11 Aquatic/Semi-Aquatic Plants For Terrariums & Paludariums

Many water/aquatic plants can be grown in a terrarium or paludarium, submerged or above water. These plants can be included in open or closed terrariums, terrarium ponds (also known as paludariums), closed ecosystems or even planted terrariums for pet reptiles or amphibians.

If you want to add some greenery, diversity, a livelier ecosystem and aesthetic complexity, look no further than these plants:

Water Terrarium Plants:

  • Moneywort
  • Java Moss
  • Brazilian Pennywort
  • Anubias
  • Scarlet Temple
  • Dwarf Rotala
  • Indian Toothcup
  • American Waterweed
  • Creeping Staurogyne
  • Little Star
  • Blue Water Hyssop
  • Guppy Grass
  • Liverwort
  • Buce
  • Eel Grass

I will include a fully aquatic/semi-aquatic label on each plant so that you have a better idea of where you can use each (fully submerged, partially submerged, or fully submerged). Also, keep in mind that many of these plants have diverse subgroups which you can look into if you want even more variety.



a picture of moneywort

Submerged / Floating 

The Moneywort (Bacopa) is a popular freshwater aquarium plant. It’s a slow growing water plant, and can be grown both submerged or out of water depending on where you place it – making it an excellent plant for terrariums and paludariums.

The only downside is that it does require some maintenance in terms of special lighting.

Java Moss

a picture of javamoss

Submerged / Planted

Java moss is a freshwater plant of the hypnaceae family that is most commonly used as an aquarium carpeting plant as it creates a beautiful natural ambient and feel.

Java moss comes in a variety of greens which are all very furry and dense with lots of small and delicate stems. It’s a slow growing plant (1 to 1 and a half inches per month) .

Java moss is semi aquatic and can be grown both fully submerged and on land.

In terms of care, Java moss is very low maintenance and while it’s not a requirement it prefers a strong water current and lukewarm water.

Brazillian Pennywoth

a picture of brazillian pennywort

Submerged / Floating

The Brazilian Pennywort is a super fast-growing water plant. It has a very delicate aesthetic, and it’s very easy to care for. It grows in water, and it can be rooted in the ground or left as a floating plant.

When rooted in the ground it will grow towards the surface towards a light source, and as a floating plant it will cover the water surface with its leaves creating a nice green shade.

Anubias Barteri

a picture of anubias


The Anubias plants are fully aquatic plants that grow underwater, and are typically used in aquariums. They grow attached to gravel, substrate rocks, driftwood, and decorations.

As per aesthetics, the Anubias plants are noted for their thick rhizome, and strong durable vibrant green leaves. The Anubias is also very easy and straightforward to care for.

Scarlet Temple

a picture of scarlet temple


The Scarlet Temple, also known as Alternanthera reineckii, is a popular freshwater fully aquatic plant often used as a foreground (and sometimes as a carpet) because of its unique bright red coloration.

It’s a moderately hard plant to take care of and has a slow growth rate. It requires a temperature of 17 to 28 C and moderate to high lighting.

Dwarf Rotala

a picture of dwarf rotala


The Dwarf Rotala (Rotala rotundifolia) is a water plant and a very common aquarium plant regarded as a staple, by the book, must-have.

It has a beautiful growth pattern and can be planted fully emersed or semi emersed to give your terrarium/paludarium your desired look.

The Dwarf Rotala is also very easy to care for, and has a very rapid growth, especially when under good lighting. It responds great to heavy pruning. Under certain conditions and good lighting it can produce a vibrant pink coloration, and create a colorful cascade in your terrarium pond.

Indian Toothcup

a picture of rotala indinca/indian toothcup

Submerged / Floating

The Indian Toothcup, also known as Rotala Indica, is an aquatic plant that can be grown fully submerged or emersed (below or above water). When emersed the Rotala Indica forms prostrate stems, and tiny reddish flowers. When submerged it grows upright and has dense leaves, a few branches, and under strong light the top of the shoot becomes reddish.

The Rotala Indica is a slow-growing water plant with high maintenance demands. While it’s a great plant for a large terrarium/paladurium, and looks exceptional when grown emersed, it can be hard to care for especially for beginners.

American Waterweed

a picture of american waterweed


The American Waterweed is a great aquatic plant for your terrarium/paludarium because it’s a very adaptable, easy-to-grow plant that can bring a very dark green, thick, and dense look to the pond in your terrarium.

It will provide cover for any animals or insects in your terrarium, and a modest amount of this plant will help the bioactivity immensely.

Creeping Staurogyne

a picture of staurogyne repens

Submerged / Planted

The Creeping Staurogyno is a light green compact and hardy water plant that is often used in aquariums, but can also be grown out of water making it an excellent plant for paludariums and terrariums.

It has a bushy composition and will grow horizontally under strong light making a vibrant color on the floor of your terrarium pond/land.

Blue Water Hyssop

a picture of Bacopa caroliniana (blue water hyssop)

Submerged / Planted

The Blue Water Hyssop, also known as a Bacopa caroliniana, is a semi-aquatic plant that can be grown in your terrarium pond or on the substrate planted in the ground.

The Blue Water Hyssop is an exceptionally beautiful terrarium plant that will bring vibrant light green and blue colors to your biome. It’s also very small making it perfect for smaller terrariums.


a picture of liverworts

Submerged / Planted

The Liverwort is a semi-aquatic plant that can be grown fully submerged or on land. It’s an easy-to-care-for plant, but it needs a lot of water unless its not submerged.

It’s an aesthetically pleasing plant that can add a lot of thickness to the greenery of your terrarium. It grows flat and can be seen attached to props like logs, trees, rocks, etc. just like moss. It’s very versatile and resilient so it will survive in a variety of terrarium types.


An aesthetically pleasing terrarium/paludarium requires variety, many textures, colors, shapes, and ambients. The water plants on this list are all suitable for terrariums, paludariums, and combining them will result in beautiful scenery.

Looking into the subgroups of these plants can open a lot of doors, but these 11 water plants are more than enough to give you a lot of variety to choose from when building and enriching your next terrarium.

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