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Thread: What plants for a simple terrarium?

  1. #1
    Eats genetically engineered tomatoes Sig's Avatar
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    What plants for a simple terrarium?

    So I'm new to carnivorous plants and I have this 24" by 12" by 12" terrarium, a few different kinds of sundew seed packets, a reverse osmosis machine, and some gibberellic acid. I want to make a "forest" of sundews, like a thick tangle of several different species of them. The tank would be warm year round. I'm wondering what I should know before I try this, such as the best soil, the type of plants I should do, and the sunlight.

    I'd also like to know if there are any other easy to grow cp besides sundews that I could keep in the same terrarium.

    Thanks!

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    blokeman's Avatar
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    http://ocps.proboards.com/index.cgi?...ay&thread=3099

    reply #8 shows which plants I am able to grow all within the same terrarium.

    One suggestion, don't put any temperates in it, they don't do well as they NEED the cues that only nature can offer...

    here are some pics to show you what it can become http://i376.photobucket.com/albums/oo202/blokeman1
    Grow list...
    http://terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114907

    “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” C.S. Lewis

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I grow Petiolaris Complex sundews, B. liniflora, some sub-tropical sundews, and some utrics.


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    Eats genetically engineered tomatoes Sig's Avatar
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    Thanks! The posts really help. If I want to start from seed and have a forest of sundews, which species should I plant? I'm really new at this, I've kept a sundew and flytrap but not much else. I have access to most of the more common species so I'm wondering what would be the best combination (and if there are non-sundews that can also live in the same climate that would be great too).

    For soil, should I just have peat moss and some perlite?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    My favorite media is long fibered sphagnum, also known as orchid moss. Easy sundews would be D. capensis, D. adelae, D. spatulata,...

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I think jimscott is onto something. Some sundews are bound to choke others out, but if you had some leggy species like D. capensis and then some little self-seeding/dividing ones like D. spatulata - or I was thinking that D. burmanii or the easy pygmy species could probably cooperate well. Byblis seems like another good candidate for such a planting since it's tall and has a scrambling habit, and since it sets seed and dies back regularly, it probably won't get so crowded that it will be a problem for the shorter species.
    If you plan to keep the soil warm, take the species into consideration. I think D. adelae, among others, is a species that doesn't like warm temperatures - but I wouldn't know where I live. You also might have to watch out for soil fouling in an undrained container. To prevent the need to have to dig up all your plants and replace the soil mix, you can rig something clever when you plant it that lets you drain water out of the tank after it's settled to the bottom. Being able to drain the tank also means that you can rinse it out, say, if a loved one accidentally decided that your plants looked like they could use a heaping helping of Miracle Gro. If you browse around in the old threads you might come across some threads that describe using a reservoir at the bottom of the tank, like a very rough rock or gravel that can take up extra water, or an empty pipe or plastic storage box with some holes poked in to let in water and not media. I think Crissytal hold the record for the coolest implementation of that idea; http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=112574
    In her case it serves a slightly different purpose, but the basic lesson is that it's always good to have a place where the water can go without the soil mix and plants' roots sitting in it. You might also look into the planted-potted type of terrarium design, where you hide pots in holes in the soil line of the terrarium, which gives similar advantages.
    Peat moss and perlite is a good general-purpose mix. It's not critical, but if you can find a larger grade of perlite that doesn't have a lot of dust, I think that makes for a mix that breathes better and isn't quite as sludgy when wet. Sand can be used, but it can't be water soluble (like limestone sand) and I think that coarser grits are generally preferable. Watch out for brands of peat moss or perlite that come treated with time-release fertilizers.
    Are you aware that some sundews take a long time to grow from seed? Easy, large species like D. capensis or adelae could be a bit of a wait, up to a year to the size you see in most pictures. D. burmanii is one commonly available sundew that matures quickly, as are many of the pygmies so far as I understand (I haven't grown any from seed, just gemmae, which are baby plants that bud off of healthy adults.) Drosera are quicker from seed than many carnivorous plants, as are their cousins in Byblis, but might it might take some patience on your part.
    Best luck!
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
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    Hermopolis's Avatar
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    I would advise against a planted terrarium, especially if you want something low maintenance. Planted terrariums are kind of like salt water fish tanks, they get weedy and go to pot without constant monitoring. I would however recommend either a potted or a potted/planted terrarium. A potted/planted terrarium is basically potted plants set in a soil media.

    I know you want a forest of sundews, so it may seem contradictory to contain your plants. But without proper containment, plants in terrariums tend to look more like a patch of weeds instead of a forest. The more competitive plant will edge out the less competitive ones and the outcome will not look very nice.

    If you want a sundew forest look, you may want to try d. binata, d. filiformis (the Florida, non-dormancy variety), or byblis, depending upon your personal tastes. And you could use d. nitidula x pulchella (a pigmy sundew) as ground cover between your pots should you use a peat:sand bedding. You have lots of options and most dews will adjust quite well to terrarium living.

    -Hermes.
    "The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

    My Grow List Updated Oct 22/2010.

  8. #8
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermopolis View Post
    I would advise against a planted terrarium, especially if you want something low maintenance.
    I didn't want to be negative, but Hermes is right. This isn't really low-maintenance, so far as CP culture goes. It's not high maintenance - for a terrarium setup. But at the very least you're going to have to watch for problems with mineral accumulation (which requires a little technical know-how) and regularly weed out more aggressive species, possibly as often as every two or three months. I think it's an interesting proposal for a planted terrarium - if you pick the species right they could possibly grow between each other without things getting out of hand. You'd probably have to hand-distribute the seed/gemmae of seasonal species to fit them in between gaps in the larger plants.
    In the glass-half-empty sense, this could be hard, and frustrating, and you should expect some of the plants you try to grow in this setup to struggle and die. You may have to take it apart and there's a narrow chance that something goes totally wrong and everything dies before you know what to do. But I think you'll at least be able to learn from it. If you insist on doing a planted terrarium, you should do your homework first and look back at other people's threads about such endeavors.
    I will disagree with Hermes on one point - I think that D. binata would be a bad neighbor in such a confined setup. Maybe a dwarf form, but my understanding is that D. binata is an aggressive colonizer on the order of weeds like D. capensis. As it grows close to the ground, you can't just cut it back easily the way you can with old crowns of capensis. But definitely use a mix of tall and short species, and avoid bushy, leafy ones.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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