Tips and Guides

Make Your Own Dish Garden In 8 Steps

Let this DIY project help you brighten up a gloomy corner

Photography: Reggie Rodrigo

From homes and stores, to office cubes and coffee shops—it's quite refreshing to see touches of green dominating the space. Whether you're into caring for succulents or building a vertical garden featuring indoor plants and herbs, we're sure you've tried your hand at a few gardening must-dos.

If you're looking for something to work on, you may want to create your own dish garden. Using materials that are available in gardening shops, you can finish this project in eight easy steps. Review the step-by-step guide below and schedule a quick bonding session with friends soon:

What you need:
  • A shallow dish
  • A small plant
  • A broken pot
  • Porous growing media (one part sand/one part soil/one part choir dust, a.k.a. coconut saw dust)
  • Moss or pebbles
  • Kitchen scissors

1. Begin the project by gathering the materials you need. Choose a shallow dish that's at least 1.5 inches deep. Check for a drain hole and make sure it has no cracks. Opt for a ceramic, plastic, or glazed dish. Keep in mind that permeable pots made of pure clay look mottled when wet.

2. Choose a plant at least twice the height of the dish and one you can place indoors. Click here for a list of plants you can work with. Make sure that the original pot of the plant is not bigger than the dish.

3. Place the broken pot on the hole to control dirt erosion from the runoffs.

4. Add about half an inch of the growing media at the base of the dish.

5. Carefully yank the plant from the pot and loosen the growing medium. Make sure you leave the root ball intact. If the plant you're working with has too many roots, trim it carefully using a pair of scissors.

READ: Repotting Succulents

6. Position the plant at the center of the dish and spread out the roots underneath. 

7. Fill the dish with the porous growing media, but make sure you leave some space at the top for the moss or pebbles.

8. Water the plant gently. Avoid displacing the moss or pebbles. You can place your finished dish garden in a shady area and give it a few days before using indoors. Maintain and care for the dish garden as you would with your other indoor plants.

READ: Dos and Don'ts Of Indoor Plant Maintenance

Read the original article ("Bring In the Garden") in the August 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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6 More Indoor Plants for Your Home


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