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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post! Wooo Hooo!

I am working on an 18x18x24 Exo Terra build for PDFs. Not my first build, but on the biggest backgrounds I've ever worked on. I've got my GS / silicone / polystyrene build completed and am working on accents tonight. No water feature but a regular mistking spray schedule.

The one issue I am having is acquainting myself with plant orientation, placement and needs after having purchased a "plant package" from Joshsfrogs. I have so many cool interesting plants that I am having trouble sorting out location verses needs verses function verses aesthetic.

I have found a variety of resources via general search engines, but I am coming up short when I went to the plant forum "stickies": there is a lot of very, very good information about the plants, but less detail about where / how to put what and the logic behind it. I do a search for plant placement and what I tend to find are "is this a good setup" posts or a bucket full of messy dissociated topics which just don't seem to give me the gist / GOP I'm looking for (general operating procedure).

Perhaps we could do a "tips and ticks" for plant placement, or a "do's and don'ts" related specifically to plants and how/where they should be placed in a typical PDF build?

A few questions I have right off the bat:

1) Soil for potted GS background? Should I use typical substrate? Depends on plant?

2) Are all broms epiphytes?

3) What types of plants should be mounted verse those that should be in the base substrate?

4) Do all climbers grow towards light? Does that mean they should be rooted from the base of background or can you "hang" from top background pots?

Appreciate the help!

Thanks forum!

Thanks for the help.
 

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i had exactly teh same problem when i first started...

one of the key things to realize is the difference between cuttings and rooted plants.

-roots plants need to be planted.

-epiphytes can be mounted onto anything pretty much.

-cuttings can be mounted if you give them a good "spongy" ball of sphagnum moss for them to form roots into. for a cutting to root your sphagnum area should be pretty much permanently moist.

-AIRPLANTS (tillandsias) especially the ones with the "silvery" flakes on the leaves like to dry out between waterings. Do *NOT* put them anywhere that stays heavily moist/wet (similarly you do not want to put a chunk of moss at their base necessarily, or if you do you don't want to keep it wet).


As for the locations.....aethetics and needs as you realize are a few things and it really is plant specific.


one thing I still can't get right are ferns....i've heard they can be grown moist and i've also heard that they like their soil to be well drained and dry out between waterings....but I can't get any growth out of them eitherway i've tried it...would like to hear about how to grow ferns from others :)

EDIT: your questions:
1) I'm assuming you mean the soil that goes in the pots that are in the background? In that case, it depends :p. If you plant an orchid or somesuch, you probably want a well draining soil or even bark bits. Basically, planters are perfect because you can adjust the soil for the individual plants without affecting your other plants

2) I dont think all of them are, but pretty much all the ones regularly (Pineapples aren't epiphytic right? just thinkin off the top of my head)

3) Base substrate = rooted plants generally; Mounted with a moist moss ball = cuttings; Mounted in a place they get water but won't always be wet = airplants (tillandsias).

4) I just grow cuttings off the background instead. I usually only use my background pots for things that NEED substrate, like a fern or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i had exactly teh same problem when i first started...

one of the key things to realize is the difference between cuttings and rooted plants.

-roots plants need to be planted.

-epiphytes can be mounted onto anything pretty much.

-cuttings can be mounted if you give them a good "spongy" ball of sphagnum moss for them to form roots into. for a cutting to root your sphagnum area should be pretty much permanently moist.

-AIRPLANTS (tillandsias) especially the ones with the "silvery" flakes on the leaves like to dry out between waterings. Do *NOT* put them anywhere that stays heavily moist/wet (similarly you do not want to put a chunk of moss at their base necessarily, or if you do you don't want to keep it wet).


As for the locations.....aethetics and needs as you realize are a few things and it really is plant specific.


one thing I still can't get right are ferns....i've heard they can be grown moist and i've also heard that they like their soil to be well drained and dry out between waterings....but I can't get any growth out of them eitherway i've tried it...would like to hear about how to grow ferns from others :)

EDIT: your questions:
1) I'm assuming you mean the soil that goes in the pots that are in the background? In that case, it depends :p. If you plant an orchid or somesuch, you probably want a well draining soil or even bark bits. Basically, planters are perfect because you can adjust the soil for the individual plants without affecting your other plants

2) I dont think all of them are, but pretty much all the ones regularly (Pineapples aren't epiphytic right? just thinkin off the top of my head)

3) Base substrate = rooted plants generally; Mounted with a moist moss ball = cuttings; Mounted in a place they get water but won't always be wet = airplants (tillandsias).

4) I just grow cuttings off the background instead. I usually only use my background pots for things that NEED substrate, like a fern or something.
Fantastic! I think the forum needs a "best of" compilation of these types of ideas. I've been sorting through the plant forum and there is a lot of good info but it's all over the place. Administrator help please...?
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First post! Wooo Hooo!
A few questions I have right off the bat:

2) Are all broms epiphytes?

.
The one's I have are. Appreciate the start. Keep it coming.

I've spent the past 3 hours combing through the plant forum. Great stuff. It should be compiled.
 

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Great idea. I hope it catches on and more people contribute like EvilLost. Sorry I have no contributions of my own other than encouragement.

Thank you
 

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you can also try checking out vivariumforums.com for some good information....the boards there are not very active but there is a fair amount of information for just growing plants (they have a whole fora dedicated to terrariums/orchidariums)
 

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You can get inspiration from many sources. Pictures of other vivs, pictures of natural habitat, or evena walk through the woods. But regardless of where you get your inspiration from, it doesn't change the fact that you will never be able to duplicate it exactly because you don't have the same plants, wood, rock, etc. This is where your personal taste comes into play. You will learn what is esthetically pleasing and what is not. You will then be able to create very nice vivs with just about anything haha! It takes time, but you will get it through trial and error. Keep an open mind and every viv will get better and better.
 

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Also keep in mind your vivarium is ever evolving, growing and changing over time. It probably will never be finished. Hopefully it can reflect one small arc in the circle of life.
 

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Few tips on plant placement:

1) Less is more. If you were to take an area of the rainforest that's the size of your tank and count the plant varieties, you might find 5 or 6, but they're pretty well established. Keep that in mind

2) You want to place plants in a natural-looking way, not all organized and perfectly spaced. If it's perfectly spaced, it's really obvious. Look at a lot of posts from people on this board to see what I mean.

3) A plant's growth needs trump its placement in many situations. So, for example, while a tillandsia might look good in one spot, if it's really wet there, it'll rot in a week or two and you'll be pissed.

4) Don't be too concerned about covering every inch of your background and wood with plants. It'll fill in over time. Yes, it takes a LONG time (people post pictures of what their tank looked like new, and then 6 months later, and there's definitely change, but nothing insane ), but patience is a virtue in this game.

5) Look at pictures of people's plant placement. The threads that get numerous good compliments are the ones I pay attention to, because their plant placement is usually pretty good.
 
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