How Do Plants Grow in an Enclosed Terrarium: Unveiling the Mystery

How Do Plants Grow in an Enclosed Terrarium: Unveiling the Mystery

Enclosed terrariums are fascinating miniature ecosystems that have captivated gardening enthusiasts and beginners alike. These glass-encased gardens not only serve as stunning decorative pieces but also provide a unique insight into the natural world. But how do plants grow in an enclosed environment, seemingly cut off from the outside world? This article delves into the science behind enclosed terrariums and offers tips on how to create a thriving miniature garden.

The Science Behind Enclosed Terrariums

Enclosed terrariums create a self-sustaining environment where plants can grow with minimal intervention. The secret to their success lies in their ability to recycle water and nutrients, mimicking the natural water cycle on a micro-scale.

1. Photosynthesis: Just like any other plant, terrarium plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the day through photosynthesis. This process requires light, which should be indirect to avoid overheating and burning the plants inside the glass.

2. Transpiration and Condensation: Plants in terrariums release water vapor through transpiration, which then condenses on the walls of the glass container. Eventually, this water droplets fall back into the soil, providing a continuous supply of moisture to the plants. This cycle reduces the need for frequent watering.

3. Microclimate: The enclosed space of a terrarium creates a stable microclimate that is ideal for humidity-loving plants. This consistent environment helps in reducing stress on the plants, contributing to their growth and longevity.

Creating a Thriving Enclosed Terrarium

1. Selecting the Right Plants: Choose plants that thrive in high humidity and low-light conditions. Ferns, mosses, and fittonia are excellent choices for enclosed terrariums.

2. Proper Layering: Start with a layer of stones or pebbles at the bottom for drainage, followed by activated charcoal to keep the water fresh, and then add a layer of potting soil specifically suited for the types of plants you are using.

3. Light and Location: Place your terrarium in a spot that receives indirect sunlight. Too much direct sun can turn your terrarium into a greenhouse, overheating and harming your plants.

4. Water Wisely: Overwatering is a common mistake. Remember, the enclosed nature of the terrarium means water will recycle. Start with a small amount of water and only add more if the soil becomes completely dry.

5. Maintenance: While enclosed terrariums require minimal maintenance, occasional pruning may be necessary to keep your plants healthy and prevent overcrowding.

The Benefits of Enclosed Terrariums

Enclosed terrariums are not just about aesthetic appeal; they offer a practical and educational way to understand ecosystems. They require less water than traditional potted plants, making them an eco-friendly gardening option. Additionally, they can improve air quality and add a touch of greenery to indoor spaces, enhancing mental well-being.


Enclosed terrariums are a testament to the resilience and adaptability of plants. By creating a self-sustaining environment, these miniature ecosystems allow us to witness the wonders of nature up close. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a curious beginner, an enclosed terrarium is a fascinating project that brings the beauty and complexity of the natural world into your home. Follow the guidelines mentioned above, and watch your miniature garden flourish with life and vibrancy.

Back to blog