Terrarium Care Guide

TERRARIUM CARE GUIDE 

All I need is love!

What am I

I am a living garden under glass called a Terrarium.  A self-sustainable environment where I recycle my water and photosynthesise in natural light to keep me living inside my vessel.  My glass vessel contains living plants that are ideal for closed terrariums.   My plants will require a little bit of attention when you first take me home or to your desk in the office, just carefully follow the advice below and your on your way!

Positioning me

I enjoy natural to low light conditions, but not complete darkness and never in direct sunlight.  I do not like being next to a radiator as my steam will build up inside my glass too often!

Self-Sustaining Eco-System

I live by using the water already inside my vessel.  The goal is to see some small rain droplets on the inside of my vessel.  If I get very steamy, it’s because the temperature inside my vessel is a little high and a little too much moisture so I will need airing out (regulating)  by taking off my lid for an hour or so.  Some mist can appear generally in morning times or if I have been moved into another place and the temperature changes.  This is normal, it will settle until you get just a few water droplets on the glass is the goal!

Keep your room temperature fairly stable between 18 & 24 degrees as this will ensure your terrarium settles into it’s new environment.  After a couple weeks or so of regulating your terrarium, it should settle down and you will find there is no need to remove the lid once it settles in the room, only to offer it some water in a few months time.

Watering 

I don’t have set periods of time when I am due a water, but once a terrarium is settled, it may only require a little spray of water twice a year!  I can potentially get a little thirsty, but if my lid remains on then I have little need for additional watering.  However, if I look dry my moss will go a slight pale green and my plants will look slightly wilted.  Simply open the lid and poke your finger into the soil or moss and if it’s dry then it is probably a good time to give me a very light shower using a little spray bottle.  Do not pour water into my vessel.  The goal of the moisture levels is to be just a little moist, not soaking wet!

Avoiding problems

Once I am settled, there is little need to do anything with my plants, as long as you follow my care guide I should not need your attention for a long time.  However, plants can be unpredictable and they can wilt away at times, that’s just nature folks!!  But if you follow the tips here to reduce plants dying off early then you have a good chance of the terrarium living a fairly long time.

Mould

Terrariums can get mould if it is too wet inside.  The early signs of mould looks like little pieces of white wool clinging onto my stems or to my leaves.  If you see this, immediately open the lid and air it out for a couple of hours or so and wipe off the mould with a little piece of tissue or your fingers.  Be sure to wash your hands afterwards and not to cross contaminate other plants.  If you do not act on any signs of mould, your plants will die within a couple of weeks or less.  If a plant has suffered, it’s not the end of the world, simply remove them to stop them going smelly and replace the plant with a similar one or choose one from below.  Once you replace your plant, you must again regulate it and keep an eye on things.

Long term care

Terrariums are known for low maintenance gardening and lasting beauty.  However, there will be a stage in about a year or so, that you may need to remove any dead leaves or water residue scale on the glass.  Simply remove any leaves and wipe away any white scale from water on the glass using a clean cloth or cotton wool bud.

Plants can be replaced if necessary, see the list in this guide of some common terrarium plants you can use.

Plants 

Fittonia  

Colourful plants with nerve – like structures, also commonly known as “Nerve Plant”.  They are from South American jungles and are used to dappled shade and moist conditions, but not wet!

Helix Ivy  

Ivy tends to grow fairly quickly, simply prune from time to time if required.  Leaves can go brown if too dry.  Avoid too much moisture.  Give them a light pruning from time to time if necessary.  If you have the variegated (several shades of green on the leaves) then it will need a little natural light to keep it’s colour.

Bun Moss 

Hill shaped thick moss is perfect for green landscapes and add true nature to your terrarium garden.  They like to be kept moist.  Remember moisture from the moss equals moisture in your terrarium, so avoid watering plants too much.  If it goes brown, remove the brown bits.  It will grow upwards over time.

Chamaedorea (meaning “ground gift”) 

A native palm to subtropical and tropical regions (also known as Parlour Palm) they can be used in terrariums but will need a little pruning at times as they will grow tall over time.  They give a terrarium a very tropical look and feel.  They like high humidity but not soaking wet.

Ficus Ginseng trees 

Native to Africa and Asia, these little trees love to be kept in humid conditions and have a steady temperature range of between 60 F and 80 F.  It does only need watering if it goes dry on the surface, but as it’s inside in a closed terrarium, the moisture should remain constant in it’s soil therefore not requiring watering often.  Pruning me if I get a little too bushy is easy, simply snip off the stems up to 2 leaves every summer.  This tree is part of the rubber family, so when you do snip the stems a white milky latex will flow out.  It is sticky, so wash your hands, but it will seal itself up.

Polyscia Trees (meaning “many shade”) 

A fantastic indoor tree that actually tolerates shade quite well.  I grow straight up by producing leaves from the bottom.  I am native to the South Pacific region.  It is also related to ginseng tree and Ivy.  They add a lovely green woodland feel to your terrarium.  Likes humid conditions and does not need a lot of watering in your terrarium.  It can grow to over 1m in an open pot, but to keep it from going too tall, just prune the stems back a little if it goes too big over time.