Review: Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate

This review is about the Rain Forest substrate from Exo Terra. It is marketed as a substrate for rainforest terrariums and thus should be well suited for tropical plants. We can expect as a good water permeability. Although rainforest plants like high humidity, like most plants they do not tolerate standing water. Whether this Amazon's Choice product is really so good, we look at today.

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Properties of the Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate

Available sizes

The Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate* can be purchased on Amazon in two variants, whose names are similarly confusing to the Trixie Coconut Fiber Humus. They're so confusing, in fact, that I wrote this review almost to the end until I realized that there is only one variant after all. The "second" variant is a whole terrarium. So the only available variant is 8.8 liters and costs 7.99€ at the current price of the review. So that's a price of 91 cents per liter.

Exo Terra Substrate Price
The left variant is the substrate. The right one is an entire terrarium. Source: Exo Terra on


Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate Soil for closed terrariums
This is how it looks like. Source: Exo Terra on

The product is mixed from beach pine and sphagnum moss. Beach pines are more commonly known as maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and are characterized by a coarse bark. Dried sphagnum moss is one of the basic ingredients of many substrates, as I also wrote in the article on substrates. It hardly compacts itself and also stores some water, avoiding stagnant wetness.

Germ-free and resistant to rotting

The substrate is heat treated to kill any germs before it is sold. Heat-treated ultimately also just means that it is heated very high. So if you want to use it for a closed terrarium, you should mix it with some wood or soil from outside. That's the only way you'll get a bioactive substrate. The product description states that the maritime pine makes the substrate rot resistant. This is not wrong in principle, but it is also not a special feature of beach pine. All wood rots when its moisture content is higher than 20% long-term. So it's not a bad characteristic, but also definitely not something that distinguishes the substrate from others.

What do the buyers say?

The reviews are mostly positive. At this point, I must unfortunately criticize the mixing of substrate and terrarium on one product page. Thus, I can tell you that both together have an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. How much of this comes from the substrate and how much from the terrarium, can not be filtered on Amazon.

According to some reviews, the moisture in the terrarium is really well absorbed by the substrate, which is not surprising in view of the components. In any case, this goes positively into the rating.

The quantity is also supposed to be good. The bag with 8.8 liters of substrate has approximately the dimensions of 28 cm x 48 cm x 9 cm and weighs 1.57 kilograms. So you won't get too big a package and you won't have much too much substrate left over when building your closed terrarium. This can sometimes be a bit daunting with potting soil, for example, if you don't want to refill your garden at the same time.

One user has used the substrate for his orchids and awarded it a full 5 out of 5 stars. Because the substrate consists of such coarse particles, it is very permeable to air and therefore optimal for the thick roots of orchids. You can find out more about keeping orchids here.

There is only one negative review, which criticizes that the bag was already cut upon arrival. However, since no one else complained about this, it seems to be an isolated case.


The Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate keeps its promise and is a good substrate for keeping orchids or other tropical plants. Due to the added sphagnum moss, it retains moisture well. The beach pine is very coarse grained and allows good ventilation. The price-performance ratio is also nothing to complain about.

You can purchase the Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrate here.

Review date
Product type
Terrarium substrate
Product name
Exo Terra Rain Forest Substrat

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