questions about small terrarium...

woollady(z8 CA)November 5, 2004

hi everyone,this is my first time here.i have an emerald jewel begonia that was in a very small terrarium.it outrgrew it.in searching for another,i found something i thought would work,but after taking it home i realized the top has decorative scrollwork on it.will that cut the light down considerably?i know that direct sun is bad,but can it take filtered lite from mini blinds?i am going to keep it in its pot.thanks for any help you can give me.

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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Your begonia may not need a terrarium at all. Most people grow begonias with other normal houseplants, though I don't know how dry or humid it is in your part of California. Do you know your average humidity? What direction does the window face that you have these mini-blinds on and where you want to put your plant? The mini blinds don't matter as much as how much sun the window receives. Also, what is the decorative scrollwork like? is it etched on the glass? Is it faux stained-glass leading?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 12:29AM
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woollady(z8 CA)

hi,thanks for anwering my post.the plant is sharing a table top with afr.violets and phal orchids in an east facing window which gets sun from about 7am to 10am.the average humidity is about 40-55%.the scrollwork is on the removable lid.i think this plant likes a terrarium because whenever i have taken it out it starts to get brown leaf tips and starts looking sad.by the way,right now the terrarium is registering 94%,is that too much?thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 2:18AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

If you can grow phal. orchids beside this plant, then there is enough humidity! It would initially get brown leaf tips because it's so used to the high humidity, so you could try gradually aclimating it by leaving the lid off for progressively longer periods of time each day until you just leave it off, and then just take the pot out of the terrarium. 94% humidity is not too much, BTW. It is very high, but plants like it. Why do you have miniblinds on an east window? Do your orchids actually bloom? I can't see that being enough light at all. . . though you are much farther south than me. About the terrarium though, if you like the way it looks (it does sound like a pretty one), then go ahead and put it in a bigger one! I don't think the scrollwork will block much light. The miniblinds would block a lot more.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 4:38PM
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woollady(z8 CA)

hi thanks so much for answering.i have blinds in the window turned halfway so that the orchids and afr.violets don't get burned.do you think that is not enough lite?the orchids are phals and my understanding was that they don't like full sun on them.i also have 2 grow lites over them.they are the 65 watt blue grow lites and i leaves them on for 15 hours.if i put the terrarium there will it get enough lite?thanks for any advice.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 1:38AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Yeah, there's a lot of misinformation about the light levels that orchids need. I think that most books that say not to put them in full sun are writing for people who grow them in greenhouses. NOTHING will burn in an east window! I'd say your orchids are not getting nearly enough light to rebloom. The african violets will also be fine if you keep your miniblinds open all the time. They will probably bloom much better. Growlights are needed as well though, as east windows just don't have enough light for orchids. Your terrariums will get enough light. What kind of bulbs are your grow lights? Are they incandescent or fluorescent?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 7:42PM
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woollady(z8 CA)

hi,thanks for answering again.the grow lites are incandescent types and they are about 2'from the plants.should they be on at the same time that the sun comes thru the windows?if not how long should they be on?thanks again

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 9:34AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Nope, just throw those useless bulbs away! Incandescents to absolutely nothing for plants. Despite the bulb being tinted blue, the light that comes out is still very yellow, and they put out way more heat then light anyways. Replace the bulbs with screw-in compact fluorescents in a cool white or Daylight spectrum. They are the coil-type. You should replace them every 6-12 months, and they should be about 5" away from the leaves, as they put out WAY more light, and the light is a much better colour for plant growth. And yes, have them on when the sun is coming in the window. 15 hours is more than they need though. You could have them on for only 12 hours if you want. They also use less energy, so all around, a much better choice!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 5:01PM
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woollady(z8 CA)

hi,thanks so much for the info!how would i go about using the coil type lites?those incandescent kinds came in a kit with their own screw type base.i don't think they would take the ones your'e talking about.plus they hang on the wall.thanks again

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 2:15AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Yes, they will work. You can get compact fluorescent bulbs that screw into standard incandescent fixtures. Just go to Home Depot, they have them. I think the brand is Philips, and make sure you get the DAYLIGHT ones. Just screw them in like normal, and you will be amazed at how bright they are. I gather that the fixture is kind of a wall sconce that acts like a spotlight on the plants. 2 feet away is pretty far though. That really won't do much good at all. Can you move them closer? And how far away from the window are all your plants?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 1:18PM
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woollady(z8 CA)

hi thanks agin for answering.the plants are on a table right next to the window sill,i could move the lites down more,if need be.today i pulled the blinds up so the sun could come in,but noticed that some phal leaves were warm to the touch.does that mean they were getting burned?thanks!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 10:48PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Ideally the leaves should be cool to the touch. How long were they warm to the touch though? Just for an hour or two while the sun was on them? All day? They could get burned because they aren't used to the better light, so it's probably best to do things gradually. For instance, you could try putting your grow lights closer to the plants first, since you can almost never burn leaves with fluorescent bulbs. Then, after a week of that, open the blinds more until the plants are used to lots of light. You should keep your eye on them. Leaf burn can look like freckles or like large spots of dry brown, almost transluscent or shiny areas on the leaf. If you notice this starting to happen, reduce the light levels a bit for a while until the plants are more used to it.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 5:53PM
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