How do you get the soil the correct moisture when first starting?

September_JenkinsFebruary 10, 2013

I've tried the terrarium a couple time with seedlings. They sprouted, they died. I can generally keep violets alive so when I saw this mini-violet, oddly with two completely different types of flowers in one plant, and with my terrarium set up empty and waiting at home, I went for it. I also got a mini fern, solely because it was the only other mini in the store that complicated the violet (aesthetically at least). I am notorious for killing ferns and have committed about 2 decades of genocide against ivies--I added the last living sprig of my latest ivy victim to the terrarium, not expecting it to live, but just because it IS alive for the moment and I have nothing else to do with it.

So, my few Qs:
1. Do these plants sound like a good mix?
2. I really don't know how to determine how much to water the soil right out of the gate... Any pointers? Rule of thumb?
3. If the moisture level is uncertain, should I close the lid immediately? Or wait... how long?
4. Any simple tips to keep a fern alive? I don't expect much from the ivy twig but I'd like to keep this fern alive (it would be my first survivor fern).

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September_Jenkins

Here's a better photo of plants inside terrarium. (The ivy sprig is cowering beneath the fern.)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:53PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi September,

1. Oh yes, I would say it's a good mix. None of the plants need real high humidity or humidity requirements that are different from each other.

2. My feeling is to make sure that it is damp, but be very careful not to put too much water in it from the beginning. You can always add water. You would be surprised how dry the soil can for the terrarium to work.

3. Put the lid on and see if it fogs up. If it fogs up you need to dry it out some more. Here I'd like to talk a little bit about your soil density. It looks a little too dense for a terrarium. I would take your soil out and mix it half and half with perlite. Even plants that need a lot of humidity are usually not aquatic plants. They can drown in dense soil. Especially under humid conditions you don't want the soil to be too dense or moist.

4. Not sure if your ferns were in terrariums, but if you follow the conditions above your, fern should do just fine.

Good luck

Larry

PS: I would also make a suggestion that you open the lid and breathe into your terrarium every couple of days. It's not critical that you do that and many people will say that it's unnecessary, but I find that it helps to get some air flow and some carbon dioxide into the terrarium once in a while.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:57AM
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