8 Easy Steps on The Miniature Garden To-Do List this Spring

Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To

Preparing for our favorite time of year in the miniature garden. 

8 Easy Steps on The Miniature Garden To-Do List this Spring

It’s time to clean up your container gardens! They’ve been sitting all winter and are now ready to prep and grow for Spring. Here’s a checklist to help you:

8 Easy Steps on The Miniature Garden To-Do List this Spring

A routine check for slugs and snails around your containers will help you keep ahead of them. This Miniature Garden is now 10 years old. We lost track of the snail. ;o) (Updated, April, 2015)

1. Check to see if roots are growing out of the bottom. If so, it’s time to repot. Depending on what is planted, divide the plants and replant them. This will
maintain the same design. You can even make two matching pots, swap plants with your gardener friends, or plant any extra plants in the garden bed for some continuity throughout your garden.

2. Remove any debris on the soil – it’s where the snails and slugs like to hide – and trim back any dead or leggy branches on your trees or bedding plants.

3. In spring, in drier climes, the garden soil may develop a crusty layer on top that will redirect the water toward the sides of the pot, away from the plant’s roots. Use a garden fork or weeder to break up this crusty layer of soil so the water will be redirected evenly throughout the garden and the roots will get much needed moisture.

Ad-GardeninFairyGarden4. If repotting is not required, poke a stick deep into the soil to aerate the soil around the root balls. It gets compacted when it has been planted for a couple of seasons and this will help get air and water to the roots.

5. Check for “conifer dieback.” When miniature and dwarf spruces shed their foliage, it often gets stuck in the middle of the plant, eventually suffocating and killing it. Slough off this dead foliage to the ground with your fingers, then clean up the dead needles around the base of the tree.

6. Look for snails and slugs around the base, bottom and sides of your container. They may still be dormant if the area is cool. Also check the inside edges of the pot, underneath the foliage, the back of the garden beds and in the damp, shady areas close to the house or on the house. Some gardeners toss them in a pail of soapy water (use dish soap and make sure they don’t crawl out,) I toss them into an out-of-the-way place in our garden and they can find something else to munch on.

7. If the garden is older than two years, sprinkle some general, organic fertilizer on top and mix it in to the top layer of the soil.

8. Wipe the outside of the pot with a soft cloth. Water the garden throughly and you’re done!

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Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo




  1. Leota Tucker said

    I still haven’t gotten started on my miniature — If I get a Conifer for my basic tree, how deep should my container be for my miniature to last a few years?
    For a tropical indoor miniature, what would my basic (tree) be, and how deep should the pot be?
    Thanks a million — I will keep you informed as to my progress.
    Leota Tucker


  2. […] We’re patiently waiting for it to stop raining so the soil can dry out so we can get busy. If you work the soil when it is wet you’ll damage the microcosms and ruin your good soil so hang-tight if you’re having the same weather that we are here in Seattle. Here’s a quick list of the 8 Spring To-Dos in the Miniature Garden. […]


  3. Sandy P said

    I found the niftiest little garden tool ever. Rather than use an often too large garden fork, an actual kitchen fork with bent tongs or not, works great for weeding out moss, fluffing up soil, etc around tiny little plants.


    • Hi Sandy, Good to hear from you! We’ve been using forks for rakes and spoons for shovels since we started miniature gardening back in 2001. I still get a laugh when I mention it during my presentations. Remember to bend at the knuckle too, not your back. :o)


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