Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Clean Way to Grow Table-Top Plants

I had plenty of downtime recently - and it was good time to catch up on gardening backlog.  Problem was that I couldn't stay outdoors for a long time (I was on antibiotics - specifically quinolones).  Hence, it was perfect time to tend to my window-sill greenery.

When the kitchen was renovated, the architect placed a wider ledge under the kitchen windows.  It was perfect for putting my sprigs of basil.  Gradually, the collection occupied a bigger space, to include various plants - even a fish bowl with a fighting fish.

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What I like about low-tech hydrophonic gardening is that it offers a clean way to put in live plants inside the house, without bringing in all the attendant critters.  The system is entirely soil-free, since I use only crushed gravel and sand. For the plant's nutrient needs, I water them with pond water - plenty of organic matter in there.  Occasionally I apply a scant amount of fertilizer.  Mosquito larvae cannot thrive in these pots since I keep the water level below the surface of the gravel, so there's no stagnant water for mosquitoes to breed.

I use Scindapsus plant - chosen for its carefree ways and it's ability to root in water, in a gel-based media, and in pebbles as well.  Fortune plants are also good candidates.

I place the cuttings in water first. Once I see a good number of emerging roots, it's time to pot them in little glass jars with sand and finely crushed gravel.  Sand probably isn't necessary - but it adds a nice layered effect.

For added interest, and to cover up the algae-encrusted vase, I place the pots in bigger containers.  In this case a ceramic shell from The Stoneware Pottery, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

The small blue jar contains cuttings that are rooting in water.

Even in a tiny pot, the plant can grow lush, with proper sunlight and the occasional application of fertilizer.

Fortune plants can grow impressively tall even in a small vase.  This plant is potted in a small glass jar, and placed inside a fishbowl.  This is a special variety - oftentimes referred to as the "Lotus Fortune Plant".

and finally, a grouping of the ordinary Fortune plant.  It makes a good fountain of leaves.  This has been grown indoors for nearly a year.  There are guppies in all the fishbowls, to eat any mosquito larvae that are deposited on the water.

Sources:  (note: I have no affiliation with this establishment)

Blue Ceramic Shell from Stoneware Pottery <<<  website
     or enter through 

     Contact Information:
     The Stoneware Pottery, Inc.
     Zone 8, Bulua, 9000 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. 
     Phone and Fax: (63-08822) 735603.

There is much to be said about bringing a spot of green into one's home.  It's like bringing in a modicum of serenity - a take-off point for reflection and meditation.  I guess we all need that in our lives.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog and got some great tips on how to grow tabletop plants.

  2. Sorry for the delay in my response! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I like growing them this way, too. Perfect for small spaces and for table decor. I've kept a couple going on for the past two years. Both of them are in a tiny clear glass container - slightly larger than a shot glass. The roots have gone around the glass - it might be time to take cuttings to start a new one - but they're still doing fine. No soil, no mess, no earthworms crawling over the dining table!