Terrarium Plants: How to make it yourself and 10 low-care Plants

Al Ardh Alkhadra > Blog > Gardening > Terrarium Plants: How to make it yourself and 10 low-care Plants

terrarium plants

Do you know that you can have terrarium plants in the container and make it all by yourself?

A terrarium is an indoor gardening container, that is often made of glass and is partially or fully enclosed to allow heat and light to enter and confine moisture.

Moreover, the terrarium can be entirely closed, however, you can also leave them partially open to allow airflow.

In some cases, they are also referred to as a “garden under glass” and make a wonderful and impressive gift for those who consider themselves plant-challenged.

However, you can also make a basic terrarium in less than an hour with every few inexpensive materials.

With glass containers, mason jars, and even goldfish bowls, you can make beautiful terrariums and miniature terrarium plants are even low cost.

Let’s learn more about them in detail.

Before Getting Started

Large terrariums can handle houseplants that are large, however, you should avoid planting fast-growing species or those that develop large leaves.

This is because it can block the light that smaller plants will need.

When considering terrarium plants, look for the ones that thrive in low to medium light. We will discuss the low-care terrarium plants later in the articles.

Moreover, for visual appeal, chose a mix o leaf sizes, texture, and color.

Select the plants that like to thrive in a naturally humid environment of a terrarium.

However, avoid cactus and succulents in an enclosed terrarium as they work best in open containers that contain potting mix with plenty of coarse sand.

What Equipment you will Need?

The list of equipment or tools you will need is a large spoon or a garden trowel, a small garden snips or scissors for trimming plant roots, and a spray bottle.

Materials you will need are:

  • glass container with no drainage holes with or without a top
  • clean aquarium gravel or small crushed stone
  • activate charcoal that you can get from a nursery or pet supply stores
  • terrarium plants
  • sterile potting mix
  • sheet moss
  • decorative elements.

Making a Terrarium

In order to make a terrarium, follow the instructions below:

1# Choose a Container

Choosing your container and terrarium plants is half the fun of making it. You can either buy terrarium containers or use any transparent container with a wide mouth.

2# Choosing Terrarium Plants

Most garden centers have miniature plants for terrariums. You can choose terrarium plants with various foliage, forms, and height that are small enough to fit in your container.

3# Adding Drainage Layers

It is important to note that terrariums do not have drainage holes, thus, you will have to create a drainage layer to keep water away from the roots of your plants.

Moreover, start with a 2-inch layer of gravel or crushed stone while a tall terrarium will need deeper layers of drainage stones.

making your own terrarium

Use a spoon or trowel and add 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch layer of activated charcoal on the top of the stones to help with drainage and control any odors.

4# Add Moss and Potting Mix

Next, you will have to add a layer of sheet moss over the stones and charcoal to keep the next layers, i.e. potting soil from mixing in.

Furthermore, the moss adds visual interest to your terrarium container.

Make sure to add potting soil at least a couple of inches, however, make sure to keep the soil level low enough so that plants fit inside the container.

5# Prepare the Plants

Before plants, make sure to design the terrarium.

Remove the plants from their nursery pots. If your plant is rootbound, tease the roots apart or use ships to trim larger roots.

Root pruning will retard the growth of your plants which is important when growing plants in containers.

6# Place your Terrarium Plants

After shaking off the excess soil on the plant, use a long spoon or your fingers to dig a planting hole for your terrarium plants.

Place them in the hole and gently pat the soil down to eliminate air pockets and ensure each plant is firmly in the potting medium.

Maintaining Terrarium Plants

Most terrariums will do best when you place them in a location that receives plenty of filtered light, however, not in harsh direct sunlight.

This is because your terrarium can get hot enough to bake the plants inside.

Slightly shaded south-facing windows are ideal for your terrarium plants.

However, if you do not have it, then you can place them by shaded trees, or artificial grow lights will also help them to thrive.

LED or fluorescent artificial lightening generally does not produce much heat, so your plants can get as much light as they need to grow.

croton

Moreover, it is important to note that maintaining terrariums plants is easy and you can perform these 3 tasks every few weeks to maintain them:

  1. Feel the soil to see if it is dry and needs water. Partially and fully enclosed terrariums retain water considerably longer than ost potted houseplants.
  2. Inspect the closed containers. Take off the top at least once a month to increase airflow and leave it off until the condensation disappears. Moreover, take off the terrarium top if you add too much water by mistake.
  3. Remove yellowing or damaged leaves and prune plants to a smaller size if they are growing too large for the container.

Furthermore, remember to never fertilize your terrarium plants as it provides their own nutrients through the natural decay of the potting mix.

Now let’s discuss low-care terrarium plants.

1# Artillery Fern

Artillery ferns are not exactly ferns at all, however, are members of the Pilea family.

