One of the joys of gardening in miniature in containers is that you can move them around easily enough – if they aren’t too big. And another joy of gardening in miniature is that you can easily decorate for the holidays or special occasions. (They even make great gifts!) I know that sounds like you can move your mini garden anywhere at anytime, but, before you haul the garden into your living room, read this:
There is a Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Plants – Mostly
First and foremost, here is a brief primer on the difference between indoor and outdoor plants. This is a very popular question that every beginner-gardener eventually asks and it’s an important one for your garden-success. And then we’ll go over some pointers for bringing your outdoor mini garden inside for a day, or two, to decorate and use a centerpiece over the holidays.
Simply put, indoor plants are, for the most part, tropical plants that want to stay 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16 Celsius) or above, all year round.
A garden is a grand teacher.Gertrude Jekyll
It teaches patience and careful watchfulness;
it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.
Can I grow outdoor plants inside?
In general, if you bring an outdoor plant inside, it will think it is the summer growing season all the time, and grow itself to death.
(Now if you’re in a southern climate where the winter temps pretty-much remain above 60F all winter, your indoor and outdoor plants will be the same – generally speaking.)
What happens if I do bring it inside?
The dry air from our forced indoor heating, in other words, “summer temperatures,” will trick the plant into thinking that it is STILL the growing season and it’ll keep growing. Because it’s not going get triggered by the temperatures changes to go dormant like it should, the plant will grow itself to death. Yes, it might do fine for a week or a month, maybe even three months, but eventually it’ll realize where it is and basically give up. You’ll see these signs of complaint too: leaves are looking dull, turning yellow and brown, the stem or truck may look puckered and tired and any new growth will die-off.
SO when a plant doesn’t get the rest it needs (like going dormant in winter) it will get stressed out – just like us. When the plant’s defense system is compromised and weakened, it leaves the plant open to pest and diseases – just like us.
Can I bring my outdoor mini garden inside?
There are ways around this indoor/outdoor thing. It’s almost the exact same as bringing in a living Christmas tree. If you would like to decorate with your outdoor miniature garden and use it as a centerpiece for any occasion, or the holidays, you can. Follow these pointers for bringing your outdoor mini garden inside.
The Pointers, In No Particular Order:
- – The mini garden can be brought inside for a short time, up to three days maximum.
- – After the three days, the garden should be placed outside to rest, and watered thoroughly until the water drains out of the bottom.
- – The time the garden spends outside recovering should be greater than the time the garden spends inside.
- – You can make several mini garden centerpieces and rotate them every few days so you always have something to enjoy indoors.
- – Never move a miniature garden immediately from a warm room to the frosty outdoors, or from a shaded room to full-hot sun, without first staging it.
- – For the miniature and dwarf conifers, the soil should remain at least damp while inside – do not over water. For other plants, more water may be needed to help keep the soil evenly damp, but err on the drier side of “damp.”
- – Only some plants like misting every day (- this goes for indoor plants and plants that you bring indoors.) I’ve made this mistake as well. Your centerpiece-miniature-garden shouldn’t be indoors for that long anyway.
- – Avoid direct sunlight when the miniature garden is inside, as it may scorch the plants. Be most wary in the fall and spring when the sun might still be hot. Use a sheer curtain to shield the sun, or move it out the way for the hours that sun shines sideways into the windows, especially in the winter months.
- – Stage your miniature garden in the garage, or on a covered porch for a least a couple of days, to help it adapt and avoid extreme climate changes – especially in November and December. (Like you would stage your living Christmas tree.) Bringing any pot closer to the house wall, along side the garage or under a covered porch can raise the temperature up to 10 to 15 degrees.
- – Use this same acclimation method for bringing your garden from the inside TO the outside. Remember your trying to avoid any extreme climate changes so not to stress-out the plant.
- **Keep it away from your regular houseplants and/or monitor it closely for hitchhikers or wee bugs that may be living in your little world, it’s a garden after all. Coming from a freezing outdoor climate to the warm indoors, some “hitchhikers” may think it spring and wake up. Another reason to put it back outside (gradually) after 3 or 4 days the little critters won’t have the time to wake up – in theory.
When bringing your mini garden inside from the frosty outdoors, place it on a covered porch or beside the house for about 3 days for the garden to get used to that climate change. Afterwards, bring it into a vestibule, or cold room in the house, for a couple of days to let it get used to that change. Then bring the garden into the warm house but keep it cool.
After 3 or 4 days enjoying it indoors, do the opposite when putting it back outside.
Can’t I Do Both?
Well yes! I’m glad you asked!
There are some miniature garden plants that we’ve found that can be grown outdoors in the summer, and then brought indoors for the winter. See them here, the list is always changing as we move through the seasons so this link will bring you to the plants we have in stock right now: https://twogreenthumbs.com/collections/plants-indoors
Like this? Want to more miniature gardening? Join our email list to receive our FREE almost-weekly Mini Garden Gazette. Our subscribers get first dibs, the deals and the deeper discounts. Join our e-mail list for more mini-garden-everything here.