Dpescadera@aol.com Dpescadera@aol.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2009 12:19:43 PST
Does anyone have an "organic" (ideally peat-free) growing medium for a  
closed system terrarium--e.g. one that does not use perlite? I have Begonia  
microsperma in a terrarium, but was interested in general suggestions. Thank  
you. Diana Fish
In a message dated 12/27/2009 12:01:17 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
jwaddick@kc.rr.com writes:

>So I  have a 65g hex aquarium & stand that I want to set up as  a
>terrarium.  I've never made one before, and I figure that I've  got two

Dear Dennis,
I think this  sounds like a perfect set for a ground cover of 
micro and mini sinningias.  These are tiny bulbous relatives of 
Gloxinias and come in a variety of  sizes and colors of flowers. The 
smallest are very small. Once established  they can self sow.    Try  

And there's a steady range of even larger, but still small 
bulbous  gesneriads to boot.

In simlar conditions you should  really try the tiny Begonia 
http://kartuz.com/pc/20501/…. Not  
really tuberous, but among the smallest of Begonias and there's a  
number of slightly larger, but again still tiny, Begonias.

A plant I wouldn't be without although a big vigorous is the  
mini-fig Ficus pumila 'minima' variegata. Small leaves and trailing.  
It can cover the sides of a terrarium rather quickly, but exceedingly  

I've tried a couple orchids in a terrarium too,  but they 
really prefer more air flow than a close system provides. The  'Jewel 
orchids'  such as Ludisia discolor has beautiful foliage. And  there's 

And the tropical Selaginellas, mosses  and Lycopodiums are 
great too.  Smaller ferns like the 'blue'  Microsorum thailandicum are 
amazing looking

A closed  system humid terrarium still needs a fair amount of light.

Cacti in a dry terrarium are essentially a short term effort 
in my  experience, but a closed humid terrarium can go for a long time 
before it  needs major work.

I have been seeing some amazing photos  recently of riparia - 
a low water based system (with a pump for flow)  using small tropical 
aroids for foliage and color. Some of these might mix  with more 
typical terrarium plants.

I am sure I  missed something obvious, but that's a start.

Does any of  this inspire?        I'm revved.       Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas  City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5  Record low -23F
Summer 100F  +
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