Plants for Tropical Terarriums

Terrariums are easy to create and care for in the average home. They require very little watering and only occasional pruning. Tropical plants are some of the best choices for use in a terrarium because they like the humidity and warm temperatures found in the average home. They can also withstand the lower light levels found indoors.

Creeping Fig

The creeping fig (Ficus pumila) is a good tropical terrarium plant with small leaves and a low growing habit. It will grow in almost any light except full sun but prefers bright locations. It is a creeping vine that grows along the soil surface only reaching 2 inches high. It will creep up the sides of the terrarium and needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it short and bushy. It prefers the soil to dry out slightly before watering but will do well in damp conditions.

Gold Dust Dracaena

Gold dust dracaena (Dracaena godseffiana) naturally grows to 2 and a half feet tall but can be trimmed to remain shorter in a tropical terrarium. This plants has bright yellow speckled leaves that are on a green background 3 to 4 inches long. It brings color to the terrarium and can be used as a focal point. It likes bright indirect light but cannot take full sun. Let the soil dry before watering. When the plant gets too tall for the terrarium, simply use a sharp knife to cut the stem an inch or two from the soil surface and it will sprout new leaves. The top of the plant can be rooted in moist soil.

Strawberry Begonia

Strawberry begonias (Saxifraga sarmentosa) are usually seen in hanging baskets, but they also make great tropical terrarium plants. The plant forms small rosettes of round leaves on the ends of stems. The attractive leaves are dark green and veined with white color. The whole plants stays under 6 to 9 inches tall. It produces numerous runners that form small plantlets that can be broken off and re-rooted. It prefers bright indirect light and well drained soil that remains slightly moist.

Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya) are a colorful addition to a tropical terrarium. They have small, oval-shaped leaves that are dark green spotted with pink. Various hybrids have been created with red, white and other color and patterns of spots. They like moist but not soggy soil and bright indirect light. They need to be regularly pinched back to keep them bushy.

Keywords: creeping fig, gold dust dracaena, strawberry begonia, polka dot plant

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.