David Latimer planted his “garden in a bottle” on Easter Sunday in 1960 as an experiment. He then bought a round 10-litre bottle, covered the bottom with compost and carefully planted a plant from the tradescantia genus. 61 years later, after only watering twice, this plant is still alive! Do you also want to make a terrarium that, perhaps, lasts your whole life? Find the most beautiful bottle you have and turn it into a closed terrarium!
What do you need?
- A bottle or glass jar with a lid (or a cork cut to size)
- Pebbles, sand or hydro grains
- Fine activated charcoal
- Compost or potting soil
- Plants (note: cacti and succulents are not suitable for closed terrariums)
How do you get started?
- Clean your bottle with warm water and wait for it to dry completely
- Cover the bottom with a layer of pebbles, sand or hydro grains
- Cover the pebbles with active charcoal
- Finish the bottom with a layer of compost or potting soil (minimum 5 cm)
- Plant the plants
- Optional: decorate your terrarium as desired with ornamental or gemstones
- Moisten the plants, and close your terrarium.
- Place your terrarium in a light-rich area (but avoid direct sunlight)
How does this type of terrarium work?
A terrarium is in fact a circular mini ecosystem. All a terrarium needs is sufficient light. For the rest, the plants can perfectly maintain themselves through photosynthesis. This ensures that they produce the necessary nutrients themselves. Photosynthesis also ensures that carbon dioxide is converted into oxygen, so you don’t have to worry about aeration.
How do you know your terrarium is working?
During the first weeks, keep a close eye on the condensation in your terrarium. If no condensation forms in your bottle, you can moisten your plants with a plant spray. If too much condensation forms, you can leave your bottle open for a while until most of the condensation has disappeared.
Inspiration and tips
Where open terrariums are usually equipped with cacti and succulents, it is not recommended to plant these types of plants in a closed terrarium since you create a humid climate in your closed terrarium. It is therefore best to choose plants that require high humidity.
We have already listed 5 tips:
- Blue fern (Phlebodium Aureum)
- Mini Palm Tree (Biopythum Sensitivum)
- Grass Lily (Cholopythum Comosum)
- Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya)
- Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium Podophyllum)
Not a fan of our tips? Be sure to ask for advice at your nearest garden center. You can of course also buy a DIY kit at Plantsome or inquire at your local garden center.