Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo
After a couple/few years of letting this Dwarf Wisteria tree grow in, I can prune it back next winter and still have a good-looking tree. The accessories here on one-inch scale. Click the picture to get to the store.

New Miniature Garden Trees for the New Hobby, Part I

Ahhh, summertime is just around the corner! A new season always brings new reasons to the miniature garden workbench: parties, barbecues, gardening, relaxing, enjoying, making fun and creating. Want to lower your blood pressure? Start a miniature garden. Want to escape from the every day? Create a miniature garden. Want to help clean the air around you? Grow a miniature garden. Want to make someone happy? Give a miniature garden. With a combination like that, miniature gardening could get very, very contagious. And we’ve only just begun.

So, with a new season, we bring new plants for your miniature gardening pleasure. Here are the newest trees to our inventory, three of which we have been selling for a while, (but we wanted to make sure they would work out before officially introducing them,) and the other four are promising candidates recommended by our grower. This is part one of two blogs on our new trees that are now in stock.

Miniature Garden Plants
Our Dwarf Wisteria, about three years after we planted it. The pot didn’t make it through last winter, but the tree did. This is one of the photos from the Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, by Timber Press.

Dwarf Wisteria

I thought I might have killed it – again. But my Dwarf Wisteria (Millettia japonica ‘Hime fuji’ bounced back and looks as pretty as ever. I’ve left it to grow-in naturally to see what it does and I haven’t been disappointed. Mine turned into what I call a small country-garden tree, or a tall, leggy shrub that you can plant something in front of to hide the trunk.

It’s not a dwarf version of the real wisteria apparently, but it looks like one. Do note that it does not flower. Keep it in a sunny spot but don’t let the soil dry out. Trim the wayward branches back to maintain its bushiness. Gradually trim off the bottom growth/branches if you want more of a tree look. This gem can be moved inside for the winter if you are in one of the colder regions of the country, otherwise its hardy to 10F, (or about 35F if in a container,) cold zones 8 – 10, heat zones 10 – 7.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo
The Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm is already a great looking miniature garden tree. Shear the canopy in winter and clear away any new growth along the bottom of the trunk when you see it. Shown here in a 4″ pot, they stand about 7″ tall right now.

Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm

Charmed, I’m sure! We love this new Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Seiju’ for it’s perfectly in scale trunk and tiny leaves. It’s a common tree for bonsai so we know it will work well in the miniature garden. The leaves will drop in the fall and leave an interesting framework as the stems develop an exfoliating bark, as they get older.

Trim wayward branches, it should promote more bushiness too. It prefers full to part sun, and moist, well-drained soil. It matures slowly, about 3” per year to 4 feet tall; you can slow this down even further by trimming it back in late winter. Keep the foliage pruned away from the trunk to keep the tree’s shape. Hardy to -20F (or -5F if in a container,) cold hardy zones 5 – 9, heat zones 9 – 5.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo
The crimson-red flowers on the Bullata Japanese Spirea are set off by the deep, slight bluish-green leaves, a lovely combination.

Bullata Japanese Spirea

A little shrublet for the miniature garden AND it flowers too. The Bullata Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica Bullata’) offers a deep green,

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo
The one in the middle is just finishing its first flush of flowers, the two on the left and the right are coming into their second flush. A great miniature plant without the flowers too.

broadleaf with clusters of rose-crimson flowers that flush out in late spring. This will be a very pretty compliment to the miniature and dwarf conifers in your miniature or fairy garden.

This spiraea (pronounced spy-REE-ah) is slow-growing at 2 to 4” per year, but for the miniature garden, shear this little bush back about one third each winter to help keep it small for years. Great for a full sun spot with soil that can remain damp. I think it can tolerate a little dryness, but never leave it too long in between watering sessions. Shear it after flowers in the spring and you’ll get a second bloom out of it. Hardy to -30F (or -15F if in a container,) cold zones 7 – 9. Heat zones 9 – 1.

See what miniature garden plants, trees and shrubs are in stock today, up in our online store here. Check back often, our inventory is always changing!

Zoned Out

Don’t know your zone? The USDA developed a general cold zone map. And the American Horticultural Society developed a heat zone map for the other half of the country. Put the two together if you are in the southern states, and be sure to double-check to see if the plant you want is the correct heat-zone rating. Right plant, right place – but you may be surprised with a little experimentation too.

USDA Cold Zone Map is here. Search by your zip code.

AHS Heat Zone Map is here. Zoom in to find your zone.

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Gardening in Miniature book
The best book on the new hobby! Don’t take our word for it, click in to read the reviews in our online store.

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