How to Take Care of Every Single Terrarium Plant (Ever-growing list)

Tropical plants for terrariums

 

Welcome to our all-inclusive terrarium plant guide!

This guide aims to be an ever-expanding list of terrarium-suitable tropical plants and includes: 

  • Care advice
  • Aids for identification
  • Terrarium tips

Separately we have a terrarium care guide and an even more comprehensive beginner’s guide to terrariums.

For UK browsers, most of the plants on this list are available for purchase at our shop.

This is an ever-expanding care handbook, so if something is missing, please add a note in the comment section, and we’ll add it to this list.

Much of the care advice between these plants is similar, so you will find some repetition. But it’s just as well; terrarium plants should pair well together!

Use our quick guide below to jump straight to the plant you’re looking for.

Quick Guide

  1. Asparagus setaceus (Asparagus Fern)
  2. Asplenium nidus (Birds Nest Fern)
  3. Begonia rex (Rex Begonia)
  4. Callisia repens (Turtle Vine) 
  5. Cryptanthus rubens (Earth Star)
  6. Ficus ginseng (Ficus Bonsai)
  7. Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig)
  8. Fittonia albivenis (Nerve Plant)
  9. Hedera helix (Common Ivy)
  10. Hypoestes phyllostachya (Polka Dot Plant)
  11. Iresine (Bloodleaf)
  12. Muehlenbeckia complexa (Maidenhair Vine)
  13. Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern) 
  14. Peperomia pepperspot (String of Coins)
  15. Peperomia prostrata (String of Turtles)
  16. Peperomia rotundifolia (Trailing Jade)
  17. Pilea libanensis (Silver Sprinkles)
  18. Polystichum tsus-simense (Korean Rock Fern)
  19. Selaginella apoda (Meadow Spikemoss)
  20. Syngonium (Arrowhead Plant)

Terrarium Plant Care Guide

Asparagus setaceus

Buy asparagus fern uk
  • Common name(s): Asparagus Fern, Lace Fern
  • Toxic for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: 30 cm to 250 cm
  • Origin: Native to southern Africa.

How to Care for Asparagus Ferns: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; can tolerate some shade.
  • Watering: Keep soil consistently moist during the growing season, reduce watering in winter.
  • Humidity: Prefers high humidity levels; mist regularly or use a humidifier.
  • Temperature: Ideal temperature range is 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with organic matter; slightly acidic to neutral pH.
  • Pruning: Trim yellow or brown fronds regularly to maintain appearance.
  • Propagation: Propagate through division or by planting seeds.
  • Terrarium Tip: Use the fronds of Asparagus setaceus to cast shadows down onto the rest of your terrarium

Asplenium nidus

Asplenium nidus care guide
  • Common name(s): Bird's Nest Fern
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: 30 cm to 90 cm
  • Origin: Native to tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia, and Hawaii.

How to Care for Bird's Nest Fern: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels; mist regularly or use a humidifier.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining, coir-based potting mix with added perlite or sand.
  • Pruning: Trim brown or damaged fronds close to the base.
  • Propagation: Propagate through spores or by division of the plant.
  • Terrarium Tip: Bird's Nest Ferns appreciate occasional foliar feeding with a diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season to promote lush foliage.

Begonia rex

Begonia red heart for sale in the UK
  • Common name(s): Rex Begonia
  • Toxic for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Can grow up to 30-50 centimeters tall
  • Origin: Native to tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and South America.

How to Care for Rex Begonia: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light; avoid direct sun to prevent leaf scorching.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels; mist regularly or place a humidifier nearby.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); avoid drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with high organic content; slightly acidic soil pH is ideal.
  • Pruning: Pinch off any leggy growth to encourage bushiness; remove dead or yellowing leaves.
  • Propagation: Propagate through leaf or stem cuttings in moist soil or water.
  • Terrarium Tip: Rex Begonias add vibrant color and texture to terrariums; monitor for signs of overwatering, as they are prone to root rot in soggy conditions.

Callisia repens

Callisia repens care guide
  • Common name(s): Turtle Vine, Inch Plant
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: 5 cm to 40 cm
  • Origin: Native to Mexico and Central America.

