Following our first post on how to build a terrarium – we now move on to:
Taking Care of Your Masterpiece
Check your terrarium for the first few weeks; as diseases often appear at this time. Any leaves that die or plants that do not appear healthy should be removed immediately. Root rot is often a sign of too much water. If rot develops in a closed terrarium, take the cover off and allow it to air dry.
The beauty of a closed terrarium is, because it is a self-contained eco-system, it normally will not need watering for 4 to 6 months. (Open terrariums need watering occasionally but not as frequently as other houseplants.) Either way, waterings must always be light. Because terrariums have no external drainage, heavy waterings result in standing water which encourages root rot. You’ll want to use mineral water (found in supermarkets and hardware stores) or rainwater. Tap water contains salts that will build up inside the terrarium and cause damage to your plants.
When watering you terrarium, you’ll need to do it in a controlled fashion so that the soil stays in place. Depending on your plants watering needs, use a turkey baster or adjust your mister nozzle to the stream setting. Always, water directly onto the roots.
After watering a closed terrarium, don’t replace the cover until wet leaves have dried.
Your terrarium should never be placed in direct sunlight; as the heat buildup with kill most plants. Because most terrarium plants don’t require extremely bright light, indirect sunlight is best. Terrarium plants can do well with supplemental artificial light so they make the perfect office companion.
Keep in mind that plants receiving light from a window always grow to towards that direction you can occasionally turn it to keep the terrarium attractive from all sides.
Plants will need to be pruned if they begin to outgrow the container or become unshapely. Cut off the plant’s tips to help keep plants full or to increase density. Because your terrarium is meant to be small, fertilizer is not recommended. Also, some fertilizers may cause a build-up of soluble salts in the soil, which can kill your plants.
Those Little Buggers
If you notice gnats flying around your terrarium, don’t worry, they won’t damage your terrarium. To get rid of them, try spraying some NaturGard Fly and Mosquito Killer (a fresh smelling natural product) onto the lid of your terrarium. Wipe it out and repeat the next day. Keep doing this until all signs of the infestation is gone.
Remember, your terrarium is living and breathing. Make sure that you occasionally inspect it for mildew and trim dead or dying leaves. Prune as needed to keep it looking its best and you will enjoy your very own mini world for years to come.