Best Paludarium Plants: How to Choose and Care for Them

Paludarium plants

One type of plant that thrives in the moist environment of a paludarium is the aquatic fern. With its delicate fronds and ability to grow both submerged and emersed, aquatic ferns add a touch of elegance to any paludarium. These versatile plants can be anchored to rocks or driftwood, creating a natural and organic look.

Another popular choice for paludariums is moss. These tiny, lush green plants create a soft carpet-like appearance and thrive in the high humidity of a paludarium. Mosses can be attached to rocks or logs, and they provide a perfect hiding place for tiny creatures. For an added touch of color and sophistication, consider adding orchids to your paludarium. These exotic flowers come in a wide range of colors and shapes, adding a touch of elegance and beauty to your setup.

Types of Paludarium Plants

Types of Paludarium Plants

Moss is a common choice for paludariums due to its ability to grow in damp and low light conditions. It adds a beautiful and natural look to the terrarium, mimicking the forest floors where moss typically grows. By placing moss on the bark, rocks, or even creating a moss wall, you can create a stunning display in your paludarium.

Ferns are another popular option for a paludarium. These plants are adaptable and can grow both in aquatic and terrestrial conditions, making them ideal for the diverse environment that a paludarium provides. Ferns can be placed near the waterfall or in the terrestrial areas of the paludarium, adding a lush and green touch to the overall design.

Orchids are considered as one of the most beautiful plants to grow in a paludarium. These elegant and delicate flowers thrive in high humidity environments, making them a great fit for the moist conditions of a paludarium. They can be attached to branches or rocks, creating a stunning vertical display in the terrarium.

Importance of Light in Paludarium Plants

Aquatic Plants:

The lighting needs of aquatic paludarium plants will vary depending on the species. Some plants, such as mosses and ferns, do well in low light conditions and can thrive with just ambient light from the room. Other species, such as orchids, may require brighter, more direct light to flourish. It is essential to research the specific lighting requirements of the aquatic plants you choose for your paludarium and provide them with appropriate lighting.

Terrestrial Plants:

Incorporating a suitable lighting system, such as LED or fluorescent lights, is often necessary to meet the diverse lighting needs of both aquatic and terrestrial paludarium plants. It is also essential to monitor the duration of light exposure, as most plants require a period of darkness to rest and rejuvenate.

Water Requirements for Paludarium Plants

Aquatic Paludarium Plants

Another stunning option is the aquatic orchid. These delicate flowers can be found in various colors and sizes, making them a charming addition to any paludarium. Orchids require high humidity levels and moderate light to thrive, so make sure to provide them with these conditions to ensure their success.

Terrestrial Paludarium Plants

While aquatic plants take center stage in the water, terrestrial plants play a crucial role in the paludarium’s land areas. These plants thrive in soil and require less water than their aquatic counterparts. They add diversity and create a more realistic environment, mimicking the transition between land and water.

One popular choice for terrestrial paludarium plants is moss. Mosses are incredibly versatile and can adapt to various conditions, making them ideal for beginners. They thrive in humid environments and can grow on rocks, logs, or any other surface within the paludarium.

Other options for terrestrial plants include various species of ferns and grasses. These plants add texture and depth to the land areas, creating a visually appealing display. They require well-drained soil and moderate humidity levels to thrive.

Aquatic Plants Terrestrial Plants
Fern Moss
Water Sprite Various species of ferns
Aquatic Orchid Grasses

Substrate Choices for Paludarium Plants

When creating a paludarium, one of the most important considerations is the choice of substrate for your plants. The substrate is the material that you use to fill the bottom of the terrarium, providing support and nutrients for your plant species.

One popular substrate choice for paludarium plants is a mixture of aquarium soil and aquatic plant substrate. This combination provides a nutrient-rich base for your plants and promotes healthy root growth. It also helps to retain moisture, which is essential for aquatic species.

If you’re creating a waterfall feature in your paludarium, consider using a layer of gravel or pebbles at the bottom to create a drainage system. This will help prevent waterlogging and ensure proper water circulation in the terrarium.

