terrarium you have to have a good idea about how you will make your terrarium. Ask yourself two questions before purchasing plants: How big will the terrarium be and how much sunlight will it get? From these answers you will dramatically improve your chances of selecting the right plants for your project.

Most plants will do very well in a terrarium so you don’t have to worry too much about selection as far as health and hardiness goes. What you really have to consider is the growth of the plants and the aesthetic look of the plants.

The Aesthetics of the Plants or how they look together

Choose plants of different heights and leaf shapes and choose some plants with a splash of color. Your plants should compliment each other in that they give a nice variety. If all the plants are similar it makes for an uninteresting arrangement. When shopping for plants you should place them side by side in little arrangements to get a feel for how they will look in the same dish or bowl. Look for variety in height, leaf shape and color. When I am shopping for plants I also look for multiple plants in the same pot. It affords me the ability to break them up and spread them out in interesting arrangements.

The Growth of the Plants

This can be a bit tricky and all plants will grow if given the opportunity. But many plants will grow slowly or not at all and still thrive if they are potted and given only moderate amounts of sunlight and water. Here are some plants that do well in a terrarium:


Palm Neanthe Bella - Low light and grows slowly and is very hardy

Swedish Ivy - Very durable low care plant

Bird Nest Sansivieria - Extremely hardy

Irish moss - Makes nice groundcover

Croton - Come in many bright colors but need a lot of light

Pothos - Medium Light , nice shaped leaves

Pitcher Plant - Carnivorous and has a nice exotic look

Butterwort - Also carnivorous

Miniature African violets - Adds nice color

Cactus - High sunlight and sandy soil

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) - Extremely hardy plant

Aspidistra (Cast iron plant) – As the name implies this is a very durable plant

Herbs – Have a nice added function of being edible (Don't hesitate to use herbs like parsley, mint, chives, oregano or others in your terrarium. They tend to be hardy, stay small and often add a little bit of a nice aroma.)
When making a terrarium plant selection is not too much of a worry because most of the typical plants you will find in a greenhouse or home improvement store have been selected for their hardiness. Consider more how they will look together and how much they will grow.

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