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TERRARIUM in a dama-juana jar with lamp shade. This arrangement is going almost two years without watering.




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Gardening in a bottle

By Serapion S. Metilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:19:00 04/13/2008

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Leisure

MANILA, Philippines - Gardening inside a glass case is called terrarium. It?s an indoor plant art good not only for homes but also for offices, where care and maintenance are not so much needed.

First, you need glass containers such as demi john (dama juana), old aquarium container, candy jars, wine bottles, laboratory bottles or made-to-order or custom-made containers.

Choose ones having crystal clear glass where sufficient light can penetrate. Clear plastic or fiber glass type will also do.

See to it that your container is fully cleaned and if possible sterilized.

First, at the bottom of the bottle or glass, place about half an inch of pulverized wood charcoal.

Charcoal contains the element carbon that will help neutralize the acidity of the stored moisture.

Then introduce the potting medium with a paper funnel in the case of small mouth bottles.

The potting medium can be sterilized mixture of one part garden soil, one part river sand, one part coco coir dust and one part aged rice hull. As substitute for river sand, you can use coarse grade perlite.

To sterilize the mixture, have it fired in a frying pan until the medium smells burnt, an indication that foreign grass seeds will no longer germinate and the bacteria and or fungus have been killed.

Let it cool and moisten with clean or potable water before introducing it into the container.

Use sticks

In containers where you cannot manipulate with your hands, you can use sticks.

Arrange the potting medium with a mound slightly pressed to make it stable about two inches more or less thick depending upon the size of your container.

Then introduce the plants one by one. See to it that your plants are all established, meaning already rooted, and well cleaned and dry.

As soon as you drop the plants, push with a stick the basal part with the roots into the soil. Slowly, it will stand up and carefully cover the roots with soil. This needs dexterity.

You have to do it slowly with patience. Estimate the number of plants you use, trying not to overcrowd.

Finally, cover the soil with carpet moss and some pebbles for effect.

Some of the plants appropriate for terrariums are the Dracaena sanderiana, Dracaena godseffiana (florida beauty, gold dust or milky way), mundo grass, episcia, rattan seedlings, miniature ti plants, miniature ferns, miniature syngoiums, crypthantus and miniature papuas.

Apply potable water on the soil, just enough to penetrate all over the potting medium. Once the bottle is covered, you do not need to water again.

There will be self-watering because the moisture that evaporates will gather at the sides of the bottle and will fall again back to the soil.

But it is recommended that your terrarium should be provided with sufficient light?with a 20-watt electric bulb?for at least 15 hours every day without fail. This will make your plants grow for years even without watering at all provided your bottle is well covered preventing the moisture to escape.

For problems and other inquiries on gardening, write me at PDI. You may also inquire through e-mail at mettsplants@vahoo.com.



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