Substrate Choice Advantages Considerations
Aquarium soil and aquatic plant substrate mixture Nutrient-rich, promotes healthy root growth, retains moisture May require regular monitoring and adjustment of moisture levels
Gravel or pebbles Creates a drainage system for waterfall features, prevents waterlogging May require additional substrate for plant growth and nutrient uptake
Potting soil, sand, and sphagnum moss mixture Provides good drainage, supports growth of terrestrial plant species Requires regular watering to maintain proper moisture levels

Ultimately, the choice of substrate for your paludarium plants will depend on the specific needs of your plant species and the overall design of your terrarium. Experiment with different substrates to find the best combination for your plants and enjoy the beauty of your paludarium.

Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Paludarium Plants


Aquatic plants, such as water lilies and water lettuce, typically prefer temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). On the other hand, terrestrial plants like orchids and ferns may require slightly cooler temperatures, ranging from 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F).

To maintain the desired temperature range in your paludarium, it’s crucial to monitor it regularly using a thermometer. Consider using a combination of heating and cooling devices, such as heaters and fans, to achieve the ideal conditions for your plant species.


Paludariums create unique microclimates that combine the high humidity of aquatic areas with the lower humidity of terrestrial areas. Most paludarium plants thrive in humidity levels ranging from 60% to 80%, mimicking the conditions found in their natural habitats.

To maintain the proper humidity levels in your paludarium, you can use a combination of misting systems, humidifiers, and water features like waterfalls or streams. These will help create a moist environment that will benefit both aquatic and terrestrial plants.

  • Monitor the temperature and humidity regularly using a thermometer and hygrometer.
  • Adjust the temperature using heating and cooling devices as needed.
  • Maintain humidity levels between 60% and 80% using misting systems, humidifiers, and water features.
  • Ensure proper ventilation to prevent mold and pathogen growth.

By considering the temperature and humidity needs of your chosen paludarium plant species, you can create a thriving environment that promotes their growth and overall well-being. Remember to research the specific requirements of each plant and make any necessary adjustments to provide the best possible conditions for their success in your paludarium.

Choosing Paludarium Plants for Aquatic Areas

Another excellent choice for aquatic paludarium plants is the fern. Ferns are incredibly adaptable and can thrive in both dry and wet environments. There are many different species of ferns to choose from, each with its own unique appearance.

In addition to orchids and ferns, there are many other species of aquatic plants that can be used in a paludarium. Water lilies, for example, are a popular choice due to their large, colorful flowers. They can create a stunning focal point in any aquatic area of the paludarium.

Overall, when choosing paludarium plants for aquatic areas, consider the beauty and adaptability of the plants. Look for species that can thrive in wet conditions and add visual interest to the paludarium. Orchids, ferns, and water lilies are just a few examples of the many aquatic plants that can be used to create a stunning paludarium.

Choosing Paludarium Plants for Terrestrial Areas

In addition to the aquatic areas of a paludarium, terrestrial areas are also an important component of this unique ecosystem. These areas provide a habitat for plant species that thrive in drier conditions and can add diversity and visual interest to your paludarium setup.

When selecting plants for the terrestrial areas of your paludarium, consider the following:

  • Waterfall effect: Choose plants that can tolerate the occasional misting or splashing of water from the nearby aquatic areas. This can help create a natural, cascading effect that mimics a real-life waterfall.
  • Species diversity: Incorporate a variety of plant species to create a more natural and visually appealing terrestrial area. Consider mixing different types of ferns, mosses, and flowering plants to create interesting textures and colors.
  • Purposeful placement: Strategically place plants in areas where they will receive adequate light, moisture, and air circulation. Consider placing taller plants in the back to create depth and using shorter plants in the front to add foreground interest.
  • Paludarium suitability: Choose plants that are well-suited to paludarium conditions, including the specific temperature, humidity, and light requirements of your setup. Research the specific needs of each plant species before adding them to your paludarium.

