10 Best Small Terrarium Plants for Miniature Gardens

Small Terrarium Plants

A terrarium is a house plant display grown in a container, which is usually sealable and made of glass, such as a large bottle with a cork stopper. The plants are arranged as a miniature garden. Growing small terrarium plants can be a delightful way to bring nature indoors.

They’re low-maintenance, perfect for small spaces, and add a touch of nature to indoor environments. Plus, they help purify the air and can be a fun way to experiment with different plant species and designs.

Creative Terrarium Design Tips

Depending on your plants, you might need to water your self-sustaining ecosystem only once a month. Following are a few options :

Best Small Terrarium Plants

1. Pilea Glauca

small terrarium plants

It is also known as Pilea libanensis or the silver sparkles plant. This tropical plant is known for its tiny green leaves that appear to have a silvery sheen. With a low, bushy growth habit, this relatively new cultivar makes an attractive, easy-to-grow houseplant in temperate climates.

With this plant, overwatering tends to be more of a risk than underwater. Pilea glauca may drop leaves if allowed to go completely dry too often. Your plant will also benefit from added humidity. You can achieve this by keeping it next to a humidifier, in a well-lit bathroom, or on a pebble tray. Your Pilea prefers bright, indirect light. Direct sun may burn the leaves.

To prevent your Pilea from growing lopsided, rotate it at least 2-3 times a week since it grows towards the sun. This plant can adapt to lower-light areas, but the leaves will turn a darker green, and the plant will spread out more.

Silvery leaves symbolize prosperity and bring tranquility to your space. They purify the air for a healthier home and are also a stress-relieving natural oasis. An ideal gift for growth and abundance, they align with Feng Shui for positive energy.

2. Marcgravia Sintenisii

Marcgravia Sintenisii also known as the Rainbow Marcgravia is a stunning and easygoing plant that is perfect for a terrarium! The newly grown leaves are usually red and slowly turn green as they mature. Marcgravia is often used to cover terrarium walls with beautiful foliage, as they are a shingling type of plant.

  • Keep moist but not saturated.
  • Light: Bright indirect light to dappled shade.
  • Humidity: 80-100%.

3. String of Turtles

micro terrarium plants

A string of Turtles (Peperomia prostrate) is a type of succulent native to Brazilian rainforests that thrives in warm climates but adapts well to average household conditions. For this reason, it has become very popular for houseplant collections and jungles.

The String of Turtles does not grow in the soil but is well adapted to hanging from trees and trailing across rocks. They are easy to care. Once you know what to do (and what NOT to do), as far as water goes, keep it light. Don’t overdo the H2O.

4. Creeping Fig

best small terrarium plants

The Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila) is an evergreen vining plant named for its ability to climb and cling to almost anything. For this reason, it’s sometimes also called the Climbing Fig. The Creeping Fig is not toxic but may cause nausea if ingested.

The leaves are also used for dysentery, hematuria, and local carbuncles. The whole plant is used for spermatorrhea and as a galactagogue. It is also used for impotence, menstrual disorders, dysuria, dyschezia, rheumatism, lumbago, boils, and impetigo. The juice of the plant is used for skin diseases.

Your creeping fig will be happy in a bright room in your home but far enough from the window that the sun’s direct rays do not touch it. An east- or south-facing window is best. Strong afternoon western light is too much exposure for the plant.

5. Humata Heterophylla

Humata heterophylla is a low-growing, creeping, epiphytic fern species that grows and works well as a cultivated plant grown inside terrariums, vivariums, and orchidariums. The leaves are sturdy and have a wonderful ridged texture.

Provided this fern receives enough moisture, it will rather beautifully cover the base, the sides, and the background of an enclosure.It thrives in moist, shaded environments and prefers well-drained soil, making it suitable for indoor environments where such conditions can be replicated.

6. Nerve Plant

tiny terrarium plants

It benefits and makes breathing easier and less stressful with a Nerve Plant, a low-maintenance, pet-safe purifier with cultural charm. It purifies air by absorbing VOCs and enhancing indoor air quality. Low maintenance; ideal for beginners or the time-constrained. Pet-friendly and easy to propagate, perfect for gifting.

Keep it away from the hot sun and give it bright, filtered light. If placed near a sunny window, try filtering direct sunlight with a sheer curtain. Nerve plants crave medium humidity and grow best when their soil is kept evenly moist. If your nerve plant isn’t getting enough water, it will droop dramatically.

