Best Terrarium Plants

Columbia, SC(Zone 8a)

I'm looking for others' thoughts on plant choices for terrariums. I've got a huge aquarium-turned-terrarium, mostly full of rexes and miniatures. It also has creeping fig, neoregelia, and orchids (suspended above the soil). It requires LOTS of light for these plants. But it also serves as a GREAT propagator. I keep some space for cuttings that are difficult to root.

For smaller terrariums, bell-jars, etc...I've found two ideal plants. One is Begonia Prismatocarpa...an Arican miniature that stays tiny...but full of bright foliage...with yellow flowers. It loves the humidity, so this seems to be the perfect home for it. Another is a miniature rex called Mini Merry...or at least that was the name on it when I purchased it online.

You'll be surprised what all you'll see in stores that can 'serve as' a terrarium. Old glass light fixtures, large clear tree ornaments, and so on.

At any rate, any other ideas? This is a smart gift-giving hobby...and the bell-jar type terrariums, for me, have been VERY easy.

I also decorated my larger terrarium for Christmas...just for laughs.

This message was edited Dec 24, 2009 10:28 AM

Thumbnail by SCBegoniaGuy
Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

My B. rajah is right at home in a very large aquarium. I have a few other begonias in there alongside it but the one plant that would take over the entire tank if I let it is Episcia - it is practically a weed so I pull it out by the handfuls at times to keep it at bay.

The clear ice buckets you can get at Party City and other places makes for a nice terrarium too. I use the clear salad bowls or cake covers for a lid on the ice buckets. Cookie jars are good as well (I have a B. Martin's Mystery in one where it has grown to fill the jar and then crash and neary burn to only return a few months later).

Plastic lettuce containers are great for propagation as well. I propagate many begonias in these.

Columbia, SC(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the insight, hcmcdole. I looked up Martin's Mystery...neat specimen. Great idea about ice buckets...as they're very clear, instead of opaque, like most plastics I've tried. If I get around to listing some things I have for trade, I'll conjure you up again...

Scott

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

The ice buckets are very clear. I have 3 or 4 of them now. Some thinner plastic items will yellow so beware of that. The ice buckets may be acrylic instead of plastic (they are made of a very hard material).

Here are a couple of terrariums - one is a cookie jar with a cake lid on it and the other is an ice bucket with a salad bowl inverted on it.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
Columbia, SC(Zone 8a)

I got a new camera for Christmas, so this was a good test. Here are two of my rexes--close up. I don't know their names, although one may be "Lalomie" (sp?). Both grow fairly upright, and get BIG in a well-lit terrarium. Here's one...

Thumbnail by SCBegoniaGuy
Columbia, SC(Zone 8a)

And here's the other...

Thumbnail by SCBegoniaGuy
Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

So many rexes, so hard to ID. The first one looks like Pink Diamonds.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
Columbia, SC(Zone 8a)

How nice to keep those outdoors. I'm assuming you have to bring them inside...in 7b. That's pretty-much our zone here in Columbia, too...although some things just won't thrive because it gets SO HOT here in July and August (not uncommon to exceed 100 for days at a time). I figure putting them outside in summer is like sending them on 'vacation.'

I see what looks like "Beg. Little Brother Montgomery" in your picture. I have that, too...but it's an odd duck. Mine doesn't seem to require the same humidity as rexes, but it certainly propagates like them. It definitely gets tall and leggy. It's an example of what does NOT like our summer heat...as the thin leaves seem to suffer the hottest days outdoors. I try to protect it under taller specimens.

Great picture! As we come out of winter, maybe we could trade some things. I always keep a few leaves to layer for give-aways.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I move all my indoor plants outdoors for summer. They thrive in the heat and humidity. Hot windy days are a challenge though, keeping them watered but no problems so far even when we had our 2 to 3 years of severe drought.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
Irving, TX

I am really just getting started but I have three plants under glass and they are doing very well. Macodes Petola, Begonia Brown Jewel and Begonia Silver Jewel.

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

I'm mostly growing Gesneriads and other than the obvious choices like Episcias or micro mini Sinningias, there are quite a few other lesser known smaller growing varieties which make nice terrarium plants. For example: Diastema vexans, Amalophyllon clarkii, Niphaea oblonga, Gloxinia erinoides, Gloxinella lindeniana. They all require approximately the same conditions as Episcias. All of them grow from rhizomes and resent drying out while in active growth. Depending on the conditions provided they can be (almost) evergreen or rest after flowering. If they should die back to the ground, decrease water and let the rhizomes rest for a while (a few weeks to a few months) until new shoots appear. In a terrarium that should hardly ever happen, though. Most of the time there will be new shoots ready to replace the spent ones.

Irving, TX

Since my original post I have really got active in terrarium growing. I now have several episcias and begonias growing under glass. About two months ago I purchased B. Rajah as a small plant with three leaves. It was cold when I received it so I think it was in shock when it got to my house. It lost one of its leaves and kind of just sat there in the glass cookie jar for about a month and then boy did it take off. It have about 10 new leaves and has tripled in size. I will probably have to get it something bigger to live in soon. I also have a large Iron Cross Begonia that is doing really well in a large terrarium. Before I put it in a terrarium it had lost most of its leaves and was slowly dieing. Not so now.

The Heart of Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

B. Rajah is one of my favorites and once it's happy...it's a beauty! Wait til it flowers! Very nice.


MsC

Irving, TX

It did bloom for me. I was very happy.

The Heart of Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Great ! It's one of my favorites and I love the blooms!
Enjoy!
MsC

Grafton, WI

Hello, I am a terarrium admirer and I also plant them. I too will put together a "terarrium" in anything that holds water, air, humidity and allows light through it! lol! I am working on a few now with intentions of photographing them. I would love to see more pictures of everyone elses. I haven't used Begonia's yet, I will list some plants I use next chance I get to login *-*

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