Some popular plant choices for the terrestrial areas of a paludarium include:

  1. Ferns: Ferns such as Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum spp.) and Bird’s Nest Ferns (Asplenium spp.) are well-suited to paludarium conditions and can thrive in the terrestrial areas.
  2. Mosses: Mosses like Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) and Cushion Moss (Leucobryum glaucum) can add a touch of green and softness to the terrestrial areas of your paludarium.
  3. Ground covers: Consider using ground cover plants like Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) or Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides) to create a lush, carpet-like effect in the terrestrial areas.

Remember to regularly monitor the health and growth of the plants in your paludarium and make adjustments as needed. Pay attention to any signs of distress or overgrowth and provide appropriate care and maintenance to ensure the longevity of your paludarium plants.

Popular Paludarium Plants for Beginners

One popular choice for beginners is the fern. Ferns are hardy plants that can tolerate a wide range of conditions, making them a great option for a paludarium. They thrive in the high humidity and lower light levels typically found in a paludarium, and their lush green foliage adds a beautiful touch to any setup.

Another beginner-friendly plant is moss. Moss is incredibly versatile and can be used in both aquatic and terrestrial areas of a paludarium. It requires very little light and can grow in damp conditions, making it ideal for creating a lush carpet effect in your setup. Plus, moss is great for controlling algae growth as it competes with algae for nutrients and helps to keep the water clean.

Rare and Exotic Paludarium Plants


Ferns are fantastic choices for paludariums due to their ability to thrive in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. These ancient plants bring an element of elegance and beauty with their delicate fronds and unique leaf structures. Some rare ferns to consider include the Huperzia squarrosa and Davallia fejeensis, known for their striking foliage and ability to grow on vertical surfaces.


Mosses add a vibrant green carpet to your paludarium, creating a lush and natural appearance. For rare and exotic options, consider the Hypnodendron comatum, a stunning moss species with a feathery texture, or the Plagiochila disticha, which forms intriguing cascading patterns on surfaces. These mosses not only add visual interest but also help maintain optimal humidity levels in your setup.


Orchids are renowned for their beauty and elegance, making them a popular choice for paludarium enthusiasts. They add a touch of sophistication and charm with their vibrant flowers and unique shapes. Some rare and exotic orchids suitable for paludariums include the Dracula vampira, known for its spooky appearance, and the Paphiopedilum hirsutisepalum, which features intricate patterns on its petals.

Waterfall plants

Creating a stunning waterfall feature within your paludarium can be enhanced by the use of appropriate plants. Consider the Philodendron radiatum, a rare plant with heart-shaped leaves that can trail down rock formations, mimicking the appearance of a natural waterfall. Other options include Aeschynanthus radicans, which produces vibrant red flowers, and the Pilea glaucophylla, with its delicate and cascading foliage.

Incorporating rare and exotic paludarium plants not only adds visual interest but also allows you to create a unique and captivating ecosystem within your terrarium. These plants will impress and amaze visitors with their beauty and the diversity they bring to your setup.

Beneficial Paludarium Plants for Controlling Algae

Algae growth can be a common issue in paludariums, especially in the aquatic areas. However, there are several paludarium plants that can help control algae and maintain a healthy environment for your plants and animals. These plants not only add beauty to your paludarium but also serve a crucial purpose in reducing algae growth.


Moss is an excellent option for controlling algae in your paludarium. It acts as a natural filter, absorbing excess nutrients in the water that algae thrive on. Additionally, moss provides a soft and lush green carpet for your paludarium, creating a natural and inviting look. Some popular moss species for paludariums include Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) and Christmas Moss (Vesicularia montagnei).

Waterfall Plants

Waterfall plants are another great choice for algae control in your paludarium. These plants help oxygenate the water and prevent stagnant areas where algae can grow. They also create a stunning visual effect with water cascading over their leaves. Some common waterfall plants include Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum).

Aquatic Plants

Adding aquatic plants to your paludarium not only enhances the aesthetics but also helps in algae control. Aquatic plants compete with algae for nutrients and help purify the water. Some popular aquatic plants suitable for paludariums are Anubias (Anubias spp.), Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus), and Amazon Sword (Echinodorus spp.). These plants can be planted directly in the water or in submerged pots.

