Terrariums are a great way to add some greenery and life to your living space. Closed terrariums can be a bit tricky, though, as there is more of an effort required on the caretaker's behalf. Closed terrariums need regular watering and light exposure in order for them to grow healthy plants. This blog post will go over what steps you need to take when caring for closed office terrariums so that they stay lush and beautiful!
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1) What Does A Terrarium Mean?
There are two different types of terrariums: closed and open. Closed systems create a more stable humid environment for plants, while open terrariums are subject to the outside air which will dry them out faster. Here, I'll focus on closed systems.
It may take time for a closed terrarium to flourish, but once it does it is not difficult to care for. It’s not uncommon for a healthy terrarium to go without water for months at a time.
2) How Do Closed Terrariums Work?
One of the fascinations of a terrarium is to see how nature creates and sustains what we consider a “closed system”. Understanding how this system works helps you maintain it properly.
The soil within the terrarium supports healthy microbial processes, with moisture from evaporation and plant transpiration recirculating continuously as condensed “rain” that keep the soil moist.
The terrarium plants use light to produce oxygen, which is then absorbed by the plants during the night. Carbon dioxide is released during daylight hours due to photosynthesis but carbon dioxide produced by plant respiration ensures that it doesn’t run out.
Terrariums are self-supporting ecosystems which can absorb small fluctuations to remain in an overall healthy balance. However, a terrarium’s ecology is not complete and requires light and occasional assistance from humans.
3) What Plants Do Well In A Closed Terrarium?
The plants you use in your terrarium make a difference in how easy it will be to maintain.
Creating a terrarium can be tricky because there are so many factors to consider. While you might not need plants from all different species, it’s important for some plants in your garden share similar preferences, including light demands and moisture levels. Otherwise conditions will vary too much and the terrarium won’t thrive as well.
Closed systems allow for the warmth and humidity that tropical plants need to survive. Mosses, ferns, and epiphytes are popular choices in a terrarium. Small orchids, little-known African violets, and other exotic flowers will also flourish in a closed terrarium environment. These plants thrive on bright colours and enhance the visual appeal of any space they occupy.
4) Closed Terrarium Light Requirements
Most terrariums need sunlight – but not direct. Keep them out of the sun, and move them around to avoid seasonal changes that can create extreme periods of light or dark.
When terrarium plants are lanky, it is likely the light level is too low. Move the terrarium to a brighter location or supplement lighting with extra lights.
If the only light source is coming from one angle, periodically rotate your terrarium in order to prevent uneven growth. Artificial light sources provide convenience but you will need to change visibilities throughout.
5) How To Water A Closed Terrarium
To care for a closed terrarium plant, it is usually easier than caring for the average potted plant. The trick is knowing when to water your terrariums without having to check on them every day.
When watering the terrarium, use purified water that has been dechlorinated to avoid burning the roots and disrupting the bacterial balance. Distilled water is an excellent choice as well, with its lack of minerals.
A healthy terrarium should have soil that is moist but not soggy. Roots need to be able to obtain water and nutrients, as well as oxygen in order to grow properly. Saturated soil will lead to deadly root rot.
It is important to know how to water your terrarium well. One method is to water the soil surface sparingly and tilt the container so that it spreads throughout, looking through the glass at intervals to make sure the moisture is evenly distributed.
Always avoid overwatering plants with a dropper, syringe, drinking straw, or small scoop. But in cases of more sparse plantings and larger terrariums, use a spray bottle with medium pressure to ensure the water doesn’t over soak.
Closed terrariums need to have their top opened up after watering so that plants can dry. If you do overwater, tilt the container so that water collects in one area and then use paper towels to soak it up.
6) Cleaning A Closed Terrarium
In order to ensure light shines through your terrarium and keep it clean, use a commercial window cleaner on the exterior glass and non-toxic products for the interior.
If mineral deposits form on the glass over time, you should clean them with a mixture of 50% water and 50% white vinegar. Wet a paper towel with the mix and wrap it around a chopstick to reach tight spaces.
To keep your terrarium looking fresh, clean the hardscaping and wipe or spritz off any leaves that have been dirtied by recent handling. Dab away moisture before resealing the container.
7) How To Prune A Closed Terrarium
Terrarium plants are usually low maintenance, but of course healthy plants do grow and they need to be trimmed from time to time.
Take objective measure of your plantings. Subtle changes can accumulate and gradually crowd out your carefully created scene. There are three complications to keep in mind:
- Since plants grow at different paces, you might not prune everything at the same frequency.
- Be mindful of how much light each plant may receive due to their location and growth speed, and adjust accordingly. Constant attention is needed as plants grow and vary in height, blocking one another from sunlight exposure.
- Leaves touching the glass makes it more likely for condensation to form and mold growth.
It is important to sterilize the tools you plan on using before taking any action and make sure that the knife is sharp enough. Any bruised parts of foliage, or stems should be disposed off as they invite decay.
To trim overgrown leaves, pinch them from a lower node in the place where you want new growth to grow. Beheading is a valuable technique for limiting plant size and encourages bushier growth.
8) Closed Terrarium Planting Tips
All in all, here are some quick summarised tips to keep a closed terrarium thriving and looking great.
- Rinse your plants thoroughly before placing them in the terrarium. This prevents rain, bugs, mold, or foreign chemicals from getting inside.
- Make sure your soil is sterile to avoid bringing pests and mold spores into a closed system. If for some reason you don't think it's clean, sterilize it by baking.
- Provide growing room. Allow the plants to fill up your landscape on their own, then prune and groom as required.
- To make a terrarium plant smaller, trim the roots. Cut only thread roots rather than tap roots to maintain overall health.
- In order to maintain a lush, full landscape for your plants, you will need to replace them yearly. Most thriving plants grow quickly and surpass the size of typical terrariums within a year’s time.
Closed terrariums are a great way to create an oasis in your home or office. However, they require some care and maintenance on the owner’s part to keep them looking their best. Closed terrarium plants can be any kind of plant you want as long as it thrives in high humidity, such as cacti or ferns. We hope these tips will help you get started with caring for your closed terrarium so that you don't experience any major problems!
Furthermore, there are many closed terrarium plants for sale at various retail outlets. If you're looking for a unique and fun experience, you may want to consider booking a terrarium workshop (you can even bring those terrariums home or back to office!)
If you enjoy reading this article, do check out our other interesting articles as well!