View Full Version : Terrarium planting

13th November 2002, 21:40
Hi all,

Wasn't sure where to write this, so hope ok here.

Now that my Pothos / Devil's Ivy is doing really well I would like to spread the joy of this wonderful plant and take some cuttings, with a view to moving them into other set-ups.

Everytime I go to wield the knife I give up, however, unsure how best to do it. I know this is a Caudates site not Gardeners' World :-) but can anyone advise please? Should I slice straight or at an angle? Should I cut at the stem or just behind a leaf?

Cheers for any help,

13th November 2002, 22:27
Pothos is so doggone hardy, it won't care in the slightest how you chop ithttp://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/crazy.gif I cut it off straight, just about anywhere on the stem, then stick the cutting into water or soil. If there is a leaf close to the cut-off point, remove that leaf.

14th November 2002, 09:36
I second Jenn's sentiments. However, we don't want you to develop sloppy horticulture habits, do we?

Thus, use a sharp blade (razor, scalpel, or a recently sharpened, thin knife) and try to cut the plant stem without squashing it (easier if you do it at an angle but this doesn't matter).

The roots will (usually) develop from the lowest node - strip off the leaves, cut a bit below it and make sure that the node gets into the water/soil.

Some plants have toxic substances and putting the fresh cuttings in some vial with water for a day or two won't hurt if you're not sure.

Happy gardening! http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/happy.gif

20th December 2002, 01:07
Hi All,
Dave Calkins posted this on the Frognet listserve and I saw the implications for use with our animals right away. Now I need to set up a terrarium to try it.

"In order to create a river which flows from one side of the tank to the other, I create a stream bed out of what I call silicone soil.

Silicone soil is a method that I developed a number of years ago in order to create a stream bed that solves a number of problems relating to water falls, stream / river bed features, etc. Its far easier then slabs of rock, rock chips, bark chips, Plexiglas, ABS / PVC pipe, etc. It produces a real nice natural stream flow. (Water doesn't instantly percolate down through the substrate leaving you with only a small trickle. Also you can use a smaller pump to get the same stream effect.)

The first step in the process is to lay out the general terrain of the tank. The stream layout is sculpted in the gravel / soil substrate. I usually sculpt the substrate about 1/4 to 1/2 deeper then my final stream bed thickness. The soil used can be anything. Potting Soil, Atlanta BG mix, orchid mix, dirt from out side, anything. This was a soil mix that was posted on frognet a while ago.

The Home Depot Soil Mix:
1 part charcoal (available at HD for a lot less than the aquarium stuff and not quite as good, but more than sufficient)
3 parts milled sphagnum moss (this will look like peat)
2 parts small orchid bark (fir bark)
2 parts shredded coco mat (just buy one and take some scissors to it)

You used to be able to order the ingredients for the Atlanta BG mix from: OFE INTERNATIONAL, INC. - http://www.orchids.org/ofe.html P.O. Box 163256 Miami, FL 33116 Telephone: (305)253-7080 Fax: (305)251-8245 Cork, treefern bark, charcoal, and other orchid supplies Or you could order it already mixed from: Tropical Plant Solutions http://hylaweb.com/cgibin/tps/tps.cgi

The only thing I don't recommend is using any soil which has perilite or vermiculite the stuff with little white styrofoam balls in it. They dont look natural and you must be careful because they can cause impaction if your animals ingest them.

If you are using dirt from outside, I would recommend that you sterilize it by baking or microwaving it. Let it cool.

Then mix together the sterilized soil with aquarium safe silicone. I usually mix the silicone and the soil on a piece of cardboard or in a throw away plastic bowl so I can throw it away when I'm done. Squirt a bunch of silicone into the bowl and slowly mix in the soil. Keep mixing until it looks like wet / damp soil.

Use a popsicle stick to apply the mixture, sculpting from the waterfall down through the channel you created in the substrate down to the pond. You can use your fingers to mold and shape the channel. Wet your fingers often with water to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. One note, whatever you apply this mixture to must be dry. Silicone does not stick to wet surfaces.

You can add rocks at this time by pushing them into the mixture before it cures. Adding rocks breaks up the flow of the channel, creating little white water rapids, course changes etc., and it looks great.

The advantages of this system are numerous. The stream bed looks very natural, flowing around bends, rocks, branches, plants, etc. and keeps the water flow at the surface where it looks better, aerates the water, and adds to the tank's humidity. Plants that dont tolerate bog conditions can be put closer to the stream without rotting out because the water is held at the surface. The channel can be carried completely across the tank without losing much of the flow and without greatly increasing the size of your pump. Doing this also greatly increases the natural biological filtration in the tank, if you are using some type of a gravel bottom; you also donut have nearly as many stagnant areas. The stream bed can be cut out, altered and added to just by mixing more material. The stream bed can be scrubbed to remove algae and it can be removed if needed, sterilized, and reinstalled. Finally, frogs and critters just love to sit in the stream.

The bed should cure in a dry environment for a minimum of 48 hours before adding water. Leave the lid off of the tank to let cure and off gas. I would let it set for a week or more before adding animals. A week is probably overkill, but why take chances.

I use the silicone soil mixture for a number of other things, feeding dishes, plant pots, etc. I coat the outside of certain types of feeding dishes with the silicone soil so that the dish blends into the background and looks more natural. I also will use plastic cups cut down and sunk into the ground and glued into place with silicone soil for feeding dish holders. Then I will cut down another cup which will fit inside the first cup. The second cup will be used to put food into the tank. Works great for food like meal worms, etc. Plus I can then pull the cup out and wash it when it is need.

I have used double pots to plant various plants in a number of different tanks while still maintaining a natural look. I found it worked best when I used two identical pots which fit snugly together. I installed one pot in the soil / gravel permanently and used the other to hold the plant. It made it easy to plant / remove plants. I used silicone soil to camouflage the permanent pot. It worked pretty well.

Hope this is helpful.

Dave Calkins"

20th December 2002, 13:32
I never though of using a mix of silicone with natural materials, sounds great and the possibilities are huge. Thanks a lot for the information and I reckon people will appreciate some pictures of the process and of your little pieces of art (just a suggestion).
Best wishes

20th December 2002, 17:23
Hi Yago,
I haven't tried it yet as it just came over the frognet list serve but I will post some pics as soon as I try it (unles someone beats me to it).