Should you plan on storing your air plants in a terrarium, it is important to choose the right base material. The base of the terrarium plays a pivotal role in the health of your plants. The base creates space between the plants and the glass, which allows for better airflow and prevents rot.
This article will explore the different types of materials you can use for your air plant terrarium base, along with a few important tips for creating the perfect home for your plants.
How Do You Plan on Displaying Your Terrarium?
Folks display their terrariums in all sorts of ways. Some use them as centerpieces, others use them to add some green to their office space, and still others will hang them from the ceiling.
When selecting a base, consider the overall weight of the terrarium. If you plan on suspending your terrarium, use a light base material such as reindeer moss.
However, if you prefer a more sturdy terrarium that can sit on a table or windowsill, select a heavier base material such as rocks or gravel should be considered.
Expected Size of Your Tillandsia
When setting your base, you will also need to consider the size of your terrarium container and the maximum height and width of your Tillandsia.
Ensure that you don’t put too much of a base that would encroach on the air plant’s space to grow.
The Tillandsia leaves should have plenty of room to spread out, and the roots should have room to dangle down or grow throughout the base.
The Importance of the Air Plant Terrarium Base
Root rot is the number one killer of air plants. This happens when the plant’s roots are constantly wet and don’t have enough airflow.
The purpose of the base material is to improve air circulation, so the roots of the air plant don’t soak in water and start to rot. Too much moisture will kill an air plant.
Aside from the functional benefits, the base also allows you to get creative with your terrarium design and can be a centerpiece in its own right.
Popular Air Plant Terrarium Base Materials
Here are a few of the most popular base materials for air plant terrariums.
- Gravel: Gravel is a classic choice for an air plant terrarium base. It is readily available, inexpensive, and comes in various colors and sizes. Aquarium gravel is a good choice as it is safe for plants.
- Rocks & Pebbles: This is another popular choice for an air plant terrarium base. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
- Sand: This is a good choice for a tabletop terrarium as sand adds weight and stability. Colorful sand can also add a pop of color to your terrarium design.
- Reindeer Moss: Reindeer moss is a lightweight, spongy material that is very popular in terrariums. It comes in various colors and can be found at your local nursery or online. If you plan on hanging your terrarium, reindeer moss is a good choice since it won’t add much weight.
- Coconut Husk: The outer shell of coconut can also be used as an air plant terrarium base. It is lightweight and has a nice, natural look – plus, it emits a warm, coconut scent – perfect if you are using it for a terrarium in an office setting.
- Wood: Whether it’s pine, driftwood, or cork, wood is another popular terrarium base material. It comes in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Just make sure that it is untreated and won’t rot. Depending on how the wood is cut, it may be light enough for hanging terrariums. Plus, it adds a nice rustic look.
- Glass Beads: These are a fun and festive way to add some color to your terrarium base. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes and can be found at your local craft store. You can even change them out with the seasons or holidays for an extra dash of decoration.
- Marbles: Like glass beads, marbles are available in various colors and sizes. These can be a nice contrast to a geometric terrarium.
- Aquatic Shells: Whether it’s seashells, starfish, or sand dollars, these can add a nice beachy look to your terrarium.
Terrarium Kits are Perfect for Beginners
If the idea of buying a base material, terrarium container, and plants separately sounds like too much work, don’t worry – there are plenty of terrarium kits available that have everything you need to get started.
These are often designed well and come with helpful instructions. They can be a great way to get started with terrariums, especially if you give one as a gift.
Do air plants need a base?
Yes, air plants need a base material to help improve air circulation and prevent root rot. An air plant would typically grow on a tree branch or in rocky soil in its natural habitat. The constant breeze and good drainage help to keep the plant healthy.
Can you mist your air plant while it’s in the terrarium?
Yes, you can mist your air plant while in the terrarium. Just be mindful of the signs of overwatering, underwatering, and mist accordingly. For example, Overwatering will cause the plant’s leaves to be mushy and create a moldy smell, while underwatering will cause the leaves to curl up.
Do air plants need substrate?
No, air plants do not need substrate. A substrate is a material used to support the roots of a plant. Air plants get all the nutrients they need from the air and don’t need any extra support.
What if I use soil as a base for the terrarium?
Soil is not a good choice for an air plant terrarium base because it can retain too much water and cause the plant’s roots to rot.
Will the air plant still produce pups in a terrarium?
Yes, air plants will still produce pups in a terrarium. However, it is important to note that they may not produce as many pups as they would in their natural habitat. This is because the terrarium environment is often more humid than the air plant’s natural habitat, which can stress the plant and cause it to produce fewer pups.
Samantha Taylor is the Senior Editor of airplantcentral.com. Her love for plants goes back to her childhood when she spent hours in the garden with her dear grandfather. As an aspiring botanist, she started her own business specializing in air plants.