69 (November/December 2002)
by Leora Fuentes
I follow Millie Thompson's recipe for preparing
the sphagnum moss for the terrariums I grow. Pour boiling water onto the
long fiber sphagnum moss. When it is cool, I add a couple of drops of
Super Thrive and let it soak for awhile. Then I wring out as much water as
I can and cut the moss into small pieces. Once that is done, I add some
perlite (whatever amount looks right to me). At this point I'll leave the
moss in a bucket for several days to allow it to dry further. I turn it
every day until I see enough moisture has evaporated. I do this because it
may look dry enough, but it is not and then your plant may rot. It is a
lot easier to add additional water as needed.
When I am ready to prepare a terrarium I put some
horticultural charcoal in the the bottom and add the sphagnum. Once the
terrarium is planted I do not add water at that time. I'll watch for
condensation on the glass or feel the mixture.
When I do water, I do so with a very light fertilizer.
I am not brand specific. Whatever I have, I use.
Most of my plants are under fluorescent lights for 12
hours a day. If I see a good buy for grow lights, I'll purchase them. Most
of the time I use one cool white and one warm white bulb. Some of my
plants are about 4 inches from the lights and some are approximately 12
inches. I experiment with them by moving them to different locations to
see where they are happiest.
I also have several in a north facing window ‑B.
rajah, B. pavonina, and B. 'Mumtaz'. They are quite happy
there. Since B. versicolor does not like the heat it is sitting on
the floor next to the light cart during the summer.
I try to change the sphagnum mixture once a year.
I think the hardest part of growing terrariums is
finding the appropriate container. If you are near a party store, you can
purchase bowls used for catering purposes and invert one on top of the
other. Some of the craft stores also have glass bubbles. You can also
purchase clear glass cookie jars at Walmart (where they are the most
reasonable). Some people find containers at garage sales.
Above is Leora's B. 'Millie Thompson' and
below is her B. luzonensis