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Congratulations New Terrarium Parent

Welcome to the Terrarium Family,

So you’ve purchased a terrarium, been gifted a terrarium, or maybe you’ve had a crack at making one yourself. Well congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming a nature nerd. And now comes the fun part, where you commit to the upkeep and care of your very own terrarium world.

Firstly there are two types of terrariums, and open terrarium that has a hole in the top and has not means to become fully closed, and then there is the closed terrariums which are sealed with a lid, either glass, wood or cork.

Below are the instructions for care and general information. If you have any questions, we offer a free after care service at helpme@planthomewares.com.au please message us and let us know how we can help you!

 

OPEN TERRARIUMS

There are two really important things to master when it comes to looking after your open terrarium; these are light /position and watering.

Terrarium Position and Watering

As a general rule, open terrariums need to be in a bright spot where they get filtered or indirect light. Glass magnifies the sun, so make sure you keep yours away from any hot windows in summer. It’s a good idea to keep them a couple of meters from any air conditioning vents or heaters, too.
Watering is a little more tricky. Here in Queensland where we have humidity in the summer, and it dries out in the winter, It can be really confusing when to water.  Remember, this is an open terrarium and will dry out if left for too long without water. A spray mister is a great way of watering a terrarium. Your terrarium should be kept moist, but not wet. Never let your terrarium’s potting medium completely dry out. The best way of checking if your terrarium is dry or moist? Stick your finger in there as deep as you can and feel it! Of alternatively check the moisture level on the glass, and the moisture layer to see if that has started to dry out.

Top Tips for Terrarium Care:

• Keep your open terrarium in a bright spot with filtered / indirect light
• As a general rule of thumb, water every 5 days in summer and every 3 days in winter
• Never let your terrarium totally dry out
• Wipe as you spray – it saves on cleaning. But if you do get water marks, try a tiny bit of vinegar on a clean cloth
• Find the balance in keeping your terrarium moist but not wet
• Keep a spray bottle within reach of the terrarium so watering is easy
• Don’t fertilise. Fertilisers make plants grow – you want yours to stay little!

Finally, all the tips above are general and will be affected by your home’s temperatures and light levels. Your terrarium is your own special little garden in glass. A terrarium is most fun when you interact with it. Give it a little prune, remove those dead leaves. Spend time getting to know your terrarium. Observe how quickly it dries out and how it responds to water. Get down and dirty with it. Get your hands in there if you’re not sure if it’s moist enough and feel it!
If you have any questions or there’s something I haven’t covered, please send me an email at helpme@planthomewares.com.au

CLOSED TERRARIUM

Closed terrariums are, in my opinion, the easiest type of terrarium to care for – if they’ve been put together properly! A closed terrarium consists of a glass or clear plastic container such as a fishbowl, with some kind of stopper or lid. The idea behind a closed terrarium is that a mini ecosystem is created. A really good closed terrarium will have layers of pebbles, sphagnum moss, horticultural charcoal and potting medium. These are all important ingredients for terrarium success.

How does a closed terrarium work?

So, very briefly, plants process sunlight and carbon dioxide. This is called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis produces oxygen and plant food essential for a plant’s growth. As a terrarium is usually made of glass, sunlight can get through, allowing plants to photosynthesise and grow.

A terrarium is really its own little world with its very own water cycle. The moisture from both the potting mix and plants has nowhere to escape through evaporation, so it condenses on the sides of the terrarium and plants and re-waters the soil keeping all the little plants happy and hydrated. For this reason, closed terrariums only require traditional watering every couple of weeks.

Caring for your closed terrarium

Terrariums are beautiful worlds that need care, observation and interaction. Water your terrarium when it looks like the potting mix is starting to dry out. Never let the potting mix completely dry out. Have a look at your layer of sphagnum moss. If that still looks nice and hydrated you probably don’t need to water. If it’s dry, give your terrarium a good water. You may only need to water your terrarium once a month, but this is something you will work out through observation.

Water with filtered water or rain water if you can. 

You will need to wipe off condensation occasionally, and it also helps to open the terrarium for an hour or two weekly to let in fresh air and discourage mold. At the first sign of mold, take off the terrarium’s lid. You need to cut down on watering too as this is a sure sign of too much water being added to your terrarium. If there’s only a little mold on a plant, remove the moldy bit and put it in the bin. Keep a good eye on the plant over the next few days for signs of mold appearing. If the mold is covering the plant, I’m afraid the plant has to go. Nothing moldy should stay in your terrarium as mold grows. Replace yucky moldy plants with new plants (wash your hands or gloves after taking out the moldy plants – you don’t want to transfer spores to a healthy plant) . It is also good to get a piece of wire or satay stick and start poking some holes in your potting medium. This will introduce some air into the soil so that it is less likely to produce mold spores.

Remember any questions or comments, please dont hesitate to email us at helpme@planthomewares.com.au