Closed Terrarium Care
Your terrarium is a closed self-sustaining environment which does not require too much maintenance once settled, but will require some basic care and attention especially in the first couple of months of building or purchasing one which we call the “settling-in period”. We use plants that are happy in humid conditions but there are certain key things you need to be aware of to ensure your terrarium lives a long and healthy life.
You purchased a new terrarium or just made one at a workshop
- At home open your lid half way for the first 1 to 2 weeks max to allow any excess moisture to escape and for your plants to adjust to it’s new environment. If you have purchased a terrarium from a store, then ask the sales staff how long has it been on the shelf until your purchase, if it has been more than 2 weeks to a month or longer then you may not need to open the lid too often.
- On taking it home, place your terrarium in a low to medium lit room, but avoid direct sunlight position.
- You Must monitor your terrarium daily for the first couple of months to watch for any signs of mould or mushy leaves occurring.
What to avoid
- Direct Sunlight- Instead place your terrarium in a naturally low /medium lit room but not in complete darkness unless you purchase one of our LED Terrariums.
- Over watering- Your terrarium may need a little spray of distilled water only if it becomes dry, avoid pouring water into the vessel.
- Displaying it next to a radiator or a draughty window.
Common problems & fixes
The glass is foggy all of the time
Your closed terrarium naturally should go through a process of daily misting and clearing, this is normal. For instance, if the room is cold in the morning the glass will fog up but will clear as the room temperature stabilises.
- If your glass is constantly foggy it means the humidity is a little too high inside. Take your lid off half way for a couple of hours until the glass clears up. You may need to do this for a few days on and off until it settles down.
- For a quicker fix, open your lid and wipe off the moisture using a dry cloth. Beware your plants will droop if there is very low humidity and may require a little spray water to prop them up again if this occurs. Try not to let your terrarium dry out completely.
Signs of mould or Fungus
- If you find mould growth on your leaves, open your lid and remove the affected plant leaf immediately to avoid it spreading. This could be anything from soil bacteria to over humid environment. The best way to combat mould is to air out your terrarium for a few hours and remove affected leaves.
- Fungus can grow anywhere inside a humid environment especially if it’s overcrowded, air the terrarium out but if fungus has infected the terrarium it may need a complete clean and rebuild.
The glass is constantly clear
- Check your soil with your finger and if it’s dry it will need a small few sprays of distilled water to add some moisture. Generally a lid that is not a complete seal will need a spray from time to time.
My plants are overgrowing
The plants will grow filling out their allotted space. If they start to touch the glass or grow over it’s neighbouring plants, just prune them back slightly.
Plants leaning to one side
The plants are searching for more natural light. Turn your terrarium every week to give them some exposure to natural light or move them to a brighter spot but avoid direct sunlight.
The overall goal
The terrarium should always have a little bit of humidity on the glass and will change throughout the daily cycle but should never be too wet, foggy or too clear for long periods. Plants should be lush and and moss should be green.
- Once or twice a year you may need to prune back your plants if they are reaching for the stars! That’s a fantastic sign that your garden is doing very well.
- Clean out any dead leaves and give your garden a general tidy if needed.
- Some plants or mosses may have died so you will need to replace them.
- Clean your glass if dirty, use a cloth or a old credit card to gently scrape the glass clean.
Peace of mind
Nature can sometimes be unpredictable but we offer advice based on our own research and experience. We offer all our clients a 30 day guarantee, please get in touch for details.
Enjoy your terrarium and stay connected to nature!
Please see below some of the plants we use in our terrariums
Selection of Terrarium Plants
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!
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.
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. They will not require regular watering inside your terrarium unless the terrarium gets too dry. Check soil from time to time, if it’s very dry water your terrarium. Pruning me if I get a little too bushy is easy, simply snip off the stems that have got a little bushy. 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.
Native to South America region, they are tropical humid loving plants, commonly known as Friendship Plants. If they trail too long, simply prune them back, gives you a great excuse to do some micro garden maintenance.