Miniature Dish Gardening is fun and rewarding.
You can create little worlds that are all your own with miniature dish gardening.

Don’t Stop Gardening this Winter

You don’t have to give up playing with your garden because it’s winter, you just have to adjust the size of your garden! I’m not talkin’ ’bout just plants either. This is a REAL garden!! And YES! You can grow one INSIDE!

Have you tried gardening in miniature yet?

See if any of this fits-in with your lifestyle, wherever you are:

  • LEARN – For new gardeners/plant-lovers, miniature gardening is a chance to learn how to grow a garden.
  • EXTEND – For experienced gardeners/ plant-lovers, it’s an opportunity to add another type of gardening to your list.
  • EXPLORE – For experienced miniaturists, it’s a means to explore more ways to enjoy miniatures.
  • MAKE – For new miniature-lovers, it’s an excuse to work in many different mediums. (See the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book for more.)
  • CREATE – For crafters, it’s another way to give someone a handmade, personal gift. (See above. :o)
  • GROW – For bonsai-lovers AND gardeners in general, miniature gardens can be a fun and useful way to grow-in young starter plants, before “bonsai-ing” them, (Here’s more.) or growing them in a full-sized garden bed. This way of growing larger plants not only saves a ton of money, it gives you the enjoyment and satisfaction of seeing a baby tree or shrub grow up, along side you.

The new hobby of gardening in miniature is so versatile; you can do it just about anywhere, anytime with just about anything you might already have on hand.

Miniature gardens, dish gardens, terrariums or just a simple scene incorporated with your “full-sized” houseplants can add fun and creativity to your every day living. Here are a few ideas to kick-start your imagination to keep you gardening and crafty through frosty winter months.

Baby Boxwoods make terrific trees for the indoor miniature garden.

Indoor Miniature Gardens

Thankfully, there are indoor miniature garden trees that look like outdoor trees that can really cinch the look of a true garden in miniature. It’s the perfect fix for the gardeners who are stuck with white winters!

You can create an Italian style theme using the narrow shaped Ellwood’s Cypress to stand in for an Italian Cypress. Or build a country backyard garden using the adaptable Variegated Boxwood, trim the bottom leaves to expose some trunk. Part of the fun is finding the right plants and accessories that help to illustrate your theme. Avoid cluttering and complicating the scene with too many ideas and keep all the accessories in the same scale, or you will lose the enchantment factor.

SEE our instructions for building a miniature garden that will last for years, here.

See what plants we have in stock now for indoors. (Check back, our inventory is always changing.)

Or you can join our email list to get your almost-weekly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter and keep up to date on what is new and back in stock. Join us here by filling out the form and confirming through your email.

An indoor miniature garden with cypress and boxwood

More About “Miniature” Indoor Plants

The challenge of gardening in miniature indoors is finding plants that can mimic our full-sized, outdoor trees and plants. In general, indoor plants are tropical plants that need to stay above 60F or above, all year long. So no, your outdoor plants will not work inside and don’t even try, it’ll make a mess and it’ll probably be buggy. The other thing with indoor tropical plants is the majority of them have large leaves and an airy growth habit that let them shake off the heat by getting the air through their leaves. (This is really basic info here, not getting into any horticultural specifics.)

Thus, when building an indoor mini garden, you have two choices:

  1. To make a fantasy world with “regular” indoor plants or,
  2. To search and find small-leaved miniatures and baby indoor trees to make a true garden in miniature.

Either way, you’ll have fun playing and maintaining your own miniature world throughout the winter months. And I would go either / or here – if you combine a tiny-leafed plant with a big-leafed plant, you’ll lose the tiny one as the big one grows, crowding-out the little guy.

For more posts about indoor plants, click in here. For more details about indoor miniature gardening, see our accumulated research to date, up in the Miniature Garden Society here.

There are “dry” dish gardens and “wet” dish gardens. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle the best. If you like to water often – go for the wet dish garden idea. See more in our ebook here.

Dish Gardens

Dish gardens are very similar to open terrariums, neither of the containers used have drainage holes and the water will corral in the saucer, dish or bowl. So what this really means is the plants you choose must be are either moisture-loving or love drying out completely in between watering sessions.

And, as usual, that old, trusted garden maxim comes into to play, “Right plant, right place.” Group the plants that like the same water and light conditions together in the same dish. See more in our eBook, Simple Ways to Grow Awesome Little Dish Gardens by Janit Calvo.

There is always space for some kind of miniature garden.
There is always space for some kind of miniature garden in a regular container too. Let your imagination be your guide. Just make sure all the accessories MATCH in scale for a realistic scene.

Create a Scene

You can fit the miniature garden idea into your “regular” houseplants too. With a little bit of imagination and the right combination of accessories, you can create a scene at the base of any houseplant, using the stem as a large tree trunk. A lot of fun can be had with different themes and utilizing the wide variety of miniature patio materials available.

My favorite resource for indoor plants is The House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon, published by Expert Books.

See our selection of indoor miniature garden plants here.

WAIT! Here’s the BIGGEST Takeaway!

THIS is the most important part on growing indoors, in my humble opinion: YOU WILL NEED MORE LIGHT.

You can have the indoor plant set-up-of-all-set-ups but if you don’t have extra, added light indoors, your indoor plants will suffer. Even if your garden is in front of a window, it never seems to get enough light in the winter unless you have one of those wonderful sunrooms or indoor atriums. GET more light easily with the new-ish grow-bulbs that fit regular lightbulbs so you don’t have to buy any other fixtures or unsightly industrial lamps for you living room.

Join us for More

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A couple of young parlor palms together with a living bonsai can make the cutest meditation garden that will last for a couple/few years before the palms get too big. The bonsai can be taken in and out of the garden easily enough to maintain. The wee pots can be swapped out or replanted every few weeks or so to keep them fresh. Check out our other ebook: Simple Creative Ways to Make Awesome Meditation Gardens.

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