Glass terrariums are gems of succulent arrangements. They look classy and stylish. Also, there are countless variations you can go for when making your own terrarium. Since you probably considering a glass bubble for a pot, you can play with layers of soil and colors of succulents until getting the effect you desire.
Terrariums are also one of the favorite types of succulent arrangements because they are considered to stay neat for a long time without that much care. However, is it really the case? No matter how much you think that with just a little water and some sunlight you’ll get a terrarium to thrive, the reality may be quite the opposite. A terrarium can cause some problems, much more often than some people dare to admit. If you’re definitely about to make one yourself, here are some things you need to consider in advance.
Terrariums Don’t Have Perfect Airflow
As we already said, terrariums are mostly planted (and look the best) in near-bubble, glass pots or aquariums. No matter how spacious the bubble look to you, the succulents in it will suffocate. Basically, you’re about to make your own little greenhouse effect. This is what you need to have in mind whenever you’re watering the terrarium. While humidity goes up in almost fully closed surroundings of the succulent, the air around them will become a lot hotter than you would like. You can also notice the glass bubble start to become fogged up soon after the watering. This is a process you can`t control.
In order to keep the greenhouse effect to the minimum, try to make your terrarium as open as possible. The hole needs to be wide to allow all of the humidity to get out and air to get in. Also, keep in mind that the sunlight will just accelerate the whole process. If your terrarium is bathed in sunlight most of the day, you’ll really need to take care of the ventilation hole to make sure that the temperature doesn’t reach deadly level. High humidity and temperatures may also cause the spreading of infections.
Glass Terrariums Usually Don’t Have a Drainage Hole
Succulents are probably the easiest plants to take care of. They can withstand some harsh conditions and neglect, but still, remail healthy and beautiful. Among the very few things, a succulent can’t stand are “wet feet”. When you’re growing succulents in a non-breathable terrarium, the soil will be a much moistier that a succulent can handle. Too much moist in the soil will prevent the plants to thrive and eventually kill them.
It’s common practice to use gravel at the bottom of the terrarium to act as a drainage system. However, water from the top layers of the soil will get to the gravel layer at the bottom and stay trapped there without the proper drainage hole. Now, having nowhere to go and with temperature in the terrarium rising, that water from the bottom will start to evaporate. Finally, it will get trapped again under the upper layer of the soil. All of that moisture may cause a fungi or bacteria infection and ruin the entire arrangement. In order to fix that, you can find a container with a pre-drilled drainage hole or drill one by yourself.
Take Care Of The Roots
Since the nearly closed containers are not letting the humidity to get out fast enough, the lack of natural airflow and moist soil, the roots of the succulents planted in terrariums develop a root rot much easier. When you add bacteria, fungi and mold to the mix, it may be pretty difficult to get a terrarium to look good for a longer time. Adding a fungicide may make things even worst, since the high temperatures may make it stronger that you want.
The best solution for preventing a root rot is a proper drainage hole and a watering schedule that lets the soil to dry out almost completely between two waterings. Also, just to make sure, you should replant the whole arrangement every few months. While doing that, make sure you clean the roots from the old soil and check them for rotting. In the high-humidity environment, the rotting process is much quicker, so you don’t want to leave a single trace of it.
Remember What Each Succulent Need
While having a large variety of succulents in one terrarium will bring you all of the different colors and shapes, you need to keep in mind that every succulent species have different needs. This goes for water, light, fertilizer, and temperature. What may get one succulent to thrive can kill its neighbor. When making a terrarium that will last, you need to combine succulents with similar needs and growing habits. Fast growers spread easily and may eventually overpower the slow-growing ones.
Also, keep in mind that every succulent need some amount of od space in order to grow properly. This goes both for above the soil and in it. By putting too many succulents altogether, you’ll start to notice that they’ll begin fighting for survival. The more aggressive species will quickly suffocate more sensitive ones. At one point, the whole arrangement will just not have enough space to grow. If the terrarium is not big enough to suit the needs of succulent`s growing roots, other ones that share the same space will be forced to fight for root territory. Succulents need a wider root system that’s meant to catch all the moisture their roots can reach. If that space is limited, some species may end up hungry.