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  #1  
Old 08-01-2020, 02:59 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Non-orchid, orchid fertilizer safe companions
Default Non-orchid, orchid fertilizer safe companions

A little off topic, but this seems like the right place to ask...

I built an orchidarium a few months back, and mostly my orchids seem happy in it. It is about 40"W x 40"H x 21"D. I only have about a dozen orchids in there at the moment. I plan on adding more, slowly, expensively, over time. I'm going for a lush, tropical look but am having trouble finding inexpensive filler plants that will thrive in there. I keep the humidity levels at 70-80% and have areas with both bright and low light. There is good ventilation. I do have pots built into a background that are filled with soil, so they could be epiphytes or terrestrial.

The big issue I've had is I've killed some of the other plants with orchid fertilizer. I use a very weakly prepared 30-10-10 solution weekly. I haven't sprayed the non-orchids directly, but it is bound to drip on them because of the way things are set up. I've burnt up two types of fern and two types of ivy. Plus a couple other misc things from big box hardware stores just didn't make it. Very sad....

Any suggestions on companion plants that would thrive in these conditions?
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2020, 04:05 PM
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fishmom fishmom is offline
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Not a terrarium person here, but it seems unlikely that the orchid fertilizer is the culprit. A weak solution of a standard formulation should not hurt other plants. Have you considered watering, drainage, or temperature as potential problems? Without knowing what the plants are, it would be hard to tell.
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:50 PM
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Herbs are quite tough but they typically need plenty of light. There are many small types (Corsican Mint, Thyme, Roman chamomile, French Tarragon, etc.). Companion Plants ( Ohio Medicinal Medicinal Plant Medicinal Herb Herb Plants Seeds Goldenseal Herb OH ) has a great variety and will answer questions.

Another place that has a nice variety of plants is Black Jungle. They have all sorts of exotic plants. I have never ordered from them but I knew someone that did and was very pleased.

Welcome! You have discovered Black Jungle Exotics - The Natural Choice!!

You could also switch to an organic liquid fertilizer, like the one from Espoma. I use that and a slow release fertilizer (Osmocote--I put the beads in little baskets meant for bonsai). It is more difficult to burn plants with these.

Good luck!

---------- Post added at 03:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:33 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishmom View Post
Not a terrarium person here, but it seems unlikely that the orchid fertilizer is the culprit. A weak solution of a standard formulation should not hurt other plants. Have you considered watering, drainage, or temperature as potential problems? Without knowing what the plants are, it would be hard to tell.
This is also a possibility. Do you have a little fan in there? How do the plants look as they are dying? How are the roots? Could it be issues from fungus or root-rot killing them instead? Lack of light or too much light? I always research all my plants and see what conditions they will need before I buy them. I have often described to a vendor the conditions in which I wish to grow a plant and then ask for recommendations.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:14 PM
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I agree that the fertilizer chemistry is not likely playing a role at all.
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2020, 09:11 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Thank you all for the replies! The reason I thought that the fertilizer was the cause was because the ferns and ivy all went down pretty quickly (about one week) after doing ok for about a month with similar symptoms. Their leaves started yellowing in the middle of the stems, which spread up and down until they died off, section by section. Also, they were all located under orchids, so I figured that fertilizer dripped on them and burnt them.

All of them were standard house plants, and their requirements were medium light, water when top of soil is dry - I chose them because I thought they'd do well in there. Since it seems pretty unanimous that the fertilizer isn't the culprit, now on to figuring out what was...

The two ferns were in pots mounted to the sides of the tank, in organic potting soil with good drainage holes. The ivy was on the ground, in perhaps in too small of a decorative pot. They were receiving good amounts of light, and there are fans in there, in addition to me opening the doors usually at least once a day. The temperature should not have been too much of a factor given the time of year. Perhaps the humidity was just too high, or maybe transplant shock? Did I over water? Tried not to, but impossible to say for sure.

Anyway, I'll be trying again, and this time if things start going south, I'll post pictures quickly, hopefully before they're fully gone.

Leafmite - I'll be checking out those links. Never thought of herbs, but I enjoy those anyway, so might try them out.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlumCrazy View Post
Did I over water? Tried not to, but impossible to say for sure.
Possible. Just check the soil every once in a while - just to see. And also check to see what sort of pH those plants need ..... the ferns - just in case.

Good point from leafmite too - some soils could have something that can go for the roots too - sort of like 'damp off' of plants. A treatment of systematic fungicide before putting them into the terrarium could help out. Not sure.
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2020, 11:34 PM
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I also agree it wasn't the fertilizer.

Ivy needs very high light to survive. It will grow in full Arizona heat and sun if watered adequately. It declines rapidly in lower light. It also needs to dry between waterings, and it prefers not to have high humidity. If constantly wet, it would rot quickly.

Many ferns sold as house plant also need to get quite dry between waterings. And some of them are not heat tolerant at all.

I would suggest reading terrarium forums and seeing which ferns people use. Most woodland ferns don't like heat. There are a lot of tropical ferns that do great in terraria.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:56 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Perhaps it was humidity/too much water then. I will be taking the advice and purchasing some from places that specialize in terrarium suited plants. The bundles on Josh's Frogs look like they could be good to get me started. Anyone have any experience with them?
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