African Violets in Terrarium?

elizabeth_24June 16, 2004

Hi all,

I'm new to the world of terrariums and was wondering if anyone here has planted african violets in their terrarium? I have an empty 10 gallon aquarium that I was considering coverting into a terrarium. My plan is to use a mixture of potting soil, vermiculite and perlite for the substrate and then cover that with dried spanish moss. If it'll work, I'd like to plant some mini african violets (those I'll keep in their individual pots and just "bury" in the dirt and moss) and some other small plants, such as the pink spotted ivy plants which I will actually plant in the substrate. I'm also considering a small pond to help with humidity. What do you think of the av's in the terrarium? Would they survive?

As well, I don't have a lid for the aquarium, what would you recommend using as a lid and what would you recommend for lighting? I'm considering just buying one of those screen lids for the aquarium (like you would use if you had reptiles living in it) but need some thoughts or ideas on how to attach lighting to it. And if it's just a screen lid, would there still be enough humidity?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I've got a mini AV in my terr, no pot, just planted directly into the substrate, and it's blooming its little heart out! So I really don't think they need to be pot-bound in order to bloom (I 'overpot' all of my AVs). So yes, AVs love terrs, especially the humidity. And I find that when I mist they don't even get water spots. It is important to only use RO water in terrariums, and this way you will also avoid hard water marks on the glass. I definitely recommend a lid for your terr, or the humidity will not be much higher than the rest of your house (unless you live in Florida or some other humid place, in which case forget the lid). Just get a piece of glass cut to sit on the top. Some aquarium stores do this, as do normal glass selling and cutting places.
For lighting in a 10 gallon, you might be able to pick up a fluorescent fixture at a fish store like Big Al's. One would likely be sufficient, depending on the plants you want (it's easier to stick to low light plants; AVs are low light). Two fixtures would be better. Or if you're handy or know someone who is, make your own light fixture using the cheap 'Daylight' compact fluo's at Home Depot. One would for sure be enough, even for high light plants. Get a piece of aluminium for the reflector and bend it yourself (it's easy). You can attach the light to the reflector. And since those compacts are screw-ins, you can use a normal incandescent fixture. Below is a picture of the light hood for my tank, an 85 gallon terrarium.

The bulb on the right is one from HD. That's all you'd need. Forget the so called 'gro' lights that are incandescent. They are just tinted blue on the glass so that you think your plants are getting the right spectrum. The light that gets through is still as yellow as can be (mostly useless to plants), and the heat they give off is insane. compact fluo's are also very energy-efficient.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 8:06PM
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Excellent advice sahoyaref, thanks very much! I'm actually in Canada as well, living in BC, but my heart still belongs to Alberta. ;)

I tend to overpot my av's as well but can usually get them to bloom anyway. :) The reason I decided to keep them in the pots and just bury them in the substrate is so that I can move them around in the terrarium from time to time, without disturbing the roots, and give the terrarium a different look.

I'm going to take your advice and have a piece of glass cut to fit the aquarium and I think I'll try and make my own light fixture.

Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 1:32AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

That's funny, 'cause my heart belongs to BC! My family has gone there to camp every since since I was very young, and I love it. Lots of relatives there. I want to live there someday, and lucky for me, so would my husband! =)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 1:44PM
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Heh, heh...I lived in Calgary for 10 years and even after 3 years I still miss it quite a bit. Do you usually camp in the Okanagan area? That's where I live and it's nice to have the gorgeous weather but somedays I'd trade it all in for just one 40 below day in Calgary. :)

I was taking a look at your terrarium (gorgeous by the way and, thanks to your detailed instructions in another post, I'm hoping to create a pond like yours!) and I really liked how you seem to have different types of moss and ferns in it. I was planning on covering my soil with dried spanish moss but I would like to have a few patches here and there of the "live" stuff. Did you buy your moss at a nursery? My plan is to go for lots of green with a few av's here and there for colour. Did you buy your driftwood at a pet store? I'm considering adding a small piece of it for mine and am wondering where would be the ideal place to buy it.

I was thinking of putting a layer of aquarium gravel on the very bottom to help with drainage before adding the soil mixture. What do you think of that idea? Would it help with drainage?

