A couple of weeks ago, I talked about making a gnome garden, and talked a little about the miniature plants I used. I want to talk some more about the tiny houseplants I used.
I have been on a lot of garden walks this summer and in almost every garden, there were one or more miniature gardens. Now, some people do not worry about having their plants or accessories in scale to each other. I’m absolutely fine with that. What I do not like is the trend of using small plants for miniature gardens, and especially terrariums, that are really just cuttings of houseplants that are going to become huge plants eventually. Why set yourself up for, not failure, but disappointment when your plant outgrows its intended container, when there are true miniature houseplants out there. With the craze for miniature and fairy gardening, almost every garden center has a selection of what they call “fairy plants”. I’ve found that the Mulberry Miniatures tropical shade plants do very well as houseplants.
Many of these plants not only work well for fairy or gnome gardens but also for terrariums. I’ve also found some miniature plants from a local nursery near me and also from The Violet Barn, a mail order company. Using truly miniature houseplants is a fun way to have a fairy or gnome garden in your home all year long.
Here are some small plants that work well: In the pictures below there is the world’s smallest Syngonium, only 2-3″ high and it clumps well so you can split it as it grows. The Fuchsia ‘Lottie Hobby’ is flowering in my home in a West window. Those flowers as you can see next to my fingernail, are only about 1/4″ long. This plant can get 18″ x 18″ but can be kept smaller by trimming. This plant makes a great “tree” in your miniature garden. The next picture is of a Doryopteris pedata or digit fern and is from Fairy Flowers. I found it at a trade show and they gave me a small starter plant.
In the pictures below there is a creeping fig or Ficus pumila that is a great ground cover. Keep it moist and look for the ‘Snowflake’ variety that has white edges. Another Doryopteris fern, this one cordata. Always keep your ferns moist and the humidity high. They are great for terrariums, as is the creeping fig. Peperomia meridana ‘Pixie’ is also a great terrarium plant that only grows 3″ x 3″. It makes a cute “shrub” in your miniature garden. Golden baby’s tears Soleirolia soleirollii ‘Aurea’, is an awesome ground cover and adds great color. Selaginella or spike moss isn’t really a moss, but I’ve found to keep it alive is best accomplished in a terrarium. In the mini garden below, on the left side is a Pilea glaucophylla and is a blue colored ground cover and can soften the edge of your container, as well.
Below, there are Ficus used as trees in a miniature garden, peanut cactus Echinopsis chamaecereus, and a Peperomia prostata, all great miniature plants.
The oak leaf fig, Ficus quercifolia is a rampant spreader, but do NOT let it dry out, even for a minute! The Calathea is a new purchase, but I’m thinking it will need some good humidity to stay looking its best and the catalog says it needs to stay warm, so a terrarium may be the way to go. The Ficus ‘Tiny Limey’ has new bright green growth that does turn darker as it ages. I’m waiting patiently for the bright red flowers the lipstick plant, Columnea, will produce with enough light, but not full sun. I do not know the cultivar name of the miniature crown of thorns, but I’ve had this 3″ tall one for a long time, purchased at a local greenhouse.
This small gesneriad (African violet cousin) is a Sinningia pusilla and I’ve been growing it in this terrarium for years. It needs to be closer to the light for it to bloom, as it hasn’t bloomed in a while. I love the pink Syngonium called Pink Petite. The silver squill is also from a local greenhouse and I put it in a terrarium. And I had to include one of my favorite plants, the fairy washboard or Haworthia limifolia.
I hope you find some of these plants and start your own miniature garden in your home. I’m loving mine!