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Terrarium Plants: Perfect Picks for Beginners (2023)

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terrarium plants perfect for beginnersAre you a green-fingered novice ready to start your own indoor garden? If so, terrarium plants could be the perfect choice for you! From Nerve Plants (Fittonia) and Pilea, to Creeping Fig (Ficus Pumila), there are plenty of options available.

But before taking the plunge into this low maintenance hobby, it’s important to understand which plants will work best with your particular terrarium set up. So let’s take a look at how you can choose the ideal starter plants and provide them with optimal care.

With these tips on lighting conditions and watering frequency in hand – plus our top picks – even beginners can create their very own lush miniature jungle!

Key Takeaways

  • Ideal plants for beginners: Nerve Plants (Fittonia), Pilea, and Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila).
  • Choose plants based on terrarium type and plant needs.
  • Lighting influences plant growth and ecosystem balance.
  • Proper lighting and watering ensure successful terrariums.

Best Terrarium Plants for Beginners

Best Terrarium Plants for Beginners
Delving into the realm of beginner-friendly terrarium plants, you’ll find yourself drawn to the intricate beauty of Nerve Plants (Fittonia), the delightful Pilea with its coin-shaped leaves, and the ever-versatile Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila).

These selections, handpicked for their resilience and visual charm, effortlessly elevate the allure of your miniature green haven.

Nerve Plants (Fittonia)

Get ready to infuse your mini paradise with vibrant flair through Nerve Plants (Fittonia)! Their striking leaf patterns and easygoing nature add a delightful touch to your terrarium. Create a lush haven with these humidity-loving plants that thrive in closed terrariums.

Explore various Nerve plant varieties to suit your design. For propagation, take stem cuttings and place them in a moist substrate.


Explore Pilea as a captivating option, allowing you to further expand your green haven with its unique characteristics and ease of care. Pilea, a charming foliage plant, complements terrariums beautifully. Its vibrant leaves and compact growth habit make it a perfect fit for beginners.

Experiment with different Pilea varieties to create an enchanting Pilea terrarium arrangement. Enhance its allure by placing Pilea in decorative pots, elevating the aesthetics of your indoor gardening sanctuary.

Creeping Fig (Ficus Pumila)

Delve into the realm of cultivating a thriving microcosm by acquainting yourself with the nuances of tending to Creeping Fig, also known as Ficus pumila. Using vining plants like Creeping Fig in your terrarium setup can transform it into a lush, green wonderland.

This beginner-friendly plant serves as an excellent choice for terrarium backdrops, as it gracefully climbs walls and containers. With various Ficus pumila varieties available, you have the freedom to create captivating terrarium landscapes that offer both safety and natural beauty.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Terrarium

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Terrarium
Delving into the realm of terrariums, you’ll immediately encounter a pivotal fork in the path: the choice between open and closed ecosystems. This decision orchestrates a symphony of factors, from the play of light to the dance of humidity.

Moreover, orchestrating the lighting conditions within your chosen terrarium is an art that harmonizes the needs of your verdant occupants with the touch of the sun’s embrace or the subtle hum of artificial luminance.

Open Vs. Closed Terrariums

When it comes to creating miniature ecosystems, envision open and closed terrariums as the perfect balance of plant environments. Each offers distinct benefits for your green companions.

Open Terrarium Advantages:

  • Ideal for arid-loving succulents and cacti.
  • Ensures good airflow and sunlight exposure.
  • Simulates natural drainage conditions.
  • Allows easy maintenance, mimicking potted plant care.

    Closed Terrarium Benefits:

  • Replicates a mini rainforest with high humidity.
  • Provides a cozy home for ferns, vines, and epiphytes.
  • Creates a self-sustaining ecosystem with minimal watering.
  • Flourishes in low-light settings, making it suitable for indoor spaces.

Lighting Conditions for Terrarium Plants

To enhance vitality in your miniature garden, prioritize optimal lighting. Both natural and artificial options play vital roles. Utilize LED grow lights or place terrariums in spaces with indirect sunlight. Consider the light duration; balance is key.

Low-light plants like peperomia, ferns, and pothos thrive in these conditions. Remember, light profoundly influences terrarium plant growth. Crafting an environment with the right light fosters the safety, understanding, and freedom your green companions seek.

Lighting and Watering Tips for Terrariums

Lighting and Watering Tips for Terrariums
Embark on the journey to illuminate your terrarium’s verdant haven. As you delve into the realm of proper lighting for these lush microcosms, master the art of nurturing closed terrariums through meticulous watering and maintenance.

Meanwhile, for the open-sky enthusiasts, grasp the essential techniques that adorn your arid landscapes with vitality and charm.

Proper Lighting for Terrariums

Explore the realm of proper lighting within your miniature garden, where the interplay of brightness and shade shapes the vitality of your chosen green companions. In terrariums, lighting conditions are crucial. For low-light terrariums, consider fittonia or selaginella.

Place your terrarium where it receives bright, indirect natural sunlight. If that’s not possible, opt for artificial lighting. LED grow lights are energy-efficient and provide consistent illumination, while fluorescent lights work well too.

Ensure your terrarium’s lighting duration mimics the plant’s natural needs, fostering a balanced, thriving ecosystem.

Watering and Maintenance for Closed Terrariums

Navigating closed terrarium care entails maintaining the optimal moisture balance. Picture this: your lush ferns flourish with delicate monthly misting, fostering a harmonious rainforest environment. Humidity control is paramount—strike the balance between dampness and overwatering.

Choose plants wisely; ferns, foliage plants, and epiphytes thrive here. Create a verdant haven, preventing excess moisture while providing the freedom for your mini ecosystem to thrive—a testament to your nurturing prowess.

Tips for Open Terrarium Care

Discover how to properly care for open terrariums by recreating optimal drainage conditions using well-draining substrates. Your chosen green companions thrive when their roots can breathe easily. Strategic pruning techniques maintain their natural balance, promoting growth.

Select a suitable soil blend, ensuring proper moisture management for your succulents, arrowhead plants, and other indoor varieties. Thoughtful plant placement within the container maximizes their exposure to the ideal blend of light and humidity.


You don’t have to be an expert to grow beautiful terrarium plants! With the right selections, even beginners can create a stunning miniature ecosystem. Nerve Plants, Pilea, and Creeping Fig are perfect choices for a beginner terrarium.

When selecting plants, it’s important to consider the type of terrarium and the conditions your plants need to thrive. Proper lighting and watering are key for any terrarium, and the right balance will ensure a successful terrarium.

With a little knowledge and care, you can create a beautiful terrarium with terrarium plants perfect for beginners.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.