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Choosing plants

Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii Compacta' tolerates low light
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)
Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii Compacta'

The best plants for terrariums are small and slow-growing. Generally speaking, it is best to choose ones that complement each other in terms of their light, temperature and humidity requirements. For instance, high humidity in a sealed terrarium is well suited to ferns, mosses and insectivorous plants. Cacti and succulents, on the other hand, require a dryer environment and will flourish better in a container that is always kept open. Finally, you can control the humidity level by periodically opening and closing the lid of the terrarium to suit the plants’ needs.

The following indoor plants grow well in terrariums. Be sure to choose healthy, insect-free plants, for parasites multiply quickly in the closed environment in a terrarium.

Low light (north facing)

Foliage plants

  • Aglaonema
  • Aucuba
  • Chamaedorea
  • Dracaena
  • Euonymus
  • Calathea
  • Philodendron
  • Pilea
  • Sansevieria
  • Scindapsus
  • Spathiphyllum
  • Syngonium

Medium light (east facing)


  • Gaultheria
  • Hedera
  • Selaginella


  • Adiantum
  • Asplenium
  • Polypodium


  • Cladonia


  • Sphagnum

Foliage plants

  • Caladium
  • Maranta

Flowering plants

  • Anthurium

Insectivorous plant

  • Sarracenia

Bright light (south or west facing)

Flowering plants

  • Begonia
  • Episcia
  • Gesneria
  • Oxalis
  • Saintpaulia
  • Sinningia
  • Streptocarpus
  • Trifolium

Foliage plants

  • Cacti and succulents
  • Iresine

Insectivorous plant

  • Dionaea
  • Sarracenia

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