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Thread: Something i wrestle with

  1. #1

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    All the research indicates it is best to leave plants potted in terrariums and bury the pots to create the natural look. My experience with this does not prove ideal and I wrestle with should I just plant direct in the medium of the terrarium.

    What I find is the folage of the plants doesn't allow water from daily misting to get to the floor of the tank (maybe that's a sign there is too much in the tank, but I really like the look), the medium in the pots appear to dry out quickley and trying to get water to each one individual is a pain, the plant roots work their way out of the bottom of the pot eventually so the concept that this makes it easier to tend to the individual plants is a bit of a myth (although I acknowledge it is easier than having to dig the plant out of the dirt), the plants in the terrarium grow quickley and need regular root pruning to stay in the same size pot (to put them in larger pots means less room in the tank and as I said above, I like the jungle look).

    On the opposite side, I do like to rearrange frequently and as I already said, it is easier to get the plants out in pots even if I still end up ripping out some roots that have grown through the bottom.

    I'm toying with a mixed planting arrangement. Those plants that I know need more root space (like the coffee and a couple of ferns for example) I may direct plant and leave the rest in pots. The nepths which are the only cps in the tank are in one pot on a shelf area and seem to be doing great.

    Well, just my thoughts, I know most of you do not go for the natural design in your tanks but does anyone direct plant? How does it work?

    Thanks
    Linda in PA

  2. #2

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    Hey,
    I like the setup that you have there, what you want is a water hog kind of a plant. To plant directly, make a hole the size of the plants rootball, set the plant in the hole, then put dirt untill it can freestand, then make it stay by patting the dirt, making it stay. Hope it helps,
    Kevin
    Kevin Peterson
    Grosse Pointe, MI

  3. #3

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    Thanks Kevin,

    I think I'm going to try an experiment with the coffee and a fern. I'm going to use pieces of plastic canvas and make a pot for the root ball then plant in the terrarium. The theory being that even though arial roots will go through the holes in the plastic canvas, it will keep the main roots intact and give guidance for digging them up if need be. Then at least the moisture in the medium will get direct to the plant roots.

    The floor of the terrarium really does not get drenching wet. I mist the tank daily, but the dense foliage keeps the water at the top of the plants; there is only a small area of open space that gets the floor misted. When I do water, it generally is using a water bottle with a spout and that is directed at plant pot. The lid on my tank is a screen, not glass, so any moisture everaporates pretty quick (the humidity goes from a high of 90% to low of 50% throughout the day.

    I am also designing a pond area that will have overflow drainage holes. The nepth shelf will sit above this pond area. I use a 16oz solo cup with pin hole as a drip system over the roots of the nepth. The water from this drains to the pond below over some cork bark. The solo cup is decorated on the outside with air plants and a plastic canvas top covers the cup. This way I can just pour water into the cup and walk away. It takes about 30 min for the water in the cup to drain. I had the pin hole small enough for it to take a couple of hours but that didn't give much of a waterfall effect, the 30 min drip makes the water roll over the cork bark better.

    I'm also going to try making plastic canvas pots for some other plants that will be supported up off the ground with other pots (covering the supports with cork bark). In this I'll plant a couple of Xmas Catcus, Jade and an other succlent type (forget what it is). Through the holes in the canvas on the sides I'm going to put some pieces of lipstick plant (vine) that will grow down and cover the plastic. All of these plants have been in the tank for several months and are doing great. This will just put them closer to the lights and again the plastic canvas pots will provide for ideal drainage.

    If the canvas pots work on the coffee and fern, I'll try it on others the next time I rearrange (which is pretty frequent, I really need to get another tank to keep me busy LOL)

    Well anyhow, not sure if anyone cares, but thought I would expand on my plan. Thanks for listening (reading) LOL
    Linda in PA

  4. #4

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    Lol, I love the plan you have going there..... I hope it will do good! Good luck!
    Kevin
    Kevin Peterson
    Grosse Pointe, MI

  5. #5

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    Arrow

    All of my Cp are are "direct planted" in their terrarium(s). I have one 10 gal in my basement for temperates and one 29 gal in my bedroom for tropicals. All I have to do is clean the glass occasionally(gets dirty) and repot each year when the soil has broken down and the plants are too big. Although I admit it was kind of a hassle when I kept having to move the plants around because I didn't like the look. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img] [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]


    Mike [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    P.S. I'm going to post a pic of my terrariums tomorrow.
    Need to borrow my dad's digital camera. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]

  6. #6

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    Here it is. Sorry if it's the wrong size or has low resolution.

  7. #7

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    Mike, That looks great! Thanks for the success story. I have not worked on mine yet (time issue) but keep staring at it and making mental notes of the moves I plan to make. Have a three day weekend soon, hope to be able to block off several hours to work on it. I love the look of a natural landscape :-)

    Thanks again
    Linda in PA

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