What you need:

  • A wide-necked bottle with a lid or cork 
  • Gravel (stone size 5-10 mm)
  • Clean earth
  • Suitable green plants

Preparing the bottle:

first step garden in a bottle
  • Clean the bottle thoroughly with boiling water.
  • Put clean gravel in the bottle to a depth of about 2 cm. The gravel stops the earth from rotting.
  • Now fill the bottle to a depth of about 5 cm with fresh earth. Try to keep the bottle clean as you do this. Pour boiling water over the stones and earth beforehand to prevent bacteria and mould from forming.


to make a garden in a bottle
  • Find some suitable plants.
  • Make sure they are healthy and free of parasites.
  • Plant the plants together with the earth from their pots.
  • You can arrange a few decorative stones around the plants.

Setting up the Biosphäre:

Bottle garden from above
  • Add distilled or soft boiled water (to a level of about 2 cm).
  • Spray the leaves with water.
  • Now seal the bottle so that it is airtight.
  • During the first few days, watch out for dewdrops forming on the inside of the bottle in the morning. The inside surfaces should dry during the day. If not, then the biotope is too wet. So open the bottle again until the moisture level is right. If no dew forms or the plant leaves are wilting, carefully add a little more water. You may have to repeat this step several times until the climate is set up correctly.
  • Then seal the bottle tightly.

Watch and wonder

garden in a bottle
Now you can observe a little self-contained world of plants growing in the bottle. However you do need to check that the plants are healthy from time to time. 

Want to find out more? You can find the full instructions here:
How to make a garden in a bottle

© Photos: Arved Schätzler