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terrarium plants

Top 7 Best Terrarium Plants

Ready to start a terrarium or paludarium? Like planted aqauriums, aquascapers can build these terrestrial setups to recreate nature scenes (like forests or jungles) in the comfort of their home. These setups are arguably easier to grow and maintain than your traditional underwater aquascapes. You can also grow many different kinds of plants ranging from aquatic to terrestrial! With terrarium-like setups, you have the opportunity to fill your tank with a larger range of plants to fit your own personal aesthetic.

You will see that there are a few plants on our list that can grow and thrive both submerged and emersed, as well as terrestrial plants that cannot survive if completely submerged. We will clarify in the descriptions below. Either way, this list of our top terrarium plants includes a great variety of plants for your terrarium-style tank or paludarium.

Hint: All of these plants are suitable for any terrarium or paludarium. What's the difference between a terrarium and a paludarium? A terrarium will strictly contain terrestrial plants, while a paludarium is semi-aquatic planted aquarium containing terrestrial plants AND aquatic plants (basically a terrarium with an added body of water.) There is an extensive list of plants beyond this that you can place in a paludarium. Check out our complete selection of terrarium plants by clicking here. 

Here are Buce Plant's Top 7 Best Terrarium Plants for a successful and stress-free terrarium or paludarium: 


1. Myriophyllum Aquaticum 

Also known as 'parrot's feather'. This versatile plant isn't strictly a terrestrial plant--it can be grown both emersed and submerged. Although, it grows better emersed versus submerged. This plant is simply more suitable for terrariums, paludariums, and pond-style setups versus aquariums. 

Parrot's feather is technically a 'weed' and is considered to be a fast-growing plant that is a great nutrient sucker. This plant requires lots of light and a nutrient-rich aquarium soil, such as UNS Controsoil, for optimal growth.

The leaves are feather-like and a bright blue-green color. In its emersed form, this plant's features are much more pronounced. High light conditions will give the tips of the leaves a slightly red tint. 


2. Fittonia Albivenis

We are sure you've seen this beauty before. If not, we're sure that you can see why a Fittonia Albivenis is usually the attention-grabbers of any terrarium-style setup.

 is perennial and generally easy to care for. It does well with little care requirements does not require high humidity. It's considered a low-maintenance plant and a favorite among Team Buce Plant. You may spot them in a few of our own showroom setups. Although this plant can be planted into substrate, it doesn't need a lot of nutrients or soil at all. You can simply tie or attach it to hardscape and let it do its thing. 

Fittonia has a unique and striking look that will add bright and different coloration to your setup without the high maintenance. The Fittonia Albivenis' leaves are a deep green with a bright vein-like pattern that ranges from white, red, and pink. When placed in high light conditions, the color of the 'veins' of the leaves will intensify. 

Note: Fittonia is not an aquarium plant and will eventually die if completely submerged.




3. Selaginella Erythropus

You might know this plant as Ruby Red Club Moss. Obviously, this plant has a very unique look with an intense coloration. Best part? It will add a striking look and a nice pop of color to your terrarium or paludarium. The underside of the leaves will have a deep ruby red color, which contrasts nicely from the dark green on the surface.

Ruby Red Club Moss is a slow grower and particularly easy to care for. It will do great in an environment with high humidity and a low-light. Although in can be stuffed in any crevice, it is recommended to attach to hardscape with sphagnum moss to help keep in the moisture it needs.

Note: Ruby Red Club Moss is not an aquarium plant and will eventually die if completely submerged.



4. Pteris Ensiformis

Also known as the 'silver lace fern' due to its coloration. Pteris Ensiformis has fern-like leaves perfect for recreating forest style terrarium. It is well-sought after for its beautifully unique leaf pattern and silvery highlights.

This plant can grow up to 18 inches and spreads easily which makes it the perfect background plant for your terrarium or paludarium. It thrives in humid, shady environments. This plant is sensitive to light, so try to avoid overexposure to light. 

Note: Pteris Ensiformis is not an aquarium plant and will eventually die if completely submerged.




5. Selaginella Wallichi

Also known as spike moss. This species of Selaginella grows quickly and sporadically. It's perfect for the aquascaper who wants a plant that spreads fast. It can easily spread throughout your entire tank if left without pruning. It does well with very little care requirements and does not need super high humidity, making it a durable plant for any terrarium or paludarium. Keep in mind that giving this plant high light will cause it to turn red.  

Note: Selaginella Wallichi is not an aquarium plant and will eventually die if completely submerged.



6. Selaginella Kraussiana

Also known as Mini Club Moss, this Selaginella stays fairly small in comparison to other types of Selaginella. Like Wallichi, this plant requires little care requirements when kept emersed and does not need super high humidity. This plant is very popular in the aquascaping community because its fast-growing & typically forgiving. It is recommended to give this plant a few inches of controsoil in order for it to establish itself effectively. It thrives in lower light conditions, so make sure to keep it out of direct light.

Mini Club Moss will create a nice foreground effect when planted throughout your terrarium-style tank. It is also perfect for smaller terrarium setups and makes a great accent piece because of its size. 

Note: Selaginella Kraussiana Mini is not an aquarium plant and will eventually die if completely submerged.



7. Hydrocotyle Tripartita

This creeping plant creates a thick bush while grown emersed, especially when using tissue culture cups. Hydrocotyle Tripartita will easily transition to emersed growth as long as you keep high humidity after initial planting. Once it transitions to a dry environment, its becomes more low maintenance and slow growing compared to its submerged state.

Hydrocotyle Tripartita does require a moist substrate in order to establish itself and spread accordingly. Under optimal conditions, its the perfect carpeting plant. The clover-like leaf shape offers depth and adds texture to your scape.

Aquascaping aims to recreate unique scenes in nature. By adding this clover-like plant to your terrarium or paludarium, it will add a natural appeal to your scape. 


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Nicole Foley - May 2, 2022

Bucephalandra and Anubis make excellent terrarium plants as well.

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