How to make a water bottle terrarium for seedlings, starter plants

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water bottle terrariums
(Sara Welch photo)

Snow days always inspire some interesting projects. We’ve built a snow fort and a snowman. We’ve completed puzzles and painted canvases. And last week we made closed terrariums out of plastic water bottles for my daughter’s Venus flytrap.

I checked her closed terrarium Friday morning and noticed mold growing on top of the nutrient gel her Venus flytrap was growing in, which meant it was past time to transplant it

With nowhere to go in all the snow, we started brainstorming what we could use to transplant the small starter plant. I had some leftover Jiffy peat pellets from last spring’s seed starter kit that I bought for my vegetable garden, so we used those for our growing medium. We decided to use plastic water bottles to create closed terrariums to put the peat pellets and Venus flytraps in because these plants love moisture and humidity and the shape of most plastic bottles works well.

Small closed terrariums made from plastic water bottles would work well for any starter plants, tree seedlings or even to start seeds for your vegetable garden in, using the peat pellets. They are translucent and clear to allow plenty of light to reach the plants. They hold in plenty of moisture. They also allow you to control air circulation by removing the lid periodically or poking holes in the cap or sides.

How to make a terrarium from a plastic water bottle

The process for modifying a plastic water bottle to set up a closed terrarium is simple and can be done with minimal supplies.

water bottle terrariums
This is how your water bottle should look when you’ve cut it into thirds. (Sara Welch photo)

Supplies

  • One plastic water bottle for each plant
  • One peat pellet for each plant
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Permanent marker

Steps

  1. Soak your peat pellets in water so they begin to expand. If you use old peat pellets like I did, it may take longer for them to soak in water and expand. Newer pellets will expand quickly.
  2. Cut the top of the water bottle off just below the label of the bottle.
  3. Remove the label from the top portion you just cut off your water bottle.
  4. Cut the bottom portion of the bottle at its narrowest point and throw away the midsection you cut off.
  5. Transplant your seedlings or starter plants or plant your seeds in the peat pellets.
  6. Place a planted peat pellet in the bottom portion of the water bottle you cut.
  7. Poke air holes in the cap or sides of the top portion of the water bottle with a needle. You also have the option of removing the top of your terrarium and leaving your plant open to air periodically.
  8. Water your plant, making sure the peat pellet is wet and there’s a bit of water sitting in the bottom of the terrarium.
  9. Fit the top portion of the water bottle over the bottom portion to close the terrarium.
  10. Write the type of plant and date planted on the bottle with a permanent marker. Or, if you’re like my daughter, write the plant’s name.
  11. Place the terrarium somewhere it can receive ideal sunlight for the type of plant.
  12. Repeat steps 1-11 for each additional plant.
water bottle terrariums
This is what your completed water bottle terrariums will look like. (Sara Welch photo)

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