UPDATED – 3-2022 -This photo essay of miniature gardens created by Elena of Nicosia, Cyprus is from 2012. She reached out and sent me the photos via email when she saw my work somewhere online. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the conversation, that would have been interesting to see!
But, take a closer look at the plants that she has used in her mini gardens. You’ll find that they are our houseplants and the same are outdoor plants in the southern climates, of course. But it’s the WAY that she used them that makes them look like “miniature” shrubs and “large” trees.
~ Stardate: April 12, 2012. It was just a year ago when I wrote the blog, Miniature Gardening Crosses Borders. It was a post dedicated to my fellow Canadians to the north, and how they could access the plants and trees needed for this wonderful miniature garden hobby. But, as the hobby continues to spread world-wide, more information is needed for everyone else that is not on this continent. And, from our statistics across our websites – that’s about 175 countries. Unbelievable if you consider that there are only 195 countries in the world!
UPDATE: March 12, 2019. Um. Me thinks we’ve hit all 195 countries in the world now. And we’re approaching 1.4 million visitors to this website! Yay for Gardening in miniature! But, I digress… :o)
It’s All About the Right Plants Ma’am
When looking for plants for your miniature garden, remember that not everyone knows about this new miniature gardening hobby – STILL. But these days, if you walk into a plant store and ask for “miniature garden plants” or “fairy garden plants” you will no longer get a big fat “No.” but more often than not, you will get pointed to the wrong plants. I know I do whenever I mystery shop a garden center.
So, here are types of plants that work for miniature gardening that your local garden/plant store will be more familiar with:
Slow-growing plants with small leaves – The slower they grow, the longer your miniature garden can stay “small.” We don’t want the plants to grow up in one season, we want it to stay together and grow so we can enjoy it. You will have to re-pot it eventually though. The smaller leaves will help scale down the size of your miniature garden for the viewer.
Ground cover plants with small leaves – These are the plants that grow close to the ground and never grow directly up, but spread out and cover the ground. They come in many different leaf shapes and colors. The faster growing ground covers can be trimmed back. Again, look for the plants with small leaves.
Alpine perennial plants – Plants that live high in the mountains are usually smaller and stunted in growth because the environment is colder and unfriendly. The plant wants to stay alive to reproduce, so it will grow slowly each year to protect itself. Most plants will continue to grow slowly when you take them out of that harsh environment, and some may not.
Rock plants or rockery plants, preferably slow growing – Plants that grow among rocks are similar to alpine plants because they are trying to grow in a harsh place. Rock plants can grow in little soil, and are sometimes stunted in growth because of that. Again, look for the rock plants with small leaves and small flowers.
Bonsai starts – Some bonsai trees start from a young plant. The bonsai starts usually have small leaves and are slow growing too. Young bonsai plants shouldn’t cost too much if you find it before it is trained. Note that some bonsai trees will revert to their natural growth rate if don’t “bonsai” them so, again, we’re looking for slow growers.
I hope that helps get you started on your miniature gardening and gives you more ideas to look for. Do let me know of any other questions you may have. I’m always glad to hear from a fellow Miniature Gardener wherever you live.
This blog was inspired by Elena of Nikosia, Cyprus, who sent the photos shown throughout this blog. I thought if Elena can find plants and trees to use on her wonderful island off the coast of Turkey, then we all can.
See more miniature gardens from around the world on our popular Facebook fanpage – which now has over 15,000 miniature gardeners on it from all over the world.
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