Terrariums are similar to aquariums, but instead of hosting fish and other aquatic life, terrariums contain plants. Arrangements of rocks, moss, plants, and even small decorative items inside a terrarium make striking table centerpieces, wall art for the home, or desk decorations for the office.
The best terrarium for your needs depends on the types of plants you’d like to grow, whether you prefer an open or closed terrarium, and the home or office space you’d like to embellish. In any case, the best terrariums can accommodate a wide variety of plants to create a beautiful indoor garden.
The following are the top picks for the best terrariums for the home or office. Because the selections vary by size, shape, and design, there should be one on the list that’s perfect for your indoor garden.
- TOP PICK OVERALL: WGVI Slant Cut Bowl Glass Vase
- CLASSIC PICK: D’Eco Glass Geometric DIY Terrarium
- GEOMETRIC PICK: NCYP Gold Glass Geometric Terrarium
- BEST FOR WALL HANGING: KnikGlass Set of 3 Wall Hanging Terrariums
- BEST FOR DESKS: Mkono Mini Glass Geometric Terrarium Container Set
- BEST FOR KIDS: TerraGreen Creations Complete Fairy Garden Kit
- HONORABLE MENTION: XXXFLOWER Plant Terrarium with Wooden Stand
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Terrarium
Before you purchase the best terrarium for your needs, there are a few key decisions to make first. Because some terrariums come with growing kits, for example, you’ll want to think about whether you want the rocks and other accessories that come with it. Also consider the materials from which the terrarium is made, how large or small a vessel you want, and whether it’s open or closed. When creating an indoor garden, evaluating the following features will help you choose the best terrarium for your plants.
Most terrariums for indoor gardens are made of glass. Glass is easy to clean, allows a clear view of the plants inside, and complements just about every decor. However, some terrariums, such as wall-hanging or freestanding planters, may be complemented by materials such as metal or wood, which is both utilitarian and enhances the look of your indoor garden.
It’s common to find glass terrariums in geometric shapes, often accented with metal trim around the sides of the vessel. The metal is most often available in black, gold, or silver finishes to match most household decor.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of your terrarium are both important considerations, particularly if you already know where you want to place the terrarium or already have the plants that will grow inside.
Those who are shopping for a terrarium to house the plants they already have should research how tall the plants will grow and how much space they need. Bear these figures in mind as you shop, and make sure the size and shape of the new terrarium can accommodate your plants’ growth.
Vessels of certain shapes and sizes are better for certain kinds of plants. For example, smaller terrariums, whether geometric or globe shaped, are great for succulents. Meanwhile, larger terrariums may be more appropriate if you plan on growing taller plants, such as bamboo. If you’d like to grow plant cuttings, look for a terrarium in a cylindrical shape.
Freestanding terrariums simply sit on a counter, table, or desk without a stand. These tend to be smaller planters best for plant cuttings, succulents, or other smaller plant varieties.
Wall-mounted terrariums typically consist of glass plant containers housed in some kind of metal or wood holder which attaches to the wall. Hanging planters are available in different shapes, including globe or geometric, and can bring your indoor garden to new heights.
The form of terrarium that is right for you really depends on which plants you’re hoping to grow and whether you’d prefer to grow them on a tabletop or have them hanging from the wall or ceiling.
Open vs. Closed
Terrariums can also be open or closed, which allows the gardener to control the humidity level of the plants’ growing environment. Most globe-shaped terrariums are open at the top or on one side. In these terrariums, plants have access to fresh air and grow at the ambient humidity level of your indoor space.
Some larger terrariums may have lids, enabling you to open or close as needed to adjust the humidity inside. Open the top if your terrarium is too humid, or close it for plants such as ferns, air plants, and carnivorous plants that thrive in higher humidity levels.
Standalone vs. Kit
Shoppers in the market for the best terrarium may notice that some of these planters are sold by themselves and do not include soil, seeds, or plants, while others terrariums are sold as kits. Kits typically contain everything you need to get started with your terrarium, such as soil, rocks, moss, and seeds.
A terrarium kit is a terrific, fuss-free way to get started with an indoor garden—it makes a great gift, too. These kits are an especially fun activity for kids, as they can begin setting up their growing environment as soon as it arrives.
Seeds are typically packaged with terrarium kits, too. If you don’t want to wait for seeds to grow or have already picked out the specific plants you want to grow, a standalone terrarium may be a better choice for your needs.
Our Top Picks
Although there are many terrariums on the market today, these stand out as top picks. Of course, quality informs all of these selections, but there are several best-in-category terrariums, such as those ideal for kids and ones that offer the best value for money. No matter the size or style of terrarium you seek, you’ll likely find some terrific options on this list.
This glass terrarium is one that will please most anyone. Its globe shape and angled opening allow easy access to plants as well as affording some humidity control. WGVI’s simple glass design goes with any home decor and can easily fit succulents, air plants, and smaller pothos and ferns.
