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Water Propagation Stations
The plant or plants included wtih this propagation station can live indefinitely in water making them incredibly low maintenance! To keep the plants alive and happy, top up the water as it evaporates making sure any roots are always covered in water. If there are no roots yet, they should emerge in the next one to eight weeks. Keep the water around 1/2 to 3/4 full as a general rule.
If you bought a propagation station without plants included, check this link for information on the best plants to grow in water. Also if you have plant-obsessed friends, they usually love to share cuttings from their plants.
Change the water out fully every month or two, or when it looks like it needs it. Rinse the stem and roots under running water when you do this and gently remove any gunky or dead parts, if any are present.
Most of these plants are happiest in low to medium light, though they can take some amount of direct sun or none at all. Always use filtered water, or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours so there is no chlorine remaining.
Please note: The wood is finished with a very light oil, not a heavy polyurethane. If it gets wet and isn’t wiped dry right away, it will leave a water stain. It’s best to remove the glass from the wood when topping up the water to avoid this.
Cuttings from many common houseplants can be grown in water this way so if any of these plants don’t make it, just replace it with a new cutting. Google ‘plants that can grow in water’ to find a list, or ask a plant expert friend – they’ll probably have cuttings to share with you.
Air Plant Stands
There are two ways to water air plants: The first is soaking them which takes more time but can be done less frequently. The second is misting which is quick and easy but is needed more often. Either way, always use filtered water, or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours so there is no chlorine remaining. Air plants can live with some direct sunlight, or none at all. Medium light is best.
Misting: This is closer to how air plants live in nature and so it’s usually a better method. Spray the air plant on all sides and on the root until it is wet but not soaked (4-8 sprays from a standard spray bottle from 8 inches away). Do this twice a week, or three times if it is particularly dry in your home.
Soaking: Submerge the plants in water for a few minutes once every 7-10 days. Shake all the water off making sure to turn it upside so no water pools in the leaves.
The easiest way to kill an air plant is overwatering. Err on the side of too little water, and if the tips of the leaves get brown and dry, slightly increase the amount or frequency of watering.
Please note: The wooden stand is finished with a very light oil, not a heavy polyurethane. If it gets wet and isn’t wiped dry, it will leave a water stain. Remove the air plant (with or without the wire – the wire can get wet) and pat it dry before putting it back on the stand to avoid this.
Succulents and Cacti Planters
The best way to water these is bottom up. Remove the plant in its plastic pot from the wood. Set it in a dish of water so that the plastic pot is about halfway submerged, and leave it to soak up water for around 20 minutes. Remove it from the water and leave it to drip in the sink for at least another 20 minutes (or all day), then place it back into the wood being careful to not drip water on the wood.
Do this every 10-14 days for succulents, and every 4-6 weeks for cactus.
These plants can take some direct sun, and prefer medium to bright light. They can often do fine in lowish light, but some succulents will start branching upward if they are not getting enough light.
The plant is in a 2-inch pot which is a very common size so if the plant dies it can be easily replaced. Most garden centers and plant stores will have these.
The wood is finished in a light oil, not a heavy polyurethane. It may get water stains if water is left on it. Rub on a small amount of any wood oil to remove these. Cutting board oil, mineral oil, or even baby oil will also do the trick.
Terrariums are closed ecosystems that only require light to be survive. As long as you keep it closed, the water stays inside making water unnecessary. Other than that, they need light and should be kept out of direct sunlight to prevent overheating. Bright light is great, so is medium, and even medium low light can be fine.
The best way to keep the terrarium healthy is to make sure it has enough, but not too much water. There should never be water pooled around the gravel at the bottom. The soil should also not look like mud. It should be moist and look like chocolate cake — not soggy, not dry.
If you keep it closed tightly you will probaby only need to add water once a year or so, possibly even less depending on the seal. Water in very small amounts by angling the container slightly and dribbling the water down the glass from a spoon or an eye dropper. A single teaspoon will probably be enough.
If anything goes wrong with the terrariums it’s usually due to mold. This could be white stuff growing on leaves or moss, black substance on leaves, or strange patterns appearing on the glass. At the first sign of mold, leave the terrarium open for at least a few days in a room with good airflow. Remember to replace any water that is lost. Once the mold clears up you can close it back up. If you can remove the affected plant or leaf, you should do so carefully.
Eventually, you may want to or need to do some maintenance or improvements in the terrarium. This could mean trimming back overgrown plants, removing dead leaves, cleaning the inside of the glass, or even adding in new plants. Mini ferns or so-called fairy garden plants from plant stores almost always work in terrariums.
In the Erlenmeyer flask terrariums it is difficult to work inside due to the small opening. You can clean the glass using a damp piece of paper towel held with chopsticks. You can also use office scissors to trim any plants near the neck of the flask.
To make things easier, search on Amazon for “aquarium tools” you can find a set of long scissors and two types of long tweezers for around $10 that make this much easier. The long scissors allow you to trim plants at the bottom. Here is one set that I use. It can be pretty fun too. Or you can just let it get overgrown and jungly, and see which plants outcompete the others.
The best resource for more terrarium care tips is Worcester Terrariums on YouTube.