How to Buy Plants for a Terrarium

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How to Buy Plants for a Terrarium

A terrarium is a controlled environment designed to make a reptile comfortable. This also means that any plants that are compatible with this environment should flourish and thrive. It is possible to have a tropical or a desert plant in full bloom while outside it is freezing in the middle of winter. Instead of artificial plants, natural plants are a healthy, attractive and fun option to create an appealing environment for the reptile and enhancing the aesthetics of a terrarium.

To plant and grow plants in the terrarium, it's necessary to follow a few simple steps to increase the chance of success. eBay is the best place to what is available and what conditions the plant will require. This guide will provide an outline of points to consider and instructions while looking at different plants that could be included in the terrarium.

Environmental Factors


It is important to have plants that will be able to thrive in the size of terrarium that's being used. A small plant in a large terrarium is not a problem but the converse, a small terrarium with a plant that may grow to a large size is a recipe for disaster. In a small terrarium even a small plant may eventually take over the terrarium, so careful consideration and research need to be taken to find an appropriate plant.


There are two parts to look at when considering the climate. The first is to select a list of plants that can tolerate the climate that the terrarium has. The second is to look at what special needs that compatible plants may have. This might include shading and watering needs that might make a particular plant unsuitable. An example would be selecting a plant that needs shade, but, only having a position near the basking lamp, which will give the plant too much light and also dry it out.


In most terrariums, a mix of plants is used to create an attractive and interesting flora for the terrarium. Once that shortlist of plants has been established, it is important that those plants choosen are compatible with each other. Some plants will compete against each other while others are happy to co-exist. Online sellers like those found on eBay may list plants that are compatible or incompatible with each other and are a good resource to use to make the final choices.

Plant Information

When choosing plants for the terrarium, it is important not to forget about the number one inhabitant. It's possible to tweak the environment in the terrarium so that it accommodates the plants that are being chosen for it but be careful to monitor the reptile also.

The reptile may also decide that it likes the plants so much that it tries to sample them, so it is important to choose plants that are non-toxic. It may also like to dig at the roots or otherwise damage the plant so be aware that it might be necessary to try a few different kinds of plants to get everything functioning harmoniously in the terrarium.

Here are some top picks to consider when looking for plants to go into a terrarium.

African Violet


This attractive plant gives a unique purple flower. It can be difficult to grow in a pot but does well in terrariums with a warm humid environment. It requires an area with soil or potting mix and can be set in a small pot or box in other substrate material. This plant is available to buy from eBay.

Aluminum Plant


This quick growing plant is a native of Southeast Asia and needs a warm climate and partial shade. The Aluminum Plant is best known for its gleaming white patterns on the leaves. A cutting can be placed into moist soil, or if there is another substrate then a container can be either buried underneath or on top to hold the soil. If the plant becomes too large, then pinch off sections to keep it in check.

Angels Tears


This plant does well in a terrarium, and its small leaves make it attractive in the enclosed setting. It may sometimes be called baby's tears in different areas, but it is the same plant.

Button Fern


This mop headed plant is attractive and eye catching. It is popular in terrariums and grows well if given the right conditions. It needs moist conditions but does not do well if water logged. It prefers partial light so consider the position that this will go in the terrarium. When looking to buy this plant for a terrarium, it can be found on eBay.

Creeping Fig

The dwarf variety of the Creeping Fig can take full light or partial shade and grows quickly. It looks somewhat like a miniature tree and can be an attractive addition to any terrarium. It can be pruned so it can be kept to a manageable size no matter what the size of the terrarium.

Golden Pothos


This vine, which has been used as an indoor plant for many years, is easy to grow by taking a stem and placing it into water until the roots form. It is almost foolproof, and ideal for terrariums, where it can get indirect light. It should not be over watered as this may cause root problems.



Mosses are popular in terrariums because they do not require soil to grow. The most popular varieties are Irish and Scottish moss, which are easy to grow and to purchase. Since moss absorbs water and nutrients from its leaves, it prefers a moist and partially or fully shaded area. It can be grown on wood or other objects that are porous and many online sellers such as eBay have items like cork tree bark that is ideal for moss to grow on.

