Best Plants For Open Terrariums

A terrarium is a glass jar that contains small, slow-growing plants in it. If you do not have space, or you are not enough caring for houseplants, a terrarium is a good option to consider. It will add some greenery to your house without much effort.

They can make the interior more beautiful and pleasant. They come in a variety of sizes. You can easily place them anywhere, on your window sill or on the tabletop. They are easily portable so they make a lovely addition to any house.

A Simple Way to Make a Catchy Terrarium:

  • You can consider different things to use as terrariums like glass jars, bulbs, glass bowls, or even plastic bottles
  • Grow plants that grow in a small enclosed space, so they do not overgrow or come outside the terrarium. Consider growing mosses, air plants, succulents, etc.
  • You can create beautiful scenery with proper planning. You can create a lush forest-like view in your terrarium by placing suitable plants or can create a desert-like view by using succulents.
  • To increase the beauty you can also add decorative pieces such as sea shells, glass pebbles, and driftwood to your terrarium.

Where To Place Open Terrariums?

Usually, succulents or plants that tolerate dry conditions are suitable for open terrariums. So select a spot according to plant needs. It’s better to place your terrarium in a bright sunny spot because succulents can bloom if they get enough light.

Plants for Open Terrarium

Open terrariums are ideal for plants that prefer dry conditions. Succulents, windy plants, and cacti are good choices for open terrariums.

You can also place plants that require direct sunlight in an open terrarium. They provide good air circulation to plants, so there is no need to worry about the diseases cause by moisture. In addition, they minimize the risk of rot and decay, excess water easily evaporates as they have an open surface.

1: Air plants

Air plants are the ones that do not depend on soil to grow, they are epiphytes that grow on other plants. They get nutrition from the air or from the plant upon which they grow. Not only do they increase the beauty of your terrarium, but they filter the air as well.

They require only three things to grow that include, light, water, and air. They need light but not direct sunlight, provide them bright indirect light.

2: Succulents

Succulents are the most suitable ones to grow in open terrariums. They need light to grow well. They have thick fleshy leaves that store water in them, so if you forget to water it’s okay, as they can tolerate low water or even drought. 

Succulents are small and have a slow growth rate, so they can easily survive for years in your terrarium. The things they like to have are bright indirect light and a proper gap between watering. If you give them too much water it will affect your plants badly, as it causes root rot. So water them only once a week.

Types of Succulents to Grow In A Terrarium

  • Aloe Vera or medicine plant
  • Hens and chicks
  • Tiger Jaws or Faucaria Tigrina
  • Jade plant (Crassula ovata).

  Aloe Vera

There are over 400 species of aloe Vera. It is an amazing plant to grow in the terrarium. It gives you a number of benefits. It loves light but not direct rays, they prefer bright filtered light.

Suitable varieties to grow in terrariums include guido, crossbow breeding, hummus, and a variety of alo deskongs.


This plant is native to Central America. It is low growing plant and is maintained easily. It has rosette-like flowers. They grow well in narrow spaces. It has many variations, including the popular “neon breakers” with purple leaves. 

Countless variations exist too. Flowers are formed on the stems at the end of the season. It’s sometimes called “Hen and Chicks”, but check before buying because the name may refer to some other plants.


It is a rugged diverse family. it’s commonly called “Stonecrop. They grow well in full sun but can also tolerate low lights. It is a low-maintenance plant. A popular type is the Burro’s Tail.

 Tiger’s jaw

They are named so because it has long sharp spines. It has a slow growth rate, so it does not come out of content quickly. 

They love the hot climate. They bloom in fall when there is bright light. There are many types to select from.

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It adds volume and texture to a very diverse succulent scene. They are usually slow-growing, and hard. They like to be in full sun. Although many Agaves are landscaping plants, there are so many beautiful little species that you can grow in pots or anywhere before placing them in the terrarium. One of the most liked dwarf species is Victoriae Regini.


It is a classic spinach cactus. It has a round ball-like appearance. There are many small specimens available to grow. This family has many compact varieties for an open terrarium. 

Powder puffs, snowballs, pincushions, and old lady cacti are all easy to care for. They require light to grow but water them rarely as excess water cause rot. Spring is their blooming season while winter slows down their growth.


It is an independent flowering family of plants. There are so many varieties, small specimens of this famous house plant perform well in the open terrarium. 

Most people provide them with large space but there is no need. They can grow happily in small spaces. It is an amazing thing to grow them because they stay fresh for months and add to the décor of your home.

 The paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae) is a popular and common choice.


It is a large family with small succulents. They are a bit thirstier than other succulents, so give them water carefully. Keep in mind they do not like to be wet for long.

