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How to Grow Plants In Glass Pots [In 8 Easy Steps!]

Can you grow plants in glass pots? Yes! Glass is making a big, sparkly comeback.

Seen as a zero-waste and pollutant-free alternative to plastic, glass vessels are back into our lives with more and more alternative applications beyond food storage. The trend also brought us a new diversity of glass container designs.

At the same time, plant and interior enthusiasts always look for new ways to display their beloved houseplants.

In that context, planting in a glass jar seems convenient, innovative, and straightforward. 

However, you may also wonder if it’s the best idea for plants. After all, glass jars don’t have drainage holes. Also, you might have heard that plants don’t like their roots to get exposed to light.

Luckily, the plant world is so amazingly diverse that for some species, planting in glass pots is a valid option for the plants and onlookers to enjoy. 

Let’s explore what plants can get planted in glass jars and how!

Can You Grow Plants In Glass Pots?

The good news is that yes! You can grow plants in glass pots – from good old-fashioned mason jars to specially designed glass planters and vases. However, there are some limitations regarding the plants you can grow. As well as certain precautions you must take to ensure your plants will remain healthy.

Another beautiful thing about glass containers is that you can use nearly any glass vessel – you only need to match the correct plant. 

Closed vessels such as bottles, bowls, and vases for tabletop terrariums work best with moisture-loving plants. As for open glass containers, you can easily include plants that prefer drier conditions.

How to Grow Plants In Glass Pots

There are three main ways to use glass jars and other vessels for plant growth. 

  • As glass pots and planters, with plants put directly into a medium. Using glass pots to grow plants can take place as regular potting (with soil) or as a passive hydroponics system (with water and perhaps a hydroponic substrate).
  • As glass terrariums 
  • For rooting cuttings, while certainly very functional, glass jars with rooting cuttings can also make an intriguing display.

However, there are some commonalities shared by all forms of glass-pot plant growing. We will take a glimpse at these before tackling the said three ways of glass container plant cultivation.

How to Grow Plants In Glass Pots – Step-By-Step Guide

oregano parsley chives sage thyme and basil growing in glass jars
Want to grow delicious plants in glass pots? Why not grow them in mason jars?! Check out this lovely herb garden containing plenty of chivesparsleybasil, oregano, thyme, and sage. It’s the perfect indoor lineup if you’re growing plants on a windowsill, a front porch, or even a tiny crevice of your yard. If you love this idea as much as we do, we found an epic (and easy-to-follow) guide published on the Union County Center website with more details. It contains six easy steps for an epic jar herb garden perfect for small homesteads. And gardens!

Well, in the beginning, I promised there would be some easy steps to succeed with glass planters.

I can already see you getting discouraged by the length of these simple points!

However, don’t lose your patience just yet. With glass planters, the devil’s in the details. In general, using glass pots is indeed straightforward. But there are a few specifics we need to pay attention to and consider.

1. Glass pots lack drainage holes. Thus, except for rooting cuttings, we advise you to ensure proper drainage at the bottom of a glass pot. Add a suitable thick layer of non-degrading drainage material. Coarse gravel or clay pebbles to the bottom of the planter work perfectly.

1.1. You can also drill a hole in a glass jar, although this is tricky with many jars and glass containers.

1.2. Put the substrate on top of this layer! All the excess water from the substrate will drain into (well, duh!) the drainage layer. 

3. The drainage layer needs to be thick enough so the rootzone can’t directly access the excessive water. Instead, the water will be pulled upwards by capillary forces when the substrate gets drier.

4. Be careful with watering. Since the water cannot escape the glass and there is no evaporation through pot walls, the plants will require less watering than in the case of regular pots. Too much water in these conditions definitively means the danger of root rot.

5. When it comes to lighting, glass planters are perfect for placing in a spot with indirect light, with brightness depending on the need of the chosen plants.

5.1. Exposing glass pots to too much light will lead to green algae proliferation, which means an unsightly slimy green layer on the inner side of your glass planter. Also, direct sunlight can overheat the glass planter and adversely affect the root system.