Some other plants that can be considered are:

* Bromeliads

* Dwarf Schefflera

* Ficus

* Orchids

* Peperomia

* Ponytail Palms

* Snake Plants

* Spider Plants

Plants to avoid

* Plants that have sap that causes irritations.

* Plants that are toxic to reptiles

* Plants that require fertiliser or other chemicals that may harm the reptile

Growing Plants in a Terrarium

Having live plants in a terrarium is a good way to make it look better and if plants from the reptile's native area are used, a terrarium theme can be created that will give plenty of enjoyment. The reptile will also benefit as plants give it a place to hide and a place to cool down if it is getting too hot. In terrariums that need high humidity, plants naturally keep the humidity levels higher making the terrarium easier to care for.

Plants also are natural filters removing carbon dioxide, pollution and dust from the air and producing fresh oxygen and will keep the terrarium environment cleaner and healthier for the reptile.

Here is a step-by-step guide for a typical terrarium that will have a tropical humid reptile and plants that are compatible with this type of environment.

* The first step is to clean and wash out the terrarium once it is received. If using a second hand terrarium or aquarium, then sterilize it before use to ensure that the reptile does not pick up any pathogens from the previous user.

* Once the terrarium is clean, the next step is to introduce a drainage layer. This can be gravel, aquarium gravel or expanded clay rocks. The expanded clay rocks are lightweight and ideal for larger terrariums. A layer a few inches deep allows any excess moisture to drain away stopping your substrate or soil from becoming water logged.

* A thin layer of perhaps half an inch of aquarium charcoal can be applied on top of the drainage layer. This helps to absorb any odors a stop your terrarium becoming a problem because of the smell.

* A thicker layer of about 3 inches of sterile soil should then be added. Make sure that it is reptile friendly and that it is not packed down heavily when adding it to the terrarium.

* Take some time to plan which areas are going to be hotter and which are cooler. Then decide how the plants will be placed so that the reptile can take advantage of this, and it will ensure it looks good whilst painted. It can be a good idea to place them around while they are still in their potting containers so it can be seen how they may look and finalise positioning.

* When you are sure of the positioning, dig small holes for each plant and place the plant pot in the hole before giving everything a final check before planting.

* Remove the plants from their pots and gently tease out the roots.

* Place each plant in the prepared hole and gently pack the soil around the stem so that the plant is secure in its new home.

* Water the plants well to help them settle and to make sure that surrounding soil is moist.

* As the plants grow, keep control by pinching off the sections that are bigger than needed so that they are kept in the correct size for the terrarium.

How to Buy Plants for a Terrarium on eBay

eBay has plenty of choice when it comes to buying plants for terrariums. On eBay, sellers are renowned for their competitive pricing and wide range of products, coupled with the flexible payment options available. Additionally, eBay can offer a much wider range of plants than many of the high street competitors.

The best place to start looking for plants for terrariums in the Pet Supplies section, which can be reduced down to Reptiles and then further down to the Plants section.

Alternatively, type in specific search terms into the search box provided on every page. Using specific searches such as ''Reptile Terrarium Plants'' or similar terms around what's required to locate the desired item.

When an item of interest has been found, make sure to thoroughly look through the listing and read all the available information. Do the research, and make sure the item listed matches what's required for the reptile. If there are few photos, or low quality photos, contact the seller for a clearer photo to make sure that it's clear what's being offered. It's also possible to check their feedback to make sure they have a good reputation and feedback. Finally, remember that the seller can be contacted with any questions.

When looking to buy an item use the Bid on it, Buy It Now or put in your Best Offer options. The availability of these will depend on whether the seller offers them, and most sellers will offer the option to pay with PayPal, to make sure the purchase goes smoothly.


Terrarium Plants are available in a wide range of types and varieties which will be appropriate for different terrariums reptiles depending on what type of reptile it houses, and size of the terrarium. Many types are easily found and bought on eBay, and can be found online by searching for specific terms or by browsing the product category.

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