They are called so because it shoots their seeds with a popping sound, and in some cases, quite a distance.

Despite their explosive trait, these plans are delicate and have a lovely, interesting, and beautiful texture.

Moreover, you will find them easy to grow and it thrives with minimum care.

terrarium plants, artilery ferns

These ferns need a medium to bright indirect light, medium water, and have insignificant blooms.

Furthermore, a well-draining soil or houseplant mixture is important to keep your plant happy. Make sure to provide them humidity for best performance while growing.

Part of your artillery plant care includes keeping the soil moist, however, not soaked.

2# Aluminum Plant

The aluminum plant, a native of Vietnam like a low medium light and warm temperatures.

Moreover, the leaves of this plant have an almost iridescent white marking that makes them shine.

This plant grows daily quickly, thus, you may have to pinch it back occasionally.

The aluminum plant is easy to root as well and you can simply take a small cutting and plant it in moist soil to start a new plant.

terrarium plants, aluminum plants

It needs low to medium light, water in spring and summer, however, cuts back at other times and has green leaves with white markings.

While in summers make sure they receive the partial shade and during winters move them to a well-lit area.

However, make sure to keep them away from either hot or cold drafts that arise from heaters or air conditioning units.

3# Polka Dot Plant

The polka dot plant is an eye-catching plant with bright leaves. These leaves stand out against most other foliage because of the pink base and green spots.

Moreover, these plants are easy to grow, however, as they to native to warm climates, make sure to treat them as annuals.

They have a moderate growth rate and remain relatively small that making them a perfect terrarium plant.

terrarium plants, polka dot plants

In order to grow them, warn temperatures and humidity are crucial for their growth. Polka dot plants bloom sporadically, often during the spring with mall lilac or pink-colored flowers.

Pinch off these flower spikes to keep the energy of your plant focused on growing its vibrant foliage.

Make sure to place them in a spot with shade as too bright light can damage it.

4# Prayer Plant

The red-veined prayer plant is a stunning and beautiful plant and gets its name because it folds up its leaves at night, as if in prayer.

If this plant does not get enough light, you will know. This is because the leaves will stay folded even during the daytime.

Moreover, prayer plant likes to thrive in warn surrounding, so do not keep your terrarium next to a cold window or in a chilly draft.

prayer plant

However, never set them in direct sunlight as the sun will scorch the leaves of your plant or the leaves will develop blotches or patches and fade in color intensity.

While during winters, prayer plant goes into dormancy, thus providing them with bright light to maintain growth.

Make sure to water them regularly in spring and summer, while less at other times.

5# Pothos

While a golden pothos vine may look pedestrian as a houseplant, however, it can make your terrarium look fabulous.

Golden pothos has a well-deserved reputation as an indestructible houseplant and that is even true in a well-controlled environment of a terrarium.

Moreover, make sure to prune it back regularly so that it does not become unruly and your pothos will look good for years.

pothos

It is also very easy to propagate them. You can do so by rooting the stems in water.

Furthermore, make sure that your pothos receives bright, indirect light.

Water them in small amounts, however, overwatering can damage them, while you can see its leaves with white markings.

6# Peperomia

There are about 1,000 peperomia cultivators and the common peperomia caperata can either have all of its leaves in green color or leaves that are blushed with some red.

Moreover, it is a slow-growing plant and will thrive well as a terrarium plant.

It is important to note that peperomia can sometimes also produce cool-looking flower spikes and these flowers would add a nice pop of color to your terrarium.

peperomia

Peperomia plants need a medium to bright light in order to maintain their vibrant foliage colts.

Thus, morning light or filtered light is fine, or you can place them for 12 to 16 hours in artificial light.

However, insufficient light will result in few leaves, leaf drops, or drab colorations, while direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

They need relatively little water and make sure to avoid overwatering them.

7# Baby Tears

This one is a small terrarium plant with a lot of names and is also known as Angl’s tears, mind-your-own-business, peace-in-the-home, Pollyanna vine, mother of thousands, and Corsican’s curse.

The curse may be referring to the fact that when you provide them with the right growing conditions, the baby’s tears can be very much invasive, taking over the whole garden.

However, in a terrarium, it will behave itself and is a lovely, slow-growing plant.

baby's tear

Moreover, these plants can thrive in brief periods of intense sunlight, however, look their best in bright, filtered light.

They can also thrive in artificial lights.

You do not have to worry about watering them because they will tell you that they need water as the leaves will wilt, however, will recover within a day or so after watering them.

Therefore, make sure to consistently water these terrarium plants.

Final Thoughts

Choosing terrarium plants can be difficult as there are a number of options that look great and thrive in terrariums.

The plants that we listed in this article are easy to grow and even a complete novice can have success in growing them. In a closed terrarium, your plants will rarely need water and will grow happily for years with minimal care.

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