5.2. Covering your glass pot with a dark, non-transparent wrap or putting it in a second decorative pot will solve most of your problems regarding the unwanted light and the algae. Naturally, this solution will not work for people that want the glass to show due to its aesthetic value.

miniature plants growing in glass bottles
Terrariums are probably our favorite way to grow plants inside glass pots. But – did you know that terrariums are much older than any of us? We read from a reliable source that terrariums date back at least 2,500 years! We prefer a rustic theme for our terrariums – but feel free to let your imagination wander. Both far and near! You can also use a wide variety of containers for your terrarium – including old fish tanks, aquariums, and cookie jars. But – old bottle terrariums are probably our favorite.

6. If you use glass containers for cuttings or to grow plants in water in a passive hydroponic-like system, you don’t need to take care of drainage and watering. However, all the other points about lighting and maintenance apply. Also, growing plants in the water will likely require you to monitor the mineral and nutrient levels if you want the plant to thrive for a long time.

7. Most glass pots require some maintenance and cleaning – periodic limescale and green algae removal.

8. Lastly, choosing the best plant species to grow in glass containers is essential for success. In general, seek plants that don’t grow large and are not sensitive to watering regiments and excessive moisture. Also, avoid drought-sensitive plants on the drier end of the spectrum! And for bonus points – try plants that are not prone to root rot. We think if you follow these tips when choosing a glass-container-destined plant, they will do well. 

The exact species choice will depend on your glass planter’s particular style. 

Read on to discover how to grow plants in glass terrariums, planters, and rooting containers and what species suit each application.

onions growing on windowsill in glass jars
When our gardening colleagues talk about growing plants in glass pots, they always forget about onions! So – we laughed when we found these onions germinating in a pair of old glass jars on a sunny windowsill! Believe it or not, these onions are viable! We also read an excellent guide from the University of Arizona Extension about regrowing onions. The onion growing guide clearly defines the precise steps to take if you want to plant onions from scratch. No fancy onion cultivars or onion seeds are required! (Only fresh onion bulbs. And onion roots!)

Read more:

How to Grow Plants In Glass Terrariums

A terrarium is a small, confined plant ecosystem, a miniature glasshouse that fits the table in your living room. That is why terrariums often get created using glass jars, bottles, or other suitable glass formations. 

From the very description, you can conclude how decorative a well-kept plant terrarium can be. They’re gorgeous!

However, take caution! Not all plants that look well in a glass terrarium are suitable for a glass terrarium.

The specific conditions of an enclosed mini-ecosystem – the limited space, low airflow, and (usually) high humidity. Not all plants can take these conditions. Few can last in a terrarium for a long time. Consequently, choosing the best terrarium plant species is crucial to the success of any terrarium project.

Proper watering is also critical. Terrariums are very sensitive to excessive water because of limited drainage and poor evaporation. Always add water carefully. If you’re noticing too many condensation drops on the sides of the terrarium, leave it open for a while (if the design allows it), so water would be able to evaporate.

When it comes to lighting, the need for glass terrariums to stay in a bright spot with indirect light is critical! 

Why? Well, the drainage layer also serves as a humidity tray. Leaving a glass terrarium in warm, direct sunlight will increase evaporation to unwanted levels. And lead to a build-up of heat. All the humidity and hot air may steam the plants. That would be quite a waste – unless you have some baby spinach in there! (Lol.)

plant growing in glass jar on green grass
Here’s another idea for growing plants in glass pots. Only this time – it’s a baby cactus growing inside a mason jar on a lawn. We’ve germinated various herbs, veggies, and flowers inside mason jars as an experiment. They will usually germinate without fuss! However, most vegetables need much more space than a mason jar provides. So – we only use glass jars as a temporary (if not lazy) home to germinate seeds. (We also found an excellent guide showing how to start seeds in jars efficiently.) It’s easy enough to transplant them to a more suitable – and permanent dwelling shortly after.

Read More – 13 Most Breathtaking Cacti and Succulents!

