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How To Water Terrarium? [The Art of Terrarium Care]

Terrarium adds a natural ecosystem to your living space, but this stunning creation may be entirely destroyed if you don’t know how to water it.

Generally, plants in closed terrariums will need monthly watering, but those on open terrariums will need watering every 3-6 weeks. Moreover, water your terrarium when the plants become yellow or wilted with dry soil and mist them instead of pouring the water directly. 

Closed terrariums with lids follow the water cycle creating the ecosystem. Meanwhile, the ecosystem cannot be created in an open terrarium because no lid evaporates the water quickly. 

As the watering schedule and techniques differ from regular gardens, we have come up with this article to help you with the failproof watering guides for terrariums.

How Often to Water Terrarium?

You don’t need to water terrariums frequently as the structure recycles water, and the plants are also hardy.

Usually, you must water the closed terrarium once a month, but if you have open terrariums, they will need watering every 3-6 weeks.
open and closed Terrarium
Open terrarium needs frequent watering compared to closed terrarium.

However, when the soil becomes dry with yellow and wilting plants, you must water immediately instead of following any watering schedule.

Generally, a 1/4 gallon-sized terrarium will need 1/4 cup of water, and the soil must be moist but not soggy or waterlogged.

If you have a newly established terrarium and going to water it for the first time, try watering it with an ounce of water till a slow drip.

After the plants establish themselves, they won’t need frequent watering as the system circulates water itself.

Closed terrariums won’t need much watering as the water is recycled due to condensation. But the water evaporates fast in open terrariums, making them require frequent watering. 

How do you Water in Terrarium?

The overwatering effect is common in terrariums as the humidity is trapped in the enclosed system requiring limited watering.

Consider the following two methods for watering the plants in the terrarium. 

1. Spray Bottle Watering 

Fill a spray bottle with water and sprinkle in the interior glass walls by turning on the “stream” setting to avoid spraying water directly into the soil.

Continue spraying by rotating it in a 360-degree motion until all sides of the glass are covered before closing the terrarium.

2. Drainage Layer 

The terrarium or pot without a drainage hole needs a drainage layer to hold the excess water.

For this, fill your terrarium’s 1/4 inch bottom layer with rocks and horticultural charcoal, adding the soil on the top.

This design will hold the excess water preventing your plants in the terrarium from being overwatered.  

Don’t miss the following watering tips to make your terrarium workable and lively. 

  • Never pour the water directly into the closed terrarium, as long-term moisture retention may cause root rot.
  • Instead, try misting to fulfill water as well as humidity demands. But some plants, like maiden hair ferns, do not like misting.
  • Do not mist if you see the glass of your terrarium look foggy. Try a fogger to mist rather than a spray bottle. 
  • Succulents in the terrarium are not a good idea, but if you want one, place them in very well-draining soil.
  • Moreover, your terrarium must be open with grow lights for succulents. Mist with one ounce of water every week.
  • Every winter, water your succulent terrarium every 10-15 days.
  • Use distilled or filtered water to mist the plants inside terrariums. Or, allow the tap water to sit for 24 hours instead before using.
  • If you are into air plants, remove them from the terrarium and keep them back after soaking them for 2-3 hours.
  • For the orchid terrariums, spray your orchids once a week with distilled water
  • Always place the polka dot plants in a closed terrarium, as they thrive best in humid conditions with short heights.

From Editorial Team

Choose the Right Plants for Your Terrarium!

If you have a closed Terrarium, choose plants that can survive in a good amount of moisture, like a baby fern, Cryptanthus, Pothos, etc.

Meanwhile, the plants that love dry conditions with good air circulation, like cacti, succulents, and air plants, will fit best in open terrariums.