Dish gardens make great gifts–easy upkeep with the right plants.
I began making dish gardens in elementary school, which speaks to how easy creating these small landscapes is…. easy to make, easy to maintain with easy-care plants. And they add enjoyment…fun to watch grow and possibly flower. AND they add a decorator’s touch, regardless of decorating style. Aren’t they a good gift for older people who appreciate nature, don’t get outdoors much–and even those who do? You can purchase a dish garden, or do-it-yourself.
WHETHER PURCHASING OR MAKING YOUR OWN– LOOK FOR
(and ask questions of sales person)
- Plants that are smallish
- Plants that are slow growing (if the goal is reducing work)
- Plants with different textured leaves
- Plants with leaves of different colors
- At least one plant that could flower (it’s a bonus)
- Plants that grow either indoor or outdoors…not both in same container
- An attractive container (dish) with a drainage hold and saucer
(Light and Watering Requirements Should be on Plant’s Tag)
- Watering nonuscculents: Proper watering leads to success or failure.Thus, each plant in the little garden should have the same water requirements. Overwatering causes root rot, that’s why the dish’s drainage hole is important–as is a plate or saucer underneath. Otherwise furniture gets damaged (and equally bad, you will have left an eyesore reminder of your well-intentioned gift.) My favorite “saucers” are free–lids on plastic take-home containers. They’re clear, unobtrusive, come in various shapes and sizes.
- Watering succulents: Succulents (see top photo), need very little water. A light spray on the top or a little water poured on the rocks doesn’t upset the sandy look and does the job. Succulents store water in their “leaves.” They begin to shrivel when too dry, but rebound when give a bit of water. monitor a succulent dish garden and add water before a disaster could occur.
- Light: Plants should also be grouped by their light requirement–full sun, partial sun etc. To flower, plants need light. For example, miniature violets and sinningias need indirect light at the least, but never full sun.
See above for plant selection
The two dish gardens below were entered for competition at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The first container is a bonsai dish with indoor plants; the one below looks like it contains outdoor succulents and is, I believe, made from a composite. (Click to enlarge.)
- Dish gardens can sprout up in unlikely dishes.
- As long as there’s a drainage hole, you’re good to go.
- Potting soil for cacti and succulents differs from soil used for growing leafy plants.
- For Fertilizing: follow instructions, using 1/2 or 1/4 strength or less.
- Avoid potting soil with fertilizer or plants will quickly outgrow the dish.
Caring for plants, if not too taxing and fussy, gives elders a responsibility that offers the joy of watching them grow, keeping them healthy and being needed. It’s also fun and life-affirming. Doesn’t this help parents and older adults age well?
Check out Some of my favorite little plants: Sinningia pusilla (tiny tuber).Rob’s Scrumptious (miniature violet). Ficus pumila Quercifolia (tiny ivy). Nephrolepis exalta Fluffy Ruffles (little fern). Kalanchoe (check out colors)
Related: Thanks to Lori for an additional way of growing plants–the Miracle-Gro Aero Garden.This hydroponic garden seems easy from start to finish–can add interest and fun to an elder’s life.
Helpful sites: http://www.thegardenhelper.com/dish~gardens.html –about dish gardens
https://www.violetbarn.com/shop/index.php?_a=category&cat_id=30. Site for small plants
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