Oi, so many questions! Thanks in advance for your help sahoyaref. :D

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 2:29PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I did camp in the Okanagan once, and yes, it is HOT! I prefer Surrey and Chiliwack. =)

I got my driftwood at a pet store; it's called mopani wood. However, it can be pricey, so if you only want small pieces, it would be easier to find your own at the beach and just boil it for 1/2 hr. or so before placing it in your terrarium.

Depending on which pics of my terr you saw, the yellow moss that was draped over the wood at the back of my terr is all gone now. I bought it at a pet store. It was being sold as sheet moss for reptile and amphibian vivariums, and was overpriced. I thought it would come back to life because I didn't know that it wasn't sphagnum, and it never did, so I now use it to line some baskets of orchids on my balcony. The live moss I collected from a forest near my house, and so far it's doing very well. It changed its growth habit somewhat, probably due to the warmer temps and higher light, but I don't know if it will survive much longer than a year, since it won't get a dormancy period in my terrarium. You would probably be fine using moss you can find, since your climate is warmer.

The gravel doesn't really do much. You are supposed to put say an 1 or 2 of gravel in, and then fill it with water not quite to the top of the gravel. Then you add your dirt mix. This is mainly for sealed terrariums, since the water underneath the dirt will slowly evaporate and keep the dirt moist. I find it useless, since I overfilled it, so my soil is soaking wet anyways. (Curiously, the plants are all doing fine). If you just keep the soil evenly moist, you don't need gravel. The plants will grow roots down into the gravel anyways (unless you keep them in their pots of course, though they may grow through the drainage holes.

Post pics when you're done!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 8:20PM
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Thanks sahoy! I thought about it for awhile and decided it would be best to try a smaller terrarium first and see if I had a knack for them and if I liked creating them. I went out this weekend and bought this large brandy glass from Walmart (it's huge!) and used that for the terrarium instead of my 10 gallon aquarium. After reading your note about the gravel, I decided to go with charcoal on the bottom instead to help with drainage and to keep the terrarium smelling sweet. I used potting soil, vermiculite and perlite as my substrate and I've planted some baby tears, a couple of different types of ferns, an ivy (which can grow quite leggy so I'll have to keep it pinched off) and a mini violet. I also placed some polish river bed stones in it and I have to admit that I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. And I had a blast creating it! I'm definitely going to start planning my 10 gallon aquarium one now. :) I also bought a mister and just need to run out to the grocery store for some "distilled" water to mist it once a week with.

I've taken pictures of it so as soon as I finish off the film and get it developed I'll post pictures in the gallery section.

Thanks again for your help sahoy - I can't wait to show my very first terrarium to you. :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 1:30PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Those misters from Walmart (the PlantSmart ones) are great, aren't they? Such a fine mist! And yes, terrariums are addictive. . . =) I started with a big one, and now I am creating lots of small ones. So much fun! I've seen those huge brandy snifters, and I want to use one to make a terr. as well. Yours sounds really nice, so I'm looking forward to the pics!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 3:41PM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

I hate to inturupt this lovefest...hehe (I've been to Alberta but not BC :( ) but you WILL want a bigger one.

Ironically you've created almost the exact same substrate that I have in my 30 gallon. It was about ten years ago but as I recall it was: gravel, charcoal, spanish moss (to trap some of the fines from clogging up the large layers), vermiculite and/or perlite, and potting soil and/or peat moss. I watered after I planted it up and only add water to the tank itself maybe twice a year. i do water individual plants more often.

i was trying to grow certain carnivores along with things that tolerate less humidity and it was an issue so I created a ten gallon tank w/ no fan that stays essentially sealed. For the "soil" in it I used (I think) straight peat moss mixed w/ a bunch of those water crystals. I used too much...hehe...cuz the next day it was like a huge gross spongy mass...BUT ...the plants seem to love it! Moss certainly grows well and so do sundew plants.

Oh yea...i really did have a point...AV's will spread out quite a bit and cover a good amount of acreage in a ten gallon tank. I'm not sure how small "mini" AVs stay but I know that regular sized ones will pretty well dominate a ten gallon tank before long. they certainly do enjoy growing in that environment.

Both my tanks are totally overgrown now and I have a third w/ more front to back depth (a BIG plus) that isn't planted yet and I have big dreams of making my own enormous custom tank. If you really get into it you WILL want a bigger one then ten gallon. Heed my words!!!

( I have a friend that was born in Chiliwack and I never miss an opportunity to make fun of her for it ) :)


    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 10:18PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I fail to see the humour in Chiliwack. . . perhaps because I've lived here too long, so it's a commonly heard name? It's not pronounced Chilee-wack (the chili part being pronounced the same way as the Mexican food), if that's where the humour is. I don't get it. . . =P

MrB's point is correct though, you will definitely want a bigger tank. And then more tanks, and more! . . . but a 10 gal is fine to start out with.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently discovered the correct abbreviation for foot candles. It's ft-c! And all this time I've been writing f.c. . . . tsk, tsk! Of course it makes perfect sense, but I never really thought there would be an actual correct abbreviation. Also unrelated, why is the word 'abbreviation' so long? Anyways. . . =)

Oh yeah, mini AVs. They get to be 6-8" across, max. Micro-minis will be smaller, about 4" across. That's still fairly large for a 10 gal, but it will take them a while to grow that big, and you can always restrict the growth by keeping them in their pot. And since you (Elizabeth) said you were going to be doing that anyways, size shouldn't be a problem! Now that I've opened the door for even more jokes. . .

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 12:21AM
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*LOL* You people are hysterical! :)

MrBreeze, I already see your point. I've been looking at all the different plants I want to put in my 10 gallon and it's way too small... ;) I'm going to wait a bit and see if my little one thrives and then I'll move on to the 10 gallon. If that one thrives then it's on to the 85 gallon! :)

Sahoy, I don't get the Chiliwack reference either. *L* Hopefully MrB will be kind enough to explain... ;)

I think I must have a micro mini, because the little one I put in my terrarium is in a 3 oz pot at the most. And since I did keep it in the pot, I'm thinking it's not going to get much bigger than it already is. And I'll definitely stick to the micro mini's for the 10 gallon too. Sahoy, when you mist in your terrarium (and yup, I got the PlantSmart one from Walmart too!) do you mist directly on to the plants, or more on the substrate or maybe on the glass? I'm unsure of my "misting" technique...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 12:38AM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

Chiliwack? AHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! *ahem* ummm...well I guess it was kind of an inside joke between me and my Canadian friend. I probably just thought it was a funny name cuz i'm a dumb american... :)

Once my mom gave me a leaf from one of her AVs (she's been growing them since before i was born) and I just stuck it in a small pot in my ten gallon terrarium and forgot about it. Some weeks later I happened to notice a lot of leafage through the misty lid and suddenly remembered the AV leaf!! That sucker had grown a whole new crown of leaves with at least a 4 or 5 inch spread in hardly any time at all. I was quite impressed.

Anyway it was too big for that tank so I pulled it out and its still growing to this very day.

and they all lived happily ever after.

the end

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 1:08AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

You're lucky (I guess) that you only got one crown of leaves from your AV leaf! I've gotten three seperate crowns before. What a mess that would be if you left them all growing together! When I bought my mini AV, I noticed that it had several suckers. I hope it doesn't sucker too badly in my tank, because I don't really want to be constantly maintaining it, and it does look quite messy.

Elizabeth: the size you bought your AV is no indication of its final size. If it was a micro-mini, it would likely have been sold in a 1" pot! More likely it is a plain ole' mini or a semi-mini. But if it is the 'feature plant' in your 10 gal terrarium, I wouldn't worry about it growing to 6 inches. It will just be more impressive that way! =) As for misting technique, I used to mist everything; the plants, the substrate, the glass, etc. Now I only mist the plants and a couple places with moss on the substrate. The plants are the ones that really need the moisture, not the glass, and misting the glass inhibits your being able to see into the tank, which also cuts down on your enjoyment of it, so I wouldn't mist the glass. Oh yeah, I also only heavily mist the epiphytes. The other plants just get a light misting that I just kind of spray into the general air of the tank, just to keep the humidity up. Since your brandy snifter terr. is open on top (right?), you could mist it a few times a day if you want, depending on how humid your area is. it's much dryer here, so if I had an open terr, it'd be misting it lots!
And when you do a bigger tank, do a false bottom, not the charcoal/gravel system. I sure wish I had. . . (check old posts or do a search if you don't know what I'm talking about).

