Terrarium Tips

We have a selection of great books offering full instructions and interesting facts, but here are some tips!

Layers

There are a number of different options, but here is our simple suggestion for layering your terrarium container:

Closed Terrarium

A. Small stones, gravel for drainage.

B. A thin layer of moss to keep the soil from mixing with the drainage layer.

C. Activated charcoal to keep your terrarium healthy and bacteria free.

D. Terrarium Compost and your chosen plants.

E. Decorative elements such as larger rocks or smaller stones, moss, twigs and bark. Or our favourite, tiny rubber animals!

Open Terrarium

A. Small stones or gravel for drainage.

B. A thin layer fine gravel, shell or sand to keep the soil from mixing with the drainage layer.

C. Open Terrariums do not need activated charcoal!

D. Terrarium Compost and your chosen plants.

E. Decorative elements such as air plants, larger rocks or smaller stones, sand, shells and drift wood. Or our favourite, tiny rubber animals!

 

Plant Guide 

For an OPEN Terrarium
  • Cacti
  • Succulents
  • Air Plants 
  • Sansevierias
  • Haworthias
  • Kalanchoes
  • Sarracenia
  • Aeoniums

For a CLOSED Terrarium

  • Fittonias
  • Chamaedorea (Mountain Palm)
  • Asparagus Setaceus
  • Mosses
  • Adiantums
  • Soleirolia (Soleirolii / Baby's Tears)
  • Hypoestes Phyllostachya
  • Guyana Chestnut Pachira Aquatica
  • Muehlenbeckia Complexa
  • Syngoniums (Pixie)

 

Tips for a closed terrarium:

  • Your container should not have a completely airtight seal - preferably use cork or glass.
  • Place close to a window but out of direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is preferable.
  • Turn your terrarium every few weeks, to make sure it receives even light.
  • If white fungal mold forms in your terrarium, this is likely an indication of poor light. Remove the fungus immediately and move the terrarium to a brighter spot.
  •  If black spots form on the foliage in your terrarium, this is likely due to too much direct sunlight. The glass walls of your container could be acting like a magnifying glass and scorching your plants. Move to a shadier spot.
  • Closed terrariums create their own microclimate, so should not need watering, beyond that which you give them when they're first built. You will see water vapour form droplets on the walls, showing your microclimate is working! However, if your moss is losing it's green colour or your plants are wilting, you may need to add some water to balance your microclimate.
  • When watering your terrarium, use filtered water, which is low in calcium carbonate. Add up to 300ml for a large terrarium. Either use a plant mister, or if you don't have one, soak a sponge and squeeze the water down the walls of your terrarium. Never pour water directly into your terrarium.
  • Keep away from heat sources.
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        Tips for an open terrarium:

      • Cacti and succulents love light, so bright sunny areas like windows are best.
      • Open terrariums survive just like potted plants, therefore water them following the plant's normal recommendations. (For most cacti and succulents: Once a week during summer and once every 2-3 weeks during spring, autumn and winter.)
      • Let the soil dry out completely between watering! Cacti and succulents can easily develop root rot if the soil is constantly damp.
      • If you are using air plants In your terrarium these should be placed on the top layer (E) for decoration. They do not need to be planted in the soil and will need to be removed and soaked in water for half an hour, once every two weeks.