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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Power went out for 10 days here after the hurricane, and that meant no light all that time for the larger terraria except what a small window would allow.

I don't know whether or not that's long enough to kill many plants, but it got me thinking about smaller terraria anyway. The kind you'd put on a shelf or sill and let be.

There are basically 3 things I'm looking for in plants:

  1. Small enough to grow in jars up to 1 gallon in volume, though frequently half that size or smaller.
  2. Tolerant of zero air flow --- these will only be sealed terraria.
  3. Able to subsist on pretty low sunlight or in need of high sunlight but tolerant of high summer temperatures.
Any suggestions from the community? I figure things like pothos and tradescantias work, but I'm looking for other options, too.
 

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Power went out for 10 days here after the hurricane, and that meant no light all that time for the larger terraria except what a small window would allow.

I don't know whether or not that's long enough to kill many plants, but it got me thinking about smaller terraria anyway. The kind you'd put on a shelf or sill and let be.

There are basically 3 things I'm looking for in plants:

  1. Small enough to grow in jars up to 1 gallon in volume, though frequently half that size or smaller.
  2. Tolerant of zero air flow --- these will only be sealed terraria.
  3. Able to subsist on pretty low sunlight or in need of high sunlight but tolerant of high summer temperatures.
Any suggestions from the community? I figure things like pothos and tradescantias work, but I'm looking for other options, too.
First of all, you'll need to make sure any sealed terrarium in a windowsill only gets filtered light, or it will quickly cook - I have a glass bowl that isn't sealed, and it's behind a Shoji screen. It's doing quite well and requires very minimal care, I water about once a week.

That being said, most plants won't tolerate being completely sealed in. I do have a setup for filmy ferns and Bucephalandra that is very nearly sealed, it has a tiny air gap, and I have a jar with a little Buce and Peperomia emarginella that only gets fresh air very occasionally. Both of those setups are pretty wet and very low light. The Peperomia emarginella is doing well. You could also try Sinningia muscicola, in a much drier setup (it can tolerate a lot of water, but it needs air movement for that). You could also try some of the mini Begonias, some of them do well in sealed grow bins with low light and very little fresh air, as long as you make sure no water sits on their leaves.
 

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E. Anthonyii Santa Isabels
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Any suggestions from the community? I figure things like pothos and tradescantias work, but I'm looking for other options, too.
I was messing around after my first build and set up a few plant clippings, mostly tradescantia, in a sealed glass container. While they started to take off, fungus and rot was soon after an unmanageable issue that got to the plants. That lack of any airflow for such a small space just didn’t work.
 

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I had a hex fish tank set up as a terrarium for years fully sealed; I added water every couple months. I had a NOID Nepenthes that maintained fairly well (actually I killed it moving it out into a ventilated terrarium) which is too large for what you're considering, but a Cryptanthus that was in there I still have in one of my frog vivs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am open to allowing air flow, but it would really, truly need to be so little that if I accidentally or necessarily could not water them for two or three weeks, they still would not die from lack of water. If I don't have that much leeway, at least once in a while, I may as well use artificial plants.

@Socratic Monologue In regard to your signature, I must remark that two days I went into the local medical infusion and saw, in addition to other services offered by injection ("Hangover Relief," "PMS Relief"), a new one named "Enlightenment," for $125 USD. I told the nurse that deserved at least a four-digit price tag, but I don't recall ever getting an explanation of what that name could possibly mean.
 

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I am open to allowing air flow, but it would really, truly need to be so little that if I accidentally or necessarily could not water them for two or three weeks, they still would not die from lack of water. If I don't have that much leeway, at least once in a while, I may as well use artificial plants.
This one gets watered about once a week, but could probably go 2 weeks. You can see the lid with holes drilled in it. I just make sure water evaporates off of leaves before replacing the lid, and no significant mold or fungus issues so far (about 9 months in).
Plant Houseplant Terrestrial plant Pet supply Water


This one is pretty new, maybe 2 months old, but no mold issues so far. Fluval Stratum and Spyra (essentially Hygrolon), with a whole lot of species but mainly Peperomias, mini ferns, filmy ferns, mosses, liverworts and Bucephalandras. I check on it every other week, it could easily go a month. You can see the slight gap made by elevating the lid a little. I’m gonna make a build thread for it at some point.
Plant Water Pet supply Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant
 

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@Socratic Monologue In regard to your signature, I must remark that two days I went into the local medical infusion and saw, in addition to other services offered by injection ("Hangover Relief," "PMS Relief"), a new one named "Enlightenment," for $125 USD. I told the nurse that deserved at least a four-digit price tag, but I don't recall ever getting an explanation of what that name could possibly mean.
Cheap even at four digits. The amount I've blown seeking enlightenment is truly staggering. :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I had an idea to relocate my old plant- growing rack to sit in front of this large window that gets a good bit of indirect sunlight.

I concentrated all the un-sealed terraria here so they would enjoy 6500K T12 light and sunlight together. And because they're all together, I won't as easily forget to check them for water. This way, I think I can have more open terraria, some with wide openings and some with wooden balls on top that permit a little ventilation.

Plant Leaf Wood Curtain Window


The new question is, what are some good smaller-scale terrarium plants in general? Ones that take slight to moderate ventilation and can take some light?

(Photo is a tentative arrangement; I can change things around.)
 

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A few that may not be in the DB yet (I should add them):

I highly recommend Sinningia muscicola - almost always blooming, can deal with pretty enclosed stuffy environments as long as it's not too wet. Some of the less well known jewel orchids would work too, my new favorite is Aspidogyne argentea. Climacium dendroides is a really cool moss that looks like small trees. If your air flow is good enough: Masdevallia erinacea (one of the smallest masdies), Pleurothallis grobyi, Lepanthopsis astrophora, Lepanthes telipogoniflora are all small, warmth-tolerant, and adorable. Pleurothallis dressleri is expensive but tiny and easy (for a pleurothallid).
 
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