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Handouts from Art Scarpa’s Terrarium Workshop

For those of you who didn’t receive a handout at Art Scarpa’s workshop on May 18 and for anyone who would like some information about terrariums and their assembly and care, Art has sent these very helpful instructions and resources.

Art used Anchor Hocking Jars

(For more pictures of the terrarium workshop, go to May Happenings.)

TERRARIUM CARE

For heavy glass jars with lids

Compiled by Art Scarpa, Atkinson, NH artscarpa@aol.com

  

Terrariums are one of the easiest ways to care for houseplants. They are very attractive, blending in with most any decor, make great gifts, and they are easy to make and maintain.

Now that your terrarium is at home, complete the landscape by adding some stones, twigs, pieces of bark or small clumps of moss.

Water very sparingly. Too much water will cause your plants to rot, and excess moisture cannot be easily removed from a terrarium. Use about 1/4 cup or less of tepid water for every gallon of container size. Do not pour the water directly onto the plants or soil.  Instead, tilt the container and let it trickle against the glass and run down the inside into the soil.  Using a clean new (unused) turkey baster is helpful.  If you have a lid on your terrarium, you may not have to water more often than once a month or so.

Do not leave your terrarium in direct sunlight.  A spot with good light will work.  An east or north window is best, although an east or west facing window may be all right during the winter.  A few hours of early morning or late afternoon sunshine in winter should be OK but a good rule is to leave the cover ajar to avoid heat build-up.   If you wish to grow under lights, the lights must be placed very close, just several inches above the plants.  A wide spectrum bulb is best; fluorescent bulbs are fine. Ott (brand) lights are also good.

Ventilate your container by leaving the lid slightly ajar for a day or so and if excessive mist forms on the glass or mold begins to form, it needs fresh air. Remove the cover for a few days or leave the glass lid slightly ajar – prop it open with a piece of wood, eraser or similar.

Mold spores are present in cool damp air and if you notice white mold beginning to grow on your plants and ventilatng for a day or two doesn’t help, treat immediately with a fungicide such as Physan, Daconil, Captan or similar brands.  They are available at better garden supply stores.  Some fungicides are drenches; they are mixed with water in small doses and then watered into the soil once.  The fungicide is absorbed into the plants through the roots.

Plants that are damaged from mold or insects should immediately be removed to prevent infecting other plants.  After treating the rest of the plants with a fungicide, you can replace the affected plant with a new one.

As plants outgrow their space in the terrarium, they can either be pruned back or carefully removed with a long-handled spoon and replaced with new ones.

If you made the terrarium to give as a gift, be sure to allow enough time to get the plants settled in before the big event!   Good luck, and have fun!

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TERRARIUM PLANTS LIST

Compiled by Art Scarpa, Atkinson, NH    artscarpa@aol.com

Here’s a list of houseplants that might be suitable for a terrarium or a bottle garden. Remember,plants for a terrarium or a bottle garden need to like humidity, indirect light (no direct sun needed), and enjoy a closed atmosphere!  NO cactus or succulents!  Scientific name is listed first, followed by the common name in parentheses.

  • Acorus (Sweet Flag)
  • Actiniopteris australis (mini fern)
  • Begonia rex (small-leaf varieties e.g. Begonia ‘Tiger Kitten’))
  • Calathea species (Zebra Plant, Peacock Plant, Rattlesnake Plant)
  • Cryptanthus (Earth Star)
  • Dracaena sanderiana (Ribbon Plant)
  • Ferns, small varieties: (Actiniopteris australis, Nephrolepis ‘Tiny Tim’ etc)
  • Ficus pumila,Ficus pumila quercifolia, Ficus repens (Creeping Fig, Trailing Fig)
  • Fittonia species (Snakeskin Plant, Nerve Plant, Painted Net Leaf, Silver Net Leaf)
  • Hedera helix (mini English Ivy – tiny-leaf varieties e.g. ‘Duckfoot’)
  • Hoya bella (Miniature Wax Plant)
  • Maranta species (Prayer Plant)
  • Neanthe bella or Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm)
  • Pellionia daveauana (Watermelon Pellionia, Satin Pellionia)
  • Peperomia species
  • Philodendron ‘Red Dwarf’’
  • Pilea (Creeping Charlie, Creeping Jenny, Aluminum Plant, Friendship Plant)
  • Saxifraga sarmentosa (Strawberry Begonia, Strawberry Geranium)
  • Selaginella (Club Moss, Spike Moss, Peacock Fern)
  • Sinningia pusillla
  • Syngonium or Nephrolepis species, miniature varieties (Arrowhead Plant)

Plants with one or more of the following words in their botanic (Latin) names MAY be suitable:

  • abbreviatus (shortened)
  • brevis (short)
  • forma minor (dwarf form)
  • humilis (low growing)
  • micro (small)
  • minima or minimus (very small)
  • minor (small)
  • nana or nanus (dwarf)
  • pumila or pumilus (dwarfish)
  • repens or reptans (creeping)

ONLINE SOURCES

www.meehansminiatures.com

www.blackjungle.com

www.kartuz.com

www.glasshouseworks.com

www.logees.com

www.lyndonlyons.com

 

LOCAL SOURCES    

Lake St. Garden Center                      Salem, NH

Mahoney’s Garden Center                   Winchester and other locations

Russell’s Garden Center                     Wayland