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Wine cooler DIY terra base


New Member
17 May 2020
I've been intrigued by the DOOA terra base concept and wanted to give it a go but I've found a few posts here speculating that it might be cheaper and just as effective to use a terracotta wine cooler instead, so I thought I'd give it a go and keep you up to date with how it goes...

So its not that easy to find a terracotta wine cooler it turns out... and not all that much cheaper than the DOOA terra base. I found mine from an online pottery and it set me back £21.

It finally arrived (ordered 3 weeks ago!) this week and it looks good. It's a little larger than a terra base at 22cm x 14cm so a little more room for all those epiphytes! I filled it up under the tap to see how quickly water seeped out... and found that it didn't! Big problem, it turns out the porosity of terracotta is highly variable and this just ain't porous! Not sure how well it'd work as a wine cooler... or as DIY terra base. But as plants were on order I was committed so I've given it a go anyway.

I've planted it up with a small bit of Christmas moss and larger amounts of Java moss donated from my tank, amongst which I've put bucephalandra red and biblis, cryptocoryne parva and willissii, anubias petit, 3 of the smallest java fern shoots, an orchid (restrepia) and finally a Nepenthes.

Let's see if it grows!

I'll keep you all updated. Any tips and advice more than welcome :)


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Yeah, I've seen this advertised on Instagram a lot recently. The design looks cool doesn't it? The price tag less so! Also, its not available yet, otherwise I would probably have been tempted.

I'm yet to see a nice looking enclosure for any of these concepts though, which is a shame as most of these plants need very high humidity. I looked for a big glass cloche for mine but even the largest didn't allow enough room for the larger plants to grow around the wine cooler.
Here's another variation on DOOA currently on KickStarter
Had this in my shopping basket a couple of times, then changed my mind! haha do like the look of these!
I have an update!

The wine cooler kinda worked... but wasn't very porous so the whole set up had to stay in a large glass vase, which took up far too much room and was pretty ugly, especially when covered in clingfilm to trap the humidity! Also, I didn't like that, as it's a cylinder, not all of it was visible at the same time. Unless you have it in the middle of the room you're not likely to see the back of it very often.

However, it had started to grow in nicely over the 3 or so weeks since planting it though and was pretty healthy. Even the crypts didn't melt very much.


So I'm happy I gave it a go, it worked but possibly not as well as the dooa Terrabase.

Time for something else!

I took some inspiration from James Wong (the botanist) and have turned my fake terrabase into this...

Way better!



I picked up a terracotta pasta pot, exactly the same as a wine cooler, for 50p from a charity shop this very afternoon! 10cm diameter, 20cm height.
Currently it is full of water, and seems rather pourus, the outside is coated in water droplets.
I love that you went for it and that it has sent you off in a new direction!....it all looks great to me...well done!
I've been submersed for years but these days I am finding the emmersed world even more interesting...and forgiving!...and cheaper!
playing with the mosses and sorrels from my woods here...under glass...just jam jars...they are so beautiful...and free!...and seem to really appreciate warmer worlds.
I fancy the kickstarter planter...premium price but fair play to them for doing it!...reckon I might support it
Try the plants growing at your doorstep?...its such fun....