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 2:18PM
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I have another mini violet that I just purchased that's got terrible sucker problems. It's taking a long time to try and rid it of it's extra suckers and get it to grow properly. Oi...what a pain!

Hmm...maybe it is just a mini then, I'm not sure. I have a picture of the violet that I took before I put it in the terrarium but didn't put anything beside it as a size comparison so it won't help much in determining what it is. I know that I can cover a blossom on it completely with a quarter. *shrugs* You're probably right Sahoy, it's most likely a mini and not a micro-mini. Doesn't really matter though because as you said, if I decide to place it in my 10 gallon as my focus plant, which it would be, it'll be fine to grow to six inches. :)

Thanks for the advice on the misting techniques. You're right, the brandy snifter is open on top but I wanted to try and keep the humidity level in so I bought a plain glass plate and placed it on top of the brandy glass like a wee hat. My plan is to once a week take the plate off for awhile to give it a bit of fresh air and to mist the plants. Of course, this being my first terrarium, I'm open to suggestions. If it's better to leave it open and mist it daily I'm willing to try that too. :)

I've been doing some research and reading some old posts and I definitely will be doing the false bottom. I found an awesome idea on one of the old posts about how to do a false bottom using egg crate material and PVC pipes.

And is it wrong for me to now constantly be examining any small and medium size glass jars I see and thinking ... "ooh, I could make a little terrarium out of this one!" :D

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 5:56PM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

Of course its not wrong...its perfectly normal and right!

My only warning on using the glass lid w/ your brandy jar is that if you place it where it gets direct sunlight the poor little thing could cook. It would definitely keep the humidity up and lessen the need for misting. And if kept out of direct light it should be great.

Be forwarned...if you ever start growing orchids in terrariums life will be over as you know it. But in some ways BETTER!

good luck,

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 11:36PM
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Thanks Mr.Breeze - it's good to know that I'm normal. *L*

My terrarium is at work in my cubicle. It doesn't get direct sunlight, in fact it only receives flourescent lighting. I had the same concern about cooking it in the sun which is part of the reason I decided to bring it to work with me.

I've looked at some of the posts about orchids in terrariums and have already started thinking - hmm...maybe I should try that too. ;)

And the obsession grows....

    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 12:16AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Did you know that MB is the abbreviation for Manitoba? (That's a province in Canada, in case you, being a 'dumb american' didn't know that). =) Don't worry though, we don't think you're dumb. You may be American, but no one's perfect! =) Actually my husband is an American, so I really have nothing against you all. I sometimes wish I lived in the states, because Canada doesn't have very many good orchid dealers, and certainly none with the amazing selection y'all have down there.

Terrariums are orchid heaven. And our main purpose is to enable you, so GO BUY AN ORCHID! NOW!! heh, heh. . . =) It's probably better to have a little experience growing orchids outside of a terrarium first. Plus you would need such a big terrarium. . . better start saving your money! =) Yes, I, too, am always thinking about new terrariums in any glass container I can think of. I saw some ugly old glass lamps at a garage sale recently, the kind that hang from chains from the ceiling and are shaped like UFOs, and I thought 'you could do a neat little terrarium in there. . .' It's a sickness, but a wonderful one. =)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 9:23PM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

Manitoba, British columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Quebec, PEI, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Yukon terr., Nova Scotia, Ninuvat. *bows*

*ahem*....I think using MB as the abbreviation is QUITE silly....clearly it should be MT or MA. :)

I have a collection of almost all of the Canadian province quarters from last decade but I'm missing a couple of the maritime provinces. Y'all keep your eyes open for me eh?

Terrariums and orchids are the BEST!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 1:30AM
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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

Yes, there is something of a 'sickness' about terrariums. I can't pass by any glass object, large or stupidly small, without wondering what kind of secret world could be constructed inside it. Is it just the fascination of miniaturisation? Is it a love of tropical high humidity for its own sake? Or must it be something primal and womblike to do with 'enclosure'? I don't know. Bound to be some psychoanalytic explanation.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 6:46AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I collect those 'special' quarters too, and I'm missing some, so I don't think I'll be sending any to YOU, Mr. B! =P Just kidding. If I do come across extras, I might send them your way if you really want them. Oh, and that's Nunavit, not Ninuvat. =)

I have a fascination with miniaturism. Oh, and with orchids. . . most plants. . . cats. . . fungi and lichens. . . other interesting objects. . . ironically, though, when people come over to our apartment, they see my husband's saltwater tank and Ooooooo and aaaaaahh over it endlessly, and COMPLETELY ignore my huge terrarium (my tank is bigger than my husband's). They are in the same room, for crying out loud! Opposite ends of the couch! Hellooooooooooo!?!? Yes, it makes me jealous. . . =P someone *might* ask, "Are there any animals in there?" And when I say "not yet", they promptly turn away and look at the fish and corals in the saltwater tank again. *sigh* What is it with people? Is the culture so obsessed with TV that they are not interested in something unless it moves? As if plants aren't cool and fun to look at! Even if they said, "Hey, cool plants. Is that an orchid?" it would make me feel so much better. . . the only person who does that is my MIL. She is wonderful, and I love her. My own mom doesn't agree with the way we spend our money, so of course she is not going to say my terrarium is nice. =) Ah, parents. . . Anyways, thanks for letting me vent. =)

One more thing: Steve: 'primal' and 'womblike' is a load of cr@p, if you ask me. And being a woman, I would know. Freud is an idiot (IMHO) when it comes to his ideas about men and women (there is no such thing as 'penis envy'!!!!). Some men may have a fascination with a woman's reproductive ability, but most of the time it's really a big pain in the butt (though children are, of course, wonderful). I intensely dislike psychoanalysis. Once againk, thank you for letting me vent. =)

I believe that humans simply have an appreciation for creation (some of us anyways), and since we are created, we seek to do the same, making our own little worlds, or at least forests and/or lakes/streams/whatever. We are supposed to tend the earth and take care of it, so it brings much fulfillment and satisfaction when we do. It is truly a shame that so many others are willing to exploit it. Money isn't really the problem, but human greed. Anyways. . . this is getting off the topic of terrariums here, though I enjoy it, and we don't have a conversation side to this forum, so we may as well talk here! More thoughts, anyone? (Sorry to hijack your thread, Elizabeth!)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 1:44PM
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*LOL* No worries Sahoy, I found it interesting. :)

And Steve - I loved the phrase "secret world" that you used. That's exactly what I liked about doing my first terrarium - it made me feel like I was creating this pretty little world. Oh man, I've got to start another terrarium and soon! :0)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 6:47PM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

ooohhhh!!! a saltwater tank??? WOW!!! *turns back on terrarium* hehe

I was thinking about this the other day when i was daydreaming about orchids as I often do...and I think it totally applies to terrariums as well.

Among the many many reasons that I like that I've always had a fascination for jungles. Watching nature shows on tv I was always completely amazed by the lush growths and waterfalls and vines and misty glens etc. and I would dream of living in a place like that.

But then when you get older you realize that those places come with a number of negatives like bugs...BUGS!!!..tropical diseases, constant moisture, machine-gun weilding rebel factions, flooding, chaffing, and miserable death.

But by having some orchids or a terrarium or even just a crapload of house's like capturing a small piece of the jungle...terrariums especially. But one of the main reasons I'm attracted to orchids is the aerial roots which are such a fixture of jungles.

k i'm done. sure wish I could see a pic of that saltwater tank!! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 10:54PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Mr. Breeze
What particular "jungle" are you describing?? Sounds like Florida to me. lol

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 4:11AM
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BC is shockingly beautiful. And Chiliwack has, apparently, among the most pure water in the world, and out there they grow the best corn known to humanity. It also used to hold the Guinness record for number of churches.

Super. Natural. .

ROFL I'm such a tourist pamphlet on legs...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 6:51PM
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stephenpope2000uk(Brighton, UK)

But, Catalina, British Columbia rates a very low score when it comes to chaffing, high-humidity, miserable death. And yes, I agree we don't need to bring Freud into any of this - it's a rainforest thing. Then there's cloudforests, of course...

On the subject of miniaturisation: has anybody tried planting up one of those Starbucks beakers with the domed lid (the sort of thing they serve cream-topped frappacino in)? I use them all the time and always have a few on windowsills or under growlights. Tropical ferns for me, mostly, but they might also be good for selaginella on a piece of bogwood sitting in a puddle of water. My latest one just has a single water lettuce floating in an inch of water, plus a drip of Baby Bio. They grow really fast this time of year.

So, even the trash bin at your local Starbucks holds out terrarium possibilities. But I don't want anybody suggesting a family of five Fire-Bellies would fit nicely in there. Otherwise I'll be away and sulk for a month, like last time.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 2:24PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Mr. B: bite me! IF I ever invited you to my house, I would expect you, of all people (and the others on this forum) to Oooooo and aahhhhh over my terrarium more than my husband's saltwater tank! If you didn't, I would promptly kick you out on your @$$. =P (Just kidding) =)

Yes, BC is awesome. It has rainforests, too (at least for the time being. I hope they don't log it all someday), though unfortunately I've never seen any epiphytic orchids in their trees. I love the jungley look too, and also always watched those nature documentaries, while the rest of my classmates were watching Friends and Days of our Lives and other idiotic shows. . . no offense to anyone here who watches them. =) It doesn't look like I'll be able to go camping there this year after all. =( Serious lack of funds right now. I'm still hopeful though. . . *crossing fingers*

Oh sure, Gary, rub it in! =) Though you do have to actually live in all of that humidity and heat and bugs. . . It's been almost 30 degrees (87 to you Americans) here for the past two days, and I'm dying. I can't imagine 100 degrees like you get down there. . .

Those clear drink cups are a good idea for ferns! Personally I'd find the container rather unattractive, but at least your plant would stay alive and grow.

Elizabeth: back to AVs in terrariums. . . =) Mine is still doing very well. It had pale green leaves to begin with (the natural colour), and now they have taken on a nice reddish tinge due to the higher light, and it is still blooming it's heart out. I think it would like it better if I had a fan in there for better air circulation, as the individual flowers don't last very long (the stems rot), but it's still doing very well, considering.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 1:56PM
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Well, my poor little terrarium has mold already. Gah! I've given up keeping a "hat" on it and am trying it in the open air. It seems to be doing better now. Hurrah!

Sahoy, my AV "seems" to be doing okay. All of the blooms died fairly quickly and the new ones that were coming up died before they could bloom so I don't know... *shrugs* But the leaves have a nice healthy look to them. I'll give it six months or so and if it doesn't bloom, I'll pull it out of there and replace it with something else. I don't know what though - I'd like to have a flower to keep some colour in it but it's such a tiny little terrarium, I'm not sure what kind of flower to put in. Any suggestions?

Oh, and I should have pictures of the terrarium soon. :) I just have to get the pictures developed this week.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 3:37PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have you thought of some of the other members of the Gesneriad family?? Some of the Sinningias are among the worlds smallest flowering plants.Most of them like heat and humidity. Sahoy It was 85 at 4 this morning with 90 percent humidity. We're hoping it will warm up by At least the wind has returned to normal ,off the ocean keeps it below 90 . Rainy season is waaay overdue. 10 inches below normal.
Orchids are sulking but gingers are exploding!!
Didn't realise it ever got that warm in your area wow

