The better question would be which ones CAN'T (easily) be grown in a
terrarium. Plants which require strong seasonal changes don't do well as
terrarium plants. Plants that get enormous aren't good choices. In a
more-or-less sealed vivarium with high humidity, small tropical &
semi-tropical plants will thive; in a well-ventillated terrarium, desert
plants like belly-cactus will thrive. Many aquarium stores sell falsely as
"aquatic" plants a number of bog plants that drop dead in aquariums, but
would do splendidly in a wet vivarium with water no higher than the root's
Suitable plants number in the thousands. I'll name three that I like: Java
moss lives both in & out of water in a high-humidity vivarium. It
especially likes to adhere to damp wood. Japanese sweetflag is a small
evergreen aroid that likes life in a vivarium either very wet or just high
humidity, will live outdoors or indoors; the variegated form Acorus
gramineus variegatus is a very common garden shop offering. A dwarf cane
plant commonly sold as a houseplant is Dracaena deremensis "Janet Craig
Compacta," which adores vivarium life & even does well in pea-gravel with
hardly any humus; though "dwarf" it nevertheless needs to be pruned down a
couple times a year unless your vivarium is three feet tall; pruned tops
can be put right in the soil & they will root easily. Baby's Tears
(Soleirolia soleirolii) often sold in the "treadables" section as a
groundcover adapts to high-humidity vivarium life extremely well, & can
spread to cover the entire bottom of a vivarium underneath the slightly
taller plants, though it will sometimes hump up to four or five inches &
need trimming so that it doesn't smother any leaves of other plants.
Miniature shade plants & bog plants do particularly well in a
high-humidity terrarium without even requiring artificial lighting &
ALMOST never requiring watering. If a frog or newt lives with them, they
don't even need fertilizing, the frog poops are plenty.
A light that does not heat the enclosure extends the possible plant
choices infinitely. There's not much that if it is small enough & has no
requirement to be chilled or dormant part of the year that will fail to do
great in a terrarium. Even things that need a winter dormancy can be good
terrarium plants, if terrariums can be carried to a chill-location for
part of each year. The issues become not so much "will it survive?"
because that's not usually a problem. The issues become: Will it stay
small enough; will it displace smaller things; will I be able to see any
interesting "structure" or will it just fill up its space with dense
greenery; will it like a high humidity sealed terrarium or low humidity
vented terrarium; can its roots "steep" in continuous moisture (dwarf cane
& sweetflag love to steep) or must I take care to keep soil moist without
begging boggy; is it apt to be trampled to death or eaten by some herp if
I include an animal (an iguana or turtle would eat much of the flora to
the ground; a white's tree frog would mash anything flat that couldn't
sustain a huge leaper).
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
I used to collect plants from the backyard as a kid to put in terrariums.
Just look for plants with a tight, small growth pattern. You will find all
sorts from mosses to wild strawberries, ferns, and many little things that I
never found out the name of. If they get too big. Pull them out and
experiment with the next treasure.
If you want a sure thing, go to Kartuz.com. Michael sells miniature plants
including many rare mosses and miniature siningias. He is the one to go to
for a professional looking terrarium. He also has a large selection of rare
plants, vines, passiflora, and begonias. Fun website to dream over. Good
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