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How to Grow A Plant In A Glass Bottle - Creating A Miniature Terrarium

Updated on December 1, 2013
lady rain profile image

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.


Growing tiny plants in a bottle is an interesting project for both children and adults. Bottle terrariums are low maintenance and they can be used as displays in the home. It is very easy to make your own miniature terrarium. A clear glass bottle with a wide mouth can be used. The smaller the mouth of the bottle the more challenging it will be to make this terrarium. The plant you select must be small and slow-growing, otherwise it will outgrow the space in just a few weeks. Carnivorous plants like venus flytraps and sundews are suitable for bottle terrariums as they like the humidity that is similar to their natural environment.

You need to give the bottle a good wash to ensure there are no harmful chemicals or soap residues that could potentially deteriorate the health of your plant. Select a baby plant from your garden. If you have a big bottle, you can have up to three different small plants in the same bottle to create an interesting landscape. As I had a small bottle, I had chosen a small butterwort carnivorous plant which is a slow-growing plant that produces long lasting pink flowers in summer.

Next you need to prepare some gravel and potting medium. Coloured aquarium gravel can also be used to add some colours to your terrarium. The potting medium will depend on the type of plants you choose. Most houseplants require a good potting mix and carnivorous plants require peat moss mixed with some propagating sand.

Get a long stick to use as a tool for arranging the items in the bottle. The length of the stick must be longer than the height of the bottle. An old wooden chopstick always works for me.

This was how I set up my miniature terrarium. First, I covered the bottom of the bottle with about two centimetres of gravel. Next, I added in about five centimetres of the peat moss mixed with propagating sand. If you are using a bigger bottle and growing more than one plant in there, you should have at least ten centimetres of growing medium on top of three centimetres of gravel.

I used the wooden chopstick to level out the top of the soil and then dug a hole for planting. Now I was ready to insert the butterwort plant into the bottle. Oh no! The plant was too big to go through the mouth of the bottle. The leaves of the plant were stiff as cardboards and they could not be bent without me bruising them. There was no way I could get the little bugger into the bottle without a fight and the leaves were starting to fall off. Before I knew it, my beautiful butterwort plant was already falling apart in pieces...

It took me another ten minutes to look for another carnivorous plant for my terrarium. I found a small cephalotus plant with tiny pitcher leaves in my greenhouse and thankfully, the leaves were more flexible than the doomed butterwort plant. This time, the cephalotus went into the bottle with ease and sat comfortably in the little hole in the peat moss.

After putting in the plant, you have to use the stick to push the soil around the plant to cover the roots. Gently water the plant and moisten the soil around it. The soil should be just moist and not soaking wet. The excess water should flow down to the gravel layer. Place the terrarium in a well lighted area. Do not leave it in direct sunlight for a long period of time as it will heat up rapidly under direct sunlight and kill the plant. The terrarium only needs to be watered every few weeks or when the gravel layer looks dry.

Gardening supplies for growing plants in terrariums

© 2011 lady rain


Submit a Comment
  • Lisabean2202 profile image

    Lisa Bean 

    22 months ago from Nevada

    This sounds like a fun project! I may have to try this with my kiddos. :)

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    megni, I started with herbs in the bottles many years ago with a group of children. The children picked whatever herbs they can find in the garden and planted them in the bottles. I have also asked my neighbours and friends for plant cuttings so there is no need to buy the plants. I am sure you will be able to get some plant cuttings from your friends too. Thank you for stopping by here and taking the time to leave your comments.

  • megni profile image


    8 years ago

    Interesting, I have a collection of bottles that I simply cannot throw out. I believe they will make interesting bottle terrariums. All I've done so far is to fill in gravel and sea shells and tiny pinched off coleus plants. I have challenged myself to use what I find around the house rather than go out and buy plants. May change my mind however. It's a fascinating hobby. Thanks for sharing your information.

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    A.CreativeThinker, you can make your own bottle terrarium like this and I am sure it will turn out amazing, too. Have a great day.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This looks so amazing and interesting. What a great idea.

    Thanks for sharing. Take care :)

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    Hi Nell Rose, one great thing about these bottle terrariums is that you only need to water the plants every few weeks. You won't have to worry about them drying up when you go for a long holiday! Thank you for stopping by and leaving comment.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    8 years ago from England

    Hi, what a great idea! I have seen them in garden centres but have never made one myself, rated up! now I am going to find some bottles! cheers nell

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    purp-drag913, I have created a bottle terrarium with sundews about two years ago and the plants have multiplied and produced flowers in the bottle. They are still growing in the bottle which is in the bathroom. I feed the plants with a weak solution of liquid seaweed fertiliser every few months. Most of my other carnivorous plants are grown in a greenhouse which hardly have any bugs for the plants to feed on and they are doing alright with the liquid fertiliser.

    It should not be a problem creating a terrarium in winter because the terrarium is like a miniature greenhouse in which most tropical plants survive the winter.

    Hope the information helps. Thank you for stopping by.

  • purp-drag913 profile image


    8 years ago from West Michigan, USA.

    That is way too cool. I'll be sure to be on the lookout for a cool bottle and plant some flytraps in it/them. Question is, if the carniverous plants need protiens, like bugs, how will I fertalize them in order to get them to grow? Can they go several months without "food?" We're going into our winter months here in the States. Should I wait until our spring to make one? Sorry for all the questions, but I would really like it to work over the long term.

    Awesome hub.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    8 years ago from the beautiful south

    I come across some really charming bottles, now I know what to use them for.

  • HendrikDB profile image


    8 years ago

    Thanks - it is good. I will try it.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This sounds like a very interesting project for children as well as for adults. Thanks for the instructions. I've created terrariums before, but never one inside a bottle.


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