A small slow growing tree for my closed terrarium.

zachman(7)November 23, 2010

I have a small jar type terrarium about 9" in diameter, and 10" tall. It houses mostly mosses and ferns, but I want to find a (very) small tree that can live there. Im looking for something that will stay healthy if I continue to prune it to be this small.

Currently I have a small japanese maple seedling in the terraruim, but I have been told that this is not a good choice, and that I should remove the plant. So far, I have left it in and have had no real problems. I keep it at around 70-90% humidity, and supply light with a 27 watt CFL bulb.

Any suggestions for a small tree that could be a permanent addition? Again, something small, with lots of leaves. Like a bonsai but less work...

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Why don't you look through this site > Glass House Works

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:57PM
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I would suggest the Violet Barn under Terrarium Plants. The Breynia disticha nana is one that I use for a tree in my small terrarium.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 7:02PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

The maple will indeed be a poor choice long term as they MUST have a cold winter dormancy to remain healthy.

Larry's idea is a good one. You might, with religious pruning be able to keep a ficus a managable size.

Depending upon your tastes, how about a dead tree fall? If you found an interesting contorted grape vine or branch, it could make for an interesting focal point in your terr.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:20PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. i like the idea of a small ficus, as my family has a few large ones at home. do you think that constant pruning will hurt the tree? is it possible to make the leaves stay small as well? or will i end up with a tiny tree with large leaves.

I used to have a dead tree fall with some resurrection ferns on it, but it developed mold and i had to let it go. here is a picture.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 12:26AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Zach, 2 options for you if you decide to do the deadfall look again:

1) There are some type of wood that are very resistant to rotting and because of that are often used in aquariums. Both petstores and eBay carry such.

2) If you find a nice piece of wood, you can treat it with a liquid sealant like that used for sealing stepping stones and other cement/hypertufa items.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:30PM
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great suggestion! I will look into this. I am leaning towards the small ficus option, but this terrarium seems to be constantly evolving. i recently added some cryptanthus to it. We will see how this goes. I love experimenting with it all. I have also found to my dismay that many of the mosses I have are temperate and therefore require a cold cycle which I cannot supply. I fear my maple is doomed to a similar fate. oh well. I am loking into some tropical mosses more suited to the enviornment.

So far many of the plants have been collected from my trips and explorations (in mostly temperate climates). I think that I will have to focus on tropical plants.

I have noticed that there seem to be many many types of ficus trees available at glass house works. does anyone know which ones could be suitable for my uses? (small leaves...)


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:41PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Ficus benjamina is one of the smaller leafed ones I know of though it still might be larger leafed than what you want. Ficus pumila has very small leaves BUT it has a vining habit as opposed to the tree look. I don't know if it could be trained/shaped to have a tree form.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 2:58PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I have a benjamina that I've kept under 2 feet for many years but not in a terraium.. I would guess that if it's possible it would be a good choice for you experiment lol
Certainly a lot of cultivars to choose from. Breynia might be a good choice also. Both will tolerate abuse to
a remarable degree lol Obviously you'd want to choose the smallest cultivar no matter what you choose.
Let us know how that works?? gary

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 6:40AM
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