Small, shapely plants make long-lasting tabletop displays

A tiny, intricate bromeliad or cactus just begs to be viewed up close. That’s why each is a perfect candidate for temporary display indoors in a clear glass vase.

Shop for plants in 1½- or 2-inch containers at nurseries and big-box stores. Then create the illusion of a garden in miniature by surrounding the potted plant with pebbles or sand.

The living sculptures look especially pretty when softly illuminated from above.

How to grow a plant in a glass

Assembly. Fill the bottom of a vase with 1 to 2 inches of polished river rock, sand, or aquarium pebbles. On top, place a container without a drain hole, and conceal it with more pebbles. Slip the plant (still in its plastic pot) into the container.

Watering. Dribble water into the center cup of a bromeliad when it dries. For cactus, dribble water just to lightly moisten soil every two weeks or so.

Light. Bright and indirect.

Transplanting. After four to six weeks, replant into larger containers; move cactus outdoors.