How to Care for Turtle Vine: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions.
  • Watering: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged; allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Humidity: Thrives in moderate to high humidity environments; mist regularly or use a pebble tray.
  • Temperature: Ideal temperature range is between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); avoid cold drafts.
  • Soil: A well-draining potting mix with organic matter, a mixture of coir, perlite, and compost, works well.
  • Pruning: Trim back leggy growth and pinch off wilted or yellowing leaves to encourage bushier growth.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings placed in moist soil; roots will develop within a few weeks.
  • Terrarium Tip: Turtle Vine can tolerate occasional drying out but prefers consistently moist conditions to thrive. Works best in closed terrariums.

Cryptanthus rubens

Earth star plant for sale
  • Common name(s): Earth star plant
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 15 cm to 30 cm
  • Origin: Native to Brazil, found in tropical rainforests.

How to Care for Earth Star Plants: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Moderate watering, allowing soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Humidity: Thrives in moderate to high humidity; consider misting regularly.
  • Temperature: Maintain between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C), avoiding temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with organic matter.
  • Pruning: Trim brown or damaged leaves for appearance and health.
  • Propagation: Divide babies/offsets growing from the centre and replant.
  • Terrarium Tip: Ensure your glassware is large enough to accommodate the potential growth of the Cryptanthus.

Ficus ginseng

Ficus ginseng care guide
  • Common name(s): Ginseng Ficus, Chinese Banyan
  • Toxic for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Typically grows between 20 cm to 60 cm in height
  • Origin: Native to Southeast Asia, including China and India.

How to Care for Ginseng Ficus: 

  • Light: Requires bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.
  • Watering: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering thoroughly; reduce watering in winter. Don’t allow the root ball to dry out.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels; mist leaves occasionally
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); protect from drafts.
  • Soil: Enjoys a well-draining potting mix with good aeration.
  • Pruning: Trim back leggy growth and remove any yellow or dead leaves to maintain shape and promote growth.
  • Propagation: Can be propagated from stem cuttings or air layering; ensure proper humidity and warmth for successful rooting.
  • Terrarium Tip: Ginseng Ficus prefers stability in its environment, so avoid frequent changes in light, temperature, or humidity to prevent stress and leaf drop. Springtails can help control fallen leave. 

Ficus pumila

Ficus pumila plant for sale
  • Common name(s): Creeping Fig, Climbing Fig
  • Toxic for pets: Considered toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Can spread up to 3 meters horizontally and 2 meters vertically
  • Origin: Native to East Asia, including China, Japan, and Vietnam.

How to Care for Creeping Fig: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; can tolerate some shade but may result in slower growth.
  • Watering: Keep soil evenly moist during the growing season, allowing the top inch to dry out between waterings.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels; mist leaves occasionally.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); protect from drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix with good aeration.
  • Pruning: Regular pruning to maintain size and shape; trim back excess growth to encourage bushier growth.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings or layering; ensure nodes are in contact with soil for successful rooting.
  • Terrarium Tip: Creeping Fig can be trained to climb or allowed to trail, making it versatile for terrarium landscapes; regular pruning helps control its growth and prevent it from overtaking other plants.

Fittonia albivenis

Shop Fittonia Plants at ome
  • Common name(s): Nerve plant, Mosaic plant
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 10 cm to 20 cm
  • Origin: Native to the rainforests of South America.

How to Care for Nerve Plants: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged; mist leaves occasionally.
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels; consider using a pebble tray or humidifier.
  • Temperature: Maintain between 60°F to 80°F (16°C to 27°C), avoiding sudden temperature drops.
  • Soil: Well-draining, coir-based soil mix.
  • Pruning: Pinch back stems to encourage bushiness and remove leggy growth.
  • Propagation: Take stem cuttings and root in water or moist soil.
  • Terrarium Tip: Take cuttings above plant nodes and replant in your terrarium to make your Fittonia go further.

Hedera helix

shop tropical terrarium houseplants
  • Common name(s): English Ivy, Common Ivy
  • Toxic for pets: Considered toxic to cats, dogs, and horses
  • Growth range: Can grow up to 20 to 30 meters vertically
  • Origin: Native to Europe and Western Asia.

