Tropical Terrarium Plants

reviewed by Christina Lopez

Is gardening something you are enthusiastic about? Or are you looking to change the feel in your home or any personal space? Tropical terrarium plants are a great way to transform your indoor living space by bringing the outdoor garden indoors. When we think of plants, we should feel connected to this large ecosystem with plants of different characteristics designed to weather through various challenges.

The cacti plant is lovely since it thrives in the hardest of conditions. My personal view on plants led me to create a desert landscape in my terrarium. Like I mentioned above, these plants can survive in challenging climatic conditions. Hence, I use the cacti to be a desert vibe for my terrarium and incorporate beach sand, white rocks, and seashells to blend the desert and beach vibe into my personal space. Cacti, like many other tropical plants ideal for your terrarium, look fabulous in open spaces.

If you are interested in owning your tropical terrarium garden, then you are reading the right article.  A terrarium is a mini plant ecosystem that is set to grow in a glass jar.  To get a tropical vibe in your terrarium, you will need to incorporate the right mix of tropical terrarium plants. An important rule is to ensure your plant selection meets the elements of thick foliage, color contrast, and uncontrolled growth. Below is a guide on how to achieve this plant ecosystem balance.

What You Should Know

Tropical Terrarium Plants
Tropical Terrarium Plants

Like I mentioned above, Tropical terrarium plants are minor in nature and slow-growing. They are grown in a glass vessel, making them self-contained and easy to care for, with a burst of minimum sunshine and water requirement.  Tropical terrarium plants come in different sizes; you can choose to select minimalistic of big plants.

You also need to know that different plants thrive differently in other climates. They have two major tropical plants: plants that thrive in low dry conditions and thrive in wet tropical conditions. For your doit, yourself project, here are some tips that would help transform your space: When choosing your glass vessel, choose one that meets your tropical plant setup.  You can choose between open globes, bulbs, cloche, and jars. For the plant selection, you can select between hoyas, ferns, mosses, nerve plants, polka dot pants, starfish plants, etc.

Nerve plant Patch

Nerve plant Patch
Nerve plant Patch

Fittonia is the perfect tropical plant under the nerve plant section. This plant has a slow growth, moisture dependent, small leaf size, and an attractive nerve structure on its leaves makes it very appealing.

The main attractive feature of this plant is its network of nerves on the leaf. The plate’s nerves can come in three colors, namely, red, white, and pink. This combination creates a perfect contrast.

Nerve plants trade their origin to the tropical rainforest, making them ideal for conditions similar to rainforest floors, which have soft indirect light and high humidity. A tip for this type of tropical terrarium plant is to combine different nerve-colored Fittonia to make it even more attractive and ensure you regularly pinch the back to keep the Fittonia compact.

Baby Tears Plant

Soleiroliasoleirolii is a plant characterized by mats of tiny, vivid green-shaped leaves that grow and spread all over the pots’ sides. For terrariums, they are ideal to be the only plant since they take up all the space.

Baby tears plants thrive in places with high humidity. You should keep them in areas away from direct sunlight and prevent them from being dry. Additionally, these plants require tender care since you can easily damage their little branches and leaves when you handle them roughly.

Moss Terrarium Tropical Plant

Most tropical plants are the best for the first DIY projects. This is the case since this plant is readily available, accessible, and easy to find. In terms of their visual contrast, they have a unique appeal with their dark green and light green variations. Additionally, they are the best for your first DIY project since they require minimal care. You can leave your tropical terrarium moss plant in an enclosed terrarium with no interventions for years. Moreover, they are tolerant to low-light conditions.

Mosses are a primitive species of tropical plants that reproduce through spores.  Their species are approximately twelve thousand in the world, with different textures and shades. The process of collecting them from your backyard will be enjoyable; picking the best moss plant will bring depth and appeal to your terrarium moss vessel. I would recommend a Hypnum moss that you can use to imitate a lush tropical floor through its dense sheet growth and vibrant green color.

Stonecrop (Sedum sp.)

