... And How To Avoid Them
Right Plant - Right Place
This is key. Remember "Right Plant - Right Place" if nothing else! Plants are free spirits. They like different soils and temperatures and varied amounts of light and water. So first you have to consider where you are going to plant or place your mini garden when choosing your plants. Then you need to make sure that the plants you choose will play nicely together. Similar requirements for light and water are essential, especially in a container.
You Can't Fool Mother Nature
Your local garden center is going to display sweet baby plants and herbs in adorable tiny pots and call them "Fairy Garden Plants." You can use them, but keep this in mind:
- They are usually not true "dwarf" plants and will grow like crazy, taking over your miniature garden. You can keep them cut back or repot later.
- Many need full sun. Watch for this if you are planting an indoor container garden.
- Slower growing dwarf and true miniature plants work best.
If your garden will be outside, choose dwarf and miniature plants based on the amount of light your garden or porch gets and appropriate for your planting zone. For indoors, plants that require shade or low light are best. These are some of my favorites for indoor mini gardens:
The Dirt on Dirt
Dirt is a four-letter word at Just Gardens Supplies. Dirt is dead. Organic Potting Soil or Planting Mix is what you want for your Miniature Garden containers. It has everything your plants need. When choosing soil, notice that there are different mixes for indoor and outdoor containers. Many mixes will have a mild, time released fertilizer added so be aware of this. You do not want to over fertilize your plants or encourage rampant growth in your tiny garden. A moisture retaining polymer may be added as well. This can be beneficial for an outdoor container.
Tips on Watering
- All. Pots. Need. Drainage.
- Before you water, check the soil with your finger at least an inch deep. If it feels wet, wait a day or two. If it is barely damp, you can water.
- If you travel often or tend to forget your plants occasionally... consider succulents.
Have No Fear
Plants die sometimes. They just do. But it's no reason to give up on mini gardening, and it's certainly no reason to be afraid to try! Get another plant to replace it and try again. I can't keep Irish Moss healthy all Summer to save my life. But I know when I see it for sale this Spring I'll get some more and give it my best. I just love it!
Adapted from an article by Janit Calvo, best-selling author of Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World.