Using Glass Containers For House Plants

Bottles and terraria provide a humid atmosphere that many plants love. Moisture from the plants condenses and runs back into the soil so that watering is done by the plants themselves. You can also use glassware to grow plants by hydroculture, allowing them to spill attractively over the rim.

Using bottles

growing plants in glass containers

  • Almost any bottle is suitable so long as the neck is wide enough to get the plants inside. If you choose coloured glass, position the container in an extra-light spot to compensate for loss of light due to the colour.
  • Bottles, depending on shape, can be used either upright (bottom right) or on their side.
  • Choose plants for their decorative shape or colour. Flowering plants will spoil the effect when flowers are past their best. To plan, cut a paper shape the size of your planting area and arrange plants on this first.

growing plants in glass containers 2Growing in a terrarium

This provides the same humid conditions as a bottle but because plants are easier to remove you can add a flowering plant.

First line your container with gravel, spreod charcoal over this and add about 5cnn depth of damp potting mixture. Place your plants still in their pots on top of this to find the best arrangement, then plant.

Plants in water

This can be a very decorative way to grow plants. Use plants that have been rooted in water rather than soil, as different roots are formed this way, and use aggregate to hold the roots in position. Hide the aggregate with pebbles.

Using household glass

Many everyday glass items make suitable plant containers. A wide- necked storage or sweet jar can act as a bottle garden. Drinking glasses, sundae dishes, vases, bowls and jugs are all suitable for hydroculture.

A narrow necked flask or bottle can also be used to grow a plant in water as the neck will hold the plant in place.

Leaf colour

Coloured leaves come into their own in a bottle garden, where flowering plants are unsuitable.

Medley of pinks

Mix plants with pink-tinged leaves with one or two blue-green plants to show off pinks. Choose from:

  • Pink Polka Dot Plant
  • Mother-of-Thousands
  • Painted Net Leaf
  • Painted Nettle
  • Caladium
  • Purple Heart
  • Blood-leaf Plant

Green and cream

Pick plants with bright acid-green leaves to show up cream-patterned leaves. Choose from:

  • English Ivy
  • Tradescantia
  • Wandering Sailor

Successful groupings

Arranging plants in a glass or bottle is done in much the same way as organizing any other plant group, except that you will probably be working in miniature.

The background plant must act as a backdrop to those planted in front of it. Then add decorative plants, choosing those with colourful or variegated leaves, and, finally, if you have room, add a low bushy or small spreading plant.

For a bottle garden

For a terrarium

  • Group 1: Miniature Parlour Palm, Eyelash Begonia, spreading Club Moss and Painted Net Leaf.
  • Group 2: Emerald Fern, tiny Staghom Fern and Mother-of-Thousands.
  • Group 3: A Caladium with miniature Gloxinias and a Club Moss or a small-leafed green Ivy.

To grow in water

  • Group 1: An Umbrella Plant with a Spider Plant.
  • Group 2: An Acorns with a Syngonium
  • Group 3: Polka Dot Plants with spots against olive and dark green.
  • Group 4: A Silver Vine with a Tradescantia.

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