Miniature ecosystem. 53 Years Sealed Bottle Mini Garden

David Latimer.  Ecosystem in miniature

This miniature ecosystem started in 1960 as entertainment, David Latimer A plant fan wanted to know how long plants can last without watering and with basic care.

Over 50 years later this plant, a tradescantia, is still alive and has become the flagship of the Latimer family.

Miniature ecosystem.

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

It was a tradescantiahe watered it and left it without further care until 1972, when he watered it again and sealed it tight until today, 40 years isolated from the outside world.

The plant has grown and occupies practically the entire bottle, with a healthy appearance. The only vitamin you get is day light, the plant therefore performs photosynthesis normally, feeding on the bacteria that survive in the bottom and absorbing the water generated by the condensation of humidity.

Mr. Latimer has it placed near a window and turns it over from time to time so that it grows evenly.


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

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

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

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

53 Years Sealed Bottle Mini Garden

How to make a miniature EcoSystem.

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

First we will need to select a glass container with a wide neck, for easy access. If it looks much better. An aquarium may be ideal, or for children a large jam jar may work.

We will also need good quality potting soil, such 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 enough compost for the roots of the plants.

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

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

With water we will have extreme care, it does not take much. We will place our mini garden in a window facing south, not very hot, well lit.

A video that can help us:

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