Keep Your Open Terrarium Healthy: A Beginner’s Guide

Open terrariums are a great way to have a low-maintenance and aesthetically pleasing set-up in your home. They’re also a good way to get your feet wet if you’re new to the world of indoor plants. Just keep these tips in mind when caring for your open terrariums
A close round terrarium with succulent.

Open terrariums are pretty trendy, and it is for a good reason. They are relatively easy to create and add beauty to our indoor spaces. Besides, they come in many forms and are more functional than closed terrariums. However, their unique care requirements must be fulfilled for them to thrive. If you treat your open terrarium casually, you will cause irreversible damage to your plants. Take time to understand your plant requirements and stick to a regular care routine to ensure your open terrarium remains healthy and beautiful.

So, what are some of the general care requirements for an open terrarium? Open terrariums usually require careful watering and close monitoring of the moisture level. Excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other diseases. On the other hand, too little moisture can cause the plants to wilt and die. Routine maintenance includes debris removal, pruning, pest treatment, fertilization, keeping the glass and interior clean, and provision of adequate lighting. However, everything starts with choosing the right plants for your open terrarium.

This blog post outlines the general tips for caring for open terrariums. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What Is an Open Terrarium?

Before we dive deep into discussing the routine maintenance tasks for an open terrarium, it is good to provide a general overview of an open terrarium.

The term “terrarium” is generally used to refer to a closed container of moisture-loving plants. However, not all moisture-loving plants thrive in closed containers. When the plants are put in an open container, it creates an open terrarium.

Open terrariums are carefully designed to provide sufficient airflow, light, and enough moisture for the plants.

Small plant at an open terrarium.
These terrariums are great for anyone who desires a natural green space indoors.

Open terrariums are often designed to maximize drainage, which is vital for water-loving plants. The containers may be glass bowls or jars with open tops that allow light and air to enter.

These terrariums are great for anyone who desires a natural green space indoors but needs more time for extensive maintenance of the plants. Open terrariums are meant explicitly for plants that don’t need much humidity to thrive.

They are an excellent way for people to get started with terrariums since they don’t have to deal with many factors that can easily take down a terrarium.

Open terrariums are more versatile in home decor and have given rise to geometric and air plant terrariums.

Taking Care of an Open Terrarium

Now that you understand what a terrarium is better let’s look at the general tips for taking care of these terrariums.

1. Everything Starts with Selecting the Right Plants

Choosing the right plant type is very important for any open terrarium. Consider light availability, humidity, soil requirements, and water needs.

For instance, succulents and cacti don’t require much moisture and are perfect for open terrariums since they can tolerate the drier air in these setups.

Tools for an open terrarium.
Choosing the right plant type is very important for any open terrarium.

On the other hand, tropical plants may need to do better since they need high humidity levels to thrive.

Be sure to research your preferred plants beforehand to determine their needs and if they will thrive in your terrarium’s environment.

2. Terrarium Positioning (Lighting)

One of the most important things you must do to protect your open terrarium is always to have it in the right spot. In this case, the right place is part of your room that receives the right amount of light at the right time.

The plants in your terrarium depend on the light provided for photosynthesis. Failure to provide adequate lighting can lead to slow growth and unhealthy plants.

However, it would be best if you were careful not to expose your terrarium to excessive direct sunlight since it can cause irreversible sunburn.

The sweet spot is what we refer to as the bright/indirect light. In this case, you are trying to mimic the idea of dappled light in a typical rainforest where only a few filtered sun rays shine through to the bottom of the forest where most of these plants grow.

Generally, a well-lit south or east-facing window sill or a brightly lit room is all it takes to keep your open terrarium happy and healthy.

Feel free to use artificial grow lights as supplementary lights if you cannot find a perfect spot for your open terrarium in your home.

3. Monitor the Moisture Level Carefully

One of the benefits of open terrariums is that they allow excess moisture to evaporate quickly, reducing the risk of root rot and other diseases.

