Tropical Terrarium Plants

Bring some life and color to your terrarium with lively tropical plants!

Tropical terrarium plants are perfect for creating a vibrant and engaging miniature environment.

Whether you’re decorating a fish tank or developing a self-contained ecosystem…

There is no doubt that these particular types of terrarium plants will add an exciting flair that can’t be easily replicated.

Furthermore, they provide an array of benefits offering healthier and happier habitats – no matter the size.

Keep reading to learn more about what tropical plants can do for your terrarium!

What Are Tropical Terrarium Plants?

Tropical terrarium plants are a type of houseplant that has been specifically adapted for a humid, warm terrarium environment.

These plants generally come from tropical areas, like the jungles of Indonesia and the tropical rainforest of Brazil.

Generally speaking, they prefer warm, high-humidity conditions.

The Best types of Tropical Terrarium Plants

They are usually acclimated to the growing conditions of the natural environment, making them perfect for terrariums.

These plants not only provide an attractive feature to your terrarium…

They can help improve air quality and contribute to a healthy environment in your home.

Benefits of Adding Tropical Plants to Your Terrarium 

Adding tropical plants to a terrarium can add a vibrant, lush, and eye-catching environment to any space.

Tropical plants are relatively easy to care for, making them a go-to for terrariums and other small enclosed spaces.

These types of plants act as great air purifiers. As they help to reduce toxins, such as carbon dioxide and other forms of air pollution.

This can help to reduce the number of pollutants released into the environment and create a better, healthier space for all.

Tropical plants can also provide a great source of humidity in a terrarium.

This helps to keep the air moist and healthy, and can also be great for the plants themselves.

As a bonus, tropical plants can help add height and depth to your terrarium, creating a sense of variety and dimension to the space.

Many tropical plants are pet-safe, making them great for homes with animals.

Adding tropical plants to a terrarium is also a great way to add some unique aesthetic appeal to the area.

They can bring color, vibrancy, and beauty into any space.

This can bring a level of positive well-being to anyone spending time in the area.

Furthermore, tropical plants can be perfect for small spaces.

They don’t take up too much room and can still create a stunning and eye-catching atmosphere.

The Best Types Of Tropical Terrarium Plants

When picking the best tropical plants for your terrarium, look for species that are easy to care for and maintain.

The right mixture of tropical plants should also suit the size and light conditions of the terrarium.

Consider whether the plants will need mists or showers of water.

In addition, verify if they will need direct or indirect light to thrive.

Make sure to select a variety of types of plants that will complement each other within the space.

Once you have selected the best tropical plants for your terrarium…

You can enjoy a beautiful and vibrant landscape that may contribute to overall well-being.

Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)

The Friendship Plant gets its name from its tendency to propagate readily when given away.

It has round green leaves with silvery markings and grows up to 12 inches high.

This tropical perennial is perfect for terrariums, as it will thrive in humid environments with indirect light.

Keep the soil moist and provide bright, indirect sunlight for optimal growth.

Pilea involucrata "Friendship Plant" Care Guide | Terrarium Plants

Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’)

This fascinating plant gets its name from its deep green foliage which coils into spring-like shapes.

It is a marsh plant that can tolerate damp soil, and while it can thrive in both direct and indirect sunlight, Corkscrew Rush will perform best in bright shade and moist soil.

Its unusual shape adds texture and interest to a terrarium.

The Juncus Effusus Spiralis "Corkscrew Rush" Care Guide

Laceleaf (Anthurium spp.)

The Laceleaf is a popular terrarium plant due to its interesting foliage.

Unlike most other anthuriums, the Laceleaf boasts thin, deeply lobed leaves.

It is highly adaptable and will do well in medium to low light conditions.

Water in moderation and provide adequate light to prevent the plant from getting leggy.

Anthurium spp. "Laceleaf" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)

The Dumb Cane is a beautiful tropical houseplant that features large green leaves with splashes of yellow and white.

It is slow growing, making it perfect for terrariums, and prefers bright indirect light and moist, well-draining soil.

Be careful when handling it, as the sap can cause skin and eye irritation.

Dieffenbachia "Dumb Cane" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)

The Peace Lily is a stunning plant that is grown for its white and green mottled foliage as well as its white, waxy flowers.

It is a low-light plant and is perfect for terrariums, as it will thrive in humid conditions where it can get indirect light.

Water the soil when it starts to dry out and mist the plant regularly.

Spathiphyllum "Peace Lily" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants

Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

The Prayer Plant is grown for its beautiful foliage which has various shades of green, red, cream, and pink.

It is a slow-growing, low-light plant that loves humidity and needs to be watered when the top of the soil starts to dry out.

The Prayer Plant does best in bright indirect light, making it ideal for a terrarium setting.

Maranta leuconeura "Prayer Plant" Care Guide | Terrarium Plants

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena braunii)

Lucky Bamboo is easily one of the best tropical plants to add to a terrarium.

Very easy to care for, it will thrive in a variety of conditions, from standing water to dry soil.

The plant grows tall and can add a great touch of color with its bright green foliage.

Dracaena braunii "Lucky Bamboo" Care Guide | Tropical Plants

Purple Waffle (Hemigraphis alternata)

Purple Waffle is another great option for adding color to a terrarium.

