Bringing Your Outdoor Mini Garden Inside
One of the joys of miniature gardening is that you don’t have to know a lot to start a mini garden; you just have to know what you grow. Even if it is only a couple of plants to start with, it is still a great beginning to a wonderful hobby. The miniature and crafty part is the icing on the cake – or should I say the flower on the shrub? ;o)
Baby steps, as they say.
Here is a brief primer on the difference between indoor and outdoor plants. This is a very popular question that every beginner eventually asks and an important one for success. Following that, are some pointers for bringing your outdoor mini garden inside for a day or two to use a centerpiece over the holidays.
~> Can I grow outdoor plants inside?
Simply put: indoor plants are, for the most part, tropical plants that want to stay 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16 Celsius) or above all year round. In general, if you bring an outdoor plant inside, it will think it is the summer growing season all the time, and grow itself to death.
The dry air from our forced indoor heating, plus the 16 hours of supposed “daylight” from the indoor light, will trick the plant into thinking that it is the summer growing season. This will put unwanted stress on the outdoor plant that should be going dormant in a cool, humid, winter-like environment.
When a plant doesn’t get the rest it needs (like going dormant in winter) it will get stressed out – just like us. When the plant’s defense system is compromised and weakened, it leaves the plant open to pest and diseases – just like us.
A terrific website for indoor miniature plants is the Violet Barn. (Link is below.) They have a 10 different plant package for $35 that will get you started in no time. Then check the Two Green Thumbs’ online store for a nice tree you can use and you’re all set. Most of these plants will want bright, indirect light with regular water.
~> Can I bring in my outdoor mini garden at all?
There are ways around this indoor/outdoor thing. If you would like to decorate with your outdoor miniature garden and use it as a centerpiece for Halloween or the holidays, you can. Follow these pointers for bringing your outdoor mini garden inside:
1. – The mini garden can be brought inside for a short time, up to three days maximum.
3. – The time the garden spends outside should be greater than the time the garden spends inside.
4. – You can make two mini garden centerpieces and rotate them.
5. – For the miniature and dwarf conifers, the soil should remain at least damp while inside. For other plants, more moisture may be needed to help keep the roots cool. The plants should be misted almost daily when inside too (think about all that hot air from the furnace drying out the leaves or needles.)
6. – Avoid direct sunlight when the miniature garden is inside, as it may scorch the plants. Use a sheer curtain to shield the sun, or move it out the way for the hours that sun shines sideways into the windows in the winter months.
7. – Never move a miniature garden immediately from a warm room to the frosty outdoors, or from a shaded room to full, hot sun without first staging it. (See 8 & 9)
8. – Bringing any pot closer to the house wall, along side the garage or under a covered porch will raise the temperature 10 to 15 degrees, depending upon where it is placed.
9. – Stage your miniature garden in the garage, or on a covered porch for a least a couple of days, to help it adapt and avoid extreme climate changes – especially in November and December. (Like you would stage your living Christmas tree.) Use this graduation method for bringing your garden inside or outside. Remember to avoid the extreme climate changes.
Example: When bringing your mini garden inside from the frosty outdoors, place it on a covered porch or beside the house for 3 to 5 days for the garden to get used to that climate change. Afterwards, bring it into a vestibule, or cold room in the house, for a couple of days to let it get used to that change. Then bring the garden into the house. Do the opposite when putting it back outside.
10. – Keep it away from your regular houseplants and/or monitor it closely for hitchhikers or wee bugs that may like your mini garden too. Especially if you have graduated from a freezing outdoor climate to inside, some hitchhikers will think it spring and wake up.
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