Made of thick, sturdy glass, this terrarium can be placed virtually anywhere in a home or office to enjoy plants indoors. Given its versatile design, size, durability, and fair price, this terrarium is our top pick for houseplant enthusiasts.
One of the best features of this D’Eco terrarium is its hinged top, which can open and close to allow for proper plant humidity control and ventilation. For long-term ventilation, the lid can be propped open with a metal arm. Made with glass and black brass, this terrarium measures 5.9 inches by 5.1 inches by 11 inches.
Another terrific benefit of D’Eco’s planter is its height. The terrarium is tall enough to accommodate bamboo, mini orchids, and other plants that need a bit of clearance. Be aware, this terrarium isn’t watertight, so you will want to line it with an absorbent material at the bottom to prevent leaks, or use it for decorative purposes only.
Designed to display smaller plants, such as air plants and succulents, these three small terrariums from KnikGlass can also hold fake plants and even fresh-cut flowers and herbs. They can be grouped as a set or arranged individually to bring pops of greenery indoors. Their simple glass bubble design suits just about any style of decor in the home or office.
This set of three wall-hanging terrariums includes three different sizes—small, medium, and large—with hanging equipment included. The smallest measures 4 inches by 2.6 inches, while the medium comes in at 4.8 inches by 3 inches. The largest is 6 inches by 3.6 inches. For the price and versatility, this set of three terrariums is an ideal way to add visual interest to most any wall.
Measuring 6.89 inches by 5.91 inches by 6.89 inches, this pentagon-shaped terrarium is ideal for small plants, such as air plants and succulents. This geometric glass terrarium from NCYP has gold metal accents. One of its sides is open and can be turned to face either up or to one side.
Note that NCYP’s geometric terrarium is not watertight, so plan to incorporate some type of absorbent material, such as moss, into the soil to prevent leaks. As a bonus, this planter comes with a miniature owl decoration to be placed in with the plants.
Most terrariums are fairly compact, but this set from Mkono is about as space-saving as terrariums can be. Three geometric glass-and-brass planters are included in the set: one globe-shaped, one teardrop-shaped, and one bowl-shaped. Each measures 4 to 5 inches on each of its geometric sides. These tiny terrariums can house succulents, air plants, moss, or small ferns.
Though each terrarium has an opening that makes watering and maintaining plants easy, be aware that the vessels are not watertight. Therefore, plants that can be watered with a spray bottle will work especially well with these Mkono minis.
Parents looking for an easy and fun way to entertain their kids need look no further. This terrarium kit from TerraGreen Creations contains everything kids need to establish their own fairy garden, including a glass terrarium, soil, rocks, seeds, moss, and two decorative mushrooms.
The terrarium’s 3-inch open top accommodates little hands, giving children easy access to the 4.5-inch-tall terrarium’s contents. Seeds sprout in just a few days, and the kit contains enough seeds to replant the terrarium at least 10 times. This kit simplifies the process of assembling a terrarium and is a great way to introduce children to the joys of growing one’s own plants.
XXXFLOWER’s freestanding terrarium consists of a wooden base, three glass containers for holding plant cuttings, and a metal bar. Its industrial design and walnut-toned wood will complement modern, farmhouse, or rustic decor styles.
The bulb vases are constructed of sturdy, heat-resistant glass and can accommodate most types of plant cuttings. This terrarium is freestanding and a convenient size, measuring 11 inches by 5.5 inches by 4 inches and allowing it to be situated almost anywhere—tabletops, windowsills, kitchen counters, and more. The XXXFLOWER terrarium is easy to assemble and comes with all necessary hardware. Plants are not included.
FAQs About Terrariums
Now that you’ve seen some of the best terrariums available, you might have questions about how to assemble and maintain them. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about terrariums here.
Q. Should terrariums be open or closed?
It depends on what kind of plants you plan to keep. Plants that require direct sunlight should ideally be in an open terrarium, while plants that need indirect sun can do fine in a closed one. The amount of humidity your plants need is another factor that informs whether to purchase an open or closed terrarium. For example, aloe likes drier air, while ferns like more moisture.
Q. What plants work best in a terrarium?
Many types of plants can flourish in a terrarium, from moss and orchids to ferns and bamboo. Succulents are also popular choices for these vessels because of their compact size and the unique arrangements you can create with them.
Q. What is the best size for a terrarium?
Get a terrarium that’s big enough to accommodate the plants you want to grow. Succulents can do well in small terrariums, while bamboo, ferns, or orchids will require larger ones.
Q. How long does a terrarium last?
In the right conditions and with the right care, a terrarium can last indefinitely.
Q. Where is the best place to put a terrarium?
To determine where to place your terrarium, think about the plants you’re growing. The best spot in the house depends on how much light the particular plants need and whether your terrarium is open or closed. Open terrariums flourish in direct sun, whereas closed ones shouldn’t be in direct sunlight.