Are you looking for a way to showcase your houseplants in a unique and aesthetically pleasing way? Terrariums might be just what you need. These enclosed containers offer a controlled environment for plants, allowing them to thrive under specific conditions. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of using terrariums for houseplants, so you can decide if they are the right fit for you and your plants.

What is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem enclosed in a glass container. It is designed to create a specific environment for plants, providing them with the necessary conditions for growth. Terrariums can be open or closed, with the latter being more popular due to the increased humidity and protection it offers.

Benefits of Terrariums for Houseplants

Humidity Control

Terrariums offer a controlled environment that is perfect for plants that thrive in high humidity. The closed container traps moisture inside, creating a humid environment that is perfect for tropical plants.

Protection from Pests

One of the main advantages of a closed terrarium is that it provides protection from pests. The glass container keeps bugs and insects out, reducing the need for pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

Low Maintenance

Terrariums require minimal maintenance, making them an ideal choice for busy individuals. The closed environment reduces the need for frequent watering, and the plants require less attention than they would in an open environment.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Terrariums are not just functional; they are also aesthetically pleasing. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be customized to match any décor. They are perfect for adding a touch of greenery to any room in your home.

Downsides of Terrariums for Houseplants

Limited Space

One of the biggest downsides of a terrarium is that it provides limited space for your plants to grow. If your plants outgrow the container, they will need to be transplanted to a larger container or removed altogether.

Limited Airflow

Another downside of a closed terrarium is that it provides limited airflow. This can be problematic for plants that require good ventilation to thrive.

Prone to Overwatering

Terrariums can be prone to overwatering, especially if they are not set up properly. The closed environment can trap moisture inside, leading to root rot and other water-related issues if the soil is not well-draining or if you water the plants too frequently.

Selection of Plants is Limited

Not all plants are suitable for terrariums. Plants that require lots of space to grow or that have extensive root systems will not do well in a terrarium. Additionally, plants that require lots of light or that are sensitive to high humidity may not thrive in a closed terrarium environment.

Best Types of Plants for Terrariums

If you are considering using a terrarium for your houseplants, it's important to select the right types of plants. Here are some of the best plants for terrariums:


Ferns are an ideal choice for closed terrariums. They thrive in humid environments and don't require lots of light. Some of the best ferns for terrariums include the Maidenhair Fern, Bird's Nest Fern, and Staghorn Fern.


While succulents prefer dry environments, some species can do well in a closed terrarium. Choose small, slow-growing succulents like Echeveria, Haworthia, or Crassula for your terrarium.


Mosses are a great choice for terrariums, especially those with low-light conditions. They add a lush, green carpet-like effect to the terrarium and can be used as a ground cover for other plants.

Carnivorous Plants

If you're looking for something unique, consider adding a carnivorous plant to your terrarium. These plants are adapted to living in nutrient-poor environments and can thrive in a terrarium. Some of the best carnivorous plants for terrariums include Venus Flytraps, Pitcher Plants, and Sundews.

How to Create a Terrarium

Creating a terrarium is easy and can be done in just a few steps. Here's how to create your own terrarium:
  1. Choose a container: Select a container that is appropriate for the size of the plants you want to include. A closed container is ideal, but an open container can work as well.
  2. Add substrate: Add a layer of substrate to the bottom of the container. This can be a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and sand.
  3. Add plants: Add your selected plants to the container, making sure they are spaced appropriately.
  4. Add decorative elements: Add decorative elements such as rocks, pebbles, or moss to the container to create an attractive display.
  5. Water and maintain: Water the plants sparingly and monitor the environment for any signs of issues. Maintain the terrarium by removing dead leaves and trimming back overgrown plants.

Maintenance Tips for Terrariums

To keep your terrarium looking healthy and attractive, follow these maintenance tips:
  • Monitor the environment for signs of pests or diseases and take action if necessary.
  • Water the plants sparingly to avoid overwatering and root rot.
  • Trim back any overgrown plants to prevent them from overtaking the container.
  • Clean the glass regularly to remove any dust or debris that may accumulate.


Terrariums are a unique and attractive way to showcase your houseplants. While they offer many benefits, they also have their downsides. By selecting the right plants and following proper maintenance techniques, you can ensure that your terrarium remains healthy and attractive for years to come.


Do all plants do well in a closed terrarium?
No, not all plants are suitable for closed terrariums. Plants that require lots of space to grow or that have extensive root systems will not do well in a terrarium.

How often should I water my terrarium?
Water your terrarium sparingly to avoid overwatering and root rot. Depending on the type of plants and the size of the container, you may only need to water once every few weeks.

Can I use an open container for my terrarium?
While a closed container is ideal for a terrarium, you can use an open container as well. Just be mindful of the environment and make sure to water the plants appropriately.

Can I add fertilizer to my terrarium?
While it's not necessary to add fertilizer to a terrarium, you can use a diluted solution of plant fertilizer if you want to give your plants an extra boost.

Can I use any type of soil for my terrarium?
It's best to use a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and sand for your terrarium. This will provide the proper drainage and nutrients that your plants need to thrive.