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Pteris straminea Care Sheet for a Large Closed Terrarium


Pteris straminea, commonly known as Silver Brake Fern, is a tropical fern appreciated for its delicate, arching fronds and distinctive silvery stripes. When grown in a large closed terrarium, it can thrive under controlled conditions that mimic its natural habitat.

Terrarium Setup:

  • Terrarium Size: A large closed terrarium, at least 20 gallons, is ideal to provide ample space for growth and adequate air circulation.
  • Lighting: Indirect, bright light is best. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the fronds. LED grow lights can be used to supplement natural light if needed.
  • Temperature: Maintain a consistent temperature between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Avoid placing the terrarium in areas with drafts or significant temperature fluctuations.


  • Layering:
    • Drainage Layer: Start with a 2-3 inch layer of small pebbles or LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) to ensure proper drainage and prevent root rot.
    • Barrier: Add a layer of activated charcoal on top of the drainage layer to filter the water and prevent odor build-up.
    • Substrate Layer: Use a mix of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark to create a well-draining and aerated growing medium. Aim for a depth of at least 4 inches.


  • Planting: Plant Pteris straminea by creating a small hole in the substrate, placing the root ball into it, and gently firming the substrate around the roots. Ensure the crown of the fern is at soil level.
  • Companion Plants: Consider adding other terrarium-friendly plants like mosses, small tropical plants, or miniature orchids that have similar humidity and light requirements.


  • Humidity: Maintain high humidity levels, ideally between 60-80%. This can be achieved by misting the terrarium regularly or by using a humidity gauge to monitor levels.
  • Watering Schedule: Water the fern when the top layer of the substrate feels slightly dry. Use distilled or rainwater to avoid mineral build-up. Watering frequency will vary based on the humidity and temperature but generally should be done every 1-2 weeks.
  • Watering Method: Water the substrate thoroughly but avoid waterlogging. Ensure that excess water can drain into the drainage layer.


  • Pruning: Trim any dead or yellowing fronds to encourage healthy new growth and to prevent decay.
  • Cleaning: Keep the terrarium glass clean to ensure adequate light penetration and to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitoring: Regularly check for signs of pests or diseases. Closed terrariums can sometimes develop mold or mildew if ventilation is inadequate.

Additional Tips:

  • Air Circulation: Occasionally open the terrarium to allow fresh air to circulate. This helps prevent mold growth and provides the plants with fresh CO2.
  • Fertilization: Fertilize sparingly, once every 2-3 months, using a diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer. Over-fertilization can lead to nutrient burn.

By following these guidelines, Pteris straminea can thrive and add a touch of lush greenery to your large closed terrarium. Enjoy watching your Silver Brake Fern flourish in its mini-ecosystem!

Pteris straminea 14cm pot

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