The most detailed guides on the internet for plant and terrarium maintenance, creation and care.
Common types of terrarium plant diseases and how to treat them
Common types of terrarium plant diseases and how to treat them

Common types of terrarium plant diseases and how to treat them

As keepers of terrariums, we appreciate the unique beauty these miniature ecosystems bring to our spaces. 

We understand that their appeal goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about maintaining a delicate, self-sustaining balance of life. 

However, even with our experience, the intricate nature of these ecosystems makes them susceptible to various plant diseases.

The most common plant pathologies

Even the most expertly tended terrarium isn’t immune to diseases. 

Recognizing them early and treating them effectively is essential to preserve the health and vitality of our tiny jungles. 

Here are a few common diseases you might grapple with and how they can impact your terrarium plants:

fungal disease on plant close up photo

Fungal diseases

Despite our best efforts, terrariums can sometimes become hotbeds for fungal growth due to their typically humid conditions. You might notice the telltale signs of fungal disease such as mold or mildew spots on the plant surfaces or in the soil.

Solution: Fungicides can be effective in treating many fungal diseases. Consider using a systemic fungicide that will penetrate the plant’s tissue and fight the fungi from within. However, for prevention, remember that good airflow and avoiding overwatering are key.

root rot how to tell good from bad

Root rot

The balance of watering is a delicate art in terrarium maintenance. Tipping the scale towards overwatering could lead to the dreaded root rot. This disease typically presents with yellowing leaves and a general wilt in your plant’s demeanor.

Solution: Once you observe the signs of root rot, it’s important to act fast. Remove the affected plant, trim off the rotted roots, and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining substrate. Prevention involves watering carefully to avoid soggy soil.

leaf spots on plants

Leaf spot

Leaf Spot can be a bit tricky as it’s a disease caused by a myriad of culprits, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Characterized by the spots or patches on leaves.

Solution: The first step in treating leaf spot is to remove the affected leaves. For bacterial or fungal leaf spot, use a suitable antibacterial or antifungal treatment. Regular monitoring and early detection can help prevent the spread of this disease.

powdery mildew on plant leaf

Powdery mildew

A common fungal disease, powdery mildew manifests as a white or gray powdery substance on the leaves of your terrarium plants.

Solution: Remove the affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide or a homemade solution of 1 part milk to 9 parts water. Increasing ventilation and reducing humidity can help prevent this disease.

bacterial leaf blight on leaf close up

Bacterial leaf blight

This bacterial disease often starts with yellowing leaf tips that eventually turn brown and necrotic.

Solution: Similar to leaf spot, start by removing the affected leaves and then treat with a suitable antibacterial. Avoid splashing water on the leaves when watering, as this can spread the bacteria.

image of plant viruses green leaf turning yellow


Though less common, viral diseases can impact your terrarium plants, often resulting in mosaic patterns on the leaves, stunted growth, and leaf curling.

Solution: Unfortunately, there’s no cure for most plant viruses. The best course of action is to remove and dispose of the affected plant to prevent the virus from spreading. Prevention is mainly about pest control, as pests often transmit viruses.

plant pests that destroy terrarium plants


Although not a disease, pests like mites, aphids, and mealybugs can cause significant damage to terrarium plants, often leading to a variety of symptoms such as leaf discoloration, wilting, and defoliation.

Solution: Physical removal, insecticidal soaps, or introducing beneficial insects can be effective against pests. Regularly inspect your terrarium plants for early signs of infestation to catch and address these issues promptly.

In conclusion…

Remember, while treatment is essential when problems arise, prevention is always better. 

Regular monitoring, careful watering, and good terrarium hygiene practices can go a long way in preventing most diseases. 

Finally, don’t be disheartened if you encounter a few bumps along the way – it’s all part of the terrarium owner’s journey.

If you’re looking to find out more about terrariums, take a look at our ultimate guide to terrariums.