How to Make Miniature Gardens

This Article is a 13 Minute Read (and has many bullet points!)

Capable of being tucked away in almost every single corner of your home, inside and out, miniature gardens delight most homeowners with a green thumb. It is a perfect combination of practical planning and nostalgia: mini-gardening will rejuvenate the imagination and remind us of the days when we were kids with wandering minds. Plus, it’s a unique garden project that can be done with your children, spouse, or even on your own during downtime. If you’re interested in learning about the hobby and the physical and intangible elements involved — read on! 🙂

miniature garden scene

A potted miniature garden scene!

In general, plants that grow slowly are used in these types of gardens. When selecting your garden plants, it’s important to choose varieties that require similar growing conditions including light and water requirements.

Making Miniature Gardens in Containers

A variety of flowerpots could be implemented. Perhaps some could be made of wood or ceramics while others are made from clay. Their colors, depth, and shapes can all be different. To add uniqueness in making miniature gardens, consider included some decorated broken bits of pottery to the area. Let your imagination be your guide and include decorative details throughout the space!

The following are recommended for miniature garden plants: oregano, thyme, mint, and other herbs, ornamental plants, cacti, evergreen plants, and varieties of grass.

Cacti and succulents often have vivid colors during flower bloom periods and come in interesting shapes. These types of plants make the garden much more visually interesting.

Miniature Garden Container Ideas

miniature-garden-container-ideasMake sure the roots of your plants have enough room by selecting a container that is deep enough. This is all dependent on the selection of plant species. *To see a comprehensive list of plants recommended for miniature gardening CLICK HERE. There are glass containers designed just for plants or you can pick up an interesting glass bowl at the local thrift shop if you desire. However, if you plan on re-purposing a container, before planting any flowers remember to wash it out (we’ve made this mistake and it was a two month conundrum).

arrangement-patioPRO TIP: In order to augment your garden’s appearance, look for stones in many colors and don’t be afraid to include artistic figures, fountains, fences, artwork, and even furniture. But pay attention to scale.

A standard-sized garden has one scale: the human size. If you are interested in learning more about resizing your idea or reference to a miniature garden scale, LEARN MORE here.

These types of containers work best:

  • vases
  • aquariums
  • tureens
  • kettles
  • wineglasses
  • lampshades
  • chemistry flasks
  • glass bottles/jars

Another Option: Miniature Garden Terrarium

There’s a lot to learn about closed terrariums and their ecosystems. For the purpose of this article we will focus on opened ones that will require maintenance like anyother potted garden. This terrarium (typically glass) can host almost any kind of houseplant. However, the final garden will be more likely to flourish if plants with similar characteristics are chosen. Plants that are ideal for miniature garden terrariums include cacti, succulents, moss, and ferns.

Required Supplies for Miniature Gardening

Head to any nursery or garden center and you will find everything necessary to put your terrarium together.

  • Potting soil. Make sure that the soil you select is light in order to provide a sufficient amount of drainage. It should have some peat moss/sphagnum included.
  • Gravel or pebbles. When placed at the terrarium’s base, both types of rocks do a good job of establishing drainage. However, they can also add to the overall look when a few of the pebbles are placed on the surface of the potting soil.
  • Activated charcoal. A small layer of this charcoal should be added to the pot’s bottom when the container doesn’t have any holes for drainage.
  • Sheet moss. This moss does an excellent job of absorbing excess moisture when it is placed at the terrarium’s bottom.
  • Watering can, gloves, planting tools.
  • Decoration. When it comes to decorations, you are only limited by your imagination. Explore decorations made for aquariums, small statues, rocks, shells, and tiny garden gnomes.

Planting a Terrarium for Beginners

  • Start by cleaning the container. Rinse well after cleaning any used container in soapy water.
  • Factor in the need for drainage. Drill holes if required. Add a generous handful of activated charcoal and mix it with the pebbles and gravel. This mixture should be added to the container’s bottom and be around 2.5 cm thick.
  • Include the moss layer next. The moss acts as a barrier to stop the soil from mixing with the layer of gravel. In addition, it will do a good job absorbing excess moisture.
  • Add the soil layer. The depth of the soil will vary depending upon the length of the plants’ roots and the terrarium size but will most likely be between five and eight cm. Remove air pockets by gently tamping the soil and make sure that the surface is smooth. Small holes should be dug for plant placement.
  • Plants should be added. Take the plant out of its container and remove excess soil from the roots by shaking it. Carefully place the plant into the prepared hole and move soil in place to secure the plant. Once you have completed planting the first plant, continue to plant the remaining ones.
  • Decorate the space. In order to create a unique look, add figurines, shells, stones, or moss.
  • Introduce water and light. The givers of life!

Maintaining Your Mini Garden

  • Water the plants. Plan on watering all of your open containers at least twice a week if outdoors. If you plant cacti or succulents, once a month is enough. *Watering is not required for terrariums that are sealed.
  • Keep the garden healthy. The best way to do this is to immediately remove any sick plants, mold, or weeds as soon as you notice them. In addition, dead flowers and wilted plant parts should be removed.
  • Allow fresh air into the terrarium if sealed. It’s a good idea to air out airtight terrariums occasionally. Since that it is time to air your container out include seeing excessive amounts of condensation on the terrarium sides or when you notice wilting plants.

I could go on forever on the intricacies involved with paving and stonework but we will save this for a later post. 😉

Get outside,