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Choosing plants for your terrarium

It is preferable to choose small and slow growing plants to decorate your terrarium.
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Terrarium with small plants

Here’s advice and suggestions for choosing plants that suit your terrarium.

Select plants suited to the environment

The best plants for terrariums are small and slow-growing.

It’s important to group them together according to their growing requirements (light, temperature, humidity, substrate) to provide them with a favorable environment. For example, as insectivorous plants require an acid substrate and have special needs in terms of watering and fertilization, it is strongly recommended to grow them in a terrarium reserved especially for them.

If you choose to grow insectivorous plants, preferably choose plants of tropical origin such as Cape drosera (Drosera capensis), Mexican butterwort (Pinguicula moranensis) or Nepenthes ventricosa. These are easier to grow because they don’t require a rest period in cool temperatures, unlike species from temperate regions such as the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and the pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea).

Be sure to choose healthy, insect-free plants, as diseases develop easily in the closed environment of a terrarium.

Plant suggestions for your terrarium

Here is a list of indoor plants that adapt well to growing in terrariums. Choose species and cultivars according to the size they can reach and the space available in the terrarium. For some plants, there are miniature cultivars.
Suggested plants are categorized by their light requirements. Although it's important not to expose the terrarium to direct sunlight, the plants should still receive enough light for them to thrive.

Low light: These plants tolerate indirect light all day. A window to the north provides this type of sunshine. Since the light intensity is lower there in winter, however, it may be necessary to move the terrarium to a brighter place or to use artificial lighting.

Medium light: These plants require good light, but no direct sunlight. Near an east-facing window, plants receive morning sun and lots of indirect light during the rest of the day. If necessary, the terrarium can be set back a little from the window during the summer.

Bright light: These plants require strong light. As the terrarium should not be placed in direct sunlight, it is recommended to use artificial lighting (fluorescent or LED) or to place the terrarium far enough away from windows facing west or south.

Medium to low light

  • Aglaonema
  • Ficus pumila
  • Fittonia
  • Hedera helix
  • Pellaea rotundifolia
  • Selaginella
  • Soleirolia soleirolii
  • Syngonium

Medium light

  • Adiantum raddianum
  • Anthurium
  • Asplenium
  • Begonia
  • Calathea
  • Maranta leuconeura
  • Nepenthes, such as N. ventricosa and N. x ventrata
  • Pilea
  • Pinguicula of tropical origin, such as P. moranensis
  • Spathiphyllum

Medium to bright light 

  • Cryptanthus
  • Episcia
  • Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Miniature orchids, according to species and cultivars
  • Saintpaulia
  • Streptocarpus

Bright light

  • Drosera of tropical origin, such as D. capensis
  • Sinningia

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