How do I care for my terrarium - FAQ
You can download the most important information on care in pictures, here!
Detailed answers to your questions can be found below.
Before we start: your terrarium is alive! And living material does not always do what you want. The most exciting thing is: it grows, thrives and changes! But sadly, it can also die. So be curious, observe what happens and don't give up if something doesn't go according to plan. There are a few good basics to keep your terrarium happy though, here they are.
HOW DOES MY TERRARIUM WORK?
Your terrarium needs very little watering as the water circulates in a closed circuit. The plants absorb water in the soil through their roots and then sweat it out through their leaves. Water also evaporates from the substrates. Condensation forms on the cooler glass walls and falls back into the soil.
WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY TERRARIUM?
If the location is right, you've done the most important thing! Don't place the terrarium in full sunlight. It gets very warm very quickly and the plants can die from it. Terrarium plants like good "indirect light". This means: as much bright light as possible, no direct sunlight. Most plants can tolerate partial shade. However, a dark corner is not a good idea! Choose a position max. 2 m from the window, on a shelf, table or desk.
You can turn your terrarium from time to time so that all plants get enough light. Avoid strong temperature variations (too warm or too cold), for example near a heater or a draughty window. More condensation will form and at some point it could become too humid. Temperatures between 15 °C - 25 °C are ideal. In summer there can also be heat waves and long periods above 30 °C. You can air your terrarium a little more than usual if there is a lot of condensation. When the heat wave is over, compensate with a small sip of water. Your terrarium is not suitable to be kept outside.
THERE IS A LOT OF CONDENSATION, IS THAT NORMAL?
A little condensation is normal, it is part of the system. It often forms on the side where the light comes in. That's why you don't have to open the glass constantly, it will stay closed 90% of the time! Did you know? You don(t need to open the glass so that your plants get fresh air. Plants produce oxygen during the day and use it at night, oxygen has its own cycle in the glass. Same with carbon dioxide: it is used during the day and produced at night.
a source of cold or heat? The culprits could be: warm heater, warm light bulb above the glass, kitchen stove. Try a different location.
HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I WATER MY TERRARIUM?
Thanks to its lid, there is a water cycle in your terrarium, and you only need to water it 2 to 3 times a year. Good indicators that it is time to water are:
dry. You can also touch it.
to assess the humidity in your terrarium.
The terrarium should be watered with rainwater, distilled water or bottled water. Avoid tap water, which the plants plants do not appreciate. It has way too much calc and white residues will form on the glass walls. Water slowly with a
spoon or a plastic syringe. The water belongs in the soil, not on the leaves of the plants! Therefore, water at the base of the plants, or if you use a spoon, along the glass. Amount: Depending on the terrarium model, better too little water than too much!
Size XS (candy jars): 30 ml
Size S (capsule, bubble): 50 ml
Size M (workshop jar): 60-80 ml
DOES MOLD OFTEN OCCUR?
High humidity and no airflow are good conditions for mold growth. Mold appears on dead material (dead leaves, wood), sometimes also on stones and mosses. It actually happens less than than you might think, if the terrarium is not overwatered and gets enough light. If you see mold - white fuzz - remove it with a damp brush (moss, stone) or cut the leaf that it is affected and has turned brown. It is normal for a plant to shed a leaf from time to time, so don't be afraid if a bit of mold appears in this case. Another cause of mold growth is lack of light. Try out a different, brighter place. Some aquarium gravel can also get moldy. I prefer to use lava rocks on the surface of the terrarium. I practically never see mold spread on it.
I SEE BROWN OR FALLEN LEAVES. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
In the first few weeks after setting up a terrarium, a plant that is adapting may lose leaves. Take these leaves out of the terrarium. Brown leaves are rotting. They must be cut and removed. In general, all dead parts must be removed, otherwise mold could spread, at least in a young terrarium. If the terrarium is a little older, you can let it compost dead material itself. By the way: It is normal for an older plant to shed shed an old leaf. Don't worry too much about this.
WILL THE PLANTS GROW?
