Terrarium or Dish Garden?

Today, I had some fun making a few small terrariums.
Err... I mean dish gardens.
Thanks to Andrea and GardenWalkGardenTalk for highlighting this to me, I should be calling them dish gardens instead of terrariums because terrariums are enclosed and self contained.

I have chosen a collection of compatible plants; mainly succulents and cactus.

As such, there would not be a need to water them for the next one to two weeks.

Since there are no drainage holes, it is important to create a space at the bottom for water to flow to. 
I have used leca balls for this purpose. 
Moss or pebbles can also be used.

While I was designing the terrariums, my daughter converted her little ice-cream cup into a little planter.

Please share your experiences with terrariums or dish gardens.


  1. I have not done any terraniums before, so can't say much 'cos knowledge = 0 here. Yours are very pretty. I like miniature gardens because I can fantasize and drift off and day dream ...

  2. Hi One, your creation is beautiful, no comment about that. However i think maybe it is more of a dishgarden than a terrarium in matters of principle, even if it is not contained in a dish. If i remember right terrariums are enclosed or suppose-to-be sufficient in an enclosure and remain undisturbed for a long time because of a created micro-environment, as in the transpired water will be returned to the medium. It is just like a mini earth in self sufficiency.

    In college one of the laboratory exercises in Ornamental Horticulture 1 is making dishgardens and terrariums, other exercise is making corsages, flower arrangements, etc, etc. Terrarium is exciting because it is challenging to choose plants which are slow growing, beautiful and will compliment each other inside the enclosed jar. Not only beauty is considered but the growth, development, and physiology of the plant. Only a very small opening is sometimes allowed, but can also be closed. Now you challenged me to study it again, as i am not really very sure of what i wrote here. It's been a long time.

  3. I agree with Andrea. True terrariums are mostly self contained, where water condenses and fall back on the plants. Yours are very beautiful and the fish bowl one is the most like a terrarium. I made terrariums that I would sell a long time ago. It was very popular then.

    I personally like the dish gardens the best. They remind me of Japanese gardening, where they are very well crafted and mostly minimal. Did you put in charcoal? It helps with odors and keeps soil, sand or medium fresh. Love your little gardens.

  4. No matter what they are called, they are undeniably beautiful, One. You are very creative.

  5. Autumn Belle, Thanks. I'm sure you can come up with something better.

    Andrea, I believe you are right. I do have the cover to the jar. But I would have to put in a lizard to provide oxygen to the plants and throw in some bugs to feed the lizard. I decided to do without the cover. So now, I need to rename this to dishgarden?

  6. Those are awesome!! I like how the plants pop out the top! Maybe a lizard will move in on its own!! I would, if I were a lizard!! :0)

  7. Donna, Thanks for the correction. I would like to learn more from you to make better dish gardens or terrariums.

    Kris, Thank you. It's my first attempt. Encouraging words are much appreciated.

    TS, You are so cute. The way you put it, we should look forward to having creatures moving in. In reality, I imagine many would scream in fright if they see little critters in there.

  8. No idea at all about terrariums or dish gardens! I'll just enjoy yours!

  9. One, your little gardens are so beautiful and your photos of them show them off nicely. ann

  10. They look great!
    I wanted to buy a little agave like the one you put there with the white stripes.
    Also That was very cute of your daughter.

  11. So cute! Love your beautiful little dish garden. I should try this too.

  12. Hi ONE! Thank you for introducing me to terrarium or dishgarden. Never hear about it before. Yours look pretty. I cannot grow anything in the middle of summer here. So you have gave me an idea, maybe I can have fun with succulents that a friend has just given us when nothing can grow above 40 degree Celcius. Succulents that I did not even know their name yet.No knowledge of growing succulent.

  13. What fun mini plant kingdoms or dish gardens. Really cool and I love your daughters too. ;>)

  14. These are beautiful dish gardens! When I was young, these were very popular and I had several in my first apartment. Now, I have so much outdoor space that I don't grow indoor plants much, but these continue to fascinate me. They are like little pocket sized gardens, each with its own character.

    By the way, you have a wonderful blog.I also enjoyed your last post on photography.

  15. Kitchen Flavours, You enjoy my 'dish', I enjoy your dish. Good trade.

    Ann, Thank you for your kind words. What happened to the green bugs?

    fer, The striped one stands out, doesn't it? How much do they sell these things in Japan?

    Aaron, Exams are over. You should have a lot of time to experiment. Do share if you decide to make them.

    Diana, 40 degrees. Goodness! And I thought it is HOT here. Would love to see your succulent.

    Carol, I've to made do with mini plant kingdoms. But seriously, it was fun to come up with them.

    Deb, Both you and Carol have real huge kingdoms which I truly admire. Thank you for coming by and leaving such sweet words.

  16. Your dish garden creations are lovely - especially since you've added my favourite low maintenance plant Haworthia. I have looked after lots of dish gardens hence the reason I love Haworthia and its white markings. Another plant I sometimes use is a small young Beaucarnea. The more slow growing choice of plants the better.

  17. Dear One - what a lovely informative post on how to grow dish gardens. They are so charming, I am tempted to give them a try. Had no success with a Terrarium as the plants eventually all died - we also call them Bottle Gardens.


    p.s. have invited you to the bloggers game of 10 things I like

  18. Beautiful piece of creative art!

  19. Rosie, Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is very much appreciated. I would like to improve on my dish gardens.

    Laura, Thanks for sharing. I believe the plants have to be replaced after some time. It will be fun to redesign them every few months. Bottle Gardens? Interesting.

    Bangchik, I have the feeling you will like them better if we can fill it up with tomatoes and winged beans. :)

  20. Apologies Onenezz, I am having trouble searching for your pegaga on blog :(



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