Terrarium Plants

In addition to aquatic plants, incorporating certain terrarium plants can also contribute to algae control. These plants thrive in the humid environment of your paludarium and absorb excess moisture that promotes algae growth. Some suitable terrarium plants include Begonias (Begonia spp.), Fittonia (Fittonia spp.), and Monstera Deliciosa.

By carefully selecting and incorporating these beneficial paludarium plants, you can keep algae growth in check and maintain a healthy balance in your paludarium. Remember to regularly monitor and adjust your lighting, water parameters, and maintenance routine to ensure the optimal growth of these plants in your paludarium.

Paludarium Plants for Creating Vertical Gardens

Moss is another excellent option for a paludarium vertical garden. Mosses are low-maintenance plants that can grow on almost any surface, making them perfect for covering the vertical surfaces of a paludarium. Their dense and lush growth can create a textured and natural-looking backdrop for other plants in the vertical garden.

Aquatic plants can also be included in the vertical garden of a paludarium. These plants are specially adapted to grow in water and can be placed in the lower sections of the vertical garden, such as near the base or along the edges of the water feature. This can create a seamless transition between the aquatic and terrestrial areas of the paludarium.

Tips for Creating a Vertical Garden in a Paludarium

– Choose a variety of plants with different textures, colors, and growth habits to create visual interest in the vertical garden.

– Consider the lighting requirements of the plants and place them accordingly in the vertical garden. Some plants may prefer more shade, while others may require direct sunlight.

– Use a mix of epiphytic plants that can attach to the vertical surfaces of the paludarium and terrestrial plants that can be planted in the substrate.

– Regularly monitor the moisture levels in the vertical garden and adjust watering accordingly. Some plants may require more frequent watering, while others may prefer a drier environment.

– Prune and trim the plants as needed to maintain the desired shape and appearance of the vertical garden. This can help prevent overcrowding and ensure that each plant has enough space to grow.

By incorporating orchids, moss, aquatic plants, and ferns, a vertical garden can be created in a paludarium that adds beauty and dimension to the overall design. With careful planning and maintenance, this vertical garden can thrive and become a focal point in the paludarium.

Paludarium Plant Maintenance and Care Tips

1. Regular monitoring

Monitor the conditions of your paludarium regularly to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate amount of light, water, and humidity. Check for any pest infestations or signs of disease that may affect the plants.

2. Light requirements

Paludarium plants have varying light requirements depending on their species. Some ferns, mosses, and orchids prefer low to moderate light, while others may require bright, direct light. Place your plants accordingly to provide the right amount of light exposure.

3. Watering

Watering is crucial for both the aquatic and terrestrial plants in your paludarium. Keep the water levels consistent for the aquatic plants, ensuring that they are not submerged too deeply or dried out. For the terrestrial plants, monitor the moisture levels in the substrate and water accordingly.

4. Pruning

Regular pruning is essential to maintain the size and shape of your paludarium plants. Trim any dead or yellowing leaves and remove any overgrown or invasive plants that may crowd out other species.

5. Fertilization

Depending on the nutrient requirements of your paludarium plants, you may need to provide fertilizers to promote healthy growth. Use a balanced fertilizer that is suitable for both aquatic and terrestrial plants, and follow the recommended dosage instructions.

6. Pest control

Be vigilant for any signs of pests such as aphids, mites, or snails that can damage your paludarium plants. Use appropriate methods such as insecticidal soap or natural predators to control and eliminate these pests without harming the plants or the inhabitants of the paludarium.

7. Proper ventilation

Adequate ventilation is essential to maintain optimal airflow and prevent the buildup of excess humidity in the paludarium. Ensure that the enclosure has proper ventilation openings or fans to promote air circulation.

8. Regular cleaning

8. Regular cleaning

Regularly clean the paludarium to remove any debris, dead plant matter, or algae that may accumulate. This will help maintain the overall cleanliness and aesthetics of the enclosure, as well as prevent any potential nutrient imbalances or water quality issues.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can create a thriving paludarium environment for your plants, ensuring their healthy growth and enhancing the overall beauty of your setup.