Ficus rollercoaster

Mar 10, 2024 • Yousef Amar • 2 min read • Parent project

I recently wrote about my ficus terrarium and how some kind of mould defeated my fittonia. Since then, I've learned a lot more about terrariums (including learning about ones where you keep frogs and reptiles, from a very friendly pet shop employee). The ficus however, which is meant to be quite hardy, did eventually have the same mould problem.

By early January, it was getting quite dire. No matter how much I tried to control the humidity, the leaves were all dying and there was thread-like mould forming like spider webs. I don't think I took a photo of this.

I did some more research and found a potential solution: little creatures called springtails (this was later confirmed to me by friendly pet shop guy). I ordered live Springtails off of Amazon (I didn't know you could do that) and they arrived quite quickly.

They arrive in some soil. The cardboard box they arrived in was smaller than the plastic container, so the act of squishing the plastic container into that box had caused it to open. It was kind of a messy situation. Regardless, I introduced them into the terrarium, slowly adding more over time. They're kind of hard to see with the naked eye, but if you really focus you can see them crawling around. They can also jump, which to me looks like they just disappear.

Fast-forward to today... it worked! They cleaned up the mould on the glass as well as the white threads that were attacking the plant. They seem to fit well into this ecosystem! I still have the container with the rest of them, which I might have a future use for (hint: my ant farm I will write about soon).

I am glad to report that new leaves have sprouted, and the health of the ficus looks like it's slowly improving!

Stay tuned to know more about my horticulture adventures, including a new plant project that I will write about soon! Hint: