Tropical Rainforest Terrarium Design

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Tropical Rainforest Terrarium


Don’t you want to see your favorite pet living and enjoying the best possible conditions? Don’t you want to bring the nature inside your home by making a natural-looking tropical rainforest terrarium? If you are a nature lover and have answered yes, this piece of the post is for you. Explore these tropical terrarium ideas to create a stunning and vibrant mini jungle in your own space.


Besides a fun activity, tropical rainforest terrariums with tropical terrarium plants are tending to supply a whole lot of oxygen we need to breathe in. It makes them an essential part of this world. So, we must share knowledge about rainforests and their importance to keep them safe and thriving. Although building a terrarium takes only a few hours to complete but years to perfect.


Before going any further, let’s discuss the tropical rainforest in detail!


What is a Tropical Rainforest?


Tropical Rainforests are the oldest ecosystems on the earth. They are incredibly unique and beautiful. However, these places cover only 2% of the entire globe, tropical rainforests abundant with more than ½ of the world as a whole’s plant and animal species.


In simple words, a tropical rainforest means a tall and dense jungle. As the name suggests, a tropical rainforest gets a high amount of rainfall per year, making humid air. However, the rainforest climate is still hot and humid, meaning plants and animals living there must learn and adapt to the hot and humid environment. Moreover, tropical rainforests are also the most complicated ecosystems on earth.


Tropical rainforests have four layers:


  • Emergent
  • Canopy
  • Under Canopy
  • Shrub Layer,


Emergent Layer: This layer means the tallest trees that are crossing 50 meters of height. The very best example of an emergent layer is the Kapok tree.

Canopy Layer: Beneath the Emergent Layer, the Canopy layer is referred to as the leaves that block the sun from reaching the lower layers. The Canopy layer includes more than 50% of wildlife, including monkeys, snakes, birds, etc.

Under Canopy Layer: This layer is located meters below the Canopy layer. It is darker, stiller, and has a more humid environment. It mainly consists of bare tree trunks and lianas.

Shrub Layer: This layer is abundant with the densest plant growth. It consists of ferns and shrubs, as well as plants that can thrive in low light conditions.


Note: The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, containing about 40,000 species, bird species, types of fish, mammals’ species, and different insects.


Now, let’s move to our main topic – how to build a tropical rainforest terrarium


How to Build Tropical Rainforest Terrarium?


Though building a tropical rainforest terrarium involves many steps, but the process is relatively easy. Make sure to have these supplies ready with you before you start making a tropical rainforest terrarium.




  • – A sizeable transparent container. (You can use a large fish tank, a glass container or a soda bottle cut in half).
  • – Some gravel. Use clean gravel. Aquarium gravel works nice, but other forms work well, too.
  • – A bag of activated charcoal.
  • – Some organic and nutrient-rich potting soil.
  • – Choice tropical terrarium plants. (See our list of favorites belowt).
  • – Fresh tap water.
  • – A piece of glass to cover your tropical rainforest terrarium. (Make sure to get a glass that covers the entire terrarium)


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Steps to Build a Tropical Rainforest Terrarium


1- Gravel for the base

First of all, you have to add gravel to fill the base of the terrarium.

2- Add activate charcoal

Now, you have to add the activated charcoal and water bowl to create a thin layer. As I have mentioned in my previous articles, activated charcoal is excellent for filtering the water and keeping the terrarium clean all the time.

3-  Add organic and rich potting soil.

The third step you are going to take is to add the potting soil to create a layer. Make sure to create the potting soil layer at least one or two inches thick to cover the roots of the plants.

4- Dampen the soil

Add some water to dampen the soil. Make sure to avoid overwatering it.

5- Plant the Plants

Now, it’s time to plant your favorite plants. Dig a hole inside the potting soil and gently place your tropical plant. Repeat the step if you want to grow more than one plant.

6- Spray some water

Use a spray bottle to spray some water into your tropical rainforest terrarium.

7- Find a warm and well-lit spot.

Now your tropical rainforest terrarium with air inside is ready. Make sure to place it somewhere warm, well-lit, but away from direct sunlight place. If you have placed a lid onto your tropical rainforest terrarium with air inside, it would be amazing to open the cover occasionally to let it enjoy some fresh air. You should open the lid once every few weeks.


Best Tropical Plants to Grow in a Tropical Rainforest Terrarium

1- Little Tree Plant (Biophytum Sensitivum)

It is a lovely little miniature palm-like plant, making it a perfect option for small containers and those who want to get the tropical jungle feel. The plant is grown in abundance near waterfalls and streams, which means it loves to thrive in moisture.

The delicate branches and a single stem makes it look similar to a little palm tree. The striking thing about the plant is it will fold itself downward in response to touch. It is unarguably one of the best plants for tropical rainforest terrarium you can grow.

How to Care?

  • – It loves deep watering.
  • – It can thrive in low light conditions, but bright indirect light is best.


2- Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise is an unusual and beautiful tropical plant for tropical rainforest terrariums. The plant is also considered as the queen of the houseplant world. Although it is a low-care plant, it does need some cultural conditions. It loves to thrive in well-drained, organic, and rich soil. The plant also likes warm conditions and plenty of sunshine to bloom.

How to Care?

  • – Remove any broken leaves.
  • – Ensure that the soil is moist and not soggy.
  • – Keep the plant away from drafts.


3- Humata Heterophylla

Humata Heterophylla is considered one of the most handsome ferns that you can grow in your tropical rainforest terrarium. The plant loves to thrive in very humid, shaded, or semi-shaded environments. It is a delightful fern that flourishes in low-level, indirect light. Moreover, it is a low-growing fern and works excellent in terrariums, orchidariums, and vivariums.

How to Care?

  • – It loves to thrive in warm and humid environments.
  • – Protect it from harsh and dry conditions.
  • – Keep the soil continually moist.


4- Microsorum Musifolium (Crocodile Fern)

Another best plant for your tropical rainforest terrarium is Microsorum Musifolium. It has broad, light green leaves with dark green veins, which gives them crocodile skin appearance. The plant features dark green foliage, and the leaves grow from the tiny roots (rhizoids).

You may also see some yellowish or brown pigmentation on the leaves, which means something is wrong with the plant. It is not a small plant, so you have to trim it to keep it inside the terrarium.

How to Care

  • – ensure it gets continuous water and well-drained soil.
  • – It thrives in bright indirect light conditions.
  • – It also likes humid environments.


5- Parlor Palm

Once more attractive plant for your tropical rainforest terrarium is Parlor Palm. The plant was first discovered in Central America and brought back to the US, where it stormed to popularity. The plant produces inedible fruit from its flowers. It is a graceful, easy to care for and grow the plant, making it a great addition to your terrarium.

How to Care?

  • – It loves to thrive in medium to bright light conditions.
  • – Make sure the soil is dried out between watering.
  • – It also likes to grow in average humidity environments.


Final Words


That is how you can make a DIY tropical rainforest terrarium. Of course, there are other tropical terrarium ideas out there; but our way can already provide you with a nice place where you could put terrarium plants. It is inexpensive, beautiful, and will take you close to nature. Through it you can have light and dark green foliage indoors, with your usual and even carnivorous plants! With such a terrarium, you can have a low-maintenance, space-saving, and closed terrarium. With it, you can also consider planting various tropical terrarium plants in a glass container through the tips I have outlined above. For any assistance regarding terrariums, do not hesitate to post a comment below.





Q: What are the four primary layers of the rainforest?

Ans: Four primary layers of a rainforest include Emergent, Canopy, Under Canopy, and Forest Floor, respectively.

Q: Can I used closed terrarium?

Ans: Yes, you can definitely use a closed terrarium for your tropical rainforest plants, including Microsorum Musifolium. Closed terrariums create a self-contained ecosystem by trapping moisture inside, creating a humid environment that is beneficial for tropical plants, including carnivorous plants that thrive in such conditions.

Q: Can I put cork bark in a terrarium?

Ans: Yes, you can use cork bark in a terrarium. Its natural texture and appearance make it a great addition for creating a realistic and visually appealing environment for your plants and animals.

Q: What is the difference between rainforest terrarium and rainforest vivarium?

Ans: A rainforest terrarium typically refers to a sealed or partially enclosed container with live plants and possibly some small animals, focusing on replicating the humid and lush environment of a rainforest. On the other hand, a rainforest vivarium is a more extensive and elaborate setup, often involving larger enclosures, more complex ecosystems, and a wider range of animal species, aiming to mimic a self-sustaining mini-rainforest ecosystem.


Read More

Are Terrariums Easy to Care For?

Best Indoor Tropical Plants


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