Can You Take Terrarium on a Plane? TSA Rules

You probably want to travel with your favorite collection of beautiful terrariums, or you just want to bring one as a gift for someone special. But can you take a terrarium on a plane? What are the TSA rules for carrying plants on board? And how can you pack your terrarium safely and securely?

Here is a quick answer: All types of terrariums are allowed on planes in carry-on bags as long as they are free from any liquids, however; ensure that they fit within your airline luggage size and weight limits.

Keep reading to know more about traveling with all types (glass or plastic) of terrariums and how to pack for both domestic and international flights.

Bring Terrarium on a Plane: Navigating TSA Rules

Terrariums come in different shapes and sizes, from small jars and bottles to large bowls and vases.

When traveling within the U.S the TSA does not have any specific info about filled or empty terrariums on their website.

They have a section about plants like cactus stating that all types of plants are allowed for transport.

But I checked the their social media to find more specific answers about terrariums.

This is an answer from the AskTSA team on X replying to John.

A terrarium, free of water, is allowed through the security checkpoint, provided you comply with your airline’s policies on the number and size of carry-on bags / items allowed.

The TSA clerks are strict about the liquid rules, and understanding the TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule will be key to making sure that your terrarium will be accepted through security.

The plants won’t be an issue.

So remember to empty your terrarium from any water or liquids at the time of clearing the security, otherwise; it will be banned from passing through the security checkpoint.

The same guidance is given to Merrie about her Mickey’s mini garden.

There is some uncertainty in Merrie’s response, so she might need to stow her plant in a checked bag if she can’t empty the gel.

Knowing if you can take a  terrarium on a plane must also take into consideration the type and the size of your item.

If you are traveling with a your large “garden under glass” , you will need to ensure first that it meets your Airline’s luggage limits for carry-on, but always be ready to transfer it to your checked bag, in case there are no space in the airplane cabin.

Can You Bring a Terrarium in Checked Baggage?

If you don’t want to bring your miniature garden in your carry-on bag, then you can pack it in your checked baggage.

However, ensure that you do some homework to protect your terrarium, as checked baggage may be handled roughly or tossed around by the baggage handlers. 

This may cause your terrarium to crack, shatter, or even disappear. You can try to pack your terrarium securely with bubble wrap, newspaper, or tissue paper, but this may not be enough to prevent any damage.

In some cases bringing your terrarium in your checked baggage is not the best option as it may be lost, delayed, or stolen, especially if it is an expensive or vintage terrarium container.

Tips For Packing Your Terrarium

Here are some general guidelines to follow when bringing a terrarium on a plane:

As I mentioned before make sure your terrarium is small enough to fit in your carry-on bag or personal item.

Bigger terrariums might exceed your airline luggage limits, the maximum size for carry-on bags is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, and the maximum size for personal items is 17 x 10 x 9 inches.

You can check the exact dimensions of your airline’s carry-on using this luggage calculator.

Pack your terrarium carefully to prevent any damage or spillage, you can use bubble wrap, newspaper, or tissue paper to cushion your terrarium and protect it from bumps and shocks. 

You can also use tape, rubber bands, or string to secure the lid or the opening of your terrarium.

If your terrarium has soil, you may want to cover it with plastic wrap or a ziplock bag to prevent it from leaking or getting messy.

Read more tips for moving with an aquarium or terrarium on

Pack any decorative elements separately inside your bag.

You can always consider shipping your terrarium if you want to avoid the hassle of traveling with it, or if the airline charges extra for it.

Can You Bring A Terrarium on International Flights?

If you are planning to take an empty terrarium on an international flight, then there is nothing to worry about, just sure that it is within your airline carry-on or checked baggage limits.

But if your terrarium has plants in it,  you need to be extra careful and cautious. Different countries have different rules and regulations for bringing plants across their borders. 

Some countries may allow you to bring your terrarium without any problem, while others may require you to have a phytosanitary certificate, a permit, or a quarantine. Some countries may even ban or confiscate your terrarium altogether.

To avoid any trouble or trouble, you need to do your research before you travel. You need to check the following sources of information:

When traveling to the U.S, Visit the USDA website for the regulations on being plants from different countries.

If you are flying to another country visit their official website for the rules and restrictions for importing gravel, moss, soil, and plants.

Can you bring shells and decorative stones on planes?

Yes as long as they are clean and free from any dirt, liquid or organic material you can bring them without any restrictions.

Final Thoughts

Terrariums make wonderful and impressive decoration items, however; if you want to take your terrarium on a plane, you need to be careful and cautious. 

You need to follow the TSA rules for carrying plants on board, pack your terrarium properly and securely, and check the rules and regulations of your destination country. 

You also need to be prepared for extra screening, inspection, or quarantine, and accept the risk of damage, loss, or confiscation of your terrarium.

I hope this helps .

Happy travels