Mico mini sinningia terrarium

larry_b(Zone5/CO)February 19, 2005

Hello all,

I am replanting my 6 x 6 x 11 inch terrarium. Or I should say my micro mini sinningia flowerbed. As many of you remember I have had a terrible time with mold in this thing. I also had an asparagus fern in the too. Well, I have taken the asparagus fern out as several of you had recommended. I baked some potting medium in the oven to sterilize it and I am ready to go. At the moment I have a sinningia "Bright Eyes", a "White Sprite" and a clump of " Wood Nymph".

I plan on putting a layer of charcoal on the bottom and then a layer of potting medium. Now the question is how to keep the mold that is on the micro minis from spreading back into the terrarium. Should I use Tinactin and spray each plant roots and all? Would a quick spray of Tinactin over the entire surface of the potting medium be a good preventative? I also have some Physan. Would it be good to spray each clump of plants with that instead?

I have everything in plastic bags right now so I have time to wait for an answer. Even though I have had the previous set up for about a year and a half I still can't say that I am real comfortable with terrarium environments. My biggest concern is that dog gone mold. I just don't want to have to fight with it anymore. A fan is out of the question. There is not enough room in there to have a fan. If it were external I would have to water twice a day because of evaporation. Are there any other suggestions you would have to make this terrarium a success?

Anyway, I hope to hear from some of you soon and really appreciate any help you can give me.


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Well, I basically found Jon's remedy on the houseplant forum under terrarium from the 70s. So, I'm basically going to dig holes for the plants and then pre-treat the soil with tinactin. I figure a little bit of preventive maintenance won't hurt. I'll let you all know how it works.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 1:03AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Some people partially vent their terrariums to keep down mold. I know that mini-sinns grow well in semi-open containers. Dale Martens grew beautiful show plants in 2" or so pots in New Zealand moss and wicked.

It looks like I only have Rio das Pedras now. It is planted in a 2" pot that sits on a tray under one of my domes and under lights. It is growing up a storm. Now, either I had three plants or the original has spread itself to two other pots. It gets lots of humidity in there. I can't think of when I last watered it, and yet it sits with moisture all over the foliage. It also self pollinates, which explains the spreading tendency.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 2:18PM
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korina(9b, Sunset 17)

Would a bit more light keep the mold down?

You may not have room for a conventional fan, but what about a teeny computer fan? They're easy to set up; I found the hard part to be finding a suitable adapter, but the Recycling Center came through.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 12:33PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I'm pretty sure I've read that people used to use sphagnum moss for bandages even before my time because it has antiseptic and antifungal properties. I never have mold in my terrariums with sphagnum moss, and used to with other methods. It's also recommended to use a top-dressing of milled sphagnum on seedlings to prevent damping-off.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 12:19AM
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You're right, Nancy. There are microorganisms associated w/sphagnum that have antibiotic properties (& the moss has traces of steroid that promotes healing.) They made commercial bandages of the stuff during WWI, when the available cotton was being used for gun wadding. The Sammi (Lapps) even use it as a filler in bread. Unfortunately there's an associated fungus that can live in sphagnum (as well as some other organic materials) & can infect humans (Sporotrichosis is the condition-- skin lesions/ulcers - nasty, I guess.) It enters through broken skin, so the bandages don't seem like such a good idea in retrospect!

I've never had visible mold in sphagnum, either, though occasionally some algae, & sometimes viable moss spores come around. I like it as a medium...baked might be good.

So Larry, how'd it go? I've got a couple minis in a brandy snifter, left open. The high sides keep humidity pretty high, but there's still air circulation through the top.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 4:42PM
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Well, there isn't any mold on the new soil but the old soil around the roots of the plants is starting to grow mold again. I'm wondering if I should just bare root the little buggers and see what that does. Before that I'm going to try a little more tinactin and see what happens.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:19PM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

Hi Larry - sorry to hear you are battling that stuff.

I was going to suggest barerooting but it seemed like they would be too young for that kind of treatment. If the tubers seem big enough, I would recommend it.

I finally baked some potting mix a couple of weeks ago, but have yet to use it...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 4:11PM
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