Frequently asked questions
What is a terrarium?
Terrariums are low maintenance indoor plants, constructed in either sealed or unsealed glass containers. Each terrarium has a specific amount of layers in its construction to create a mini ecosystem.
How long will my terrarium last?
While they are one of the lowest maintenance family members you can ask for, remember that your terrarium is a living and growing organism and as such, it requires continual nurturing and care.
Just like how each of our home environments are different, each terrarium has its own unique ecosystem, which requires specific care instructions. Some terrariums love to be bathed in direct sunlight and others shy away from the sun, preferring filtered sunlight, while some terrariums are much thirstier than others.
Understanding your terrarium’s preferences will ensure that it remains happy and healthy, and as long as your terrarium receives the right amount of attention and care, it will continue to thrive.
What is the difference between direct and indirect sunlight?
Direct or unfiltered sunlight is when the sun’s rays directly touch your plant’s foliage. Terrariums that house ‘full sun’ plants generally need around 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to keep them warm and happy. Unobstructed southern and western exposures are the warmest and most constant sources of direct sunlight.
Indirect or filtered light, also often referred to as ambient light, is when the sun’s rays create light and warmth, but do not shine directly on your plant’s foliage. For example, the sun’s rays could be shining through a sheer curtain, creating a bright room that is full of indirect or filtered sunlight; the perfect environment for your indirect light terrarium. Keep in mind that while direct sunlight is not healthy for these terrariums, either is full shadow. Northern and eastern exposures offer the coolest and most gentle sunlight and are usually great for indirect light terrariums.
There are small flies in my terrarium! What should I do?
Don’t panic! These bugs are actually fungus gnats, which look similar to fruit flies and are a totally common and solvable problem amongst indoor plants.
At the time of potting, all moss used in your terrarium is curated and treated with insecticide, however potting materials contain micro-organisms that are almost invisible to begin with, but that will later grow into fungus gnats. As long as your soil is damp, making it a hospitable environment to live in, these little critters will continue to lay their eggs, which once hatched will feed off the roots of your plants, so it’s important to ensure that you are not overwatering your terrarium.
To control the adult fungus gnats, all you need to do is take a clear plastic cup or bowl and fill it halfway with apple cider vinegar, adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Mix the solution and cover the majority of the cup or bowl with sticky tape, leaving a small opening for the gnats to crawl into, and place the cup or bowl next to your terrarium. You can continue this process for as long as you need to.
To control the larvae, place slices of raw potato on the surface of your terrarium’s soil and wait at least four hours before checking them. Over time, you will notice microscopic bugs on the surface of the potato. Repeat this step with fresh potato slices for as long as you feel it’s necessary. You also need to ensure that you are regularly removing any rotten or dead plant material, such as fallen leaves.
If you’ve followed the above steps and are still being harassed by these pesky fungus gnats, call the friendly Plantarium team for additional advice.
The plants in my terrarium are getting too tall and/or bushy. What should I do?
Your terrarium is a mini garden which, like any garden, can be pruned from time to time using a pair of pruning shears to delicately shape the plants that have become too tall or unruly. The pruning process will not harm your plants at all; think of it as a haircut.
Over time, some plants may outgrow their terrarium home. You can gently remove them and replant them in a bigger pot. You can fill the void in your terrarium by replacing it with another baby plant that enjoys the same environment as your existing plants, or you can leave the space and give your remaining plants more room to thrive.
How often do I fertilise my terrarium and what fertiliser is recommended?
Fertilising is absolutely essential to the longevity, health and beauty of your terrarium, because unlike an outdoor garden, where Mother Nature provides sun and rain, allowing plants to sprout new roots in search of food, the nutrients available to indoor plants is strictly limited by the amount of soil in the their homes and the fertiliser you feed them. Think of fertiliser as the second half of your potting soil.
Your terrarium can be treated with liquid fertiliser up to four times per year, however this number will depend on the condition of the plants inside. If your plants are happy and looking their best, then fertilising them two to three times per year will keep them full. Once your special Miss or Mrs. becomes a part of your family, you'll know exactly what she needs.
Our lovely ladies are partial to organic liquid fertilisers to help keep their diets on track and there is a wide range of good fertilisers both online and in stores throughout Melbourne.
Why is my terrarium getting mouldy?
Mould is usually a result of overwatering your terrarium, which causes damp and soggy soil.
Scrape as much of the mould off the surface of the soil as possible and ensure that your terrarium is housed in a well-ventilated area, in addition to reducing its water intake in order to dry out the soil.
If your terrarium is still looking a little worse for wear, get in touch with the friendly Plantarium team for additional advice.
How do I clean the inside of my terrarium?
It’s important not to use any chemical glass cleaners and sprays inside your terrarium. We don’t like breathing in chemicals and neither do our plants.
Gently wiping the inside of your terrarium with a clean, dry cloth will do the trick.
I think my terrarium is dying. What should I do?
If you think that your terrarium is sick, the first thing that you should do is read through each of the above FAQs to rule out as many possible causes as you can.
Also consider any changes that you have made to your terrarium’s environment or diet. While a change of scenery can be beneficial, ensure that your terrarium’s new home ticks all of the boxes when it comes to its preferred environment.
If you don’t believe that any of the above complications are the cause of your terrarium’s fading health, please contact the friendly Plantarium team for additional advice.
What do I do if my delivery is damaged?
We want you to love your terrarium as much as it loves you.
If there are any issues with the appearance of your terrarium upon arrival, please contact the friendly Plantarium team immediately, so that we can help resolve them for you.