To Seal or Not to Seal: Unveiling the Secrets of Terrarium Care

To Seal or Not to Seal: Unveiling the Secrets of Terrarium Care


Have you ever gazed at a terrarium and wondered about the little ecosystem thriving inside it? Terrariums, those miniature gardens enclosed in glass, are not just home decor items but also fascinating microcosms of the natural world. A common question among terrarium enthusiasts is whether to seal these glass gardens or leave them open. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of sealed vs. unsealed terrariums, helping you make an informed decision for your green companions.

What is a Sealed Terrarium?

A sealed terrarium is essentially a self-contained ecosystem. Once you set up the terrarium with plants, soil, and water, you close it with a lid or a seal. This setup creates a unique environment where the water cycle is continuously in motion, mimicking nature's own process in a compact space.

Benefits of Sealing a Terrarium:

  1. Moisture Retention: Sealed terrariums retain moisture incredibly well. This is ideal for moisture-loving plants, reducing the need for frequent watering.

  2. Self-Sustaining Ecosystem: The closed environment creates a self-sustaining ecosystem. Water evaporates from the soil and plant leaves, condenses on the walls of the terrarium, and then trickles back into the soil, minimizing maintenance.

  3. Controlled Environment: Pests and diseases are less likely to invade a sealed terrarium, as the controlled environment acts as a barrier.

Challenges with Sealed Terrariums:

  1. Risk of Overwatering: Overwatering can be detrimental in a sealed terrarium. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth and root rot.

  2. Limited Plant Choices: Not all plants thrive in high humidity. It's crucial to choose plants that prefer a tropical, moist environment.

What About Unsealed Terrariums?

Unsealed terrariums, on the other hand, are open to the air. This setup offers a different set of advantages and challenges.

Advantages of Unsealed Terrariums:

  1. Better Air Circulation: Open terrariums allow for better airflow, which is beneficial for plants that prefer drier conditions.

  2. Flexibility in Plant Choices: You can choose from a wider variety of plants, including those that prefer less humidity.

Drawbacks of Unsealed Terrariums:

  1. Frequent Watering Needed: Without the benefit of a closed water cycle, unsealed terrariums require more regular watering.

  2. Dust and Debris: Being open, these terrariums can accumulate dust and debris over time - not to mention unwanted pests. 

Making the Right Choice:

The decision to seal or not to seal your terrarium depends on various factors:

  • Type of Plants: Select a terrarium type based on the plants you wish to grow. Moisture-loving plants do well in sealed terrariums, while plants that prefer drier conditions are better suited to unsealed ones.
  • Maintenance Preference: If you prefer a low-maintenance garden, a sealed terrarium might be the way to go. For those who enjoy regular gardening tasks, an unsealed terrarium offers more engagement.
  • Environmental Conditions: Consider the environment in your home. If your living space is already humid, an unsealed terrarium might be a better choice.


Whether to seal your terrarium is a choice that depends on your plant selection, maintenance preferences, and environmental conditions. Both sealed and unsealed terrariums offer unique benefits and challenges. By understanding these, you can create a thriving mini ecosystem that brings a slice of nature into your home.

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