Yes, the plants will grow, some faster than others. How fast they grow
grow also depends on the light conditions you have at home. If the terrarium becomes too cramped after a few months, it's time for a little pruning! It's a bit like caring for a bonsai. You keep the plant adequate for its environment. The plants benefit from this. If they get too big, they will need more nutrients and are no longer happy in the restricted conditions of a terrarium.
THE PLANTS ARE TOO BIG, HOW DO I PRUNE THEM?
For most plants, this technique works well: cut the extremity, maximum 1/3 of the plant, directly above a node (where the leaves emerge from the stem). This is where the growth of new leaves is activated when you cut. For some plants (fittonias, ivy, climbing fig), you can put the cutting directly in the soil of your terrarium (or in a new terrarium!), there is a good chance that they will root! With plants with bigger leaves originating from the base of the plant, there is often no other way than to cut a whole leaf down to the stem (calatheas, mountain palm).
Clean fingernails are often enough to cut a leaf. If the plant is too hardy, you can cut it with clean scissors. I can take over the care of your terrarium for you. Please ask
about the costs and an appointment.
HOW DO I CARE FOR THE MOSS?
If the moss has dried a little but is still green, you can restore its original vivid green colour by taking it out of the terrarium and immersing it in a water bath for 15 minutes. Then squeeze the moss like a sponge and place it back in the terrarium. If it is already yellow, or brown it is unfortunately too late... you will have to replace it or place a new plant there.
SHOULD I FERTILIZE AT SOME POINT?
The original substrate contains worm casting. What is that? Worm casting
is a universal fertilizer produced by compost worms from organic waste. It looks a bit like soil and has a sandy consistency. Thanks to the worm humus, the plants have enough nutrients for about 1 to 1.5 years. Then you can add worm humus again, about half a teaspoon near each plant, under the gravel.You can find it online or in bio food stores, especially when it's planting season. And you can of course also use it for all your plants: houseplants, balcony plants, garden plants.
THERE ARE LITTLE FLIES IN MY TERRARIUM, HELP!
I know, these little flies are annoying...They are called fungus gnats. If you regularly have gnats at home (e.g. because you buy new plants),place a cloth or kitchen paper over your terrarium when you air it. They get in so quickly! Fortunately, they won't kill your plants. Do you know those sticky yellow papers from the drugstore?
You can place them at the bottom of the plants, on the soil, be careful they are sticky for the leaves as well! Those sticky papaers are a good thing, but they only kill the adult flies. You can combine them with nematodes. These are small live
worms that are so small that you can buy them in powder form. They kill the larvae of the flies in the soil by hunting them down and eating them. I use the product Nemaplus, but there are others. Mix 1/2 teaspoon with 30 ml of water and add it to your terrarium. It is overdosed, but it does not harm the plants. If the fungus gnats are also flying around at home, it is better to treat your houseplants too at once! You can use the product in the normal dosage.
Surprise! In your terrarium 1, 2, 3, 4... mushrooms suddenly appeared within a few days. It often happens during the warmer months and raises many questions. Some terrarium makers see it as a good sign and part of the ecosystem. Others think nothing of it and take the mushrooms out. My observations so far: The other plants
do not suffer, but the fungi sometimes multiply rapidly. My recommendation: observe for a day or two - it looks interesting! And then carefully remove them before the mushrooms spread their spores.
chamomile tea (antifungal) to spray the surface. It curbs the development, but the balls will not disappear completely.Your plants will not be damaged by the fungus and will live with it. As this fungus is a saprophyte, it takes part in the decomposition of dead organic material and releases minerals for the plants.
WILL I DISCOVER OTHER LIVING BEING IN THE GLASS?
Sometimes (unwanted) earthworms end up in the terrarium, small slugs, a kind of millipede that likes to eat the moss or small spiders. None of these belong in the terrarium. Try to take them out with tweezers and release them back into a garden.
But please let these ones in the terrarium: the springtails! These are naturally found in the substrate. They are 1 mm small and white, move quickly but are shy. The
springtails take care of the dead material and eat it. By doing so, they release nutrients for the plants. The little cleaning team of your terrarium! You'll see them first when a plant or leaves rot. On this occasion they multiply. You can even buy springtails if you want to acclimatize more "difficult" parts in the terrarium, such as
a nice piece of dead wood.