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Joined
Nov 10, 2013
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Hacienda Heights, CA USA
I have a terrarium made of glass that everything has died in over a few months, but I don't know why. It is in my backyard in southern California and there is saran wrap on top to keep the humidity high. It gets a few hours of direct sun in the afternoon. The plants were watered about once a week, which was the only time the saran wrap was removed.

I had a pot of Utricularia sandersonii and bisquamata in there for a few months, but today I found out it was dead. I thought it was because the soil was too dry but that was not the case when I took the soil out and it was still wet to the touch. I think I lost all of the sandersonii but there is still some bisquamata on the sides of the pot.

I also had an 8-inch pot of Utricularia longifolia growing in New Zealand sphagnum, which was still also wet. Most of the longifolia in there was dead, though, and most of the remaining leaves were turning brown on top. There was a water tray under the pot.

There were also three Nepenthes cuttings, of which one rotted away. A month ago the two remaining ones were still green so I thought they would root but they didn't. At that time two months had passed since I put them in the New Zealand sphagnum.

What really baffles me is that I have two plastic tubs next to the terrarium where I keep most of my Utricularia and they are doing fine. One of them even flowered.

Does anyone know what is wrong with the terrarium? Previously it was used as a fish tank but that was a few years ago. I moved the rest of the Utricularia longifolia into one of the tubs today, but I'd still like to use the terrarium in the future for germinating seeds and such.

Here is a picture of everything dead:
DSC_0281_1.jpg


Here is a picture of the terrarium:
DSC_0306_1.jpg


Here is a plastic tub that I use to keep my utrics in. You can see the terrarium in the background.
DSC_0307_1.jpg
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
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Location
Hacienda Heights, CA USA
Hmm, I guess plastic doesn't do that then. It seemed to be what prevented the cuttings from rooting, and the plants in the best condition were out of the sun, so I think you are right. I wish I had realized earlier when the utrics started to decline after I put them in. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
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Closed terrariums can't be left in direct sun. After two hours in the sun, it probably reached 120F inside.
Dude, you cooked your plants.
 
Joined
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Hacienda Heights, CA USA
Do you know if it will happen with plastic too? My Utricularia in there are still alive, but maybe the large amount of water prevents the temperature from rising too high? Would utrics be fine in the shade?
 
Joined
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Southern Wisconsin
Since that doesn't appear to be clear plastic it probably isn't getting as hot in there as it got in the all glass but I bet it still gets pretty warm. If it were me I would take the top off the plastic tubs.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
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Greeley, CO, USA
Plastic will have the exact same effect. And if you leave them in there, the Utrics will probably follow suit very soon. Shade would definitely be better.
 

DragonsEye

carnivorous plants of the world -- unite!
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
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Afraid you did indeed "cook" your plants. :( Think about how hot ANY enclosed space gets in the sun. Even a windowless wood shed can and typically does get extremely hot inside with a hot sun shining on it. (And wood is a very good insulator.) Of course, the time of year and latitude makes a big difference -- during the middle of winter in the great white north it certainly wouldn't be the case. But at your latitude, I imagine you are already getting warm days. (Though even this time of year, if it is a bright sunny day here in the north, my car interior will be significantly warmer than it is outside.)
 
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Athens, GA
1) hang a cheap thermometer inside so you can monitor it
2) use a frame made of PVC pipe with sides of 50-70% shade cloth (basically a 3-sided shade box) and set this over the terrarium. You might be able to lower the temps by 10-20F this way, but ultimately you're better off growing in the open air or even somewhere out of direct sun.
 
Joined
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Hacienda Heights, CA USA
Ok, I'm looking for a place to move the plastic tubs. It will probably be inside the house and shaded. I'm worried since some of the utrics have faded leaves, which I am guessing is a sign that it is too hot.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
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Utah
Agree with Mcantrell, you should ditch the terrarium when outdoors. Many plants should do well in Cali with the natural humidity.

Sorry about your loss! But I have to be honest with ya, I thought you were joking at first describing your situation as each detail spelled more death as you described it.

Really sorry for you having to learn the hard way losing plants in the process! Been in your shoes in other ways, best of luck getting new growing conditions sorted! :)
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
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Location
Hacienda Heights, CA USA
Agree with Mcantrell, you should ditch the terrarium when outdoors. Many plants should do well in Cali with the natural humidity.

Sorry about your loss! But I have to be honest with ya, I thought you were joking at first describing your situation as each detail spelled more death as you described it.

Really sorry for you having to learn the hard way losing plants in the process! Been in your shoes in other ways, best of luck getting new growing conditions sorted! :)

You are right. I don't use terrariums for my other plants and they did fine, but humidity in souther California isn't very high and I didn't want to risk them drying up. Also, many of them are tropical so I think they need higher humidity.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
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Utah
I admit I was in Central California near the coast and then inland up near Sacramento for a few years and plants did well. Perhaps your specific area is low. Do you have a hygrometer or anything to show how low it gets?
 

SubRosa

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Apr 11, 2013
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I use a set up to maintain humidity for my orchids which consists of an aquarium with a false bottom made of light grid. I keep water up to a bit below the bottom of the grid, run a couple of airstones and keep the top open.
 
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