Growing houseplants – how to create a bottle garden

How to create a bottle garden

Follow these easy steps to create a mini indoor oasis for houseplants.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Terrariums, or bottle gardens, are enjoying a revival, and they’re easy to create.

The key is to combine small plants that enjoy similar growing conditions – combining plants that like shady, damp conditions, or drought-tolerant succulents with cacti.

You can plant in virtually any glass vessel, though closed ones are best for moisture lovers and open ones best for plants that enjoy drier conditions. Don’t worry if you can’t find what we used – look in charity shops, garden centres, your kitchen cupboard or on the internet for something that appeals.

Looking for more indoor projects and features? Try creating this cacti and succulent terrarium or treat yourself to some of these must-have houseplants.

Once you’ve found your vessel, follow these easy steps to create your bottle garden.

If you don't fancy venturing outside, or don't have a garden, you can still get your gardening fix by creating a terrarium.

You Will Need

  • Vintage glass bottle, (we picked this up from eBay for £10
  • Horticultural grit
  • Peat free houseplant compost
  • Moss, (from the lawn)
  • Spathiphyllum 'Chopin'
  • Fittonia verschaffeltii
  • Syngonium 'White Butterfly'
  • Chlorophytum comosum 'Ocean'
  • Peperomia rotundifolia

Total time:

Step 1

Put 5cm of horticultural grit in the bottom of the bottle for drainage. Add houseplant compost till the bottle is about a third full – breaking up any lumps with your hands. Choose lush foliage plants that like low light and humidity.

Adding horticultural grit to the bottle
Adding horticultural grit to the bottle

Step 2

Position the plants one at a time, planting them as you would in a container – firm the compost around them. Fill gaps between plants with a layer of moss.

Planting the bottle garden
Planting the bottle garden


Step 3

Water sparingly down the sides of the bottle as the curved sides will prevent a lot of evaporation. Ensure the compost doesn’t dry out or become saturated with water. Place in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.

Watering the bottle garden
Watering the bottle garden


Alternative houseplants to use

  • Maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum)
  • Golden polypody (Phlebodium aureum)
  • Hares foot fern (Humata tyermannii)
  • Mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii)
  • Centella (Centella asiatica)