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Bonsai Terrarium Care Guide

It’s been a few days since class and some of my plants look unhappy... What are normal symptoms of transplant shock?

Within the first week or two, the plants in your new terrarium may show some symptoms of transplant shock. Don't worry; this is a normal part of moving plants from one home to another and nearly always goes away on its own.

Symptoms of transplant shock include: bruising, browning, and lower leaves yellowing or falling off.

Some plants will show no symptoms while others may exhibit several. Leaves damaged due to transplant shock normally wont recover. Remove damaged, unsightly, or yellowing leaves. New growth should be healthy and beautiful!

How do I help my plant make it through transplant shock?

While your new bonsai terrarium is settling in, give it high light and make sure to give the soil some inoculant. Keep a close eye on it and track its symptoms every time you water.

Again, transplant shock is usually nothing to worry about, but if anything starts to go south it’s best to catch it right away.

What do I do if I see mold growing in my terrarium?

Its ok, mold happens! Particles are floating around just waiting for opportunities to touch down and grow. New soil and plants going through a bit of shock are very inviting to a mold spore.

Luckily, the most common outbreak after transplant is a mild white topical mold and it is very easy to treat.

Scrape away any visible mold growth from the top of the soil (you can use a butter knife, fork, or any handy utensil that reaches the spot). Allow the area to dry, and then apply a good saturating spray to the area of a simple mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide (the stuff you use to clean your cuts) and water mixed 1:1.

If it pops up again, repeat this process. Typically 1 - 3 treatments does the trick.

How much light does my terrarium need?

The optimum amount of light will depend on the type of bonsai plant you chose. Succulents tend to prefer higher light and foliage plants tend to prefer low to medium.

Keep them near a grow light or window for best results but be careful not to allow the temperature to fluctuate too much between night and day. This may shock your bonsai.

How do I water my terrarium?

​To water your new bonsai (whether it is in a terrarium or not): use a spray bottle to saturate the top layer of the soil. It is important to be gentle with the roots once they've been re-planted and this is the best way to get them settled in.

In class, we removed most of the tap roots to restrict growth, so be very careful not to over water.

If your bonsai is a succulent, water deeply just once every 3-6 weeks or so and do not water your terrarium again until it is completely dry!

If it is a tree or foliage plant, water gently about once per week, allowing the soil to get most of the way dry between waterings and mist the leaves periodically.

What do I do if a plant in my terrarium dies?

If your plant dies within 7 days of purchase, we will replace that plant at no charge to you. Just get in touch with us over text, email, phone, or social media within that 7 day window and include a photo of your plant and then you may come in at your convenience for your replacement.

If it has been more than 7 days and your plant has died, remove the plant from your terrarium and be sure to fill its place with another plant or a heavy trinket like a rock or figurine to avoid having the remaining plants revert to a territorial growth habit.

Please feel free to get in touch with us at any point about your plants! We are happy to help diagnose or troubleshoot any issues you may have, or even just see how fabulous your creation is looking!

Do I need to fertilize my terrarium?

The soil in your terrarium has enough nutrients in it to keep your plants happy for at least 6 months. After that use a bacterial inoculant fertilizer to water into the soil. This will re-up the amazing micro-organisms that live in healthy organic soils to keep the ecosystem you've built for your plants thriving!

Using chemical fertilizers such as Miracle Grow will kill the bacteria in the soil and make it more difficult for your plants to sustain themselves so please refrain. You will also see a white film form on your soil, which is the bacteria and beneficial organisms dying off.

You can also use a foliar fertilizer spray applied directly to the plants' leaves 1 - 2 times per month in addition to or instead of the bacterial fertilizer.

Bonsai have small root masses so be careful not to over-fertilize (difficult to do with a bacterial fertilizer). If you have recently fertilized and the leaves on your bonsai begin to turn yellow flush the soil with water a few times to remove excess fertilizer.

Does temperature matter?

This depends on the plants in your terrarium, but in general it’s recommended that you don’t let your plants get cold or sunburned.

If you would need a jacket where your bonsai terrarium is, it’s too cold; if the sunlight where your terrarium is is direct enough that a cat would take a nap there, it might be too hot and you should keep an eye on it.

What do I do if I have other questions?

Our text line is always open, and we’d love to hear from you. We also respond to questions on our Instagram, Facebook, and email. Please allow 24 - 48 hours for a response.