Terrariums are a world within a world where everything is miniaturized. They help grow plants that require higher than typical humidity, using bottles, aquariums, fish bowls, or even jars as housings.
That compact size of these ecosystems makes it tricky to grow edible terrarium plants – be it fruits, vegetables, or herbs. But, don’t worry, all hope isn’t lost. You can grow miniature or dwarf varieties of some edible plants, bringing both the beauty and functionality of your garden right into your home.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of 10 edible terrarium plants that you can grow in an indoor terrarium without too much specialized knowledge.
Growing Edible Terrarium Plants
To grow edible terrarium plants, you’ll need a housing large enough to accommodate your min-garden. You don’t need a massive fish tank here, but be cognizant of the size of plants you’re buying in relation to the available space in your terrarium. Keep in mind too that growth is natural.
Before moving forward, however, we need to discuss the difference between open and closed terrariums. If you know what I’m talking about, then keep reading. If you don’t know the difference between the two, then you have some reading to do before you start buying edible terrarium plants.
A DIY terrarium can be a great option to go with from the outset because by building your own you can have full control over your dimensions. If you’re intrigued by this idea, then give our guide to DIY terrariums a read.
If you want a better understanding of terrarium plants in general, then investigate the four best terrarium plants post because we provide some useful background information.
1. Punica Granatum Nana – Dwarf Pomegranate
First up, we have the dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum nana). As you can tell from its name, this is a miniature species of the pomegranate plant.
The dwarf pomegranate is a popular bonsai plant that closely resembles the appearance of a full-sized old tree, only much smaller. Here, the wood twists to give the plant an ancient look that’s almost artistic.
The dwarf pomegranate loves to soak up a lot of sunlight and moisture, so you need to locate the terrarium in a well-lit area. After flowering, the plant produces pomegranates that are similar in size to large gumballs.
This plant enjoys an open terrarium with bright light. Accordingly, a wide dish-style terrarium works best for growing a dwarf pomegranate, or maybe a deeper terrarium that features access for pruning.
2. Thymus Vulgaris – Thyme
Thyme is a versatile herb that you can use in many dishes when cooking. As a plant, thyme doesn’t deal very well with soggy roots.
Not only will you have to be mindful of overwatering your terrarium, but you’ll also need to strategically place your thyme in a drier area of the terrarium, for example, on a mound.
Thyme requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to thrive, but indirect light can work as well. Remember to let the soil around the thyme dry completely before watering once again.
3. Carissa Macrocarpa – Dwarf Natal Plum
The dwarf natal plum (Carissa grandiflora nana compacta) is another miniature variety of edible plants that you can experiment with.
Similar to the dwarf pomegranate, this plant also grows best in an open terrarium. The dwarf natal plum usually reaches no more than 1 foot in height, so you most likely won’t be needing to upsize the container.
4. Mentha – Mint
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow at home and, fortunately, it does very well in an indoor terrarium.
Mint requires exposure to indirect sunlight and prefers to be in moist soil, but not soggy. It shares a similar care system as that needed for thyme. You can mist your mint between waterings if necessary.
5. Solanum Lycopersicum – Dwarf Tomato Varieties
There are a few varieties of dwarf tomatoes that you can grow in a terrarium. For example, you can try the Tiny Tim (Lycopersicon esculentum, var. Tiny Tim) as they’re well-suited to terrarium environments.
The Tiny Tim grows up to a maximum height of 1 foot and produces a plethora of grape-sized cherry tomatoes. This miniature plant requires less light than other dwarf tomato varieties, which is an advantage when it comes to indoor growing.
Other miniature tomato varieties to try in your terrarium include:
- Toy Boy
Each variety may require a dowel rod (serves as a stake) to keep the plant in an upright position. If you grow multiple plants in a terrarium with a sufficient light source, you can end up growing tomatoes year-round. It’s best to use a wide terrarium so the plant has some room to sprawl.
6. Ficus Pumila – Creeping Figs
Smaller versions of the fig plant are a great option for starting edible terrariums. Creeping figs prefer indirect sunlight and can take on some shade.
If your figs grow too large, they can be easily pruned. The plants will add a nice charm to your terrarium, giving it a miniature forest look.
7. Ananas Nanus – Dwarf Pineapple
The dwarf pineapple (Ananas nanus) reaches up to 18 to 24 inches high and produces miniature fruit. Obviously, you’ll need a large terrarium or an open-topped model to accommodate this plant since its leaves spread wide as it grows.
Similar to its larger relatives, the dwarf pineapple has spike-style leaves and it requires plenty of direct sunlight.
8. Origanum Vulgare – Oregano
Oregano is a herb that grows nicely in terrariums. It does well when accompanied by thyme and sage, so feel free to combine the three herbs in the same setup.
Oregano prefers well-drained soil that you allow to dry out between waterings. It requires between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight and thrives with frequent trimming and pruning.
9. Corymbosum Angustifolium – Dwarf Tophat Blueberry Plant
The Dwarf Tophat Blueberry plant (Corymbosum angustifolium) grows up to 2 feet tall and wide. It produces white, self-pollinating blossoms that eventually become edible blueberries.
The Dwarf Trophat Blueberry plant enjoys a lot of sunlight, It prefers cooler environments than tropical plants, so an open terrarium is your best bet. You can also place it in a bonsai-style shallow dish
This miniature blueberry plant takes several years to fully mature, so you’ll need to be patient with this one.
10. Salvia Officinalis – Sage
Lastly, sage is another edible that’s easy to grow in a terrarium. This aromatic, tasty herb does well in terrariums because it enjoys a bit of extra humidity.
Sage also prefers plenty of sunlight, about 6 to 8 hours of exposure. As with many herbs, the sage plant requires soil that drains well. So, only water this herb when the top inch of soil is dry.
Easily Grow Edible Terrarium Plants
There you have it, our collection of edible terrarium plants that you can try growing in your own setup. Remember, terrariums are small ecosystems that require harmony to thrive.
Consequently, you’ll need to include plants that can exist together. Don’t forget to read the labels or tags of the plants you buy to avoid having ones with conflicting moisture or light exposure needs. If at any point you aren’t sure about something, drop us a line in the comments section and we can help you out.
Kindly help me identify the names and their various uses.thanks
Hi. I have a 4’x2′ glass vivarium with a ripped netting cover and would love to use it outdoors (I have a sunny spot that can house it) to grow something edible. I’m thinking mini pineapple tree/coriander 🤔. Do you have any tips please on the practicalities of making any of this possible. Thank you.