Enjoy your terrarium for years to come - key tips for terrarium aftercare.
Your terrarium kit is on its way to you (or it has already arrived), you've got your glassware and plants and you're really excited to enjoy this beautiful piece of living art you're about to create to decorate your space. So now what's the best way to keep your terrarium alive and thriving so you can enjoy it for years to come?
Read on for some key tips!
Succulent or Cactus Terrarium
If your new terrarium features a succulent and/or cactus arrangement, keeping it alive and thriving should be straightforward - assuming you have kept them in an open terrarium!
- Keep it in a brightly lit spot, but away from direct light to avoid the glass burning the plants. For example, a spot in the centre of your living room table with a window that lets in a lot of natural light is a good spot. Right up on the windowsill where you get strong sunlight through the day (such as a north facing window) might cause problems.
- Water it only when the soil is dry. In the summer this might be twice a month, in the water you might only need to water it once a month or less. Try to avoid watering on a schedule and instead make it a habit to check your plants and the soil to see what your terrarium needs.
- Try not to water too much. If you water a little at a time, you will be able to see some of the excess water pooling in the drainage layers (such as the pebbles, gravel or perlite depending on what you've used). Make sure you don't let the bottom layers become completely full of water to avoid the risk of root rot.
If you have planted your succulents/cacti in a closed terrarium, try to keep it open as much as possible, avoid having too many objects inside it, especially reindeer moss, and water it a little at a time. You might have some luck with this, but generally these types of plants don't do well in the sorts of humid environments that a closed terrarium creates.
The classic closed terrarium is one that can be sealed shut and forgotten about. However, it is not always that easy and it is important we get it to a point where it's balanced before we can let it do its own thing. Here are some key tips on how to take care of your closed terrarium.
- Mist instead of water when you first plant it. Usually the soil, substrates and plants have enough moisture in them to recreate the humid environment that is needed for the tropical plants to thrive in.
- Keep an eye on it for the first few days. If you see some condensation on the glass, you know that the terrarium is working just as it should, as the water drips down into the soil and restarts the cycle of self-watering. However, if the glass is completely wet and you start to see some of your plants get a little droopy, it is probably too wet. Leave your container open for a while to let some air in and some of the water out. Only close it when the condensation has cleared. It might be a good idea to wipe some of the condensation off before closing as well.
- Make sure your terrarium is in a spot that doesn't get direct sunlight. This can cause the sunlight to burn the leaves through the glass. Indirect sunlight, such as in a hallway, is ideal for a closed terrarium. If you have a terrarium full of ferns and mosses, you can get away with placing it in a shadier spot, as long as there is still some sunlight available to it!
- Feel free to snip off any leaves or trim down mosses if you feel like the terrarium is getting too wild or overgrown. It is not necessary for the health of the terrarium, but can be good for a refresh and to allow for bushier growth and a cleaner look.
- Don't let the soil dry out, being careful not to overwater it, and mist it if you feel it needs some water. If your terrarium is closed you shouldn't need to worry about this, but if it is not watertight or there is a small opening somewhere, then this is important to keep an eye on.