Miniature Gardening 102: Indoor vs. Outdoor Plants
Welcome to our Miniature Garden 101 Series! Learn the basics of gardening with miniature gardening, what you learn here, can be applied to full-sized containers and plants too. If you missed the first of the series, it’s here: Miniature Gardening 101: The Dirt.
~> Are you an experienced gardener? Scan towards the end of the blog, you may find something in here that you can add to your arsenal.
“Why did my plant die?”
More often than not, plants die because the gardener put the it in the wrong place with the wrong temperature, light or watering schedule. This is not unusual. Every gardener, when they are learning how to grow plants, challenge Mother Nature either knowingly or unknowingly. Here is a blog I wrote last year, on the signals that plants will give you if they are not happy.
And yes, I kill plants too – and I’m supposed to have “Two Green Thumbs.” Last weekend, I got fed up with my not-so-beautiful-anymore Victoria Nest Fern (a full-sized houseplant) and threw it in the compost bin. The plant needed more light than I could give it, and it did not like the drafts in the front room which was my brightest room. Or maybe I didn’t keep it evenly moist enough. Or both… Either way, I was sad to lose it but, life is too short to worry about what doesn’t work for me. I’ll find other plants that will do well in those conditions.
“Why can’t I grow this plant inside for the winter?”
Plants are like people. Every person has certain needs in order to thrive, and plants work the same way.
Let us use me as an example. ;o) I moved from Toronto because it was too cold for too long in the winter. So, I left to travel. Finally, after an extended stay in Costa Rica and Mexico, this redhead realized, it was too hot. Feeling like Goldilocks, I landed in the great Northwest which was perfect. I definitely needed a cooler climate like Seattle in order to thrive.
Plants are the same way.
Indoor plants are tropical plants and like to be warm (above 60°F) all year ‘round. If you live in a warm, southern climate, the indoor and outdoor plants choices will overlap. If you live in an area that gets cold or freezing in the winter, you can bring indoor plants outside in the summertime, and return the plant indoors for the winter, only because you are maintaining the climate that the indoor plant requires.
Outdoor plants, like the Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Alberta Spruce for example, need the roots to stay cool and damp all year ‘round, and they go dormant in the winter months. If you bring this kind of outdoor plant inside your home for the winter, you will not be able to keep the roots cool, the heat inside your home will dry out the foliage, and with the ambient inside temperature, the poor wee Spruce will not get a chance to go dormant and rest. You will end up with an unhappy plant that will attract pests and disease.
Now, for your miniature indoor garden, there are indoor plants that look like outdoor plants so we can have that “outdoorsy” look inside for the winter. Certain conifers, like the Elwood’s or Monteray Cypress, look like trees that we grow in our full-sized landscape. Baby Boxwood trees, the Variegated English Boxwood, or the slower-growing Kingsville Dwarf Boxwood, can stand in for the large broadleaf tree and shrub found in our full-sized gardens.
With a little compromise, you can have a happy miniature garden that looks like it is a slice of the outdoors. See more of our indoor plants choices here.
Follow along to Miniature Gardening 103: The Water.
You can bring your outdoor miniature garden in for a centerpiece over the holidays for 3 to 5 days at a time, here’s how.
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