9+ Large Terrarium Plants for Your Next Big Build

When it comes to terrariums, size matters. 

Sometimes bigger really is better, and if you’re going large with your container choice, you’ll need some seriously large terrarium plants. 

In this article, I’ll give my top picks, covering a nice selection of vines, ferns, epiphytes, and bright foliage showstoppers.

Let’s live large!

Large Terrarium Plants

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9 Best Large Terrarium Plants (& More)

1 | Croton

What better way to fill your large terrarium than with the big, bright Croton?

Line of crotons at plant market in black pot
Offering deep green-black leaves interwoven with splashes of neon pinks, oranges, yellows, and greens, there’s no plant quite as bold as this one.

Crotons are native to Asia, so you can be sure they’ll thrive in a warm, humid, closed terrarium.

There are many different types to choose from, too, but be warned that some get seriously big. But I guess that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?

That said, the potted ones you’ll buy from the store are unlikely to reach the size of these monsters we’ve found outside (growing under ideal conditions).

Plus, they tend to grow much more slowly indoors, so you’ll certainly have time to keep them in check.

Pink and purple large croton plant measuring several feet higher than person
This Croton has practically reached tree status!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Crotons on Etsy.

2 | Birds Nest Fern

The Birds Nest Fern is perfect for big vivarium installations.

And for me, it’s the first plant that comes to mind when I think of a tropical environment. If you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia, you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from. 

Giant Birds Nest Fern in the branches of tree in a botanical garden
Don’t worry; it’s unlikely to get anywhere near this big in a build!

You’ll get the most out of it by mimicking its natural growth cycle and planting it epiphytically in a nook or cranny of a big piece of driftwood, allowing the fabulous fronds to spill out in all directions. 

It’s easy to see why it’s called the Birds Nest Fern.

Small Birds Nest Fern with wavy fronds in terracotta pot
This Fern will propagate via spores, so if you’re lucky, you might even get some babies sprouting up around the container. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Birds Nest Ferns on Etsy.

3 | Pothos

A Pothos is always the answer. 

Of course, if trimmed back regularly, they can be used in smaller terrariums, but if left to their own devices look incredible in larger pieces. 

Bushy Golden Pothos plant hanging over wardrobe and mirror
Imagine this Golden Pothos growing wild and free across a big container. 

And there are plenty of fun colors and variegated types of Pothos to explore.

Some varieties have short leaf internodes (meaning the distance between each leaf on the stem is shorter), leading to a bushier plant. Conversely, some varieties have longer leaf internodes, meaning they grow across a larger distance.

If you want a bushier plant, an Njoy Pothos is a nice choice; if you want a longer vine, you could go for a Neon Pothos.

Giant Neon Pothos planted outdoors with hands by it
When grown outdoors in the tropics, the leaf size can get huge – but it’s unlikely to grow much above palm-sized in a terrarium. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Pothos on Etsy.

4 | Philodendron verrucosum

Philodendron verrucosum will make an exceptional terrarium centerpiece – providing texture and color to a build without being overly theatrical.

Deep green and neon Philodendron plant in plant market
Boasting neon green veining, red undersides, and fuzzy petioles – Philodendron verrucosum is a striking plant, yet somehow still classy. 

Native to warm, humid Ecuadorian jungles (hence its common name: the Ecuador Philodendron), it’s ideal for a closed terrarium environment

As with most tropical plants, you’ll need a high-quality substrate mix and good drainage to keep it happy. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Ecuador Philodendron on Etsy.

5 | Alocasia Stingray

My favorite plant of all time is the stunning Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Stingray.’

Mine is my pride and joy, and due to its size, I’ve not had the chance to brag about it on the blog… till now!

Giant Alocasia Stingray plant next to bookshelf with smaller plants on
It has incredible Stingray-shaped leaves (hence the name). 

It goes without saying it’ll need a large container, but aside from that, it’s a moisture-lover and a great fit for terrariums.

Because Alocasias sacrifice old leaves for new growth, they’ll do best with regular maintenance to remove leaves that are on their way out and a bioactive setup to clear up any remaining decaying residue.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Alocasia Stingray on Etsy.

Need something more medium-sized? You could go for a Jewel Alocasia, such as an Alocasia reginula or an Alocasia maharani.

Alocasia Silver Dragon plant leaf up close in plant store
This Alocasia Silver Dragon would look great in a decently-sized vivarium.

6 | Mini Monstera

There’s nothing mini about the Mini Monstera, which, if you didn’t know, isn’t a type of Monstera at all.

Its scientific name is Rhaphidaphora tetrasperma.

While the leaves themselves will never grow beyond a modest size, it’s an aggressive climber, and just a little cutting or two will really grow into a terrarium in no time. 

Big Mini-Monstera vine on moss pole next to bookshelf with smaller plants on
I kept my Raphidaphora as a houseplant, and it rapidly outgrew the moss pole.

In a terrarium, it’ll shine with several little plants planted at the bottom of a terrarium background and allowed to climb up, creating a bushy green backdrop. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Mini Monstera on Etsy.

7 | Fishbone Prayer Plant

Just like our previous plant, this one is not from the genus you’d expect, and it has a total mouthful of a scientific name too.

Despite being commonly known as the Fishbone Calathea, this plant is actually a Ctenanthe; more specifically, its full name is Ctenanthe burle-marxii.

How terribly fancy! 

Large Fishbone Prayer Plant being held up close
If there’s one thing for sure, Ctenanthe burle-marxii is a lovely, bushy, colorful, large terrarium plant.

This plant will brighten up the lower section of any big installation or dazzle as the main event in a medium-sized container.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Fishbone Prayer Plant on Etsy.

8 | Bromeliad

No plant screams “vivarium” quite like a Bromeliad.

(Somewhat) closely related to pineapples, this spiky, colorful plant family has a tonne of large terrarium plant potential.

Bright Bromeliad assortment in plant market with oranges, pinks and blues
Check out the selection at the plant market – it’s a horticultural rainbow!

Some Bromeliads will need to be planted terrestrially, and some are epiphytic, so there’s a lot of room for you to use and style them as you like. 

Large bromeliad arrangement with smaller vines outdoors
Bromeliads look brilliant paired with small vines and textured Ferns for contrast. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Bromeliads on Etsy.

9 | Begonia Maculata

The stylish Polka Dot Begonia has taken over the houseplant world, and it’s about time it took over the terrarium world, too. 

While it’s often kept quite manicured, with some plants being trimmed to keep them smaller and large plants often tied to a pole for support to keep them growing in a particular direction, it looks amazing when left to grow to its own bushy devices in a large terrarium container. 

Begonia maculata spotty leaf close up
What large terrarium isn’t crying out for sparkly silver spots and hot pink undersides?

Because it’s a flowering plant, you’ll need to keep your eye on it. Remove any dropped petals, and have a well-established clean-up crew.

Begonia maculata flowers
Begonia maculata flowers are worth the extra effort.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shop Polka Dot Begonia on Etsy.

Other Hot Large Terrarium Plant Picks I Had to Include

My problem with terrarium plant posts is that once I start, I can’t stop. But this post is already sitting at over a thousand words, so let’s finish with a quickfire round!

What’s Your Favorite?

My favorite XL terrarium plant genus is absolutely Alocasia, though I’ve yet to build a piece that could house my massive Stingray. What’s yours? Share it in the comments!

And if you need some big terrarium inspiration, you’ll find plenty of it on our Instagram page.

Finally, if you need a terrarium substrate that can handle these kinds of terrarium plants – check out our Terrarium Tribe signature mix!

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