It’s an incredibly low-maintenance plant and features striking purple leaves which add a vivid contrast to the green plants and darker soils in a terrarium.

Hemigraphis alternata "Purple Waffle" Care Guide | Tropical Plants

Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)

Nerve Plant is a great way to add texture and color to a terrarium.

Their beautiful, dark green foliage is dashed with bright, cream-colored veins and adds a touch of drama to any space.

Fittonia albivenis "Nerve Plant" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants

Dragon’s Tongue (Hemigraphis repanda)

Dragon’s Tongue is the perfect plant for a terrarium with its large, very water-tolerant leaves.

Not only is it easy to care for but it also adds variety to the terrarium with its mix of pink and light green leaves.

Hemigraphis repanda "Dragon's Tongue" Care Guide | Tropical Plants

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Parlor Palm is a great choice for any terrarium. Not only is it easy to care for, but its air-purifying properties make it a great addition to any terrarium.

It also helps to add a more natural look to a terrarium with its elegant, arching leaves.

Chamaedorea elegans "Parlor Palm" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants

How to Establish and Care for Tropical Terrarium Plants 

Establishing and caring for tropical terrarium plants is relatively straightforward. Important steps should not be overlooked.

First and foremost, the terrarium should be set up in a warm and bright environment.

You’ll want the setup to be free from harsh drafts and exposure to too much direct sunlight.

To prepare the terrarium for planting, place a layer of gravel or small stones at the bottom. That’s going to be your drainage layer.

Follow that with a thin layer of a substrate.

From here, the plants can be added, taking into consideration the preferred growing conditions of each particular type of plant.

Care Tips

After planting, it is essential to regularly water the terrarium plants and keep the soil consistently moist.

Terrarium plants should be inspected routinely for signs of disease or pests and pruned as needed.

Fertilizing the plants may also be necessary, as some varieties are particularly heavy feeders.

Finally, remember that tropical plants are living organisms.

With proper care and attention, they will bring joy and beauty to their terrarium home.

Styling Ideas for Showcasing Tropical Terrarium Plants 

Styling your tropical terrarium plants is a great way to express creativity.

You get to show off your unique style and make a living ecosystem even more eye-catching.

The best terrariums have a balance of foliage, colorful bursts of flowers, and interesting textures that will draw viewers in.

Depending on the space and size of your terrarium, you can choose from a variety of tropical plants above.

You may also want to include a few small figurines.

Decorations add to the interest of your terrarium, as long as it all fits together naturally.

Try clustering different vivarium plants together of various heights, textures, and colors for visual interest.

Trailing plants, such as ivy, can provide dramatic forms and create a lush, lush atmosphere.

You can also use rocks or gravel at the terrarium’s bottom for added texture.

Setting a few of your plants in this gravel can also help to anchor them in the soil.

Finally, consider using some other accents, such as pebbles, stones, shells, or moss, to create even more visual appeal.

Check out our Make section for more inspiration on styling ideas for your next terrarium build.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Troubleshooting common issues with tropical terrarium plants is important to ensure that your plants maintain their health and remain vibrant.

Unfortunately, even with the proper care and maintenance, plants can still become diseased or damaged.

Some of the most common issues with tropical plants are root rot, pest infestation, and inadequate lighting.

To address these issues, take frequent note of your plant’s overall health and appearance.

Any changes or signs of distress should be caught early and addressed.

Root Rot

Root rot is a common issue that is caused by overwatering or waterlogged soil.

To prevent this type of issue, make sure to keep adequate drainage in your terrarium to avoid the buildup of water.

Only water your plants when the soil has begun to dry.


For pest infestations, inspect your plants closely for signs of infestation.

Act quickly to remove any unwanted pests from the environment.

Use an organic pesticide, like neem oil, to get rid of unwanted critters.

Poor Lighting

Finally, adequate lighting is essential for tropical plants.

If inadequate lighting is an issue, make sure to establish a low-maintenance light setup that provides several hours of daily light to help your plants stay healthy.


Adding tropical plants to a terrarium can be a great way to bring a hint of the tropics into your home.

They are great for creating a unique and lush environment.

Not only can they purify the air, provide diversity, and be low-maintenance…

They can also promote positive well-being, offer a fun and creative challenge, and add color and depth to a space.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced terrarium enthusiast, introducing tropical plants to your terrarium is a rewarding experience full of possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can grow tropical plants in a terrarium! This can create a unique and interesting indoor environment for you to enjoy. You should make sure the terrarium has plenty of light and humidity so that the tropical plants have what they need to thrive. Additionally, adding soil, sand, rocks, and charcoal to the terrarium helps create ideal growing conditions.

You should water your tropical terrarium every 23 days or when the top layer of soil feels dry. Be sure to avoid overwatering as this can cause root rot.

This is a list of the best tropical plants for a terrarium:

  • Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)
  • Corkscrew Rush (Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’)
  • Laceleaf (Anthurium spp.)
  • Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
  • Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena braunii)
  • Purple Waffle (Hemigraphis alternate)
  • Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
  • Dragon’s Tongue (Hemigraphis repanda)
  • Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Need More Help?

Didn't find the answers you were hoping for? Check out our troubleshooting archive for more helpful information.