What You Need to Know about Starting a Miniature Garden

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Whether your gardening space is limited to the small balcony of your apartment, you want to green up your office space, or simply like the idea of creating mini-landscapes filled with fairies and other accessories, miniature gardening may be just the hobby for you. Here are some frequently asked questions to get you started on creating a garden to love and nurture.

What is Miniature Gardening?

Miniature gardening involves the use of ‘’dwarf’’ or ‘’miniature’’ plants. These terms do not refer to their full size at maturity, but the rate at which they grow. The former grows between one and six inches a year, while the latter grows no more than an inch a year. The gardens are also comprised of ‘’bedding’’ made from small-leafed plants that have similar requirements in terms of light, water and placement as the trees you pick for your garden. You also choose from a variety of in-scale accessories to create a variety of garden scenes.

Where Can I Grow My Garden?

You can grow miniature gardens pretty much anywhere you choose. The key is picking the plants that will thrive in the area you have chosen. You have to consider whether you will be growing indoors or outdoors, the amount of sunlight available and other factors. Once you have decided the location of your garden, then you can pick the best plants.

Can I Use Herbs?

You may look at a variety of herbs and think they would look great for a miniature garden, but they are not the ideal plants for this type of gardening because of how fast they grow. That tiny plant you bought in the middle of spring will be four times the size by the time mid-summer hits. So, those adorable leaves on the thyme plant or the perfect mini-tree shape of rosemary will not stay that way for very long.

How Do I Choose My Plants?

When it comes to choosing dwarf plants or miniature plants for miniature gardens, we already discussed the importance of first deciding where you will be growing them. Just like regular gardening, consider the climate. Some plants thrive better than others in certain geographic regions. The better a plant thrives in your environment, the healthier it will be, and the less maintenance it will require on your end. Choose plants with the same watering, light and soil needs.

Think about the kind of garden design you want, and read plant labels to see how fast they grow and how big they get. A plant that grows to a total of two feet may seem too big, but if it takes 15 years to get there, you have plenty of time to enjoy it in your garden.

What about Soil and Fertilizer?

Use potting soil for your miniature garden, not soil for garden beds. The former has specific properties that support healthy growth for plants that are in containers specifically. For the most part, you really do not need fertilizer for miniature gardens—it is more designed for vegetables and annuals, which are meant to grow quickly, and this is not something you want for your plants. If your garden is more than two or three years old, however, some mild fertilizing in the early spring and early summer is a good idea. A top dressing of compost each year is recommended.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about gardening and other home topics.

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