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How to Care for a Dish Garden

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Many  plant varieties can find a home in a dish garden.
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A dish garden can be a beautiful addition to any room but can be a challenge to grow. The three biggest environmental enemies of dish gardens are room temperature, humidity and sunlight. But while environmental factors are a concern, over-watering is the biggest cause of dish garden death. The solution to this problem is at your fingertips. A simple touch of the soil is all that is needed to test soil moisture. This test should be done before you water the dish garden.

The finger is the best tool to use to check soil moisture.
finger image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com

Check the moisture level of the soil by digging down 1 inch or pressing down on the soil to feel moisture.

Start watering in small amounts.
measuring cup image by Antonio Oquias from Fotolia.com

Start watering the dish garden with 1 cup of water.

Let the soil dry out between waterings.
Crackled soil image by Trombax from Fotolia.com

Test the soil again before watering. Allow the soil to nearly dry out before watering again.

Fertilize the dish garden no more than once a month.
arrosoir outils jardin image by Mélissa Bradette from Fotolia.com

Fertilize the dish garden only if the plants have been in the dish garden for a long time. Mix a fertilizer solution that is 1/4 strength and apply monthly.

Gradually move the dish garden to the appropriate level of sunlight.
Sunlight image by Austra from Fotolia.com

Place the dish garden in an environment that meets the light requirements. Rotate the dish garden so that all plants receive equal sunlight. A prime location for a dish garden regardless of the type of plants used is an east- or west-facing window with curtains creating filtered light.

Place dish garden on a tray with gravel and water to improve the humidity level. Misting the dish garden every day will create the same effect. Either process will need to be done in the winter to overcome the dry indoor air that is produced in many heated homes.


Things You Will Need

  • Planted dish garden
  • Measuring cup
  • Liquid fertilizer

About the Author


Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been writing since 2010. Her work appears on various websites and blogs. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in agriculture education with minors in biology and natural resources from Purdue University. She is pursuing a master's degree in environmental education and urban planning from the University of Louisville.