Can Flowers Grow in a Terrarium? (Choose Wisely!)


Terrariums are basically mini-greenhouses, usually made out of glass. Terrariums host plants and decorations such as stones and wood to create a replica of nature. It can be opened or closed. However, can flowers grow in a terrarium?

In general, flowers do grow in a terrarium, the same as many other plants. However, certain flowers do better with a closed terrarium, while some may need an opened terrarium to thrive. Flowers that love warm, humid environments tend to do well in closed terrariums

This article will discuss if flowers can grow in a terrarium. We will also discuss what plants would survive in a terrarium aside from some flowers, as well as other questions you might have about terrarium growing.

Can Flowers Grow In A Terrarium?

Flowers can grow in a terrarium, with some being able to do better than others. Tropical flowers that thrive in a humid, warm environment tend to do well in a terrarium. Other flowers may also do well, provided that the terrarium is opened.

Flowers that do well in a terrarium grow slowly, are not large and do not need much care and maintenance.

flowers in terrarium

This is because terrariums are not large in general, and slow growth means that the flower stem and plant would not outgrow the terrarium too soon. Plus, smaller flowers mean more of them could grow inside the terrarium.

Closed terrariums tend to trap and retain moisture better, which means the air inside the terrarium would be humid. If the flower loves this sort of environment, then it will do very well inside a terrarium.

What Flowers Would Survive In A Terrarium?

Flowers that do well in terrarium include Ardisia, African Violets, and Miniature Orchids. These flowers do well in terrariums as they grow slowly, have small flowers, and love warm and humid conditions, which is common in a closed terrarium.

Ardisia. Ardisia are shrub-like plants with long dark green leaves. It also produces pinkish-white flowers during spring. Ardisia tends to do very well in closed terrariums as they like warmer temperatures and can handle temperatures as low as 50F° (10C°).

Ardisia also grows slowly, meaning you would likely see longer growth cycles (and flowers) before switching to a larger terrarium. Ardisia also tends to be a fuss-free plant, requiring little care and attention.

African Violets. African violets are small, purple flowers that are beautiful and great indoors. It is also an excellent option for terrariums since it grows slowly and does not grow to a large size and height.

African violets also grow best in warmer temperatures, around 70F°(21C°), which is also a comfortable room temperature for humans. Like Ardisia, it does not need too much water, care, and attention. However, flowering may suffer if the plant is exposed to temperatures too low or too high.

Miniature Orchids. Miniature orchids grow slowly and produce small orchid flowers that are amazingly pleasant to the eye. Like African Violets and Arsidias, it does well in a closed terrarium as it loves warm, humid climates.

It is also incredibly small. Miniature orchids do not grow taller than 10 inches (25CM) tall, which means they will stay small, and you may not need to think about replanting the plant in the future. Depending on the plant, you may get flowers of different colors.

How Can Plants Survive In A Terrarium?

Plants generally survive in a terrarium because it is a micro-climate that self-nourishes. Plants in the terrarium take their nourishment and water from the soil. The water vapor released by the plant is condensed by the glass and is returned to the soil.

A terrarium is practically a micro-climate, a small green-house or small earth that houses a plant. It is practically self-sufficient, with only indirect sunlight needed from outside.

When a plant grows, it takes nourishment from the soil. It also gets water from the soil. The air provides its supply of carbon dioxide, and the indirect sun helps it conduct photosynthesis.

plants in terrarium

The plant will release water vapor into the air as it grows. This water vapor usually condenses when meeting the glass surface of the terrarium and then flows back into the soil. This is similar to how excess water vapor creates clouds and rain, returning water to the soil.

When a plant dies, it will also disintegrate, returning all the nutrients to the soil for the next plant to use.

The only thing a plant needs from outside a terrarium in indirect sunlight to allow it to perform photosynthesis. However, direct sunlight may be harmful, as it may overhead the micro-climate inside the terrarium and hurt the plant. 

Do Terrarium Plants Need Water?

In general, closed terrarium plants do not need water, while open terrarium plants need some watering. A closed terrarium will trap and recycle water inside it, meaning it does not need additional water. Open terrarium plants may not trap water vapor well, requiring some watering.

Closed terrariums with tight seals, such as cork, rubber, or tight glass enclosure, do not need watering. This is because the seal is tight enough that very little water vapor escapes the terrarium.

This water vapor is eventually condensed by the terrarium’s glass, becomes water, and returns to the soil for the plant to use again.

Open terrariums or those with a loose lid may need additional watering once in a while, as the opening may allow water vapor to escape. This causes a general loss of water and humidity inside the terrarium, which may be harmful to the plant.

open terrarium

Common advice is to water the plant every three months. When watering, the soil should be damp and not soggy. One way to check if there is excess water is to look if there is water collecting at the bottom of the soil. You can do so by looking from the bottom of the terrarium.

If there is too much water, the micro-climate may become too humid and cause damage to the plant.

Excess water in a terrarium may not be removed naturally, especially in a closed terrarium. This means great care should be exercised to ensure no excess watering happens.

Excess water during the watering process could be removed using a pipette or a turkey baster.

In Summary

So the short answer is yes, you can grow flowers in a terrarium. Just be sure to choose flowers that are suited towards the climate your terrarium will contain. Desert flowers and plants do great in open terrariums and tropical flowers are better suited for the humid environment found in closed terrariums.

Brad C.

I love the outdoors. I love plants and nature. As a father of a young daughter, she loves to create things. Like most little girls she loves fairies and all things tiny so I wanted to find out as much as I could about terrariums and fairy gardens so we could create together.

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