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Proctor: Terrariums surge in popularity

10:30 AM, Feb 23, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Gardening under glass has become popular once again. Terrariums focus attention on the self-maintaining world inside a glass container. Once planted and sealed, this miniature garden becomes its own mini ecosystem. Terrariums rarely need any watering or maintenance.

Any fairly large clear, lidded glass container can serve as a terrarium. Many a fish tank has been used as a terrarium once the goldfish died; a sheet of glass on top acts as the lid. The point is to create an airtight or nearly airtight environment where the plants thrive without constant watering. Some terrariums can go years without intervention.

Kits are available to make the planting process easy. If you start from scratch, add some coarse gravel and the bottom of the container mixed with aquarium charcoal before adding a few inches of soil. The charcoal helps to keep the mixture "sweet" to prevent fungus and rot. Use tiny, slow growing plants that require bright, indirect light. Add enough water after planting to make the soil moist but not soggy. Once the lid is in place, it will rarely need water, depending on the tightness of the seal.

Terrariums should be displayed in bright, indirect light. Placing them in the sun will cook the contents. If condensation occurs regularly, remove the lid to let some water to evaporate. Avoid fertilizing the plants; this encourages fast growth and they will outgrow the container. There should be plenty of nutrients available in a high grade potting soil to last them for many years. You may want to periodically clean the glass carefully on the inside to keep the view clear.

Plants and terrarium kits are courtesy of Tagawa Gardens.

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