Green Thumbs

Passion for growing plants

   Oct 06

Project Biosphere

Remember I mentioned my biosphere in my last post? Well, this one is about it! A biosphere can be as large as a greenhouse or as small as a jar, but the most important thing is that it is sealed off from the rest of the world. The only thing coming from the outer world is light; oxygen, carbon dioxide and everything else circulate in a self-contained area with its own cycle.

I have had a question, which is a funny one: “Won’t the plants suffocate in there without air?”. Remember biology classes? Plants produce oxygen and need carbon dioxide for their photosynthesis.

Last weekend I went to a nursery to buy one of their mini plants as my sphere is a spaghetti jar from IKEA. I bought an Asparagus fern and took an ivy cutting from a plant I already had. Then I placed some smooth stones on the bottom of the jar for drainage and added soil, planted the fern and the ivy. I gave the sphere some water and waited for excess water to evaporate.

The theory is that the jar should be sealed off and I won’t have to take care of anything. However, I found out that overwatering is very easy, so I have had to open the lid sometimes to let a bit more water out. Hopefully in a week or two things should settle down and I can seal the jar. If successful, I can keep it for several years. This one might be too small though, and I will probably have to upgrade to a small demijohn or similar later on.

This is a fun and low-maintenance project. One important step to keep in mind, though, is that an absolutely sparkling clean jar is a must and of course the plants have to be healthy, and preferably non-flowering.

Here are some pictures of the biosphere and my new Ficus ‘Ginseng’



Murgröna i burk

Ficus 'Ginseng'

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  1. lene starander says:

    I+m looking forward to see and hear more about your biosphere..

  2. Thomas says:


  3. Lisa says:

    Coolt! Om växten producerar O2 med spenderar CO2, varifrån kommer tillskottet av CO2?

    • admin says:

      På dagen producerar växten syre, och på natten avger den koldioxid. Om jag kommer ihåg rätt. Både syre och koldioxid finns i burken när den stängs. Däremot kan det bli så att växten står stilla en tid på dygnet så att säga om burken är liten och växtmassan stor i förhållande.

  4. SkyChild says:

    Wow, this looks cool!
    How is it getting on?
    How do you choose which plants to use? I’d love to have a pop at making a biosphere

    • admin says:

      Glad you stopped by! The biosphere is doing well. I had to remove the ivy a week or two ago because it had started to rot. And the Asparagus Fern had hit the lid and needed a haircut.
      Choose a plant which is fine with constant moisture and doesn’t flower. Actually the ivy should have been a good choice but it was probably too crowded. I have seen people using one of those mini palms you can get at nurseries. I tried with a mini Phalaenopsis but had to remove it because it began to mold, but it has grown well since I had it removed.

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