Ideal for indoor gardeners with little time but the desire to grow plants, terrariums (also called "dish gardens") create a mini-greenhouse in a decorative glass container. Create these indoor gardens with a variety of tropical foliage plants of different colors, textures, leaf shapes and sizes. Add more interest to your terrarium by landscaping it with ground cover of moss. Add a touch of whimsy with small woodland figurines. Position your terrarium so it receives bright, indirect light but no direct sun. The glass sides of the container will magnify the sun's rays and burn the plants.
Larger varieties of African violet (Santpaulia spp.) make excellent terrariums featuring a single plant. Smaller types of African violet can be integrated into a terrarium landscape that features a variety of plants and will thrive in the high humidity. Take care not to splash water on their fuzzy leaves when watering your dish garden as this can cause fungal diseases.
Many varieties of pepperomia (Pilea spp.) have thick, succulent leaves and stems. Some have leaves that are crinkled, others are variegated, but almost all varieties of pepperomia are small enough to grow in terrariums. They have an upright growth habit that adds mid-level interest to your terrarium.
A ground cover in frost-free areas, the artillery plant (Pilea microphylla) has tiny leaves along its twigs and branches. In a terrarium landscape it takes on the role of a shrub. Although it can be fast-growing outdoors, it will grow much slower indoors. Cut it back as needed so it doesn't crowd out the other plants.
For a ground cover in your terrarium, plant baby tears (Helxine soleirolii). These low-growing tropical plants have very tiny leaves on thin vines that tangle up in each other, forming a mat. They can also be used in a terrarium as a low-growing specimen plant for horizontal interest.
Feature an elegant looking miniature palm (Rhapsis excelsa, Chamaedorea elegans or Phoenix roebelenii) for vertical interest in your terrarium and to balance out lower growing plants. Miniature palms are identical to their full-size cousins. They evoke the same polished, finished look in a terrarium that larger palms bring to interior living spaces.