Geometric Terrarium 101: A Guide to Modern Styles & Uses

The geometric terrarium is the epitome of botanical chic.

Bold angular shapes contrast the natural harmony of the plants inside, and their versatile configurations lend themselves to all kinds of creative styles.

Whether you’re looking for a modern terrarium wedding centerpiece or just a nice project for your home, there’s a geometric design for you.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the geometric terrarium. How to choose the best style for your project needs and the best plants and materials to make it pop.

Ready? Let’s go!

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How to Choose a Geometric Terrarium with Plants

Roaring to popularity through the Pinterest heyday of the 2010s, the geometric terrarium is a trend that has stood the test of time. 

From glass cubes and pyramids to gems and orbs, there’s a vast array of designs on offer.

(Seriously though, is geometry finally cool?)

The versatility of these containers is enormous, but it’s crucial to note that the different shapes will naturally lend themselves to different applications. Height, depth, awkward angles, and asymmetric balances all impact the plants you can effectively grow.

Some are definitely more specialized, so it’s important to consider your choices.

So, whether you need a large geometric glass terrarium for an ambitious DIY project or a wholesale lot for wedding centerpieces – here are the standard designs and what they’re good for.

Common Geometric Designs

1  | Pyramid/Diamond/Prism

Image Credit: NCYPGarden on Etsy.

We’ve all seen them; the single-pointed shape is a standard design that’s used in many different ways (and called by many pointy names). 

They make great hanging terrariums thanks to their central attachment point, but they’re also lovely desktop and centerpiece options. Almost always used as open terrariums, as they rarely have doors. 

In terms of planting, the containers often have shallow bases and likely can’t accommodate ample substrate depth for larger plants. You know, the kind that could actually fill the vertical space…

So succulents and cacti are generally a good fit.

And for the extra tall containers, epiphytic displays like air plants mounted on branches are a great way to bring the space to life.

2 | Pentagon/Octagon+

Image Credit: stasiacraftsco on Etsy.

When it comes to the number of geometry points, is bigger better?

Ironically, these tend to be more rounded and evenly shaped. So, they tend to perform more like a typical terrarium and can be used for most things.

The ones with large openings make for great succulent terrariums (like the gorgeous gold container above), or some come with hinged doors (e,g., this one), making them a fit for tropical closed terrariums.

3 | Cube

Image Credit: NCYPGarden on Etsy.

These small cubes are a cute way to display one or two choice plants.

Resting on a narrow base under one of the points, you’ll need to be careful how you distribute the weight. But it’s not like you can fit much in anyway…

Pop your favorite air plant or succulent right in the middle, and surround it with some subtle highlights like preserved moss or gemstones.

Check out our Air Plant Terrariums Guide for more help with that!

4 | Wardian Case

Image Credit: HPotterMarketplace on Etsy.

The original terrarium has evolved into a variety of stunning options over the years.

From delicate domed wonders to ornate greenhouse masterpieces – the Wardian Case can do it all.

It’s arguably the least common on this list (and probably the most expensive), but it can’t be beaten in terms of versatility and raw aesthetics.

Popular Geometric Terrarium Wedding Centerpieces

Terrariums make fantastic wedding centerpieces, and the gilded edges of the geometric styles provide just the right amount of glamour to set the scene.

Of course, if you’re organizing a wedding (especially a big one), then you’re going to need cheap geometric terrariums in bulk.

And if you’re going the full DIY route, probably simple ones too.

I’d say you’re best off sticking with open terrariums here, as your classic closed terrarium is likely much too tricky to build and care for en masse.

I can’t imagine much worse than 100 terrariums full of brown moss and rotting plants…

I’ve seen lots of good terrarium wedding centerpiece ideas using preserved plants and mosses too. It really is a lot easier, isn’t it?

You could even go so far as to choose glassless geometric terrariums. More like elaborate gold air plant holders, really, but you get a similar visual effect at a fraction of the price.

Can a Large Geometric Terrarium Work?

Sure, a large geometric terrarium can work in some instances.

But not every shape scales up in a practical way.

The key feature of a geometric terrarium is its glass paneling. These look gorgeous, but they’re not the most robust way to construct a container. The more seams there are, the more opportunities for leaks – especially when you’re adding lots of weight.

Plus, some of these geometries have exaggerated features which are amplified at scale. Ever taller spires and greater asymmetries can lead to dysfunctional ecosystems (or just challenging containers to place in the home).

If you want a large geometric terrarium, the best choice is still a Wardian case. 

Look at this beauty! (Image Credit: LeadHeadGlass on Etsy)

These classic terrariums still retain the basic construction at the base while allowing for some creative shapes on the upper parts. 

Oh, and I still don’t think large geometric terrariums are a good fit for reptiles or pets. 

That’s a Wrap

It looks like the geometric terrarium is here to stay.

Which kind has caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!

For inspiration and guidance on how to use these geometric containers, check out how to create an open terrarium.

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