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Think outside the pot
Five urban ways to grow plants

Photos by Matt Haas

April 2016


At Shorewood-based garden store MOD GEN, terrariums are favored. Assistant manager Jamie Bruchman offers grounding tips when creating your terrarium, stating, "Most terrarium plants prefer shade or indirect light and will cook under glass if given too much sun." Therefore, terrariums are a generally simple way of growing plants due to the fact that the environment outside of their containers could realistically be anything — keeping in mind the amount of sun that touches the plant, of course.

Terrariums are also aesthetically pleasing and suitable for the creative, visually minded gardener. Assembly requires specific elements, including the glass container, small pebbles, soil and the plant itself, but additional accents and accessories can be added as desired.

Marimo Moss Balls

Marimo — commonly referred to as Japanese moss balls — is an alluring species of green algae that grows in the shape of a sphere. While the lifespan of Marimo can exceed 100 years, two essential recommendations are to keep the plants in low to medium light and change the water every couple of weeks. Beyond the resilience of Marimo, these moss balls are beneficial in absorbing pollutants and creating oxygen.


Tillandsia, or air plants, is a type of plant that doesn’t need soil to grow in, as the leaves absorb the necessary water and nutrients. Constant air circulation is important for these plants to thrive, along with a consistent water misting every few days. There are various ways to display air plants, but a fashionable way is to hang them from the ceiling, providing an artistic element to your home.

Hayrack Planters

The history of hayracks dates back to when they were used years ago in barns to store hay. They have since grown in popularity as planters to hang on railings outside and can be effortlessly transformed season to season with varying plants. Coco liner is most frequently used to fill the hayrack, followed by soil and your choice of plants.

Water Gardens

Similar to terrariums, indoor water gardens are assembled in much of the same fashion — the difference being in the amount of water and soil in the container. You can choose from a wide range of plants, which can be fully submerged in the water, float on top of the water, or a combination of the two. A tremendous benefit of indoor water gardens is the effect they have on the quality of surrounding air by adding humidity during dry seasons and cooling the air during warmer seasons. M


This story ran in the April 2016 issue of: