will outdoor forest plants work?

grandprix1(6)July 2, 2011

I am building my first terrarium and would like to go on the cheap. Will plants found outside growing naturally in the woods or yard work in a terrarium? I live nears woods and mountains and see many types of 'greens' growing, including mosses, ferns and other types of green plants. In general, can these types of plants work, or is it best to always use purchased types of plants? If they would work, does anyone have suggestions? Would herbs work in a terrarium? I have a lot of herb seeds! Thanks for any help or suggestions.

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Actually some can and do well for a while if the terrarium is kept in a cool room or even outside under shade. The link is to the earliest introduction to terraria I had years ago. Mr. Allgrove has long since pasted away and his catalog is good only for the info which I think is really important. Use the NEXT buttom to go to the next of 12 pages in the catalog. Click on the image of the page to get a larger image. Happy reading.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:46PM
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I loved reading that Mr Allgrove group of pages. Thanks for posting it.
I wonder if in this day of environmental caution if gathering of forest plants is o.k. I'm pretty sure that if in a state park or such it would be forbidden. Best to check.
I've just bought my aquarium and gathering information for my first terrarium! So excited.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 8:32PM
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Thanks for putting this on the internet! When I was a kid I found the address of Arthur Eames Allgrove in the back of a gardening magazine - received his catalog and got several orders of insect eating plants from him! He sold things through the mail like Partridge Berry, club moss, ground pine and other woodland plants for terrariums. If I find Partridge Berry plants that have berries on them in the autumn I will make what are called 'Partridge Berry Bowls' for Christmas gifts which consist of the Fruiting stems of P. Berry, Rattlesnake Orchid, (Goodyera) A piece or two of Princess or Ground Pine (Lycopodium) Club Moss and Reindeer Lichen, maybe a little fern along with various mosses from the woods to cover the soil in the terrarium. If the terrarium is cared for properly - in bright indirect light, cooler temps, correct watering, they can last for a couple of years. And they are fun to make!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 10:27PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

With all do respect to the deceased Mr. Allgrove, please DO NOT try to use any Cyprepediums. Lady slippers are protected by law in many states. (Other plants in your area may be too so check with your local agencies.) In addition to their decreasing numbers due to habitat destruction, Cyps are known to resent root disturbance and are very picky with regards to cultural requirements. Wild plants do not adapt easily or well to interference. To uproot one to put it into a terr for a "few months to enjoy" and then put it in your yard wherein it will most likely die is irresponsible.

I was surprised Mr. A didn't go into temperature at all. Considering his focus on more temperate plants, many of which like venus flytraps REQUIRE a cold winter dormancy to remain healthy, I was hoping to see what temperature regimen he found to be useful and how he went about providing it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 1:26PM
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You have to keep in mind that Mr. Allgrove was perhaps one of the first pioneers in terrarium keeping in the US and his info is really dated but is an interesting read and does provide some insight.
Cyp keeping in a terrarium sounds interesting but problematic though not if the terrarium is kept outside and exposed to near freezing temps. It would be an interesting experiment for anyone who has the time and resources to attempt to master.
For cyps there are many species and hybrids that are now available online. Just google or bing.
Collecting plants from the wild is only possible nowadays if you own the property or have the property owners permission to collect. But I encourage trying to buy from native plant growers as the best sources as the plants are already established in pots and can be more easily acclimated to a terrarium than would wild plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Directory of Native Plant Nurseries

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:33AM
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Clover and moss together would look perfect, although the clover may be a bit too aggressive..You could put in a bunch of irish related stuff in there as well..

The red veins, shiny leaves and odd patterns of purslane would be interesting as a groundcover, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:38PM
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salvage_queen(29583 SC)

I use moss & ferns all the time in my terrariums. I like to make mini forests with them. I have also added branches with lichens and sometimes throw in rooster comb mushrooms.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 8:43PM
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I'm glad I found this thread. Everyone here seems to know a lot about terrariums. Your tips will help me start my new hobby. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 6:49AM
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