Green, Glass and Water
By Ama H. Vanniarachchy
“Gardening is how I relax. It's another form of creating and playing with colors.” - Oscar de la Renta
It is always a pleasure to have indoor plants. They are like little green angels that spread magic wherever they are placed. They add colour and life to indoor spaces and at the same time purifies the air. When choosing indoor plants I deliberately chose low-maintenance plants and plants that require minimal sunlight. It is a relaxation to see some greenery, something alive and growing while working. This is why I love indoor plants.
However, sometimes having pots with soil may seem to be messy and requires more time and attention. They may attract little creatures that love to stay in the soil. Soil may scatter on the surface when watered. If you forget to water, the soil may dry and the plant will wither. These are the few disadvantages of having indoor plants that grow on soil.
Through my own experience, I found a solution for this when I started growing plants in glass water bottles or water containers. These soil-free plants thrive well and are a delightful sight. The roots grow all over the glass bottle creating a wonderful view. As the nutrients and growing space are controlled, the plant does not grow large. However, that is also a benefit when it comes to indoor plants.
Today I will share with you some of my own experiences in growing plants in glass water bottles, soil-free.
Choosing the right plant
Not all plants grow in water, without soil. There are specific plants that can thrive well without soil. It is through my experiences and experiments over a long time that I chose which plants I should grow in glass water bottles.
The plant known as the Lucky Bamboo grows well in water bottles without soil. They are not plants that require much attention. Roots grow out from the stem in a notable speedy time and while the plant will not grow tall, the roots keep growing.
Another plant that I love to grow in glass water bottles is palms. The palm is known as sealing wax plant, betel nut palm, and kithul palm grow roots inside glass bottles. The tree does not grow into tall large ones, but it does not die. The roots grow beautifully like a mesh. Let the palms first grow on soil and once they are about five inches tall, carefully remove them from the soil. Make sure the seed is still attached to the plant with roots. Then put it inside a glass bottle filled with clean water.
Some types of vines grow inside glass water bottles. The white and green-leafed vinca vine is one vine that you can grow inside a glass bottle in water.
Explore the world of plants fearlessly and experiment with this method with many plants. Figure out which plants grow in water and which don’t.
Cleaning the bottles
These bottles should be cleaned once in a while and monitored because mosquitoes may lay eggs in the water.
When cleaning make sure not to damage the roots as they are very fragile. There is no need to take out the plant and clean the bottle. Pour out the water and refill while the plant is still inside.
Keep them under the sun once in a while
Keep the plants under the sun once in a while. You can keep them indoors for about two weeks and then once you see the leaves need some bright sunlight move them to a place where they can enjoy the sunlight. Keep them for about another week or two before you take them back indoors.
Add fertiliser if you prefer
You can add fertiliser to the water if you want to. There is dry fertiliser that comes as tiny balls or cubes. There is also liquid fertiliser. But make sure you use a minimum quantity. Measure the quantity you use based on the size of the bottle and the plant.
My advice is that fertiliser is not a must. These plants thrive well without them.
Recycling glass bottles
Glass bottles come in different sizes, shapes and colours. This will also be a form of recycling glass bottles. Clear transparent bottles are the best as you can view the beautiful fragile roots that are grown as a mesh.
Place these glass bottles on a shelf, window, or a top that has sunlight to enjoy the best view of the tiny roots.
Dare to experiment with plants and growing methods and discover your unique gardening styles.
“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” - Gertrude Jekyll