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Terrarium Care

It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.
—Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Tips for All Terrariums


Bright, indirect light from East or West is best. Do not put terrarium in direct sun, glass magnifies heat and will cook the plants. In a low-light environment you can use a grow light bulb.


Shriveled leaves indicate lack of water. Yellowing leaves indicate over-watering. Remove any yellow or dead leaves.


Care for Closed Terrariums/Tropicals

A closed lidded terrarium is a contained eco-system. Over time it will maintain a stable level of moisture on it’s own and require very little water or care. The moisture from the plants will condense on the ceiling and sides of the glass and then recycle their droplets like rain. Once established the terrarium plants will thrive in their small atmospheric world.

However if you notice a lot of extra condensation wipe out with a paper towel as excess moisture can contribute to plants rotting. Additionally you can ventilate the terrarium by opening the lid for an hour here and there but do not leave the lid off for more than a few hours. Conversely if the terrarium is very dry and you do not see any moisture on sides or lid, you can use a funnel or baster to water with non-chlorinated water.

Start with an ounce of water and allow the water to trickle down ever so slowly to the base root of the plants. Then wait a couple of weeks to see if the moisture cycle begins. Once the eco-system is established you will not need to water your terrarium but 1-2X a year, if at all.

Care for Open Terrariums/Succulents

The general rule with succulents is to thoroughly water and then wait for the soil to completely dry out before watering again. Succulents are desert plans and are accustomed to drier conditions. However do not allow succulents to become bone dry.

SUMMER – check for dryness every 14-21 days

WINTER – check for dryness every 3-4 weeks.

Water your succulent terrarium with a baster around the base of the plant but do not water over the succulent and succulents generally do not like to be misted.

Always use non-chlorinated water. Sometimes succulents will grow tall and leggy or bend in one direction if not getting enough light. You can try moving the plant to a slightly brighter part of your space if you notice this.

Air Plant Care

Air plants need bright, indirect light. However If you live in a very low light home or office with limited light we suggest you purchase a special light such as Gro-Lux, Repta-Sun or Vita-Lite. Set on a 12 hour timer and your air plant will be very happy. 

Watering Your Air Plant

Soak your air plant 1 X per week for 20 minutes. 

Shake excess water from the air plant and then place upside down to dry on a paper towel for a few hours to insure they are totally dried off.

You can also mist your air plant 2-3X per week but again make sure they are not sitting in water.

After watering, leaves will be stiffer as they are full of water. When in need of water, the leaves will feel softer and lighter. 

If you notice any wrinkling or rolled leaves, these are signs of dehydration.

If you are in a very hot location, more frequent watering or misting might be needed. Air plants are beautiful in succulent terrariums or can stand alone anywhere you want a touch of color and visual interest.