Miniature Gardens – An Ideal Way to Brighten Your Assisted Living Room or Apartment

If you recently moved into an assisted living community, you may be looking for ways to make your room or apartment feel more homey. Indeed, you may be a person who enjoyed plants and gardening for much of your life. There is a way in which you can continue to enjoy cultivating plants after moving into an assisted living community. In this article, we discuss some miniature gardening options that are ideally suited to living in an assisted living community, including:

  • Terrariums
  • Bonsai trees
  • Herb planter


Terrariums represent an excellent way to bring the outside into the inside, including into your room or apartment in an assisted living community. A terrarium is a relatively easy indoor garden space to create. We walk you through the steps of creating an idyllic terrarium for your assisted living room or apartment.

Select a Container

The first step in creating your terrarium is to select a suitable container. Many seniors interested in creating a terrarium have a favored jar, dish, or other containers that can serve as a perfect terrarium foundation. Remember that containers with lids are ideal for wetter terrariums, while those without toppers are perfect for desert landscapes.

Find a Location  

Once you select a container for your terrarium, you need to choose a suitable location in your room or apartment to place it. Glass containers do reflect sunlight. Therefore, you will want to put your terrarium in a spit that gets indirect and not direct sunlight.

Create a Base

The next step is to create a base for your plant life inside your new terrarium. Pebbles and small rocks are ideal bases for a terrarium. These items assist in filtering out water and keeping your terrarium free of rot. You might consider adding a thin layer of charcoal and fine netting. These additions increase drainage and prevent the growth of mold.

Add Potting Soil

Once you have your base in place, you add potting soil. If your terrarium has a top, you must ensure you leave plenty of headroom for your growing plants. Consider unevenly placing the soil. This provides the look of hills and valleys in your terrarium.

Select Plants

Selecting a plant is one of the most enjoyable aspects of creating a terrarium. You want to choose plants that match the climate of the terrarium you are making – moist or dry, as discussed a moment ago.

Some garden shops maintain sections dedicated to terrariums. Examples of good options for terrariums include:

  • Twiggy spikemoss
  • Pollyanna vine
  • Friendship plant
  • Cactus
  • Venus fly trap
  • Air plants
  • African violet
  • Boxwood
  • Gnome ivy
  • Scottish club moss
  • Golden club moss
  • Miniature ferns

Consider Some Flair

You might want to add a few incidentals to your terrarium in the form of such additions as glass trinkets or other small objects. These bits of flair can add a sense of style and personalization to your terrarium.

Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees can be a lovely addition to your room or apartment in an assisted living community. Not only do they add a living conversation piece to your personal space, but you might be like many people and come to enjoy what is the art of cultivating a Bonsai tree.

Select a Pot

As a rule, Bonsai dishes tend to have a drainage pan. They usually are wider than they are high.

Select a Bonsai Tree

The fact is that almost any plant can be a Bonsai. The sky really is the limit in this regard. But if you’re new to tiny trees, choose a low-maintenance candidate like a juniper bush. When picking out your plant of choice, pay extra attention to the brush’s trunk. Does it have a nice curve? If you can spot the shape of a beautiful tree amid the untrimmed foliage, then chances are you’ve got your Bonsai.

Start From Scratch

Add a layer of small rocks on the bottom of your pot to create drainage. Then, fill the pot with Bonsai potting soil. Bonsai soil tends to be lighter than other topsoil, creating optimum aeration. Your local garden store should be able to assist you in finding the proper soil.

Prepare Your Tree

Take your new tree out of its container and cut the soil layer if it’s too tall for your bonsai pot. Then, take the remaining soil surrounding your tree and break it up, so the roots are looser and have more space. Once you’re done, place your tree in the new bonsai pot and cover it with soil.

Begin Designing Your Bonsai

Once you have potted your tree, study the shape of your Bonsai. Use sheers to remove branches and trim limbs to get the shape you want. You can create height and space around your trunk. As your tree grows, you’ll have the opportunity to trim and shape it.

Repotting Your Bonsai

As your Bonsai grows, you need to be mindful of the need to repot it into a larger container from time to time. Fast-growing Bonsais should be repotted annually. Slower-growth Bonsais can go two to three years between repottings.

Herb Planter

Finally, an idea for a miniature garden in your assisted living room or apartment is an herb planter. By creating an herb planter, you can have fresh herbs you can enjoy available to you the year around. You can add your favorites to meals created by the assisted living community staff or meals you prepare. Oddly, it will end up with an abundance of herbs that you can share with family and friends, including your friends made in your assisted living community.

Select a Planter

The first step in creating a herb planter for your assisted living room or apartment is selecting an ideal planter. You likely want to focus on a planter that will fit nicely onto a windowsill in your living unit.

Prepare Base and Soil

The manner of preparing a base and soil discussed previously in the terrarium section can be followed when it comes to creating a herb planter. One difference is that you will want the soil to be leveled. In addition, your herb planter is not likely to come with a top; thus, you need not pay as much attention to ensuring your herbs have suitable growing headroom.

Select Herbs

The selection of herbs is geared to your own preferences. 24 herbs are used with regularity in kitchen herb gardens and for indoor herb planters:

  1. Parsley
  2. Mint
  3. Dill
  4. Basil
  5. Sage
  6. Rosemary
  7. Thyme
  8. Cilantro
  9. Fennel
  10. Chamomile
  11. Tarragon
  12. Lavender
  13. Chives
  14. Arugula
  15. Bay leaves
  16. Lemon verbena
  17. Chervil
  18. Winter savory
  19. Peppermint
  20. Stevia
  21. Lemongrass
  22. Bergamot
  23. Oregano
  24. Cutting celery

In the end, you will find adding a terrarium, Bonsai plant, or herb planter an excellent addition to your assisted living room or apartment. Indeed, you ultimately may find that you want to add all three to your home!