Terrariums allow us to maintain a wide variety of growing conditions for plants that can add extraordinary beauty and a sense of serenity for the home or office. By using the proper materials and with the right choice of plants and soils, you can transform any living space into a source of pride and natural splendor. Just like aquariums and other indoor habitats, proper care of a terrarium does require a certain amount of discipline and attention to detail. Once your terrarium is established, you will find that the effort was well worth it.
Many parts of the world are well known for exotic plant life. Conditions must be just right for many species of plants to survive and thrive. From the South Pacific to the rainforests of South America, beauty abounds thanks to Mother Natures ability to create the right environment. The dry climate of the worlds deserts offer a wide variety of plant life that require little moisture but survive in ecosystems no less delicate and fragile than those of more lush climates.
To create the proper growing conditions for your terrarium, there are several key elements, which must be carefully considered. Whether you choose plants of lush greenery or a dry desert setting, the size of your terrarium is probably the most important consideration. No matter what size you choose, the step up of the growing space is roughly the same though larger terrariums will require slightly more maintenance.
The size of your terrarium can range from a desktop bowl to an ornate, free standing tank and all sizes in between. Once you have settled on the appropriate size, the selection of plants you wish to use will determine the type of growing conditions you must create. As with all living things, the right combination of light and moisture are critical considerations when trying to establish the right growing conditions.
Many desktop displays can be maintained utilizing existing room light while others may require the addition of fuller spectrum lighting. All terrariums need to have a transparent top to go along with transparent sides. This will help to maximize all of the available light. Larger terrariums almost always necessitate specialized lighting conditions that can add to the initial cost.
The proper lighting not only serves to help the plants grow as they should, but lighting can be used to control other such variables as temperature and moisture. The more complex the terrarium design, the more attention must be paid to heat and light. Just as with aquariums, some type of auxiliary heating system may be needed. The existing ambient room conditions can also play a big part here.
Homes in some colder northern climates that need to be heated in winter can experience drastic changes in the amount of humidity in the room air. Most modern heating systems can significantly dry the room air and this will in turn affect the conditions in your terrarium. Conversely, when air conditioning is used in hot and humid climates, the room air can be drier. Your air conditioner works by removing moisture from the air and cooling the living space.
Plant selection will also affect the type of soil you will need to use and designing the growing space with the proper drainage is another key factor. Anyone who has tried to grow the average house plant knows the difficulty of maintaining the right moisture balance for the type of plant you are trying to grow. The right combination of soil and drainage can make maintaining your terrarium much easier.
Different plant species grow at varied rates and slower growing plants can be crowded out by their faster-growing neighbors. Over planting of the growing space is a common mistake in the initial setup of a terrarium that should be avoided.
Terrariums are not created equal. There are some terrariums, known as riparuims that are especially designed and built to house small land creatures like frogs. Some folks make the mistake of trying to use a plant terrarium to keep small land creatures. The results can be sadly predictable with the creature escaping into the room or not being able to survive in environment for which it was not intended. Make sure to choose carefully when making your purchase decision.
People of all ages can learn much about the vast range of ecosystems and plant life on this beautiful planet and terrariums can bring this diversity into your home or office. Some great resources are available that let the novice plant enthusiast access to the information needed to create a welcome growing space for a wide variety of plants.