One of the great things about gardening is the creative options it gives gardeners to explore. While the choice of plants is probably the most prominent, your choice of container is also a great place to express yourself. There are tons of options for gardeners but today we’ll explore just one, the mason jar garden.
Mason jars are a cheap and easy way to grow a garden. They also have the benefit of being small so they’ll fit in almost any home. That said, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure your plants are able to thrive in this non-standard container. Let’s jump in and see how to get started with a mason jar garden.
What Can I Grow In Mason Jars?
While there are a wide range of plants you can grow it’s best to start with smaller plants. Mason jars are not that large, and that means you’re plants shouldn’t be either.
Most gardeners look to grow herbs in their mason jars. Most herbs need very little space and can easily be grown in smaller containers. Many smaller flowers are also good options to grow for those wanting a bit more color.
Succulents and cacti are another great option. Many varieties of these plants can be grown in small containers, and mason jars are perfect for this.
Outside of this, mason jars also make great areas to start seedlings for almost any plant. You can start your plants in mason jars and then move them once they outgrow their container.
The key idea to keep in mind is how much space your plant needs. Mason jars are going to be great options for smaller plants that need less space. If the mason jar provides enough space for your plant, then you can use it as a container. For that reason, it’s best to avoid larger ot fast growing plants as they will likely be too constrained by the size of a mason jar.
Starting a Mason Jar Garden
Now it’s time to start your garden. The first step is gather your materials. Luckily, all the materials are very easy to obtain, and can usually be done so very cheaply.
- Mason jars
- Potting mix
- Small sized rocks or gravel
- Plant seedlings, seeds, or cuttings of your chosen plant
- Labels for your jars (For those growing multiple plants)
1. Fill Your Jar With Stones
First off, you’ll want to gather your jars and fill them about 2″ with your small rocks or gravel. This will help give your jar somewhere to allow water to runoff, which will prevent your roots from getting too wet.
This is a crucial step as otherwise your plant’s roots will sit in overly moist soil. This can lead to issues like root rot, which will kill your plant over time.
Alternatively, you can drill small holes in the bottom of the jar to allow for proper drainage. This is a bit more involved though, so it’s often simpler to just go with the rock method.
2. Add Soil
Next you want to add the soil. The only important thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure you buy potting soil and not regular garden soil. This will ensure that it has proper drainage and the correct nutrients to keep your plants healthy. Leave about an inch or two of room at the top of the jar.
3. Plant Your Seeds
The last main step is to plant your seeds or plant. When starting with seeds, simply sow them into the soil and lightly cover them with a bit of soil following the instructions on the packet. Water them frequently, and keep the soil warm until the seeds sprout.
Transplanting an existing plant or seedling is also very easy. Simply leave a bit of space in the soil to move to, and gently place the plant into the soil. You should also gently pull apart the roots prior to planting, which helps them establish themselves in the ground and encourages growth.
You can also start from cuttings of the other plants. This is plant specific, so you’ll want to do a bit of research on your specific plant. For example, we have an article about growing basil from cuttings.
4. Add Labels and Decorations
Last up, many gardeners like to add decorations or labels to their jars. Things like popsicle sticks, paint, or index cards are common options, but don’t be afraid to get creative here! This of course is not strictly neccessary, but helps make the garden your own.
Mason Jar Garden Maintenance
Once you’ve created your garden you’ll want to make sure to keep up with routine maintence for optimal plant growth. Luckily, most of your plant’s care will be exactly the same regardless of its container. Make sure to do a bit of research about your plant to find out requirements for things like sunlight and water. Our site has great information on a large number of plants.
One major thing to keep in mind is that the mason jars are a sealed container. That means that water doesn’t have any natural escape as it would outdoors or in a planter with drainage holes, assuming you didn’t drill your own. While the rocks at the bottom of the jar will help, take extra care not to overwater your plants.
Techniques like misting can go a long way here as they can help provide moisture to your plants without risking overwatering them. It’s also why plants like cacti do so well in mason jars as they need water very infrequently.
Mason Jar Garden
I hope by now you’re excited and ready to start your very own mason jar garden. They provide an excellent, and cheap, container for growing plants indoors and are a great option for a small space garden. For those looking to grow smaller plants, like herbs, mason jars are a perfect container choice.
For those looking for a ready made solution amazon has some excellent solutions. Here’s an example of a pre-made kit that comes with every you need to get started. A nice, easy choice for beginning and expert gardeners alike.