How to Care for English Ivy: 

  • Light: Thrives in full sun
  • Watering: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged; allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels but can tolerate drier air.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C); protect from drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with good aeration.
  • Pruning: Regular pruning to maintain size and shape; trim back excess growth to prevent it from becoming too leggy.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings or by layering; ensure nodes are in contact with soil for successful rooting.
  • Terrarium Tip: Plant at the rear of your terrarium to gain verticality in your design.

Hypoestes phyllostachya

Colourful tropical terrariums plants
  • Common name(s): Polka Dot Plant
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Typically grows up to 30-40 centimetres tall
  • Origin: Native to Madagascar.

How to Care for Polka Dot Plant: 

  • Light: Requires bright, indirect light to maintain vibrant leaf colours; avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch leaves.
  • Watering: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Humidity: Thrives in moderate to high humidity levels; mist leaves regularly or use a humidifier, especially in dry indoor environments.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); protect from cold drafts and temperature fluctuations.
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with good moisture retention.
  • Pruning: Regularly pinch back stems to encourage bushy growth and prevent legginess; promptly remove any yellow or dead leaves.
  • Propagation: Best propagated by splitting at the root level.
  • Terrarium Tip: Avoid taking stem cuttings; try splitting at the root level

Iresine

Bloodleaf plant Iresine for sale
  • Common name(s): Bloodleaf, Chicken Gizzard
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Can reach up to 30-60 centimeters tall
  • Origin: Native to South America.

How to Care for Iresine: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; can tolerate some direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate humidity levels; mist occasionally or place on a pebble tray.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C); protect from cold drafts.
  • Soil: Well-draining, fertile soil; pH slightly acidic to neutral.
  • Pruning: Pinch off growing tips regularly to encourage bushiness; remove leggy or damaged growth.
  • Propagation: Propagate from stem cuttings placed in water or soil.
  • Terrarium Tip: Bloodleaf adds striking color contrast to terrariums, but their leaves are large. Select an amply-sized terrarium container for the best results.

Muehlenbeckia complexa

Buy maidenhair vine 6cm pot
  • Common name(s): Maidenhair vine, Wire vine
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 30 cm to 90 cm
  • Origin: Native to New Zealand.

How to Care for Maidenhair Vine: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade.
  • Watering: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Humidity: Moderate to high humidity levels; mist leaves regularly.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with added perlite or sand.
  • Pruning: Trim back leggy growth to maintain shape; propagate from cuttings.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings in water or soil.
  • Terrarium Tip: Maidenhair vine adds delicate foliage and a trailing habit to terrariums, making it an ideal choice for cascading plant arrangements.

Nephrolepis exaltata

Shop Boston Ferns in the UK
  • Common name(s): Boston Fern, Sword Fern
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 30 cm to 90 cm
  • Origin: Native to tropical regions worldwide.

How to Care for Boston Fern: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged; mist regularly.
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels; place a humidifier nearby or mist frequently.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining, rich potting mix with added organic matter.
  • Pruning: Trim yellow or damaged fronds regularly to promote new growth.
  • Propagation: Propagate through division by separating rhizomes with roots and replanting.
  • Terrarium Tip: Try splitting your fern in two and placing near the rear and foreground of your design to ‘rhyme’ throughout your terrarium.

Peperomia pepperspot

Peperomia pepperspot
  • Common name(s): String of coins
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 15 cm to 50 cm
  • Origin: Native to South America.

How to Care for String of Coins: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light but tolerates less light and occasional direct light.
  • Watering: Allow an inch of soil to dry out between watering; be careful not to waterlog.
  • Humidity: Moderate humidity levels are ideal; mist occasionally.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with good aeration.
  • Pruning: Trim leggy stems to maintain a compact shape.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings or leaf cuttings.
  • Terrarium Tip: Try trailing Peperomia pepperspot along a vertical moss wall.

Peperomia prostrata

Peperomia prostrata care
  • Common name(s): String of Turtles, Prostrate Peperomia
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 15 cm to 50 cm
  • Origin: Native to Central and South America.

How to Care for String of Turtles: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings; avoid overwatering.
  • Humidity: Moderate to high humidity levels.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining soil mix, such as a combination of coir and perlite.
  • Pruning: Trim leggy stems to encourage bushier growth.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings placed in soil or water.
  • Terrarium Tip: Plop any fallen leaves flat in the soil – they should propagate over time.

