Interesting Tidbits Terrarium Care

So Where Should I Put This Terrarium?

The bright filtered light in the Crosstown Concourse is perfect for this terrarium of moss and selaginella. It is more than a year old, and requires trimming every 4-6 months.

Living as I do surrounded by potted plants and terrariums, I sometimes feel like St. Exupery’s Little Prince on his home planet, carefully attending to the Rose’s needs for sun, water, and protection from the evening chill, and enjoying her companionship in return. Plants are sentient creatures, and once you become attuned to their modes of communication it gets easier to care for them, and the pleasure they bring to you magnifies.



You can put them away from a window so long as you have a broad spectrum light. Plants need light to make food, remember?


Terry babies of moss need bright light, these are in an east window. You can’t just put these little guys in a bookcase

Give me a call to discuss your ideas on size and location for a terrarium in your home or office.  Whether you want something small right off my shelf today, or you want to plan and build something unique for your space, we can find a new little world of your own to cherish for many years.






Build Your Own Terry Interesting Tidbits Terrarium Care

WARNING!  This is NOT a terrarium!

Every few months I will see displays of items purporting to be terrariums which are actually only a glass pot, no top and no drainage, jammed with tropical plants that will be dead in weeks unless they are lifted out and put into more suitable living quarters. Usually these are in grocery store floral departments, or in a hardware store by the front door where they get blasted with cold air every time the door opens.  Poor little fellows, my heart aches to see them.

Take a look at this example:

A rubber tree, a parlor fern, and an alocasia.  All beautiful plants, but they get REALLY big, and are so jammed together in this tiny tube that they are battling to the death for the very limited resources available to them.  The sweet little tillandsias ionantha mexicana huddled at the bottom might outlast them, if he doesn’t dry out first.  There is no top, so it will have to be misted and watered frequently, but there is no drainage, so the roots will most likely rot if the upper part of the plant lives long enough.

Another comment mistake is using succulents. At least there is no top on this glass container, but no drainage is a bad thing for succulents.  Many people cover their succulent plantings, only to have the high moisture quickly rot the plant.  Check out this post How Not to Plant a Terrarium for in depth discussion on caring for succulents.

The whole point of a terrarium is to provide a high moisture environment for plants that grow in tropical and temperate rainforests, or along streambeds and waterfalls.

I’ve spent many years growing tropical plants, and have been building terrariums for quite a while now.  I have several that are around three years old, and still happy and green.  Or pink or purple or red, I like colorful leaves … So if you want a Green Mansion terrarium, talk to the Plant Lady!

Terrarium Care

Basic Instructions on Terrarium Maintenance

This gives you basic information on caring for your new terrarium.  With proper care and attention, it should live many years.   Always think of plants as pets that are very quiet – put your terry where you see I every day, because the plants can’t bark or meow when they are thirsty or hungry.

Terrarium Care

Tips for Keeping Your Terrarium Healthy

krishna bowl

When maintaining your terrarium, it’s important to remember some of the simple tips listed below:’

The terrariums all need bright, indirect light; much direct sunlight can overheat the container or burn the plants. Most terrariums will be happy a foot or so from an east window, or in a north window, and they shine like jewels 2-3 feet under fluorescent light.

If your terry has a lid, moisture may cloud the glass. Take the top off and it will clear in a few minutes. You can leave the top off a day or two to let it dry a little to cut down on condensation. Take the top off at least every few days to refresh the air (sniff the air that comes out, it smells like a rainforest).

The open tops will need to be misted every few days and will need watering on occasion, probably every few weeks.  Covered terries will lose water if the top does not have a tight seal, and will need watering every few months.  The easiest way to tell is that the soil gets lighter and less compact in appearance as it dries out;  you may notice the plants getting a little droopy, too, or the moss will look dry.

Use a small container, like a shotglass, and block most of the top with a few fingers, then gently pour all around to cover the surface lightly. You’ll see the water moving through the soil toward the gravel.  Slowly add the water in sips so it spreads through the soil rather than flowing straight to the gravel.  It is difficult to rehydrate totally dry planting substrate,and you may want to call or email with questions.

Feed with fish emulsion, etc., at ½ strength, only once or twice a year.  Eventually you may have to trim some leaves to keep things under control. Avoid putting food on any moss if possible. It’s not really complicated, but you have to pay attention – there are a lot of living things in there depending on your help. Please call or e-mail me with any questions. I sell plants because they bring me much joy and peace, and I want to share this with others. Nancy Morrow, 991-828-3685 or [email protected]