Miniature Ecosystem. Mini Garden In A Sealed Bottle 53 Years

Miniature EcoSystem

This miniature ecosystem began in 1960 as entertainment, David Latimer, a plant lover, wanted to know how long plants can endure without watering and with basic care. 53 years later  this plant, a tradescantia, is still alive and has become the jewel of the Latimer family.

Miniature ecosystem.

David Latimer planted his mini garden in a giant bottle in 1960 and watered it for the last time in 1972, before sealing it tightly.

It was a tradescantia, he watered it and left it without any other care until 1972, at which time he watered it again and sealed it until today, 40 years isolated from the outside world. The plant has grown and takes up practically the entire bottle, with a healthy appearance. The only vitamin it receives is  natural light,  so the plant photosynthesizes normally, feeding on the bacteria that survive in the background and absorbing the water that is generated by moisture condensation. Mr. Latimer has it placed near a window and turns it from time to time so that it grows evenly.


The plant has created its own miniature ecosystem, it is the perfect cycle of life. The only external input that the plant has had has been solar energy, everything else is recycled.

With the dead leaves that fall to the bottom of the bottle, carbon dioxide is created, also necessary for photosynthesis, and the nutrients it absorbs through its roots.

This retired English engineer now cares for the tradescantia as if he were one of the family and has set himself the goal that when he cannot, his son will continue to take care of it.

NASA has been interested in the Latimer plant.  Water treatment plants work very well, removing pollutants from the air, so that a space station can be self-sufficient.

Mini garden in a sealed bottle 53 years

How to make a miniature EcoSystem.

The idea of ​​a garden in a bottle is to create a miniature and self-sufficient ecosystem. It will require very little maintenance.

We will first have to select a glass container with a wide neck, for easy access. If it looks pretty better. A fish tank might be ideal, or for the kids, a large jam jar might work.

We will also need good quality potting soil, as compost and, of course, plants. We will use a large spoon to insert a layer of gravel in the bottom of the bottle and cover it with compost in sufficient quantity for the roots of the plants.

Finally, we will introduce the plants. We will need very few samples, it will depend on the size of the bottle, and that they are small, unless it is a huge container. Small ferns, such as Adiantum, small varieties of Tradescantia, and small plants of Chlorophytum can be ideal.

We will gently place each plant in its position, adjusting them with a stick or kitchen tweezers until we have them where we want. Adding a layer of sand after planting will lower the compost and improve the exterior appearance.

With the water we will be extremely careful, it doesn’t need much. We will place our mini garden in a south-facing window, not too hot, that is well lit.

A video that can help us:

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