Terrarium Care

For the most part, terrariums don’t require much looking after. If you put them in a suitable spot then they’re pretty happy doing their own thing while you do yours.

We choose plants that not only look fantastic, but are well suited to the environment that a terrarium provides. We don’t use fake plants, and of course the one catch with living things is that they can perish over time or if kept in the wrong conditions.

This page provides notes on moisture, light, temperature, mould, and growth.

Moisture

You shouldn’t need to water your terrarium. Condensation should form on the inside of a closed terrarium, which will then trickle down the glass and be a source of water for the roots and provide moisture for humidity. It is normal for a closed terrarium to go through a  cycle of the glass misting up and clearing: this is totally normal and a sign that the water cycle in your mini-ecosystem is working well!

If no condensation forms on the coolest side of the terrarium, during the day in good light, add a few sprays of water a day until it does. Make sure the plants are getting enough light. (Insufficient light will prevent growth.)

If excess condensation forms, wipe it off with a tissue and replace the lid. Try not to leave it open to dry it since plants that like high humidity will suffer. If you cannot wipe the inside, open it slightly and place somewhere warm so the moisture can evaporate, but try to keep this to a minimum and replace the lid when you can. You may need to do this over a period of days until things settle down. Take care though, as plants that are used to the high humidity may wilt when exposed to dry air, so try to expose it to only gradual changes if at all.

Open terrariums do not retain the humidity in the same way as closed terrariums, therefore will need watering more frequently, similar to a regular houseplant.

Succulents require a good watering when the soil is completely dry. Allow the soil to dry completely before the next watering.

Light

All plants need light to photosynthesise. The walls of the terrarium can act like a magnifying glass and burn your plants if they are kept in direct sunlight. It is best to keep your terrarium out of prolonged direct sunlight so the temperature doesn’t get too hot inside. A few hours per day of low level sunlight (morning/evening in the summer, or winter days) should be fine. Do not move your terrariums around (to either follow or avoid the sun) as they will not thrive if they are always trying to re-acclimatise to their new environment. You can turn the terrarium gradually, if the plants are all growing to one side, or to help even out the warmth/humidity levels.

Moss, and most of the plants we use, prefer low-medium light levels. If a lot of leaves are dying, give more light and wipe condensation out to reduce the moisture levels.
Succulents require a large amount of sunlight, although some shade may be needed if the temperatures become too hot.

Temperature

The plants we use generally like warm, humid environments so place them in a warm spot.

Do not place your terrariums on or next to radiators or fires as they will get too hot.

Do not place your terrariums in a cold draught as any sudden changes to temperature will shock the plants.

If the location of your terrarium is too cold, the amount of condensation in the terrarium will increase. When the room or space warms again, this should clear.

Mould

You might notice mould appear on some of the soil or leaves, which is usually a sign that the terrarium is too moist. We add layers of stones and activated charcoal to help with drainage and circulation, which helps to keep problems at bay. Take the lid off or prop it open a little to allow some air circulation and excess moisture to evaporate.  You may want to do this once a week or so, depending on the moisture levels in your terrarium. If there is a little mould on a plant, remove the mouldy bit and throw it away. Keep an eye on the plant over the next few days for signs of the mould re-appearing. You may also want to get a kebab skewer or something similar and poke a few holes in the soil to introduce some air into the soil. Keep your terrarium out of direct sunlight as this, combined with high moisture levels, can create mould.

Growth

The plants should be expected to grow and may eventually completely fill your terrarium. If you are unable to reach the plants to prune them, we can offer an aftercare service at a discretionary charge. Most plants will fill their terrarium within a matter of months if the conditions are right. If pruning seems too big a task, it’s probably time to move them to another spot and replace with something smaller – contact us for details.

It is normal for leaves to die or drop off. Unless they are particularly unsightly, you can leave them to decompose and provide nutrients for the rest of your terrarium.

The team here at Liverpool Terrariums have put together a few tips to help you give your terrarium the best chance at a long and healthy life, which you’ll receive with your purchase.