Miniature and Dwarf Spruces

Clockwise from left: Pixie Dust Blue Alberta Spruce, Jean's Dilly Dwarf Alberta Spruce and a Blue Spruce seedling.

Miniature and Dwarf Plants: The True Meaning

When I’m talking plants, I see the word “dwarf” and I think “cute.” But it’s not so cute when the tree towers above the roofline in 10 years!

As a gardener and horticulturalist, I’m guilty of overusing the word “dwarf” and “miniature.” But I’m actually describing the growth rate of the plant,  not the mature size.

“Dwarf” means the plant grows 1” to 6” per year. “Miniature” means the plant will grow less than 1” per year.

Cute sells in the gardening world and that’s likely why the words are used. But for our purposes, there’s a BIG difference between 1” and 6”  After all, half a foot can add up very quickly, especially if you’re talking miniature gardening!

So, when you’re out and about plant shopping for your natural miniature creation, ask about the growth rate before you purchase. Look for slower growing trees, shrubs and ground covers. Keep in mind that some plants can be pruned to slow down the growth.

Click here for more info on the dwarf growth rate, and how it’s defined across the country.

Click here for not taking the growth rate too seriously.

Click here to see our Miniature Garden Plant selection of true miniature and slow-growing dwarf tree and shrubs that are ideal for the miniature garden, fairy or railroad garden, conifer collector or bonsai enthusiast.

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