Suitable Growing medium and plants for Terrariums

In this article we will discuss some basic tips to keep in consideration when choosing a suitable growing medium and plants to start with a terrarium.  With time you will learn what plants work best for you and what you like.  By no means are these the only plants you can use.

When starting with your terrarium you need to choose whether you want to create a tropical or a desert landscape in your terrarium.

For a tropical landscape you need a growing medium that:

  • retains a lot of water but is still fast draining
  • will stay wet without being soggy
  • is able to sustain your landscape and plants

We make use of a mixture of peat, sphagnum moss, pine bark and charcoal. 

For a desert landscape you need a growing medium that:

  • will not retain too much water
  • is fast draining
  • is able to support your landscape and plants.

For the desert terrariums we make use of a mixture of pine bark, stone, and charcoal. 

What type of plants will suit a  tropical terrarium

Suitable plants that:

  • like a tropical (warm and wet with high humidity) environment
  • like shaded light (think forest floor)
  • have compact growth
  • have small leaves

Examples are small ferns, grasses, tropical house plants, creepers, moss, etc

What type of plants will suit a desert terrarium

  • suitable plants that like a dry environment
  • most succulents
  • have compact growth
  • have colourfull leaves

Fortunately, in South Africa we have a wide selection of beautifully coloured succulents that you can find in most nurseries.

Read more on What is a terrarium and How to build your own terrarium

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