They are a slow grower. They need the sun to thrive. One of the top picks is the beloved zebra (Howorthia fasciata).

 Dwarf Sansevieria 

It is closely related to the snake plants and can grow in height of six inches. Its foliage comes in a range of colors, such as its strip, which has a good contrast to the blocker succulent. 

They need direct light to grow but can also stand in low light levels as well, ensuring the supply of proper light because dim light can affect the foliage as the strips lose their color in dim light. It grows slowly, needs water to grow but do not overwater your plant.

12: Button ferns 

Button ferns can withstand drought-like other members of their family. They are grown in terrariums commonly because they stay for tears because they are perennials, more over their foliage is also one of the reasons for their popularity. In the hot days of summer avoid direct or bright light; keep them under dim light but in winter they need to be in bright light.

If you do not have an idea about the water needs of plants, water them often but maintain the gap between watering. As long as you do that, there will be time for experiments. 

 Pay close attention to your fronds until they are green; keep doing what you are doing, but when tips turn brown it is an indication that plants require to be moist. Button fern-like moderate humidity and room temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.


When you place cacti in your terrarium it gives you desert-like view. These plants cannot survive in a closed terrarium as it has high humidity and poor air circulation. 

So, if you want your plants to stay healthy and fresh make sure there should an opening in your terrarium. Cacti look amazing in the open terrarium, but they are not long-lived plants. 

 Jade plant

Jade plants are commonly grown as bonsai for a terrarium. They require regular watering so a good terrarium is an excellent choice for them. Provide them water when soil seems to be dry, and avoid overwatering. These plants are considered a symbol of good luck, so place them at your work table.

Keep Reading

  1. Why Is My Terrarium Dying? Reasons And Tips
  2. Why Is My Terrarium Growing Mushrooms? What To Do
  3. 15 Gorgeous Closed Terrarium Plants That Will Thrive In High Humidity

Houseplants Also Suitable For Open Terrariums

Indoor open terrarium has the same condition as your house, so if you are fond of indoor gardening. You can easily grow all plants in an open terrarium, that are commonly grown in your home because you already have some knowledge about their growing habits.

Vinning plants

Open terrariums are a good option for more aggressively growing plants. Vining plants can be planted in open terrariums where they can go out and hang down along walls.

Some choices include:

  • Peperomia tetraphylla ‘Hope’
  • Monstera adansonii
  • Scindapsus pictus
  • Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
  • Philodendron micans

Composition of Open Terrariums 

  • The soil texture largely depends on the plant. And terrarium size should be according to the plant you are going to choose.
  • However, a dry terrarium demands very different textures and substrates. Good drainage is an important part of any terrarium substrate, but in the case of dry plants – drainage is a compulsion.
  • Succulents and cacti will soon rot if the roots are sitting in a moist substrate. Therefore, use a substrate that dries out quickly. The use of sand could be beneficial in this regard.

Care for Open Terrariums 

The requirements of open terrarium plants are similar to other house plants. The motive is to strive for the best of plants.


Watering requirements depend on the plants and they vary from plant to plant, Succulents need less water but there are, many plants that need to be watered daily. 

 Misting is not recommended in the case of open terrariums. Wind plants enjoy frequent submergence, and houseplants need as much water as they normally need.

Light requirements:

Open terrarium plants need well light to thrive but they also vary from plant to plant. There are some shade-loving plants that do well in open terrariums.

This feature allows you to place them on any open spot like in windows. Succulents like to be exposed to direct sunlight for many hours a day, but for other plants like houseplants, their needs vary.


As open terrariums are in direct contact with the environment, so they become more susceptible to pests attack. Unluckily insects cause serious damage to houseplants. 

Your attention is required in this regard. In general, if you notice that your plants are declining rapidly, it is an indication of an attack. Take a good look at them; try to identify the little ones that are causing the problem. And when you identify use pesticides or biological methods to get rid off it.


You do not have to deal with thickening in the open terrarium, so it’s a plus point but you have to check the dust. Keep the glass neat and clean so the light shines through without obstruction. Moreover, plants didn’t give catchy look if the glass is dirty. 

Use chemicals for outside cleaning, and use distilled water for inner cleansing.

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There is nothing worse than an overcrowded terrarium, as it limits the space for plants. Using water scissors and tweezers cut down the plant that touches the sides of the terrarium. 

Cut properly to improve the growth of plants. Moreover, if you see any yellow leave remove it quickly, do the same with stems if it gets loose. 


Most terrarium does not require any fertilizer. But if you notice a reduction in growth than normal, provide some feed to your plants. Always use liquid fertilizers. 

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