Design a bottle garden

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Terrariums and bottle gardens have been planted for generations, largely as indoor decorations and gifts.

Plants often flourish within the confines of their glass environment and need later to be removed and replanted. Others don’t last long at all, succumbing to neglect, lack of water, too much water or insufficient light.

Cryptanthus are small bromeliads (pineapple family) that endure these confined and artificial conditions with relative ease. They have a low, ground-hugging growth habit, attractive foliage and grow relatively slowly. Furthermore, they have poorly developed root systems and can survive with very little soil. Inconspicuous, star-shaped flowers are produced in summer in the centre of the rosette of leaves. These little earth stars, as they are commonly called, are perfect for small terrariums.

You will need:

  • glass container
  • grit
  • small pebbles
  • potting soil
  • Cryptanthus plants
  • rocks, shells or driftwood
  • spray bottle

To make:

Step 1 - Place pebbles in the base of the glass container to serve as drainage. Remember that there are no holes, so these serve as a sump that can contain excess water. Place potting soil over these pebbles.

Step 2 - Remove the plants from their pots and shake off excess soil from the roots. Plant them into position, covering the roots with soil as you proceed.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3 - Place little rocks, shells or pieces of wood around the plants to enhance the display.

Step 4 - Use a spray bottle to moisten the soil, wet the foliage and clean off any soil from the rocks. Place the lid over the little indoor garden and place it in a brightly lit position.

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5 - Spray the plants every 7-10 days to keep them evenly moist. Do not water heavily as this will cause them to drown. Spray with a weak solution of organic plant food every six weeks.

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