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Okay, I have read that the first thing you do is put charcoal in the bottom. Then what do I do and what kind of plants do I use. I saw some "ground cover" at Lowes and was wondering if that would be a good thing for a terrarium. I have a ten gallon tank. I have not bought my light yet, waiting to get more information before I start.
PS Thank you to Dave and Terry for giving us this forum
If the ground cover is slow growing then it would be fine. Baby tears would be a fine ground cover. I wouldn't put an aggressive ground cover in though.
It depends on how big a terrarium you have as to what size plants you would use. I would stick with dwarf type plants - small ferns, peperomias, African violet, orchids, etc. Rob's Violets has lots of terrarium type plants. You can search the web as well for ideas.
A ten gallon tank may be good for about 4 small plants or 1 large one. You also want plants that don't grow tall else they will be growing out the top or pushing on the lights.
Charcoal (horticultural charcoal) is a good idea but not necessary as long as you don't have standing water which will stagnate and possibly sour.
You can also use an aquarium/terrarium as a hospital/hot house/incubator/or whatever you want to call it. I have a big aquarium that I use to encourage new growth on a lot of my small, weak begonias and propagate my last leaf of a begonia. It needs a good cleaning but the plants are thriving in it. I have lots of moss and ferns growing in it as well that came in through spores. The one thing I hate is when mushrooms grow in it because when they emit their spores it goes everywhere and makes the leaves of nice plants look dull and ugly. No real harm done, but it isn't pretty either. Anyway I have a 48 inch 4 tube fluorescent fixture on top of this tank which is on a 14 hour timer. I had to remove two of the tubes due to the heat buildup.
Here is a picture of symbegonia, begonia 'Queen Olympus', and a volunteer fern that take up residence in this tank. All the begonias in this tank are in their own pots.
Here is the same tank last year used primarily as a propagation area. I lost most of these due to taking them out of a very humid environment to normal house conditions. Lesson learned - wait until warm weather before removing plants from these ideal growing spots.
You have some fabulous begonias..Sorry to hear bout your losses :( Live and learn!
Really though...I would love to hook something up if you ever have spares.
I have most gesneria but I do have a couple begonias and other things
Those are great begonias! Especially Pink Queen, what a looker! Thanks for info, I am going to set up a few terrariums and I am not quite sure how I want to proceed, every bit of advice is being filed away in my stainless steel sieve of a brain- hopefully some will stick to the sides! LOL.
OMG, 'Queen Olympus' is absolutely beautiful. I have never grown any begonias before so I would not know which ones to buy. I think that Lowe's have some for sale but how do I know which ones would be good for my terrarium? I would love to put something that flowers, like a mini AV in it also. I love lots of color and it helps DH to see it better too. Is there a list of begonias that do well in terrariums or do they all do okay? Also, I would love to plant something for ground cover. Are there any more plants that you could reccomend to use as ground cover, other than baby tears? I love your terrarium. It really is pretty.
Butch, I have a question for you. Do you keep a top on the aquarium? I checked them out at wally world today and the tank alone is around $10, but the lid w/light is another $30. A 20 gal complete setup is just under $30, so I figured if you didn't gerry-rig a cover to keep humidity in, then I'd go with the complete setup. And if you did.. how'd you do it??
More than one question.. TIA for the info, though.
I'm sure there are all kinds of plants for terrariums but you should use dwarf plants for small terrariums. I'd recommend Rob's Violets as a good starting point for ideas (begonias especially). You can also use terrariums as a good place for small cacti and succulents except you need to keep things on the "drier" side.
I use to have an iguana that I kept in a terrarium along with a couple of gasteria and some haworthia. He outgrew this enclosure so I made a 4'x4'x4' chicken wire cage for him and then finally gave him and the cage away.
I keep a cover on some terrariums and others I do not. I have one sitting on my end table in the living room where the plant has outgrown its container (begonia 'Shamus' in an earlier note). On some of my terrariums I use Saran wrap to keep the humidity in. I'd say the 20 gallon tank with lights is a pretty good deal. I have 48" shop lights hanging over mine so it's not as attractive but then I can stick more plants under the same light.
I just recently converted a 30 gal aquarium to a terrarium. I have a layer of gravel mixed with charcoal on the bottom, a layer of good potting soil and then I put sphagum moss on top of that and along the front edge of everything to keep the layers from showing. I have two African violets in there (still in their pots in case they start to fail), a pepperomia, a small maidenhair fern, two miniature ivy plants (one plain green and one variegated), a creeping jenny and a tiny air plant I just received as a gift. I kept the aquarium top on even though it has an open slot along the back edge where the filter and heater used to go, and have the light on 12 hours/day. I mist it periodically and have stuck my fingers into the dirt near the roots and everything is staying moist. I also put in a couple of the rocks I'd had in the aquarium, one big one with a lot of holes in it and one smaller in the front. I put a pedestal on one side that I bought at a thrift shop for $1.50.
My pictures are not very good, but maybe you can get an idea. This first one is my first attempt. As you can see, the AV on the pedestal was too large and too close to the lights.