Peperomia rotundifolia

Peperomia rotundifolia 6cm for sale
  • Common name(s): Trailing jade, Trailing peperomia
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic
  • Growth range: 15 cm to 30 cm
  • Origin: Native to South America.

How to Care for Trailing Jade: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions.
  • Watering: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings; avoid overwatering.
  • Humidity: Moderate humidity levels are ideal; mist occasionally.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with good aeration.
  • Pruning: Pinch back leggy growth to encourage bushiness.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings or leaf cuttings.
  • Terrarium Tip: Place stem cuttings in-between cushion moss for the best effect.

Pilea libanensis/glaucophylla

Pilea libanensis 6cm for sale
  • Common name(s): Lebanese Pilea, Silver Sprinkles, Pilea Glauca
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: 10 cm to 80 cm
  • Origin: Native to Lebanon and other regions of the Middle East.

How to Care for Lebanese Pilea: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; can tolerate some direct sunlight in the morning or late afternoon.
  • Watering: Allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings; water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels; mist occasionally or place a humidity tray nearby.
  • Temperature: Ideally kept between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C); avoid sudden temperature drops.
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with good aeration; a mixture of coir, perlite, and coarse sand is suitable.
  • Pruning: Pinch off any leggy growth or remove yellowing leaves to maintain compact growth.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated from stem cuttings placed in moist potting soil or water.
  • Terrarium Tip: Place in the foreground of your terrarium to create a meadow/garden aesthetic

Polystichum tsus-simense

Korean rock fern 6cm
  • Common name(s): Korean Rock Fern
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Typically grows up to 20-30 centimetres tall
  • Origin: Native to Korea.

How to Care for Korean Rock Fern: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels slightly dry.
  • Humidity: Requires moderate to high humidity levels; mist the leaves regularly or place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C); protect from drafts and extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Soil: A well-draining potting mix with organic matter such as compost; slightly acidic soil pH is ideal.
  • Pruning: Trim off brown or dead fronds regularly to maintain a tidy appearance; remove old, yellowing leaves to encourage new growth.
  • Propagation: Plants propagate through division, separating the rhizomes into smaller sections with healthy roots and replanting them in separate pots.
  • Terrarium Tip: Pairs perfectly with other ferns such as Nephrolepis exaltata

Selaginella apoda

Selaginella apoda
  • Common name(s): Naked Clubmoss, Meadow Spikemoss
  • Toxic for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: 5 cm to 15 cm
  • Origin: Native to North America.

How to Care for Naked Clubmoss/Meadow Spikemoss: 

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light; avoid direct sunlight.
  • Watering: Do not allow soil to dry or to be ‘soggy’. Requires well-balanced moisture.
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels; mist regularly or use a pebble tray.
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60°F to 80°F (16°C to 27°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining, acidic soil mixed with added organic matter.
  • Pruning: Trim or pinch back stems to maintain desired shape and size.
  • Propagation: Propagate through division.
  • Terrarium Tip: Pinch even the smallest pieces of Meadow spike moss off your plant to propagate across your terrarium.

Syngonium

Syngonium for sale 6cm
  • Common name(s): Arrowhead Plant, Arrowhead Vine
  • Toxic for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Growth range: Can grow up to 30-60 centimeters tall
  • Origin: Native to tropical regions of Latin America.

How to Care for Arrowhead Plant: 

  • Light: Thrives in bright, indirect light; can tolerate low light conditions.
  • Watering: Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings; water more sparingly in winter.
  • Humidity: Prefers moderate to high humidity levels; mist regularly or use a humidity tray.
  • Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C); protect from cold drafts.
  • Soil: Well-draining potting mix with organic matter; pH slightly acidic to neutral.
  • Pruning: Trim leggy growth to maintain bushiness; remove any dead or yellowing leaves.
  • Propagation: Propagate from stem cuttings in water or soil.
  • Terrarium Tip: Arrowhead Plant often dies back initially in a terrarium but don’t panic, allow it time to regrow.

 

 

This is an ever-growing (yes, pun) list – so please leave any plants you think we’ve missed down below and we’ll add them ASAP!

 - Joe


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