How to Create a Miniature Garden that Will Live for Years

Miniature Garden Display at the Sorticulture Garden Art Show

Not the best display I've done but I wanted to show how long these miniature gardens have been planted. The number on the pot is the age - click to zoom.

How to Create a Miniature Garden that
Will Live for Years

I had to quickly assemble a miniature garden display for the big Sorticulture Garden Art Show a couple of weeks ago – right in the middle of moving house, studio, garden and business. Needless to say, I was a little panicked.

Drawing from my assortment of miniature gardens from my collection, I found ten of them of various ages, shapes and sizes that I could use. My goal was to prove how long miniature gardens could stay together when planted correctly – and how easy they are to care for.

And I was right.

It took an average of 20 minutes to prep each one to be show material.

It was fun, easy and VERY therapeutic.

AND I won an award at the show!

The miniature gardening trend has really taken off this season and I’m seeing how people are putting their miniature gardens together – and they are headed for disaster.

Just as it’s easy to break all the rules when putting an award-winning life-sized display garden together, it’s easy to do the same with your miniature garden to get instant results. But if you want something that will be around for a couple/few years, you need to be more practical than that.

Would you completely over-plant your regular garden bed? Would you replant it every second month?

For example, take a look at these photos I took of a new mini gardener’s display – four months apart. The one on the left is from last February, on the right was taken in mid-June:

You can see that is has been completely re-done and, rightly so, look at the plants she used!

In that small space, there are easily 12 different perennials, ground covers and herb starts crammed into a [guess] 16” by 7” area. Save for the Primroses in the left-hand photo, most of the plants will want to grow at least 14” wide within this growing season alone. That is truly a life-sized garden bed’s worth of plants!

A quick calculation of the cost maintaining this mini garden, assuming the normal 4” pot size: over $50 – and that’s for just for that half of that display garden. This entire miniature garden would take well over $400 a year to maintain, buying fresh plants at least four times a year.

This is why miniature gardening is often frowned upon by expert gardeners and dismissed as frivolous and not worthy their time – because they think it doesn’t last.

But it can – and it can be done for under $100, or even less.

So I’m a bit worried for you, being new to miniature gardening, that you will get discouraged by August if you’re taking tips from the wrong people. I’ve been studying this idea full-time for over 10 years and I know what works. By choosing the right kind of plants with a little seasonal care, your miniature garden can be enjoyed for years to come.

Find out more by joining my mailing list. Learn all the tricks with my new ebook coming out this summer that is packed full of everything you need to know about this new, creative niche!

Feel free to comment on how you are growing your miniature gardens below!

Join through the website here.
Visit our store for more ideas here.



  1. kathy said

    I have just gotten started and made a few for gifts. I love them and am planning one to be outside in my area around my pond. I am worried about the winter weather and if it would kill my plants . I live in Iowa, any suggestions


    • JanitC said

      Hi Kathy! I recognized your email address…
      The key with colder regions is the hardiness! Look for plants that can tolerate the coldest temperatures in Iowa. The plant tags or descriptions should have this information included – if not you can google or ask me. Here’s a blog with more winterizing tips for miniature gardens that should help: – let me know if you have any questions on the plants that you ordered from me!
      [PS – My emails are still getting returned – add me to your white list or preferred senders list so they can get through to you. TY!]


  2. diane Quinlan said

    I have ordered from you before but those plants were used in a miniature setting and because the conditions were less than ideal..they died. My goal is to plant them outside in a little village. Are pots better than planting in the ground?


    • JanitC said

      Hi Diane! Good to hear from you. No worries, even the best gardeners kill plants! It really depends on the plants your using and whether they prefer to be planted in the ground or in a pot. There are so many plants we can use for mini gardening, it’s really up to you! It sounds like a little village may be better suited for in ground? But, either way, email me what kind of light the spot would get and we can go from there. There are a lot of options for PA ! I’m at Many thanks, Diane!


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