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Open Container Terrariums?

Posted by RainboWoman z5 MI (My Page) on
Tue, May 4, 04 at 0:13


I've got a terrarium that is completely open at the looks kinda 70's-ish and has a mirror in the back of it etc... I've been searching the forum to see if there is such a thing as an open container terrarium...because as I see it, the only way for me to close this thing would be with plastic wrap. Any-who...can I make an open container terrarium...i've only seen info on closed? If so, what plants would I use...keeping in mind i'm not wild about the desert ones...

Hope this isn't 2 silly of a question...i'm new to everything that is plant related.

Love and Light

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

If it was me I might try to get a piece of plexi cut to fit the shape to use for a lid. Or...just get some lights and use them for a partial cover.

An open tank should still provide extra humidity...just not as much as if it was closed. This will limit you somewhat on the plants you can grow but likely not drastically. Actually the light situation is prob. a little more significant then the potential loss of moisture out the top.

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

Hi MrBreeze,

The only problem with the lid is, the back of the terrarium is a great dea taller than the front (reaches up a good 10 inches higher...and it's scallopped all around it.) I'd take a picture...but our digital camera just broke.

Could you explain what you mean about light situation... My house is low I have cats that can't help but help themselves to my plants (thats why I thought Terrariums would be good for us...protect the plants from the cats somewhat). Should I get a light for the Terrarium?

THanks...OH and do you know what plants would grow best?

Love and Light

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

All of my terreriums are open at the top - they have to be 'cuz I have frogs and anoles and what-not in them so I have to open them to feed daily. I have a screen top on mine, lights resting on the screen and cover it with black felt. Depending on the time of year and the humidity in the house I cover more or less of the top and have to water it more or less frequently. no matter what time of year I mist them daily.


RE: Open Container Terrariums?

What type of plants is a question that frequently comes
up in terrarium discussions and it's not a simple question to answer.Plants need air,light heat and water the only difference is how much of each .
A container kept in the house will automaticly raise the
heat,humidity and tend to concentrate the water and gas exchange.Without mechanical intervention you're limited to plants that like this situation.Since you already mention a low light situation you can eliminate many more.
Fortuneately you nixed desert -types.These are the most difficult to keep in the average terrarium as they require
very high light,low humidity and very exact amounts of water.
Your left with tropical forest type plants.Most of the common "house plants" fit into this catagory though certainly not all.Depending on how low the light is I'd choose from Pothos,Philos,Syngonium,Ficus.tropical ferns
and some of the mosses.These are easy to find,cheap and incredibly adaptable. I feel sure these would grow in almost any situation.Open top is no problem .
Hope this gives you some ideas on your search

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

Hi Gary and Russ...

I will look for some of those plants... I did notice that the front window gets the morning sun (we just moved into our home) and thats about the most light any of our windows get. I will look into finding a screen for the top...due to the cats (they can't seem to help themselves when it comes to my plants).

This should be a fun experiment... I saw some moss growing out back behind the garage...thought I saw somewhere instructing how to clean outdoor moss and put it in terrariums?

THanks again
Love and Light

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

I'm a newbie to terrarium forum (except for a fifth grade science project) ... but you should check out the gesneriad or begonia forum. There are lots of cool plants that need higher humidity but don't necessarily do well in an enclosed environment and/or plants that are more flexible (rex begonias, maidenhair ferns, etc).

Here is a link that might be useful: almost a terrarium

RE: Open Container Terrariums?

I don't think I ever saw this thread!

I would think that a fern would be ideal for a small open terrarium, because they love the humidity, and won't grow too huge. I am particularly pleased with the lemon button fern in my terrarium. Keeps a nice compact form and doesn't grow too huge, unlike the adiantum I had in there. You could also try selaginella, fittonia, and some smaller calatheas. I think pothos would grow too large for a terr, unless you chose satin pothos (scindapsus pictus). The begonias in that link above are also a good idea, and most of the gesneriad family would just love a terrarium, especially an open-topped one. I grew an oxalis (purple shamrock plant) in an open-topped bubble terrarium for my dad, and it does very well, and looks cool with the oxalis forming a mound just above the openning of the terr, and the flowers coming above that. The dirt in the terr is covered with moss for aesthetics, and also the green moss sets of the purple foliage well. And you won't have to worry about an open-topped terr. becoming a plant oven when the sun hits it!

As for cleaning moss, just swish it around in some rainwater or RO water (which are the only kinds of water safe for terrariums), inspect it for slugs, and plop it in your terr! You might get some springtails or something, but don't worry about them.

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