Terrariums By: Angie Bush
Introduction A terrarium is a living plant growing inside a sealed glass container. In this presentation I will explain all about planting, soil, tools, plants, containers, care and the history of terrariums. Terrariums are often a miniature landscape under glass in the form of a woodland, a desert, a tropical jungle or your own collection of plants.
History of Terrariums In 1827 the terrarium was invented by Nathaniel Ward, a London doctor. He came over this invention because his outdoor plants would not live in the polluted air of London, he discovered that he could make miniature greenhouses which was then named fern cases.
Indoor Wardian Case Horticulturists were able to bring back sensitive tropical plants in Wardian cases to be well-protected from salt, air, and changing climatic conditions during the long sea voyage.
Accessories • Rocks • Gravel • Wood • Seed pots • Bark • Ceramic figures • Frogs • Mushrooms • Snails
Tools • Only a few tools are necessary for planting the terrarium. • Long sticks, either bamboo or ¼ inch dowling. The length depends on the height of the container being used. • Large kitchen spoon for placing soil and drainage material • Atomizer or bulb-type sprayer will be useful for watering the terrarium. • A stick with a wire loop on the end will be helpful for lowering plants into large containers with small tops.
Containers A terrarium container must be made from clear glass or plastic. Tinted or cloudy glass greatly reduces light and interferes with plant growth. Any type of clear container may be used: • empty fish bowls • fish tanks • brandy snifters • old glass jars • jugs • bottles • containers specially designed for terrariums.
Containers Cont. • All closed containers should have transparent covers. • Containers with small openings are okay. Containers with large openings without covers can be used but will require more frequent watering. • Open terrariums are drier and less subject to disease.
Soil • Soil for terrariums must be clean, well drained and high in organic matter. • Potting soils sold at garden centers and nurseries where plant supplies are sold are sterilized and ready for use. • To prepare your own soil, mix one part peat moss with one part rich garden soil. • Make sure the soil is moist before sterilization. Place it in an oven at about 200 degrees until the soil is thoroughly heated.
Plants • Many plants are suitable for growing in terrariums. • They are kept small in terrariums by cutting back the tips. • Don’t mix plants requiring widely different conditions. • Cacti are less desirable for terrariums since moist conditions promote rot. • Don’t mix desert plants with moisture-loving tropicals.
Plants That Can Be Used • African violet (Saintpaulia spp.) • Airplant (Kalanchoe pinnata) • Aluminum plant (Pilea cadierii) • Baby tears (Helxine soleirolii) • Begonia (Begonia spp.) • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) • Jade plant (Crassula argentea) • Swedish ivy (Plectranthes australis) • And many more
Planting • Place a ½ inch layer of small gravel in bottom. • Sprinkle some activated charcoal on top. • Fill to proper height with a good draining potting soil. If soil “clumps” when squeezed, add some perlite, or vermiculite to lighten it up. • Install plants. The number will depend on the size of the plants, and the container. Don’t over plant. Leave room to grow. Push the soil aside, place a plant in the depression, and firm the soil around it. • Water lightly. (3 or 4 ounces)
Different Terrariums Snowflake terrarium Globe terrarium The teardrop Bite terrarium
Height Since low plants are preferred, more emphasis is placed on small plants. Some of these are creeping or climbing vines that may grow tall, but with limited height in the terrarium they form a groundcover. Most plants over 12 inches need to be cut back.
Light Most plants in the medium light category require good light near a window or less light from a window with artificial light. The terrarium should be placed within several feet of a bright window, but not in direct sun.
Temperature • Most tropical plants are suited for common house temperatures. At night 65 degrees is ideal, day temperatures normally should be about 75 degrees. • Woodland terrariums should have nighttime temperatures about 50 to 55 degrees. Day temperatures also should be cool but are not as critical.
Care after planting • A closed terrarium will not need to be watered for four to six months. • Do not replace the cover until the leaves have dried. • Open terrariums need occasional watering not as often as houseplants. • Watering should always be light. • Its better to be a little too dry than too wet. • Many plants out grow the terrarium. • With a little trimming these plants can be brought into bounds.
Care after planting cont. • Frequently pinching out tips before a plant becomes too tall will result in more balanced growth than infrequent, more severe cutbacks. • Do not plan to fertilize for at least a year after planting. • If the plants are yellowish without any reason, fertilize very lightly with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at about one-tenth the rate recommended for normal houseplants.
Replacing plants • Occasionally it may be necessary to replace plants • Some foliage plants that do well in a small-mouthed terrariums include creeping fig (Ficus pumila) Ti plant (Cordyline terminalis) Ribbon plant (Dracaena sanderiana) Earth star (Cryptanthus acaulis) Prayer plants (Maranta species). Do not use ferns they will take over a terrarium.
Dish gardens Dish gardens are arrangements of flowers in a normal planting dish although there are many different decorative dishes. Open terrariums provide higher humidity for plants than dish gardens do.
Conclusion In this presentation I explained how to plant a terrarium and take care of it hopefully you will use this information have more knowledge about plants and their habitats.