Your terrarium is a self-sustainable environment with humid loving plants and mosses. It recycles it’s water, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide and photosynthesis in natural light to keep it living. All the terrariums at The Green Emporium are built in a way that's easy to manage and made to thrive.
The plants will require a little bit of attention when you first get your terrarium home. Please do pay close attention to your terrarium daily for the first couple of weeks whilst it settles into your environment this will help ensure you can manage any possible mould growth or dealing with too much condensation build up or any leaves dying off with too much moisture.
The most important thing about a terrarium is location!
let's explore what the perfect location is...
Positioning your terrarium when you get home
Your terrarium has plants that are used to medium to high levels of natural light, so do place it in a room with bright indirect light but NEVER direct sunlight. Avoid placing your terrarium next to a heat source or air-conditioning vent. Finding a spot where you can offer as much light as possible without the terrarium over heating.
Cold Rooms vs Warm Air inside terrarium.
Place it once and try not to move it about too much. The air inside your terrarium is usually slightly warmer than outside air so if you open a window or a door in the morning and it’s cold air rushing inside your room, then the terrarium will naturally condense (water droplets) this is normal behaviour. However after the room warms up the temperature equalizes and your terrarium glass will normally become clearer. Not completely clear there will always be a degree of condensation. This process repeats with temperature changes daily.
Preventing Mould Growth
(That little white/grey fluffy stuff on the leaves & stems)
If you get any growth, this can be natural in some circumstances, but please do not leave it to chance, as mould will spread quickly unless you act immediately to get rid of it. Simply wipe off with a piece of dry cloth or ear bud and clean the surrounding area of any spores, don't double dip the ear buds, then clean your hands. Open your lid for 24 hours to allow the environment to dry out a little, mould does not like air!
Watering your terrarium
In our experience we only water our closed terrariums roughly every 4 months at our studio and only if they look dry, i.e. the glass is clear all the time and no condensation is showing is a good sign that it’s a bit dry. Also you can physically see the soil drying through the glass. We usually pop our fingers inside to check for dry spots or look at the moss if it looks a little pale or the plants a little droopy. Simply spritz your terrarium plants towards the base with a bit of rain water or distilled water, try to never use hard tap water. Play it by eye as there is no fixed watering routine with terrariums and some with very tight sealed lids usually can go without water for up to 1 year and beyond. Remember your terrarium can't freely drain so add water slowly so you do not over water. When in doubt, it is always better to withhold water then to give too much. Overwatering is the fastest way to kill a terrarium.
Pruning and cleaning
Many plants in a terrarium will gradually outgrow their limited space, a little trim often is more beneficial than a big trim once in awhile. Trimming often promotes side shoots that fill out plants and keeps your terrarium looking great, be sure to trim faster growing plants so they don't smoother the smaller, slower and/or lower growing plants. As a rule you should trim tips/leaves if they start to touch the glass, and be sure to remove all dead vegetation from the terrarium as soon as you notice it.
Use a paper towel with a very limited amount of glass cleaner to cleanse the glass inside and out. Spray the cleaner onto the towel not the terrarium itself, remove any algae growing on the inner glass by wiping it gently away, algae is a normal part of the eco system but left to it's own devices it will cover the glass and block out light. Keeping the glass clean is very important as dirty glass inhibits the amount of light that can travel through the glass causing leggy plants and possible death of some plants.
Do not fertilizer your terrarium unless you see signs of malnutrition, signs of malnutrition are plants fading in vibrancy and/or looking yellowish. If you do decide to fertilizer the terrarium use an all purpose liquid plant fertilizer that can be absorbed via leaf and root. Mix it at a third of the strength directed on the bottle, apply the fertilizer via spray bottle very sparling over the leaves and roots. Remember we aren't wanting to encourage rapid growth only give some nutrients.
Most insects are completely harmless and beneficial to the terrarium but there are a few that can be troublesome. Slugs, snails, caterpillars and insects of that nature should all be removed from a terrarium as they will damage leaves, use a wee tissue to capture and release. You may find that small black flies appear. These are most likely fungus gnats, and the most common insect to setup home in a terrarium. Pyrethrum (low toxic insect spray) can be purchased from most supermarkets, nurseries and garden centres. A few sprays will bring these under control. Spraying the lid or walls of an enclosed terrarium rather than the plants works best, use only a limited amount of spray directly onto the inner terrarium glass and shut the lid, done. You will have to spray once again whenever the flies are present to break the breeding cycle. Usually 2 or 3 times a week apart. Fungus gnats lay eggs in the soil, you think you've controlled them until more hatch out. Just persist with the pyrethrum until they are no longer present.
Quick trouble shooting guide
Smelly Terrarium - Indicates Rot from overwatering and/or not enough Light
Crispy Brown Leaves or leaf tips - Often indicates dehydration, water the terrarium at the plants base/roots.
Moss browning off, moss not growing - moss dehydrated, mist it thoroughly. not enough Light offered.
Yellowing, browning, mushy, dropping Leaves - Your terrarium is getting too much water moisture, and not enough light. move terrarium to a brighter spot.
Extreme Reaching of Plant - The terrarium needs more light.
Excessive Condensation - Terrarium is experiencing extreme temperature upsets, move terraium to balanced location. see location