bottle garden

Bottle garden
Create your own contained ecosystem by making a garden in a jar. A bottle garden needs very little water or air as it is self-sustaining.

To make a bottle garden you need:

  • a large jar with a lid
  • pebbles
  • dry potting soil
  • two long sticks
  • some plants – begonias, maidenhair ferns and zebra leaf plants all work well


  1. Put the clean pebbles into the bottom of the jar. This allows any water to drain away.
  2. Cover the pebbles with about 8 cm of potting soil.
  3. Make a hole for each plant with a stick.
  4. Lower the plants into the jar by using the two sticks like chopsticks.
  5. Water the plants lightly.
  6. Put the lid on the jar. Your bottle garden will need watering every two or three months. Take the lid off every now and then to let in some fresh air.

Don’t keep your bottle garden in direct sunlight or it will get too hot and the plants will die.

That’s engineering

  • system
  • closed system
  • ecosystem

Engineering ideas

  • system, self-sustaining, drainage, humidity

Learn more…

  • Fun Science Activities for Kids – used with permission