Small terrarium - need even smaller plants!

laliqueOctober 3, 2008


I am upgrading aquariums and plan to turn my 3 gallon aquarium into a terrarium. The tank has no openings once the top is on, so it's a perfectly moist enviroment for tropical plants. Currently, I have a very young polka-dot plant that I'll keep in the tank until it outgrows it. However, I'm also on the lookout for plants that won't outgrow the tank, or at least not for a very long time. I'm not finding much info on non-flowering (which I truthfully prefer) plants that remain small. Does anyone here have any suggestions? P.S., this tank is a hotbox, which is why I'm taking it down, so warm-weather plants would be perfect. Thank you for any feedback.

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Moss is good; Ivy can easily be trimmed to keep it small. By "hotbox," do you mean a heated tank? If so, you may want to consider turning off the heating mechanism, as most plants probably won't need it. I believe certain other species of Fittonia will stay smaller than your polka-dot plant, if you wanted to look into that.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 10:32PM
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Hello and thanks for your response.

No, this tank doesn't come with a heater, but it constantly stays around 77+degrees no matter what the room temp is, which is why I refer to it as a hotbox. I was under the impression that fittonia actually grew larger than the polka-dots, but I will look into smaller varieties of those, as well. I suppose I can find moss by just walking outside, and ivy is pretty easy to find, as well. Thanks for the tips :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 12:24AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

keeping plants in scale is one of the most difficult parts of terrariums the other is temps. I maintain my shadehouse as a "terrarium" 12x25 feet and everything still outgrows it .lol
What you need are "tropical" plants so be sure to use tropical mosses as temperates will waste away without a cool down.
Among the best are gesneriads, selaginellas. Which love the heat and can be kept rather small. Sinningias will flower under two inches in diameter. Some others are tropical sundews though they clump but easily removed. gary

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 5:45AM
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One more question,

Since I seem to be having trouble finding generiads, selaginellas, or sinningias, (aside from african violets) can anyone recommend a place where I can buy seed(lings) of these plants? TIA.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 10:49PM
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Try the violet barn

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:51AM
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There are at least 4 very small easy to flower sinningias. I had a seed sorn group of V. pusilla and white sprite on moss. over A.V. soil in a piece of L iliac root in my Terrarium It was pretty easy and splendid in appearance.

Have a great fall everyone1 Lee Mcdonald

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:26AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

In addition to those ideas already mentioned, there is also a type of miniature philodendrum/epipremnum that gets no more than a few inches tall. Mine reminds me of a mini "rubber tree". I can't say I've seen them for sale very often however. Might be because they are, IME, very slow growing. I've sold off divisions of mine now and then and have found that it can take a few years before a clump gets big enough for me to divide.

Finding plants that won't outgrow a tank that size will be a challenge.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:31PM
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I grow Anubias nana petite emmersed occasionally. It is VERY slow growing, survives low light, and as long as the humidity is high enough, does very well.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 10:16PM
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domehome(9 CA)

I've had a number of terrariums and one of the best, most interesting plants are the carnivourous plants. Mind you these plants do not need to be fed bugs. My favorite nursery for mailorder carnivourous plants is Sarracenia Northwest. They group the plants as to their needs and have lots and lots of care information so you can pick the right plants for your environment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sarracenia Northwest

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 1:03AM
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Yes, mexican Butterworts like the p. Moranensis and say a Sundew like d. Adelae or d. Capensis for examples would be good choices. Fun to grow! D. Adelae grows like a weed for me!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 9:17AM
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