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 5:42PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Aside from the mini sinningias, most other gesneriads prefer to dry out between waterings, so they aren't very good candidates for a terrarium. I have seen streptocarpus in terrs. in pics, but who knows how long they lasted (the pic could have been taken right after they put the strep. in). I'm going to try them in mine, because I just love them, but not until my soil dries out more. It's waaaaaaayyyyyyy too wet in there right now. Also, I wouldn't worry about the mould. It really only goes on dead stuff, so your plants will be fine, and you may get some really cool things growing. I've got all these tiny plants that look like some kind of fern popping up all over my terr. The seeds must have been in the soil or something. I rather like them, as they are a nice golden green, and they are very low-growing, almost like a moss. The leaves resemble ginkgo leaves, if anyone happens to know the plant I am describing. The largest are about 1 cm wide and tall.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2004 at 1:57PM
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rraabfaber(Z7 NM)

Chiliwack was also the name of a rock band back in the 70s or 80s. IIRC they were being touted as the "New Beatles".

Plus it's a fun name to say. Chil-a-wack. Chil-a-wack. Just rolls off the tongue. I'm originally from Ontario, but have resided in New Mexico for 30 years.

But back to the subject at hand.... For those of you who DO have avs in terrariums, do you not have problems with the leaves getting wet? Did someone mention this already?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 2:29PM
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Hi there,

Getting water on av leaves isn't as bad as most people have been told. You can have water on them, just make sure certain precautions are taken. I know there are people on the av forum who give their violets a "tepid" water bath every once in a while to clean the leaves. The real trick is not to let the crown of the av get wet. If it does, you'd need to blot it dry with a q-tip or even blow gently on it until it is dry. Oh, and never let an av with water on it's leaves sit in sunlight, it'll scorch the leaves right off the poor wee thing. Of course, av's shouldn't be in direct sunlight ever, with or without water on their leaves.... :)

My own personal experience with my av in the terrarium is that it has no problem with the leaves being wet. I mist all of the plants a few times a week with room temperature distilled water and the av is doing just fine. Seems to like it actually. :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 3:58PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

The only real problem with AV leaves getting wet is the unsightly brown 'watermarks' it leaves. That being said, I think it is more of a problem with the chemicals in tap water. I have had no problems whatsoever, and I mist my AV in my terrarium with RO water every day, just like Elizabeth. Rainwater would also be good, as long as you come from an area that doesn't get acid rain. =)

Regarding blooming AVs that are not in a pot and therefore not rootbound (from earliers posts on this thread), my AV has gone out of bloom, but it is too soon to tell yet whether this is because it is no longer root bound or whether it simply needs to adjust to the lack of fertilizer (I'm sure it was fertilized at the store where I bought it a month ago, and that fertilizer has probably been all used up by now) or other growing conditions. Will update in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 4:54PM
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Hmm... my AV has stopped blooming as well, but it's root bound in the terrarium so who knows what the heck is going on with it. Maybe I'll try giving it a wee shot of fertilizer - see how that turns out.

Oh and sahoy - did you check out the gallery section yet? I posted pictures of my terrarium and I've been waiting anxiously for you to look at them. :0)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 7:11PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Oh, I have been forgetting all about the gallery side! I'll go have a look now. . .

I wouldn't fertilize your AV in your terrarium. The excess salts will have no where to go, since you can't flush the 'pot' (unless you kept it in the pot) and can be very bad for the AV and the other plants in your terr. I'd just wait and see, or maybe try giving it a bit more light. Sometimes AVs just go out of bloom for a week or two, and then then 'burst forth' again. That's why I'm just going to leave mine for a bit, to see what happens. I can't definitively say that AVs only bloom when potbound yet. =) And, of course, in nature they aren't potbound!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 2:35PM
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I kept the av in the pot (just so that I could pull it out more easily if for some reason it started to go "blecch" on me) so I could probably fertilize it as long as I remember to flush it out every once in a while.

However I am going to take your advice and wait a while longer to see if it blooms, I'll give it a few months.

That's what I've always wondered about as well - they say they "have" to be potbound to bloom but, like you said, they're not in pots in nature and I've had a few av's that bloomed while in pots that were way too big for them. *shrugs* I dunno, cause I've also had av's that didn't bloom until I put them in smaller pots. :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2004 at 11:48PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

All of my AVs are in pots that are 'too big' and they bloom just fine. Who knows what it is? Different things definitely work for different people for some reason!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 1:30PM
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