Plant Care

A terrarium is more than a pretty decoration. It’s a living ecosystem that will grow with you, and it’s made to last. Each one is carefully crafted to be as self-sustaining as possible, so you don’t have to worry about complex and lengthy care regimes.

It’s always good to learn more about our natural world. Below, we have included easy care information for many of the plants we carry, much of which can be applied to similar species found in gardens and woodlots across Canada.

 

Ferns

Ferns enjoy cool, shaded locations with medium to low lighting. They should be watered weekly with at least one cup of cool, fresh water.

In the event that a fern terrarium is placed in direct sunlight, particularly strong afternoon sunlight, it is likely to burn. Curved glass will further compound the burn damage. If your fern is green with no brown burn spots, it is not in danger of light-related burns. If it is curved toward the nearest light source, it needs more light and should be moved to a brighter location.

Your fern should be watered frequently, so the soil always stays slightly moist around the roots. A cup of water every week is enough for most small ferns, though larger terrariums will require more. Allow water to soak the soil after each watering, but do not let significant amounts of moisture to pool in the bottom of the container. Too much water will cause root rot, eventually killing the plant.

If you find your fern is well-watered but wilting, consider checking for root rot. You may notice a sour smell coming from the root base, caused by the fungus. If root rot is the cause, remove the fern from the terrarium and wash it thoroughly under cool water. Trim off all affected roots –even if this means loosing most of the root system. It will grow back, but if the fungus isn’t removed, it will only spread further. Replace the soil before re-planting the fern.

 

Orchids

Orchids will tolerate a range of indirect lighting, but should not be placed in direct sunlight. Too much light will burn their leaves, much like those of a fern. Orchids require very minimal watering, usually only a few tablespoons each week. They should be watered in the morning, for best results. They should not be left in cold areas.

Orchids can bloom for over a month with proper care. Most species will flower at least once a year, provided they receive regular watering. Once an orchid has finished blooming, the stalk with begin to shrivel. You may trim the stalk back to within two inches of the roots after the blooming period has ended to encourage new growth.

Like ferns, orchids are susceptible to root rot. This rare condition only occurs when orchids receive too much watering, and are left sitting in a pool of stagnant water.

 

Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Air plants come in several varieties, however they all share similar care criteria. They require bright to medium light, though direct sunlight should be avoided if the plants are placed in glass terrariums. They should be misted every 2 to 4 days, or removed from the terrarium to soak for at least one hour a week.

Whenever possible, air plants should be shaken and left upside-down until all moisture from watering has been removed. This prevents rot, which is caused by an excess of water pooling at the plant’s centre.

Air plants will bloom, provided they are receiving adequate light and watering. The pink, red, and purple blooms will appear on stalks radiating from the plants’ centres.

If your plant begins to whither, check to see if the fronds are curved inward, forming tubes or slides. This indicates the plant is in need of more water. If the fronds are fine but the base appears yellow or brown, it could be indicative of rot. Rotting plants can sometimes be saved by removing the affected fronds until no brown remains.

 

Succulents

Succulents require bright light and very little water. Water to dampen the soil, then allow it to completely dry before moistening again. You should not have to water a succulent more than once a week, and many can go significantly longer. If your succulent’s soil is dry and its leaves begin to wrinkle, it needs a little more water. Alternatively, if the leaves begin to soften, the plant should be left to dry out.

Succulents will flower, provided their watering and light requirements are met. If they are receiving plenty of strong sunlight (6 hours of afternoon sunlight is the ideal), the colours of their leaves will become more vibrant and pronounced. Some varieties, such as “hens and chicks,” will also begin to spread via “pups.” These smaller plants may be cut from the main plant and re-potted once they have at least five leaves.

In the event that your succulent loses a leaf, it can be placed in a saucer of moist soil. There is a high likelihood that it will sprout leaves and roots, and grow a new plant. This is known as propagation.

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