Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ficus Prebonsai, addition for Terrariums

The idea of growing small Ficus prebonsai as addition for any reptile & amphibian terrariums was given us by a friend.   He  built an Organic Living Diorama Terrarium / Vivarium in an old 80 gallon aquarium with succulent plants, some assorted Tillandsias (air plants) and some varieties of ferns and tropical plants like "Purple Passion Plants", "Peperomia" "Bromeliads" and  "Earth's Star". He explained us about terrarium, vivarium, riparium, aqua-vivarium, paludarium :-)... and how he set his living Diorama. Also he explained how the tropical plants and potted plants can aid the amphibians in breeding them (Mother Nature has a solution for everything). He intend to transform a little bit his chameleon vivarium / terrarium by adding a potted ficus bonsai to the existing  plants, eventually making a tropical forest. He likes our plants because are pesticide and fertilizer free, an essential condition to any plant used in making terrariums in order to keep the reptiles and amphibians safe.

Initial he was attracted by Ficus Wiandi variety because its small leaves provides lots of hiding materials to his Chameleon... He consider also Ficus Benjamina Variegated leaves a beautiful addition to any terrarium ... which will make a nice forest dwelling to any reptile or amphibian.

Ficus wiandi prebonsai, addition for terrarium / vivarium
Ficus wiandi prebonsai, addition for terrarium / vivarium
So... we have been played a little bit with some of our tropical plants in order to determine which one has the dimensions more appropriate with his aquarium... A perfect fit seems to be one Ficus Wiandi prebonsai with two branches which grown opposite one to another, almost parallel with the soil ...  with a compact canopy of leaves at 10 cm high to the soil surface  and decided that  it is more suitable to be used in a smaller terrarium, perhaps one of 20-30 gallons. Actually this ficus Wiandi was left to grow almost untrimmed, because we did not decide yet in which bonsai style to stylize it ;-).

Then he measured one ficus grown on a rock...but the whole set up: rock, training pot and the plant will occupies  more space than his initial estimation.

Ficus benjamina variegated on rock
Ficus benjamina variegated on rock

In the end he chose a group of 3 ficus benjamina variegated plants having almost 50 cm high, trained as miniature forest. We taught him how to prune it regularly to keep it small in his terrarium, knowing for sure that in the tropical wet atmosphere inside the terrarium, the plant will grow very quickly (even the aerial roots will grow considerably in short time).

Ficus benjamina variegated - addition for terrarium
Ficus benjamina variegated - addition for terrarium

The plants can be replant it anytime after they will adapt to the new climate in any dish or polymer clay pot he considers more appropriate with the decor (he has also inside some rocks for drainage, stones and untreated chemically free driftwood for landscaping accents).

     BLUEiQ Miniature Ecosystem   The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature

Well, to arrange a miniature garden under glass ... is  another way to bring nature inside your home in a creative way. My initial reaction was intrigue when he explained us that those miniature landscapes are easy to care once the plants become established within it, because the terrarium creates its own climate ;-) My thought was that they are similar with miniature greenhouses but the rain effect created inside it allows to go for weeks without watering - moisture transpired through the leaves is condensed on the glass, then is flowing to the soil plants. Later I read more about these  ecosystems that houses both live plants and animals.  To me seems challenging to avoid insect and disease problems in such a set up without disturbing beneficial microorganisms. I need to learn more about how to grow properly such a self-sustainable systems in an enclosed container with collections of compatible plants ...


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