How to Grow Plants In Glass Planters

In this section, I’ll use the term glass planter quite liberally. A glass planter can stand for any glass jar, bottle, sphere, bowl, commercial planter, or any other glass vessel you’ll use as a plant pot. The rules, tips, and tricks are pretty much the same for all types of glass vessels – unless stated otherwise.

Glass planters can look very handsome, modern, and rustic simultaneously. They can fit into various interiors, from modern minimalist to lavish Victorian-style steampunk ones. 

However, all glass planters have one common issue. Their bottoms lack drainage holes. While it is possible to add some yourself, it requires tools and skills that not all of us have. 

As per our simple steps above, the issue is easy to fix. Add a suitable and thick layer of drainage material. Coarse gravel or clay pebbles on the bottom of the planter work nicely. And be very mindful about watering! Always try to get a sense of how saturated the soil is before adding more water.

small hanging plants growing in glass pots
Here’s one of our favorite decor ideas for growing plants in glass pots. It’s a hanging plant garden! Obviously – these tiny glass pots aren’t going to provide much yield. But, we think the design is eye-catching – and it looks like a great way to upgrade your front porch. Growing pothos is perfect for a tiny hanging glass pot, as seen in this lovely hanging display.

How to Root Plants In Glass Containers

Many plant enthusiasts got experience doing this before it was a thing – rooting suitable plants in a glass jar or another container is a no-brainer. 

You just put a cutting in a water-filled glass jar, place the glass jar in an indirectly lit spot – and wait. The glass transparency will let you see when the roots have started to grow, so you don’t even have to stress the cutting by picking it up to check.

Modern plant fads have also taken things to a new level! Nowadays, many look highly decorative. I love the spherical ones that bring that plant laboratory feeling to your tabletop.

Check out our species lists below to learn what plants can root in water. Some of them, like pothos or English ivy, can continue growing in water indefinitely. Others, like the African violet, need to be planted in the soil quickly after rooting if you want a healthy new growth.

Read More – 14+ Beautiful Whiskey Barrel Planter Ideas!

30+ Best Plants to Grow In Glass Pots

With proper drainage and plant precautions we discussed, it’s easy to treat glass pots like any other planter. However, to err on the side of caution, pick plants that are tolerant of moisture, and need indirect light. In other words – choose plants that are low-maintenance in general. Avoid challenging and sensitive plants like Calatheas.

When planting succulents in glass pots, ensure a well-draining substrate, a good drainage layer, and ventilation. Not watering too much is understood.

Best Plants for Glass Planters 

Plants that can be grown both in soil and in water:

Cacti to grow in glass jars and pots

  • Bunny ears or Angel wings cactus (Opuntia microdasys, not to be confused with bunny ears succulent, Monilaria)
  • Bishop’s cap cactus (Astrophytum myriostigma)
  • Compact Mammillaria species.
miniature rockery with trees rocks and bushes
We couldn’t help but share this beautiful mini-rock garden! It’s one of our favorite ways to grow plants in glass pots. We think it would also make an epic and legendary Christmas fairy garden. Christmas will be here sooner than you think. But – we would have to add a few mini reindeer and Christmas trees. Or maybe a Christmas cactus! (We also found a guide with DIY tips for building the perfect mini fairy garden. Check it out if you love fairies as much as we do!)

Best Plants for Glass Terrariums

Small terrarium plants

  • Nerve plant (Fittonia)
  • Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
  • Starfish plant (Cryptanthus bivittatus)
  • Baby Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
  • The Aluminum Plant (Pilea cadierei)

Medium-sized terrarium plants

  • Button Fern (Pellaea rotundifolia)
  • Golden photos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Carnivorous terrarium plants

  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Sundews (Drosera)
  • Butterwort (Pinguicula)

Terrarium Succulents

Please note that terrarium succulents need a dry and bright environment. An open terrarium that gets indirect light from two or all its sides will suit them best.

