Setting Up A Terrarium

Culture

by Susan Taylor

Originally published in BellaOnline

Posted by Sys Admin about 8 years ago.

Article Blog   Article Index

Many orchid growers graduate from the windowsill to a terrarium in order to better control environmental conditions, especially humidity, for their plants. An old aquarium can be used for this purpose fairly easily. If it was a fresh water tank, all it needs is a good cleaning with soap and water and an overnight soak in a bleach solution to kill any algae left in crevices. If it was a salt water tank, you will need to fill the tank with water and let it soak for several days, rinse and soak again, in order to make sure that all salt residues have been removed.

Although it is not very natural looking, most experts recommend using egg shell crate (material used for fluorescent light covering available at most hardware stores). This material is approximately ½ inch or 2 centimeters high with openings in squares of approximately ¼ inch or 1 centimeter. The effect when this is used as the substrate is then to keep all materials from the bottom of the terrarium while holding water and allowing it to evaporate up through the spaces.

You will want to choose props much like those used in a fish tank in order to make the whole thing look natural. Drift wood, rocks, cork are all good choices. Be sure that you clean and sterilize anything that you bring in from the wild. Materials purchased from pet stores are probably already sterile and will not need to be treated. Place your props, the largest in the background and smallest in the front before you put in your plants.

Plants should be chosen carefully for size and the larger plants can be placed in the back or growing up cork. Small plants such as Masdevallia, Pleurothallis and the smaller Paph species are good choices. Jewel orchids should always be considered since their foliage is always interesting when nothing else is blooming. Choose contrasting leaf colors for the best effect. Ferns make very good companion plants and will add a pleasing texture change to the scene.

Place your plants still in their pots and then add sphagnum moss around the plants and cover the egg crate so that it no longer shows. When assembled like this repotting is very simple – just take out the plant and pot, put in new media and then replace. Some orchids will tend to grow into their environment and should not need repotting if they have acclimated such as growing on a cork backdrop.

Share on Social Media:  
Log in to Add a Comment

New Topics

  1. John Small asked question Paper Wasp? in category General Discussion
  2. Sharie Heckaman started topic Photos of plants in category General Discussion
  3. Roberto Lizama started topic Orchid identification in category General Discussion
  4. Roberto Lizama asked question Help to idenficate this orchid in category General Discussion
  5. William Gorski asked question Dendrobium Identification in category General Discussion

New Comments

  1. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Phal. buyssoniana by Robert Oceans
  2. Mary Lane commented on member plant Fdk. After Dark 'SVO Black Pearl FCC/AOS; CCE/AOS' by William Gorski
  3. John Small commented on topic "Paper Wasp?" by John Small
  4. Lauren Hutchison commented on topic "Help to idenficate this orchid" by Roberto Lizama
  5. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Phal. Timothy Christopher by Vickie Seibert
  6. Carol Holdren commented on topic "Photos of plants " by Sharie Heckaman
  7. Carol Holdren commented on member plant C. Ronald Fonseca var. Compact 'SVO' by Vickie Seibert
  8. Roberto Lizama commented on member plant Ntl. bicolor by Roberto Lizama
  9. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Gra. stapeliiflora var. Waki by Melvin Waki
  10. Vickie Seibert commented on member plant Phal. Anna-Larati Soekardi 'Wilson' by Vickie Seibert
  11. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Rrm. Spunky by Melvin Waki
  12. Charles Vella commented on topic "Orchid list Cold/Warm" by Charles Vella
  13. Sandi Block-Brezner commented on topic "Brassocattleya hybrid?" by Sandi Block-Brezner
  14. Robert H. Findlay commented on topic "looking for info about an unregistered cattleya" by bob lewis
  15. james Hu commented on orchid Den. vannouhuysii
  16. Chase Hubbard commented on member plant Hknsa. Sogo Doll by Tom Kuligowski
  17. Colin Campbell commented on topic "Can anyone identify this orchid?" by Jan E Teitsworth
  18. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Lc. Memory of PienPien Wei by Robert Rand
  19. Robert Rand commented on member plant Bc. Yellow Bird by John Small
  20. Sharie Heckaman commented on member plant Btcm. Hwuluduen Chameleon by Diana Sammy