Exotic rocks, stones, and mineral chunks are a valuable and often underused creative element for terrariums.
The striking features and dynamic shapes created by these solid materials can really bring a terrarium to life, and they offer unique planting opportunities when used effectively.
Whether you want a towering floral spike, a black monolith or a mossy mountain – there’s a type of terrarium rock that’s a perfect fit.
Trust me, you won’t need to be a geology nut to appreciate these exotic beauties.
Ready to see them? Let’s dig in.
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Why Choose These Aquascaping Rocks for Terrariums?
If you’ve not encountered aquascaping before (firstly, you’re welcome), it’s essentially the art of scaping aquariums into gorgeous natural scenes.
Kind of like terrarium making, but at a professional level… and underwater.
So, as a professional artist, the scapers (sp?) take their materials seriously, and they’ve found a selection of rock types that hold a variety of advantages over your standard river rocks.
These days there are lots of different aquascaping rock types, but they all tend to share a few key features that provide exactly the same benefits to terrariums.
- Lightweight – so they aren’t going to break your glass container, and they’re easy to place/manage.
- Unique – these aren’t your run-of-the-mill rocks. Each brings great contrast and beauty to a terrarium scene – expanding your creative options.
- Textured – which besides looking great, makes for fun 3D planting opportunities as you can place moss and epiphytic plants in the crevices (we teach you how to do this in our Essential Guide to Tropical Terrariums).
Alright, let’s see them!
My Favourite Terrarium Rocks for Sale
Dragon Stone (Ohko Stone)
Honestly, dragon stone is every bit as cool as it sounds.
Named for its scale-like texture, it’s a super unique type of stone that’s gorgeous to work with. It also goes by the name “Ohko stone” as it’s naturally found primarily in Japan.
The cavernous form provides lots of nooks to plant in, so you can easily transform a chunk of dragon stone into a living structure. Especially considering dragon stone chunks tend to be long and sharp.
Ohko stone is a sedimentary rock formed from a clay-like material, so it has a lovely tan color that stands out against typical darker tones in a terrarium.
Due to its sedimentary makeup, it can be quite brittle, but not so much that it’s likely to break up accidentally. To be honest, it’s probably a positive because it makes it much easier to break into smaller chunks or to sculpt to your desired shape.
Pick up a bundle from Etsy and see what you can create!
Seiryu Stone (Mini Landscape Rock)
Another terrarium rock hailing from Japan, seiryu stone has a characteristic jagged structure with lots of nooks and crevices.
Sometimes called the “mini landscape rock,” it’s heavily used in aquascaping competitions to build mountainous areas and rocky outcrops. I like to use seiryu stone in exactly the same way in terrarium hardscape.
With seiryu stone being pretty tough, you’re best off trying to get an assortment of shapes and sizes. Breaking up a chunk the size of the above example is going to be a real challenge.
These are the chunks that I bought a while ago and they’re the perfect size for me.
Seiryu stone comes in a variety of shades – from slate to dark grey – and it often has a wonderful marbled effect streaking through the rock.
Lava Stone / Lave Rock
Last but not least, lava stone is objectively less visually striking than the others but it’s unique properties make it very useful in terrariums.
It’s highly porous, which means it can hold/transfer water to any plants and mosses that have rooted into it. Meaning lava rock can be used creatively to build living structures without the need for damp moss deposits.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be quite this professional to utilize lava rock in a terrarium. Most terrarium environments can benefit from the added water retention and distribution.
Over to You
From what I’ve come across, these are far from the only cool terrarium rocks available.
I also really like pagoda rock, gobi stone and knife stone to name but a few – but which is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments!