Instructables
Picture of Bottle Garden
square jar.jpg
Make your own tiny moss garden in a bottle.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Glass jar with lid or cork
Pebbles or gravel
Activated charcoal
Peat moss
Potting soil
Moss
Spoon or funnel
Water spritzer bottle

Some notes on finding supplies

Activated Charcoal: Your best bet for finding activated charcoal is an aquarium or pet supply store. They sell this charcoal in bulk packages. This is the type of charcoal used in Brita filters and air filter masks as well. You only need a few tablespoons of the stuff for one moss garden.

Peat Moss and Potting Soil: These are common and can be found in at most garden centres.

Pebbles: You can find pebbles on the ground, or you can buy them in a store. Aquarium stores sell pea gravel that is the perfect size. The stones should be quite small, about the size of lentils or raisins. You need enough pebbles to create a solid layer in the bottom of your container. Wash your pebbles well before using them.

Step 2: Find a bottle

Picture of Find a bottle
First, you need to find a glass bottle.

Once you start looking, you will see bottles everywhere. You can recycle old jars or bottles from your house - salt shakers or clear glass spice jars work well. I like to find bottles in thrift stores or garage sales, or rescue them from the garbage.

I recommend a wide-mouthed container (such as a canning jar or spice jar) to start with - it's a lot easier than one with a narrow neck.

The bottles that work best are ones that have a tight fitting lid. This helps to keep moisture inside the container.
ccrowe11 year ago
Very nice
stefgala3 years ago
so, I guess you don't need holes at the bottom, to let water drain?
naheel4 years ago
hi iam naheel i want to begain asmall terrarium plant project ,i want to know whats the differant between potting soil and peatmoss and if we can use one of them not both please can u answer me thanks
NaturalCulture (author)  naheel3 years ago
Hello Naheel,

If you read step 7, there is an explanation of what peat moss is. If you have trouble getting a hold of peat moss where you live, you could try using a layer of stocking or some other fine screen/mesh to keep the soil from draining to the bottom of the container. Good luck!
woelfwynde4 years ago
These are actually called terrariums and I did them in school for a school project.
I live in the desert, but will be visiting the mountains. I am sure I can find moss there. If I transport it home (shortest time possible, right when I leave), how should I keep it happy ?
Just keep it damp. You could layer it between lightly dampened cloth or paper towels. I have relocated moss for a flower garden and kept it off the ground for a couple of weeks just by keeping it moist and giving it a bit of sunlight every day.
Tithen4 years ago
Nice. So how long roughly does it take for the moss to start to grow?
and how long till you get it like in the last pictures?
Cheers
manderw4 years ago
Now that is just too cute.  We have this amazing variety of tiny little mosses and plants that grow all over the place here in England, and I have always thought it would be neat to have a miniature garden on my desk.  I never thought of putting it in a jar, though!  That would cut down on the chance of knocking it over and spilling potting soil all over my laptop!
EaglesNest5 years ago
The bottles look very nice. Doesn't the moss need holes for air circulation?
NaturalCulture (author)  EaglesNest5 years ago
Thanks! The salt shaker has tiny holes in its lid. As for the tight sealing ones, they seem to be doing ok. I open them about once every week and a half. If you have something living inside (such as a beetle or snail) to consume the oxygen and produce carbon dioxide, you probably don't have to worry about that.
That would be cool to have a living creature in it
Question - over time do things become sludgey (I know I just made that word up!) and require maintenance?  I would think that you might have to empty it all out and give it a real overhaul.

Just curious.

You did a great job with this instructabl.  Thanks for sharing.

www.theruralindependent.com
Good question. I still have the salt n pepper garden in the picture (I had to give the others away when I moved, but they were still healthy after 5 months), and it is not sludgey at all. I think that would only happen if you had too much water/not enough charcoal, or if something else threw off the balance.

I have only had this one for seven months, so I can't say what would happen over a span of years.
Do you have to open it for the moss to breathe? I imagine it'd need new CO2 every so often.
NaturalCulture (author)  armored bore4 years ago
If the lid isn't tightly sealed, they should do fine. If it's a tight seal like a cork, you can open it occasionally, depending on the size of the bottle.
Zorasta4 years ago
I've gotta say that this is a really awesome idea
and once I actually have green things around again I will definitely be going off in search of some moss to create a garden of my own ^^
This is a great Instructable with good detail and visual examples for each step. I've been wanting to do some of these (I have been collecting glass bottles) and now I have a perfect guide to help me succeed. Thanks
OakCariad5 years ago
Amazingly, I had just done the very same thing two weeks ago. We currently live in Germany and the spring and summer have been unusually wet, so the moss that 'usually' goes 'a little' has grown a LOT. I have some small jars and old refrigerator containers from my grandmother that I decided needed to become moss gardens. Thanks for spreading the word on these beautiful little micro-environments!
NaturalCulture (author)  OakCariad5 years ago
That's great! You should post some images of yours if you get the chance - I'd love to see them.
ChrysN5 years ago
These look really nice, a great way to add a touch of green.