Forum home Plants

Terrarium plants

WoodistWoodist Posts: 4
Hello, I am looking at making a closed terrarium and would like to do something a bit different from most, in that I would like to use native plants. A lot of the plants you can buy online for use in terrariums are exotic plants, so I am wondering if anyone would know the suitability of native plants for terrariums.
If it helps, my quite old book on terraiums lists plants suitable for low light and medium light plants, so perhaps by listing them you will be able to point me in the direction of native alternatives?

Low light:


Medium light:


Plus many more low and medium light.

Also, as I would really like to grow it in a terrarium, do you think that deadly nightshade would work, or is it too large?

Thanks in advance!


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,363
    We used to make them in the ‘70’s they were very popular then, I can’t really help you with the type of plants, i can’t remember, I just used to buy whatever I could get, plant up and sell. 
    Its a fascinating hobby, if you just want one for yourself, have you made one before? 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • WoodistWoodist Posts: 4
    Hi Lyn, I want to make them for myself and friends and family to start with. Funny you should mention that you made them in the 70's I have just recieved an out of print book on terrariums written in the 70's in the post from America. The plant suggestions above are from that book.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,363
    It’s not easy😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,308
    Sorry a glance over that list I cannot easily think of alternatives that are natives equivalent.

    But ferns are something we used to use, as you can get some small and delicate varieties that won't grow too big too fast and will like the conditions.

    Ficus pumila I think was one, also a popular plant along with that was Dizygotheca (spelling oops  probably) Lyn has one there on the right possibly in the right turret.
     But not native.

    The idea of them is / was that the plant hunters many years ago used glass cases to bring back exotics from their plant gathering expeditions?
    So you could have the conditions for exotics.
    Our native plants don't need them.
    But sure others can make a contribution beyond my fern suggestions :D

    @Lyn that is a lovely one!
  • WoodistWoodist Posts: 4
    Found a paper from Purdue University about terrariums, and growing both exotic and native plants that is offering some insight, even though native plants they talk about are native to America. Hemlock is one plant mentioned, which fits in with using vintage glass bottles and jars, like old medicine bottles, and chemistry jars etc. That I would like to do.
  • AsarumAsarum Posts: 599
    If you mean Conium maculatum, which is our native Hemlock, it is a biennial which grows to 2m tall!  Also it is extremely poisonous.  I wouldn’t think it’s suitable for a terrarium!  
    East Anglia
  • WoodistWoodist Posts: 4
    @Asarum. Lol, yeah, that definitely wouldn't work.
  • Hi, I'm very new to this forum but I have a few terrariums myself and find that closed terrariums work better for tropical plants due to the warmth and humidity of the environment.  But British ivy and ferns such as Asplenium trichomanes do grow very well, also have you looked at the possibility of using water and mosses?
Sign In or Register to comment.