Closed vs Open Terrariums

What is a closed terrarium?

A closed terrarium is a self-sufficient ecosystem. The plants are put inside jars such as a clear glass container with a lid that is used to seal it.

What is an open terrarium?

Open terrariums are the plants that are put in open containers without any lid to enclose it. Of course, with this comes the easiness of accessing the plants. Open terrariums are more suitable for plants that thrive in dry conditions as it is difficult to maintain moisture in an open terrarium.

Let us delve into the main differences:



Closed Terrariums:

As closed terrariums come together with a lid, moisture will appear from the soil and plants as the temperature is slightly higher in a closed terrarium. After evaporating, the water vapour will condense on the side of the glass container and fall back to the plants and soil at the bottom. And the cycle repeats. Hence, closed terrariums are self-sufficient. With the glass container being transparent, it allows light to pass through and for photosynthesis to happen. However, ensure to never place them under direct sunlight as it can cause the glass container to heat up and burn the plants.

Open Terrariums:

Since it’s an open terrarium, there wouldn’t be any lid to cover all the plants in the glass container. Instead, the plants might be half popping out of the containers. Unlike closed terrariums, open terrariums prefer drier conditions and don’t require a moist environment. Plus, they don’t have a regular water cycle as they are open to the air. Thus, open terrariums have to be watered frequently. Either once a week or when the soil gets dry and you notice leaves falling off.


Different Plants Required

As the soil condition varies a lot depending on whether it is an open or closed terrarium, not all plants would be suitable for both. Open terrarium plants prefer circulating air and a drier environment. Air Plants, Succulents, Button Ferns, Cacti, Jade Plant are some of the plants that are suitable for an open terrarium. On the other hand, closed terrariums thrive in a closed space with more moisture. Polka Dot plants, Miniature Ferns and Mosses, Peperomia, Mini Spider plants, Nerve plants, Miniature English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Venus Flytraps, Miniature Orchids, Pilea are some of the plants that are best suited for a closed terrarium.


Terrarium Care

If assembled correctly, a terrarium requires little ongoing maintenance for it to last for years. However, it is important to distinguish between the 2 types of terrariums, so that you can take better care of them.

Open - These terrariums are great for direct light or lots of sun.  Make sure to consider the specific plants in your terrarium when placing it. Water every two weeks, or as needed.

Closed - These terrariums require very little maintenance. Indirect light is great for these plants. Direct sunlight on a closed terrarium can burn your plants. Open the terrarium at least once a month for roughly 20 minutes to allow for some air circulation.


Drainage layers

Proper drainage in a terrarium is crucial for the health of your plants and the success of your terrarium. This is to ensure that your plants remain healthy for a longer period of time. Each layer serves a purpose for ensuring the longevity of your plant and maintaining the proper growing environment. Open terrariums require pebbles, soil, charcoal and rocks. Meanwhile, closed terrariums only need soil, charcoal and rocks.


Be sure to check out our online store. Apart from the terrariums, you can also find and buy preserved flowers, plant hampers, and flower diffusers. Not to mention, we also have Succulent Pots along with some accessories for your terrarium maintenance. Click here to visit our webstore.