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Most bottle gardens are very easy to care for and require very little attention. Maintaining a steady environment is the first key to keeping plants lush and green. The next best care secret is to use your own judgment. Here are some guidelines to help you on the way.

Gardens do best in a bright location with indirect light. No dreary dark corners and no sun seared windowsills.  A bit of early morning (before 10) or late afternoon (after 4) sun is fine. The plants also do quite well under florescent lights. Turning them often will help ensure even growth, but if they start to get tall and lanky, they need more light. Likewise, to much light causes excess heat to build up in the interior of a bottle, resulting in cooked plants.



Bottles require only a few squirts from a mister every 1 to 2 months. Using distilled water will minimize spots on the glass. They may need more frequent misting in the summer and a bit less in the winter. Observing the media layers is a good way to determine when watering is needed. Water should be visible in the gravel layer when moisture is ideal, and dryer soil is lighter in color and requires watering. Condensation or fog on the glass is normal, and increases when there is a suddem change in room temperature. Be mindful. Overwatering is more dangerous than underwatering.



The ideal temperature range is from 65°-75°F, but the plants can tolerate from 45°-95°F for short

periods. If the gardens stay too long outside of the ideal range, or venture into it too often, the result

is algae, mold and fungus. Avoid drastic fluctuations, even if they are within range.  Maintaining a

steady environment is crucial.



Simple maintenance is all that should be needed, and not often. Overgrown moss and liverworts may be

trimmed or gently patted down with a dowel rod or other such instrument. Glass may be cleaned

with paper towel, both inside and out. To reach the interior the towel can be wrapped around a

chopstick. Paint brushes and Q-tips are also quite helpful. A razor blade attached to

a stick can be useful for trimming larger plants. Be creative, but do not

use cleaning products as these might kill the plants. For some of

my maintenance tools, please look here: Novelties



Insect infestations are not usually a problem with bottle

gardens. When you received your garden, it probably came

with a healthy population of springtails. These tiny bugs are

decomposers and are a sign that your garden is well balanced.

Do not attempt to kill them off. They will not venture out of

the bottle. Now, if you want more insects, I have found a

few other bugs that thrive in these environments.

Pillbugs and millipedes love the stagnant and

humid conditions. They are decomposers so

do not remove old leaves if you add them to

your garden. Centipedes also do quite well.

As carnivores, one can watch them hunt

and catch springtails, keeping the

population in check. Long-legged

house centipedes do not do well, it

is the shiny copper ones found under

rocks that flourish in the humidity.  


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