Terrarium Without Animals: Is it really possible?

You love plants and would like to have a terrarium without animals because you don't have the time or desire to take care of animals? Or you are just curious how a terrarium without animals works and looks? Then you are at the right place!

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about a terrarium without animals: Is it even possible? And what are the pros and cons of such a terrarium? At the end of the article we also give you a clear recommendation whether a terrarium without animals is right for you or not.

So, let's get started!

A terrarium with a small succulent without animals
A simple terrarium without animals. Source: cottonbro studio, pexels.com

Is a terrarium without animals even possible?

The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Yes, but only theoretically.

Because a terrarium without animals does actually not exist. Even if you don't put visible animals in your terrarium, you will always have microorganisms and small insects in the substrate or plants. But these are not necessarily bad for your terrarium.

On the contrary, they are important for the balance in the terrarium and help to decompose the organic waste, recycle the nutrients and pollinate the plants.

So you should not think of them as pests, but as useful helpers.

However, you should be careful not to introduce any unwanted animals into your terrarium that could harm your plants or get out of hand. These include, for example, caterpillars or spider mites.

To avoid this, you should pay attention to quality when choosing the substrate and plants and clean them thoroughly before putting them in. Below you will find an article about 6 insects and other animals that are well suited for a terrarium and give you no maintenance at all.

Why not put larger animals in your terrarium?

If you choose a terrarium without animals, you must consider how this will affect the plants in your terrarium. Larger animals, such as caterpillars or grasshoppers, can eat or damage the plants in your terrarium. This can have both advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is that you have more control over the appearance and composition of the plants in your terrarium.

You can protect and care for your favorite plants and maintain a balance between the different plant species. This can improve the appearance and harmony of the terrarium and lead to fewer problems such as mold growth or nutrient deficiencies.

Here you'll find the ultimate guide to terrarium plants to match.

The disadvantage is that you have to cut or thin out the plants yourself more often.

You'll have to take on the role of a gardener, so to speak, and make sure the plants don't get too big or dense. This can inhibit the growth and health of the plants and make the terrarium look more artificial.

A yellow caterpillar on a leaf
Caterpillars like these can eat leaves quickly. Source: Egor Kamelev, pexels.com

Conclusion and recommendation for or against a terrarium without animals

Conclusion and recommendation for or against a terrarium without animals


  • No animal obligations: You do not have to worry about food, feces or health of the animals.
    • No stress for the animals: No worries about whether the animals have enough space or other animals to interact with.
  • More design options: You can design and decorate the terrarium according to your own taste and style, without having to pay attention to species-appropriate husbandry.
  • More plant diversity: You yourself have control over your plants. No animal will eat them away from you.


  • Less dynamic: You have less variety and movement in the terrarium, because the plants usually grow slowly and change little.
  • More care for the plants: You have to pay more attention to the needs and problems of the plants, such as watering, pruning, fertilizing or pest control.

So should you keep a terrarium without animals? Yes, if you have no interest or time for keeping animals or if you just want to try something new. It's a great way to live out your love for plants and create your own little world.

You can be creative and enjoy the beauty and diversity of the plants. But you must also be prepared to take care of the care and well-being of the plants and deal with the peculiarities and challenges of a terrarium without animals.

If you want to get started right away, read the ultimate guide for a closed terrarium. It's done in an afternoon and can give you long lasting - or even eternal - pleasure.

We hope this article has given you the push you need to build your first terrarium! If you've built a great terrarium, feel free to send us a picture at jan@terrarium.blog or on Instagram @terrarium.blog. It would also be great if you share this article using the buttons below.

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