The stonecrop is a succulent plant that gets its name from its hardiness, small size, and attractive leaves, which come in different shades of green. Their round feature makes them ideal for terrariums. This plant has many replicas of other species types. Going for dwarf, creeping stonecrops, low growing, or a species like a donkey tail or jelly bean plant will also be a great addition to your tropical paradise.

Tillandsia Bulbosa Plant

The tillandsia Bulbosa is a tropical air plant that proliferates in a terrarium. The plant is known to be exotically characterized by its long, tentacle-like leaves, giving it the capability to quickly fill the space in a canopy. This plant is wild since they do not attach, making them an attractive DIY plant for planting. Additionally, as their name suggests, they tend to thrive in conditions with a little bit of air low.

The Aluminum Plant

The aluminum plant or the watermelon pilea or the pilea cadierei is a Vietnamese jewel with an exquisite look and decoration made up of little lives on the aluminum plate-like leaf.  The plant gets its name from silvery raised patches on the leaves that resemble aluminum foils. Additionally, its watermelon name comes from the leaves’ general view that some say looks like tiny watermelons.

The aluminum plant is a modest tropical wonder that prefers low to medium light and adapts naturally to warm temperatures. The plant also needs pinching from time to time to promote its bushy growth. Their growth is you can use fast and pinched parts to make new terrariums.

Polka Dot Plant

If dot prints please you more than line prints, polka dot plants are ideal for your terrarium. The HypoestesPhyllostachya is a plant that grows to reach twelve to twenty inches in height. This plant also may produce tiny lilac flowers, especially during the summer bringing a difference in contrast. Additionally, several polka dot cultivars have green, white, pink, and carmine color.

The plant thrives in bright light. When the plant is exposed to bright light, the leaves turn to a pink hue with green nerves, but when they are deprived of the bright light and set in an environment where they only get low light, their leaves turn to a dull green hue. A polka dot terrarium can be placed on a window frame or somewhere where the plant will get sunlight.

Prayer Plant

Maranta leuconeura is an example of a prayer plant that gest its name from folding up its leaves every night. The up folding characteristic was side to resemble the action of praying hence the word.

The plant has beautiful variegated leaves with red veins. They grow to be about twelve inches tall, and each plate spans to around six inches. Information on the size of your plant is essential before you purchase them.

The plant requires medium sunlight, and in situations where it doesn’t get enough light, the plant will not unfold. The plant is a native species to the tropical West indies, central and south America. Additionally, the plant goes well in warm and humid environments. Ensure you water the plant regularly in the spring and summer seasons but less in autumn and winter.

Earth Star Plant

Cryptanthusbivittatus is a tropical starfish plant species commonly known as the earth star. The plant originates from the Brazilian tropical forests. The plan has minimal needs, and its shape and vivid coloration make it an all-time tropical terrarium plant favorite. It meets the specification of terrarium plants since it only spans six inches in height.

Erath start plants thrive well in humidity and bright moderate light. The color changes with the level of light exposure. The more the morning, the vibrant the colors. However, this plant has tiny spikes on the leaves’ edges, which can break in your skin; hence you should be careful when handling them.

Button Fern

The Pellaea rotundifolia classified under the button farm tropical plant gives any living space a fresh, forest-like feel. The button fern is a terrarium-friendly fern based on its small size. For ferns, New Zealand species that like humidity and shades are mostly preferred since they tend to be drought-tolerant; hence, they only need to be watered every week.


As shown above, a tropical terrarium plant is an ideal addition to your space to give your environment contrast and appeal. There is an excellent variety in picking out a terrarium plant, which comes with different conditions to thrive. When choosing your first, third, or subsequent terrarium, use this article to inspire you on the different types of tropical terrarium plants available. Have a blast in your next DIY low terrarium planting.

About Christina Lopez

Christina Lopez grew up in the scenic city of Mountain View, California. For eighteen ascetic years, she refrained from eating meat until she discovered the exquisite delicacy of chicken thighs. Christina is a city finalist competitive pingpong player, an ocean diver, and an ex-pat in England and Japan. Currently, she is a computer science doctoral student. Christina writes late at night; most of her daytime is spent enchanting her magical herb garden.

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