I have a quite large clear glass vase, that I would like to transform into a plant pot. What are the problems that may occur? Are there any houseplants that I can grow inside the house, which won't have a problem with the clear glass?


4 Answers 4


You can grow almost anything in a pot or vase but some of the issues are:

  • if there are no drainage holes in the bottom and you plant in soil there is a risk of root rot. Even if you have a drainage layer and soil separator it is tricky to maintain just the right amount of soil moisture.
  • many plants are quite happy to grow in water. This is easy if there are no drainage holes. However depending on light conditions you may find that algae builds up on the inside or that the aesthetic appearance of all those tangling roots is not what you were looking for.
  • glass is a considered to be chemically stable and should be waterproof. Roots don't care what kind of pot they are in if there is sufficient room for them. Many vases tend to be tall and narrow with smooth sides. This will promote the roots circling around the inside of the vase wall as they grow out. For plans with a woodier stem this can cause the root ball to have a mass of roots at the periphery and none in the middle of the soil ball which makes it harder to keep all the soil at a consistent moisture level
  • To add, I have heard that roots abhor wight. Always when I plant in a transparent container, I wrap it in something non-transparent. Therefore, I have not tried if this is really an issue, unfortunately.
    – Vorac
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 8:43
  • 1
    The algae problem alone is reason enough not to do this. Algae will take over the inside of your container, cover it in unsightly green goop and more importantly, "steal" a significant amount of nutrients from your plant. The only plants you should grow in transparent containers are orchids, because their roots require light to flourish.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 11:49

In the laboratory, when we work with plants we always cover the soil chambers with aluminum foil to protect the root system from light. You don't only have roots in there. There are bacterial communities, protozoa and fungi as well that are essential to the circulation of nutrients in the rhizosphere. If you ever see a drop of soil water under a microscope, it will blow your mind. This is a system that has evolved in the dark. So, if you find that the mysteries of soil ecology are as cool as the plant itself, give the poor little microbes some cover.

Paint the glass. That will look pretty.

Why don't you put a cactus in there? If it only takes a little bit of water, drainage might not be such an issue.

Or put rocks in and grow bulbs on top. People do that a lot in Germany.

  • This info on "light" was what I was looking for. Thanks! Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 13:53

Yes it is easy. Somewhat like a terrarium with no lid and there is no algae problem without lid. Just a good layer of pebbles which look nice before dirt, then you may add more pebbles on top layer. Looks pretty this way. Just don't over water.


The plant generically called "Lucky Bamboo" grows very well in vases and water. The only thing sometimes required are pretty pebbles to keep the plant upright. To keep the water fresh, add a bit of charcoal at the bottom before placing the pebbles. I nor my friends have had problems with algae growth with this plant grown in a vase and water.

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