However, this also means you must carefully monitor the moisture levels in your open terrarium.

This can be done by feeling the soil with your fingers or inspecting the leaves of your plants to see if they are dry or wet.

Generally, you should ensure the soil is moist but not soggy. If it feels too damp, reduce the watering frequency until it starts drying out again.

Open terrariums also need occasional misting. You can spray the plants with a gentle water spray to keep them hydrated.

Be sure to use clean, distilled water for your terrarium since tap water can contain chlorine or other chemicals that may be harmful to your plants.

4. Be Careful with Watering

Since open terrariums don’t have a natural water cycle, you must ensure everything is balanced.

Typically, the watering requirements and methods will vary greatly depending on the type of plants you have in your terrarium.

If your terrarium is dominated by succulents, cacti, and other plants that thrive in arid conditions, consider watering them every two or three weeks.

A person watering the plant in the terrarium.
Always do a finger test on the soil or check for signs of wilting before deciding whether or not to water your terrarium.

On the other hand, tropical plants need to be watered more regularly.

When in doubt, always do a finger test on the soil or check for signs of wilting before deciding whether or not to water your terrarium. Overwatering can cause root rot and other health problems in your plants.

5. Regularly Clean Your Terrarium’s Glass Container

Most open terrariums are made of a glass container to allow as much light as possible to get through to the plants. Unfortunately, glass containers are susceptible to dirt and may need regular cleaning.

First, remove the plants and soil from the glass container to clean your terrarium.

Then use a soft cloth or a paper towel to gently scrub away any dirt or dust on the surface of the glass. Rinse it with distilled water and let it dry before re-planting your terrarium.

6. Pruning

Open terrariums containing vines and other houseplants tend to outgrow the glass container quickly.

To prevent this, you should consider pruning your plants regularly to keep them from taking over the terrarium and crowding out other plants.

A open terrarium outdoor exposed to sunlight.
The best time to prune is late winter or early spring.

Trim back any dead leaves or branches with sharp scissors or garden shears. Also, make sure not to prune too much since it can stunt the growth of your plants.

However, be easy with pruning. Some intentional spillover can look good; you don’t have to trim it. Use logic to figure out what to prune and leave for decoration.

The best time to prune is late winter or early spring. This will allow your terrarium to get a head start on the growing season with healthy, strong plants.

7. Pests and Diseases

Open terrariums are naturally susceptible to pests, bugs, and infestations since they are open to the environment. Gnats and mealybugs are some of the most common pests that attack open terrariums.

To prevent these pests from taking over your terrarium, inspect your terrarium regularly and look out for any signs of infection or infestation.

If you spot one, isolate the affected plant immediately and carefully remove all infected leaves and debris.

If the problem persists, consider spraying some pesticide on the affected plants. Use an organic pest control product to avoid causing harm to your plants or introducing toxins into your terrarium.

8. Remove Mold as Soon as You Spot It

If you notice signs of some fluffy, white substance on one of your plant’s leaves, know it is mold, and you must act quickly to save your terrarium.

While it is normal for mold to develop in closed terrariums due to condensation, it is an unwelcome sight in open terrariums.

A woman brushing the plant in the terrarium.
Try to keep the humidity levels low in your terrarium.

To remove the mold, first, use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe away any visible growth gently.

If that doesn’t work, spray some diluted rubbing alcohol on the affected area and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a dry cloth.

As a preventative measure, try to keep the humidity levels low in your terrarium and avoid any unnecessary water splashes when watering your plants. If you do that, mold will not grow in your open terrarium.

Final Thoughts

Open terrariums can be an exciting way to bring a bit of nature into your home. However, it is crucial to understand the basics of open terrarium care before starting one.

Be sure to take the time to research and learn about the needs of each plant in your terrarium before you begin so that you can give them the best care possible.

With proper maintenance and attention, your terrarium will add joy and beauty to your home for many years.

Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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