This Tuesday Tidbit idea came to me because of something I saw on HGTV. Do you know what you shouldn’t put in a terrarium? I’m not calling anyone out, but if I see one more succulent terrarium, I’m going to scream. (Song from Willy Wonka going through my head.) Succulents do NOT belong in closed terrariums. They are better suited for dish gardens like the one below.
Why not terrariums
So why shouldn’t you use succulents in a terrarium? First, let’s look at the reason we put plants in terrariums. Terrariums are typically enclosed containers so the humidity does not escape. What kind of plants need high humidity? Ferns, selaginella, calatheas, mosses, and more. Do succulents like high humidity? Not really. Also, most succulents need to grow in high light. If you put a covered glass container in high light, what is going to happen? Your plants will literally bake in the container. Typically, high humidity plants are also lower light plants which makes them better suited for terrarium life. In the large jar below, I planted three humidity-loving tiny plants-two ferns and a selaginella.
Plants NOT to use
Here are plants that should not be used in a closed top terrarium. You may see these used in terrariums on television (as I did), on Pinterest, in books, and other places, but I would love to see those succulent terrariums a few weeks after planting them…..
When you are making a terrarium, find plants with thinner leaves that indicate they need higher humidity. Steer away from succulents and cacti. You’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment, not to mention a container full of dead, mushy succulents.
Have you had this happen to you? Do these kind of things drive you crazy like they do me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Have a great week, plant friends!
I bought my first terrarium as a present for my mom’s birthday in the 90’s. It was so pretty and had a few different species of cacti in them. They didn’t last a season 🙁
I wish they wouldn’t put arid, high light plants in terrariums and sell them to unsuspecting people…. so sad.
Seriously, so many succulents have succumbed in terrariums, and so many fittonias have begged to be put in them, but instead have had to make do with occasional, useless misting session.
I don’t have a terrarium as such, but I’ve planted a peperomia piccolo Banda cutting in my boyfriend’s paludarium fully thinking it would get stem rot BUT IT’S GROWING. It’s really got me thinking about setting up a lighted terrarium.
I know! It is so sad. Poor succulents. Pick the right plant for the right environment! Thanks for your comments and think about the lighted terrarium. I have one and it is so gorgeous and so nice at night to have it on!
The same has to be said about the majority of carnivorous plants in terrariums. Most Sundews, Venus Flytraps and North American Pitcher Plants require full sun. Put the in the a terrarium in full sun and they’ll literally cook.
Yes. We do have a terrarium at our local conservatory and it is in a western exposure in the lobby, but I think most of the time they have it open a bit. They seem to do fine, but they may be changing them out a lot. I’m not exactly sure. Thanks for your comment!
I had a biorb aquarium and when I had finished with it I thought it would make a good terrarium – planted it with succulents also christmas cactus segments which I wanted to propogate and they have all survived – assume it is because the top has a couple of holes in it….
The Christmas cactus definitely needs more humidity as it is a rainforest cactus. The holes are definitely a must when putting succulents in a terrarium.
I found tiny stalks with 2 tiny leaves that I didn’t put in my terrarium, what are they and are they harmful? They are thin and tall compared to their size if that helps
I’m not sure what is in your terrarium, but they probably came from the potting mix, or from the potting mix your plants were in. An exta bonus from the garden center, if you will. I wouldn’t know what it was without seeing it.