Understory Update – May 2024

We are finally getting some nice spring weather here in Southwestern Ontario. Our native reptiles and amphibians are out in abundance and are a welcome sight to see after what seemed like a long winter!

We are in prime shipping season! Though we ship all year round, the moderate temperatures throughout most of Canada provide ideal shipping conditions. We are adding new plants regularly to our online store and we are regularly re-stocking the inventory as well. Please check back often!

For American customers, our plants must be ordered directly through www.indoorecosystems.com – we just added several new plants and updated the inventory. Our next export of plants to Indoor Ecosystems will be late June. Please keep an eye on their website for updates and restocks.

For our frogs, our next US export won’t be until September. Our availability list for that export will be available early June and will be sent out at that time to everyone who has requested one.

It is continuing to be a bust year for expos. Next up is the Toronto Reptile and Plant Expo on May 26th at the International centre. For tickets and other important show info please go to their website (www.reptileexpo.ca)

Two weeks after that we have the huge Ottawa Reptile and Plant Expo the weekend of June 8th and 9th at The EY Centre in Ottawa. We missed this expo last year so are very excited to attend this year’s event!

Also, on June 9th we will be attending the Ontario Plant Show at The Old Mill in Toronto. This is our first time vending at this plant focused show. Despite being in Ottawa for the Reptile show, part of our show team is staying in Toronto so we can participate in both of these wonderful shows! For tickets and more info visit www.ontarioplantshow.com

WIKIRI Import – We are still looking to get a few more orders for the June Canada WIKIRI import to help bring down the import costs to a more comfortable level. Some Situwa Oophaga sylvatica, a few Centrolenids, fantastic Atelopus and more are still available. Please email us to receive a pricelist. If we can’t pad this order a little further we will have to push back the import until October.

Product Spotlight – Pumice Stone

For me the ideal terrarium is one in which a large variety of plants can be maintained and grown well with the least amount of care and outside input as possible. Currently terrarium enthusiasts have access to an unbelievable diversity of terrarium plants. Its now increasingly feasible to create accurate homages to the tropical rain and cloud forests inside a glass box from the comfort of your home.

I believe one key to growing many of the more delicate epiphytes successfully inside a terrarium comes down to your choice of hardscaping material. The proper materials are instrumental in maintaining optimal and stable environmental conditions within the terrarium so that both plants and animals thrive.

Pumice stones, I believe, are conducive to creating a truly dynamic and healthy environment that will last and mature for years. Pumice, especially when used as a background material, has some unique properties that help create and ensure optimum conditions inside a terrarium. Pumice is highly porous, and thus very light weight. The porosity of the stone will provide refuge for microfauna to colonise and as well as provide an attractive substrate for plants and mosses to root, take hold and eventually blanket in lush growth. Additionally, once stabilized in the terrarium, the pumice will hold plenty of moisture within its labyrinth of pores and tiny cavities and will slowly release this in the form of humidity into the terrarium. The benefits of pumice installed in combination with sphagnum as a background as seen above is that you can mist with far less volume and frequency than you could otherwise due to the regulating role the pumice plays. I feel that many terrarium plants suffer from over watering in and nearly constantly wet leaves that are common in many terraria.

The terrarium pictured below has been planted for about 9 weeks.

It currently gets sprayed briefly by hand from a small hand sprayer in the morning and evening, just a few squeezes on the spray bottle each time is all it takes to maintain this terrarium. No misting system is hooked up yet. Adequate humidity is maintained with a bare minimum of spraying. Furthermore, this simple terrarium has only passive airflow from top and below the doors. I like to keep things as simple as possible and believe that less complicated entry points are good for newcomers to this hobby. Misting systems and automated ventilation components are great, but certainly not necessary in all cases. Lighting is provided by a Nicrew Sky LED plus 2.0. There are also certainly better more customizable lights at much higher price points that will allow you to finesse some blooms out of some trickier orchids or light your neoregelias ablaze. I really believe that beginners to this hobby can achieve great results right from the start if they start with the right hardscaping materials using a very simple set up.

Some of the nicest terrariums I have seen incorporate pumice as the primary background hardscaping material. Check out @plantedglassboxes and @technicallyplantedtanks for more inspiration.

We are happy to offer pumice stones to terrarium hobbyists world wide. Wholesale and bulk shipping rates are also available directly from Peru for stores or business looking to stock this amazing product. Please inquire about wholesale possibilities.

Best wishes,

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