I love it when a great idea comes together…
When I stumbled on to this idea at the end of the last century, (I’ve been dying to use that) I spent the first couple of years killing plants. I thought I could trick plants into doing what I wanted them to do. I thought that just because the plant had small leaves, it would make a good miniature garden plant. But, alas, no.
It was through endless trial and error that I found out what plants “work” best for the miniature garden. Way back then, when I began my quest, there were no books, no websites, no links, not a thing that I could turn to for guidance, to find out what plants to use. So, it was all about buying it and trying it – for years. And I still do it to this day.
You see, creating your miniature garden can be as simple as sending the kids out to the garden to look for small plants. You just know they will come back with the first plant they will find, including flowering weeds and baby plants.
Or, with a little research beforehand, you can create your miniature garden to include reliable and slow-growing miniature garden plants that are tried, tested and true.
The joy of miniature gardening is the blend of crafting and gardening. The crafting part is the creation of your idea and putting together your garden. The gardening part is choosing what plants suit your idea AND growing the plants together as a garden. So, you will want to use the golden rule, “right plant, right place” to find what plants work for the space where you want to grow the garden in. It’s the same rule that you use in the full-sized garden, just shrunk down to miniature. Makes sense, right?
So, here’s a quick list of what’s being suggested as good miniature garden plants on the internet that are not on the old Two Green Thumbs’ list of tried and true plants for well-behaved, miniature garden plants. It’s not that I don’t like these plants – but some would do better in a larger, in-ground miniature garden and some are better for big pots if you must use them, in my humble-but-size-obsessive-opinion. ;o)
- Carnation Plant (Dianthus) – Kinda boring when not flowering, which is most of the year. I have a hard time trying to when to divide this plant – and disturb the beautiful mound that it grows into. But I have found that if it’s not divided every 2 to 3 years, the center of the mound will start to yellow as the weather warms up to summer. Great color.
- Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) – This plant looks super-cute when you see it in the tiny pot at your local nursery. And, you’ll probably see it quite often too, because it’s super-easy to root. It’s really invasive and I’ve heard it’s hard to get rid of once it gets established. Keep it in a container if you must have it, and make sure it never touches the ground – or sleep with one eye open. :o)
- French Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Culinary Thyme looks just darling as a baby in a 4” pot, but it is the ground cover variety that we want – not the culinary type. (It’s okay though, we all have done this at least once.) It’ll want to grow 14″ high and wide within the season. It works great in a fairy garden where scale isn’t a necessity.
- Golden Oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’) – Another tempting plant in the spring – it looks all lovely in the wee pot at the nursery but this will grow really quickly in one season. The leaves are a bit too big but they taste good in a sauce.
- (Some) Begonias – A lot of the Begonias look great as baby plants, but look for the more compact, smaller-leafed varieties. Some Begonias grow to an adorable 6” – 8” high, like the Begonia Cleopatra or Begonia Maphil. Begonia partita is a particular favorite. (Pictured below.)
- Coleus – I know, I know, it’s the COLOR! Lol! But the leaves are just too big and it grows way too fast. Admit it.
- Creeping Charlie (Pilea nummulariifolia) – Leaf size is perfect, I wish it would grow a lot slower!
- Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes) – I know it’s the color that we fall for but, keep reading…
Now before you go sending me emails because you found your favorite miniature garden plant on this list, know that we are scale/sized obsessed because that is our job here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center. But, if you do stop to think about it, would you plant a huge, fast-growing, big-leafed, pink, polka-dotted bush in your full-sized garden that you would pull out after three months because it got too big? :o)
But, if you do stop to think about it, would you plant a huge, fast-growing,
big-leafed, pink, polka-dotted bush in your full-sized garden – that you would
pull out after three months because it got too big? :o)
Or, would you choose the right plant for the right place and find something that will grow AND look good for at least a full year, or a lot longer, like a full-sized garden design?
What works? See the plants in our store to see what we have been using, with success, for years, right here. Check back often, our inventory is always changing!
Join us here for more miniature gardening tips, info and just plain fun. The Mini Garden Gazette is a FREE almost-weekly publication sent straight to your inbox. Join us here!
Wonderful words of wisdom.. I’ve gone through so many plants that looked cute when I first started. And this has helped me in the big gardens too. Can’t wait for your book Janit.
One of the things I love about your mini gardens is they LOOK real…you almost can’t tell (in some cases you can’t) they are mini. I see a lot of other sites online that show and talk about mini gardens, but you can tell they ARE a mini garden when you look at them. I’m so glad I found you first….so I could see what it looked like when done right. I am also “scale crazy” and need everyting to seem to be real.
Hi do you deliver to the UK – or have a UK office please?
Hi Davina, Yes we ship to the UK all the time. We can’t ship any plant material. – J.