Dish gardens are a good way to introduce greenery into our homes: they’re space-saving, they’re relatively easy to set up and maintain, and they don’t cost a ton of money to assemble. Because of this, they are viable options for those who want to ease themselves into the plantita and plantito lifestyle without investing agad-agad in indoor gardens.

Here’s a quick guide on how to get started with dish gardens:

Do your research. Before buying anything, ask yourself the following questions: What plants do you want to collect? Which indoor plants best fit your home’s aesthetic? Do you have kids and pets in your house? Is your home a conducive place for healthy plant growth?

These questions will help you narrow down your choices, and will help ensure that you won’t be spending money and effort on a project that doesn’t align with or match your environment and overall lifestyle.

Purchase your materials. A dish garden is typically composed of the following components: a shallow and wide pot or planting dish, a plant-appropriate medium or soil mix, and plants.

When choosing a pot or planting dish, it’s best to go with a container that has a drainage hole at the bottom. This will ensure that your plants’ roots won’t be sitting in water – a major cause of root rot and other potentially deadly plant infections. You should also always get the largest container you can afford, as these will be easier to work with compared to tiny pots.

For the growing medium, it’s always good to get loose, well-draining ones, since these can help roots breathe more easily, and ensure good growth.

When choosing indoor plants, make sure to get the healthiest ones that you can afford. This will ensure that your dish garden will be off to a good start, and that you won’t have any problems with it.

Plan your dish garden. At least a week before planting, draw up an initial sketch of what you want your dish to look like. This will allow you to visualize your dish garden, and give you a guide on where to put specific plants. 

When drafting your sketch, make sure to consider where you plan to display your dish garden. For instance, if the dish garden will be placed on top of a coffee table, make sure to check how the arrangement looks from all sides. Doing this will help you craft a visually-pleasing composition for your plants.

Assemble your dish garden. Once you have finalized your sketch and decided on the dish garden’s placement, it’s time to start with its assembly.  

Start by lining the bottom of your container with materials like pumice, coarse charcoal, or small rocks. These will help further improve your dish garden’s drainage, and prevent root rot from happening.

Next, add enough growing medium to cover your indoor plants’ roots. Start with a small mound for each plant, adding enough to help them stay in place without falling over. Make sure to follow your sketch as you go along.

Once you finish assembling your dish garden, water the soil and place the dish garden in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. Let it sit there for up to two weeks, or until the plants get well-established.

After two weeks, you can move your dish garden to its designated place, preferably a spot where it can get bright, indirect sunshine on a daily basis.

Maintain your dish garden. Once your dish garden is well-established, make sure to maintain it properly to ensure good growth. Here are some steps you should take:

  • Water only when the first inch of soil or growing medium is dry.
  • Turn the container every couple of days so all plants receive bright sunlight.
  • Prune off parts if they get too bushy. You can propagate cuttings in water or soil and use them to make other dish gardens.

Here at Pots For Plants, we believe in making indoor gardening accessible and easy to follow. Read our blogs for more information on how to take care of plants, as well as how to integrate them into your home and overall lifestyle.

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