Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2009 09:02:24 PST
Hi Dennis.


I used to keep lots of terrariums when I was a kid. In one I successfully
grew Lycopodium obscurum  for years. 


Now, I don’t have any terrariums as such, but I do have two large ornamental
bottles, one pear shaped and the other flat pumpkin shaped. 


The one which is pear shaped has a plant of Begonia masoniana which has been
in that jar for about thirty years. It gets watered two or three times a
year and that’s it. Otherwise it’s utterly carefree. The plant has filled
the space inside the jar, and it’s very decorative. It even blooms


The low pumpkin shaped jar is used for various tropical Selaginella. These
too are utterly carefree: they go for years without attention other than an
occasional admiring glance or a splash of water. . They look like moss, and
they have filled the space inside the jar with their bright green mossy
foliage. The ones I grow are not the big tropical spike mosses, but rather
the smaller ones which start out as a tidy clump which expands indefinitely.
Names to look for (they might not be valid names) are Selaginella
kraussiana, S. flabellata, S. emiliana and others. Some of these are
available in crested forms, variegated forms  or forms which produce very
compact growth. One called S. uncinata produces foliage with an oil-slick
effect – iit’s sometimes called blue peacock spike moss. They are all cool
little plants, and as long as they don’t dry out, nothing seems to bother


There are a million and one other choices for terrariums, but the ones above
are my current favorites. If I had more room and more of those ornamental
bottles, I would have Adiantum ferns in some.  


Bulby things, because of their general need for good drainage and typically
strongly seasonal growth, don’t strike me as good choices for a terrarium
which is watered, but at one time I grew some Ledebouria socialis that way
and they did well. 


I like your idea of putting the cactuses (and their spines) behind glass. 


Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

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