  • Stonecrop (Sedum sp.)
  • xCremnosedum
  • Zebra Cactus (Haworthia attenuata)

Best plants to root in water/glass jars

  • Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia sp.)
  • Touch-me-not (Impatiens)
  • Holiday cacti (Schlumbergera)
  • Coelus
  • Swedish ivy (Plectranthus australis)

Read More – How and When to Repot a Cactus!

Best Glass Pots for Growing Plants!

We love growing plants, flowers, and succulents in glass pots. But – you need the best glass container to make it work!

So – we scoured the web to find the best containers for growing plants in glass pots.

Which ones do you like the most? Let us know if they suit your fancy.

And – we hope they help your homestead decor. And plant life!

  1. Glass Planter Vase Terrarium | Glasseam
  2. Glass Planter Vase Terrarium | Glasseam
    $19.98

    Growing plants in glass pots is easy when you have these glass vases! We love how the wooden rack looks atop a desk, front porch, or windowsill. These glass pots are perfect for growing pothos, small vine plants, water plants, and Scindapsus. And they look charming!

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    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/27/2022 10:43 am GMT
  3. Plant Terrarium with Wooden Stand | XXXFlower
  4. Plant Terrarium with Wooden Stand | XXXFlower
    $36.99 $18.98 ($18.98 / Count)

    Here's another excellent tabletop option for growing plants in glass pots. Rustic homesteaders will love the retro design of these mini plant terrariums. They're perfect for cultivating pothos, African violets, Scindapsus, and bamboo. Herbs could also work! The clear glass terrariums accent flawlessly against the contrasting natural wood (vintage) swivel holder.

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    09/27/2022 10:43 am GMT
  5. 6 Wall Hanging Terrarium Planters | Yarlung
  6. 6 Wall Hanging Terrarium Planters | Yarlung
    $35.99 $26.99

    These six wall hangers are a chic way to grow plants in glass pots! The oblate glass containers mount on your wall and help to propagate air plants, hydroponic plants, and succulents. The hangers are roughly 4.7-inches. They're our top pick if you want a spherical, modern, and sleek planter.

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    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/27/2022 10:43 am GMT
  7. Stained Glass Terrariums 2 Pack | Jajamy
  8. Stained Glass Terrariums 2 Pack | Jajamy
    $29.99 ($29.99 / Count)

    Here's one of the best-looking ways to grow air plants in glass pots! The authentic stained glass adds a beautiful style that ripples in the sunlight. The rhombus design looks perfect in your office, study, or kitchen. These hangers work for growing air plants, small succulents, and cacti. The hangers are smaller than other options - and are roughly 2.2-inches by 4.1 inches by 7-inches.

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    09/27/2022 10:48 am GMT
  9. Black Geometric Glass Terrarium Planter | NCYP
  10. Black Geometric Glass Terrarium Planter | NCYP
    $28.99 $24.99

    Do you like this glass planter design? We think it's perfect for a centerpiece. Or for growing terrarium plants! The glass grower accommodates air plants, ferns, cacti, succulents, and moss. It features a modern-looking geometric design. But - note that it's not watertight. We recommend only watering using a spray bottle! (Also - place a saucer underneath.)

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    09/27/2022 10:48 am GMT

To Sum It Up (Without Jaring It Up)

Planting in glass containers can be a win for a plant enthusiast – in terms of aesthetics, frugality, and creativity. To make things even better, with some tweaks in regular plant care, it becomes a win-win situation for both plants and the owner. 

The vast variability of new glass containers and the number of plant species they can accommodate is simply begging you to play around with them!

(Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out by yourself in our lists, the Golden pothos is an absolute king of all things glass).

What about you?

Which plants in glass pots do you enjoy the most?

Do you use glass pots for germinating flowers and herbs?

Or – do you go all the way and cultivate herbs inside glass containers?

If so – which cultivars are your favorite?

We’d love to hear from you.

And – we thank you so much for reading!

Thanks again – and have a great day!

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Author

  • An environmental analyst, gardener, insect enthusiast, and a mom of three, trying to pour her life-long naturalist experience into useful articles. She is passionate about protecting biodiversity, achieving harmony with natural ecosystems, and raising kids conscious of - and conscientious about - our shared environment.