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Terrarium care might seem daunting, but there’s no reason to be worried. With a few easy steps, you’ll get your terrarium happy.
Terrariums, whether created with succulents, cacti or tropical plants, are like tiny universes. There is something fascinating and beautiful about a self-contained plant landscape within a glass vessel, and when properly assembled and cared for, these little ecosystems will thrive for years.
Preserving A Closed Terrarium
1. The plants in a closed terrarium require high light but no direct sunlight.
2. Check the terrarium frequently for the appearance of condensation on the glass. If large water drops appear on the glass, the container should be left open for a while, until excess moisture evaporates. In some cases, it may be necessary to keep the lid slightly open to allow fresh air circulation.
However, keep in mind that a balanced terrarium should have a certain amount of moisture on the glass.
3. A completely enclosed terrarium requires little or no watering but when in doubt, always water less. If you can see water within the pebbles at the bottom, there is way too much water.
Be careful that the plants do not become too dry because they will wilt.
4. When you do add water, do so in small amounts at a time, since there is no place for the surplus water to run off. It’s best to water with a syringe, small dropper or misting spray bottle. If you do mist, then leave the container open until the leaves have dried.
5. If the leaves show signs of rotting, leave the container open.
6. Only water with bottled or distilled water, or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
7. Generally, terrariums should not need fertilising but if the plants start to appear malnourished, you may feed them using a weak mixture (1/4 strength) of an all purpose house plant food.
8. Occasionally it may become necessary to prune or to replace a dead plant.
Preserving An Open Terrarium
1. The plants in your terrarium require high light but should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
2. Open terrariums may have to be watered on a weekly or alternate week basis (more often for completely open terrariums or dish gardens).
3. When water is needed, it should only be added in small doses with a syringe, small dropper or misting spray.
4. Open terrariums should also, only be watered with bottled or distilled water, or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
5. Open terrariums may need to be pruned occasionally as well.
6. Generally, terrariums should not need fertilising but if the plants start to appear malnourished, you may feed them using a weak mixture (1/4 strength) of an all purpose house plant food.
Preserving a Succulent/Cacti TerrariumSucculents are typically comfortable not receiving too much water, and don’t need much root space to thrive, making them perfect for small enclosures.
- Most succulents and cacti prefer bright, if not direct, light. Place your succulent terrarium in a very bright spot, keeping in mind that glass tends to magnify direct sun, and can potentially burn your plants.
- Succulents and cacti are drought tolerant plants, and are highly susceptible to root-rot. Combined with the fact that terrariums do not have drainage holes, you’ll want to water your terrarium very sparingly, when the soil has gone almost completely dry. Water sparingly around the base of each plant using a syringe or dropper. Most succulents will tell you when it’s time to water by puckering slightly in their leaves. This is a great indicator for when it’s time to water your terrarium.
- Shriveled leaves? Time to water. Mushy, brown or black leaves? You’re watering too much. Remove these plants and replace with comparable specimens, taking care not to water quite as much. Reduce watering during winter.