Nerve plants require high humidity to thrive. In the Amazonian regions of these countries, many indigenous communities use the leaves of various Fittonia subspecies in local medicine to treat headaches and toothaches and to inspire religious visions.

The nerve plant should be kept close to diffused light through a sheer curtain or beneath fluorescent lights. You can also keep it in the restroom with a little illumination. 

7. Peacock Fern

best plants for small terrariums

Native to China, the Peacock Fern, otherwise known as Rainbow Moss, appreciates a moist and shady area to grow. Although it is neither a fern nor a moss, because of its appearance and growth patterns, it has been classified as a fern.

They make very good terrariums or bathroom plants. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 85. Their eye-catching blue and green foliage will leave your garden looking better than anything. Peacock fern is a relatively rare houseplant that needs very little water to thrive.

Peacock ferns do best in moderate sunlight and should be less than 6 feet from a window. They like soil that is good at retaining moisture. If you repot your plant each time it doubles in size, your plant shouldn’t need added fertilizers.

Peacock Moss isn’t classified as toxic. Peacock Moss beautifies spaces and reduces stress. It thrives easily and purifies air. It prevents erosion and boosts biodiversity.

8. Watermelon Dischidia

plants for small terrarium

This plant has leaves that are shaped like eggs, and it’s called “ovata” because of this. The leaves have a pattern that looks like the rind of a watermelon, which is why it’s called the Watermelon Dischidia.

Useful for gifts plants, tabletop plants or hanging, terrariums & fairy gardens.

Dischidia plants prefer bright, indirect light and should be watered when the soil dries out. They are relatively low-maintenance and can be a great addition to any plant collection. Like many plants, Dischidia can help purify the air by removing toxins and pollutants.

Watermelon Dischidia is very sensitive to wet soil, so choose potting soil that drains very well and doesn’t retain too much moisture. Good soil will have lots of perlite or vermiculite for drainage and some organic matter for nutrition.

9. Air Plants

mini plants for terrarium

These fascinating little plants are different to grow than most other houseplants. Use this guide to grow and care for air plants in your home. Air plants (Tillandsias) have unique spiky gray or gray-green leaves that look great in any houseplant collection.

Air plants come in various sizes, shapes, and colors and don’t have typical roots, meaning they don’t require soil. In their natural habitat, their root systems allow them to hold onto the surface of a tree or branch, but they can also be displayed in containers as houseplants.

Air plants seem almost otherworldly in the way they grow—well, just in the air. No soil is required. Like most plants, they photosynthesize at night. Studies show that being surrounded by indoor plants, especially air plants, will allow you to create the peaceful environment you need.

This means that they will help alleviate stress, lower blood pressure, and improve focus and productivity at home or work by 10 to 15%.In other words, they emit fresh oxygen, which allows you to breathe clean air even when you are sound asleep.

10. Haworthia

micro terrarium plants

Haworthia, also called zebra cactus, pearl, star window, and cushion aloe, is a large genus of small, slow-growing succulent plants that resemble mini aloe plants with rosettes of fleshy green leaves generously covered with white pearly warts or bands.

Haworthias are very popular houseplants that can be grown successfully indoors and outdoors in all areas of the world, where frosts are infrequent and short-lived. If there’s a hot afternoon sun, provide bright light with some shade.

Give water when the top inch of soil dries out. Avoid overwatering, but don’t let them dry out completely. It’s a natural stress reliever. Haworthia is not poisonous to humans or animals 


Caring for plants has been shown to reduce stress and boost mood, making terrariums a beneficial addition to spaces where relaxation is important, like homes and offices. These advantages make small terrarium plants a delightful and practical choice for enhancing indoor environments.

Choosing the best small terrarium plants can greatly enhance your indoor gardening experience. Spider plants, tropical plants, and miniature ferns are all excellent choices for a closed terrarium due to their ability to thrive in indirect sunlight and high-humidity environments. These terrarium-suitable small plants require minimal maintenance, making them ideal for those new to plant care.

It’s essential to select the right terrarium supplies to prevent issues like root rot, which is common when conditions are too damp. By mixing these small plants with other plants, you can create a diverse, lush miniature ecosystem that stands out from larger plants in beauty and ease of care.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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