Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vintage Before and After - Pyrex Beaker Succulent Garden

Like a lot of thrifters, I have a hard time turning down any piece of Pyrex. I usually need to have some practical purpose in mind for an item before I pick it up. Practicality totally failed when it came to my relationship with Pyrex beakers. I mean, they're just so cool! They're scientific and borosilicate! They open up all kinds of mad scientist possibilities. So now that I've got a bunch of beakers, I've been trying to figure out what to do with them. As previous posts indicate - I've been planting a ton lately. Heck, if the Bernz-O-Matic didn't escape my green thumb then this beaker was doomed to end up as a container garden for sure.

So here is my "Before" photo of a 400ml vintage Pyrex beaker (forgive the last minute photo that I snapped in my kitchen).


After! Okay, so I know it's not madly scientific but it does make me happy! And if I ever decide to become a mad scientist (hey, you never know - it could happen!) I can just replant this little guy somewhere else and use the beaker as intended.


The plant I chose for this container is Kalanchoe longiflora coccinea. How's that for scientific?? Actually, I just really like the colors and the shapes of the leaves.


I've got a lot of reindeer moss, so I wanted to incorporate some into the planter. I think that topping the planter with moss gives it a nice finished look. It might also help with moisture retention (here in the driest of environments that's important).


I wanted to take advantage of the fact that this particular beaker is clear. I decided on a layered look not really knowing how it would turn out. I started with rocks in the bottom of the container. Drainage is important if there is no hole in the container. I wasn't up for drilling Pyrex, so I added plenty of rocks.


Next I added soil - filling the container about half way up. The next part was tricky - I couldn't just put down a layer off moss and then more soil. The roots of the plant needs to be able to get to the deeper soil. In order to get a layered look - I made a donut out of the moss and lined the container with it. Then I filled the "donut hole" will more soil. I finally added the succulent, loosening the root ball to encourage new rooting in the container. Then I filled the rest of the container with soil and topped it off with moss right around the base of the plant.


I'm hoping this little guy does okay. The root ball was very compacted, which can cause a lot of re-potting complications. Succulents can often be "fix it and forget about it" type of plants but I'm going to be keeping an eye on this one =)

Has anyone been doing any spring planting? I'd love to hear about it! Also, check out these pics on Bounty Huntress' blog - this tea kettle garden is *amazing* Haha.. I wonder what my boyfriend would think about an indoor staircase lined with tea kettle succulent gardens =X


  1. keep us posted on how it goes/grows...I have the same succulent growing in my garden didn't know its proper name until your post though.
    I still haven't planted up that terrarium! Wish you lived nearby bcause I'd give it to you Flo.
    I'm going to check out those tea kettle garden now.

  2. How is it you find beakers and I *never* do. Seriously, 10 years in the Phoenix area and not one beaker! Great idea with yours BTW!!

  3. Looks great! I never really appreciated the beauty of succulents when I lived in AZ- and they're definitely not as easy to come by here in WI!
    We recently got a new cat who has already eaten (and thrown up) leaves from my potted azalea- so i think my dreams of a cute indoor container garden have been dashed!

  4. Kylie - I cheated on the name. I still had the original plastic container! hehe.

    Dhamma - Nice to meet another thrifter in the Phoenix area! I'm down in Gilbert. I've mostly found the beakers at Goodwill but in very random locations.

    Alyssa - I have the same problem with one of my cats! Well, kind of. She loves to lay on plants. She doesn't eat them... she just crushes them. She weighs in at 13lbs so the plants don't have a chance. Lucky for me, she's got a bum leg and can't jump so I just keep the plants up high.

  5. O, I love this idea and it looks gorgeous!

    I can't believe I have never thought of using beakers (I have terrariums in about everything else including sherry sniffers, jars, and other misc. containers!) i spent many years working with beakers of all sizes when I studied chemistry (I have a degree that I basically never used! LOL)

    I am so attracted to scientific equip when I stumble upon it.

  6. O, I am oiriginally from Tucson (now in KY)!!

  7. I love these little gardens you create. Perhaps you could post a tutorial? I would love to see how you create these little treasures :)


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