New Gardeners Coming to Miniature Gardening with Mixed Results

An outdoor Miniature Garden for full sun

An outdoor Miniature Garden for full sun

New Gardeners Coming to Miniature Gardening with Mixed Results

“Dead as a doornail. All three plants. Dead.”

So went the phone call the other morning.

Miniature gardening offers a completely new way to garden but the plants we use to create the mini garden still grow the same way as they always have. The plants will need to be in the right place, with the right light and the right watering in order for them to be happy.

The Golden Rule of Gardening is “right place, right plant.”

Right plant, right place means to decide where the plant will be placed first, then find the plants that will suit the light/soil/temperature that the spot receives. In that order.

Plants are not able to adjust to your conditions, you need to find the correct plant that will work for your environment instead. You can’t trick a plant into growing where it should not grow. Here are some further points to consider:

  • Growing outdoor plants inside will not work.
  • Watering plants that like to be dry will not work, not all plants like to be watered.
  • Choosing plants outside of your cold or heat zone will not work. Note that there are heat zones too.
  • Choosing to water regularly may not work either, it will depend upon the plant.

Just because you are successful with your house plants, does not mean that you can grow every plant in your house. Here’s a blog on the difference between  indoor and outdoor plants here.

Air conditioning and plants: Make sure the plants are not directly in path of the cooler air from the A/C. The air conditioning also takes away the humidity in the air that most plants love. Mist your plants to compensate for this but note that not all plants will like the misting. (Example: African Violets detest water on their leaves.)

Plants will tell you if they are not happy. Here’s a How Plants Die overview if you missed it.

If you are a new gardener, here are the bare essentials: Top 10 New Gardener Questions Answered.

Visit your local independent nursery and garden center for more answers and options for your area. They may not know too much about miniature gardening yet but they do know their plants and know what grows in your area. Choose the independent garden retailers, the big-box-store employees hire warm bodies to put an apron on and stack shelves – the difference is the independent stores care about plants and the environment, and will know what grows best in your area.




  1. Sid Raisch said

    Thanks for calling attention to this “budding” problem. It’s not all about who has the best accessories!

    Miniature gardeners want to be successful same as full size gardeners do. But the challenges can be greater with less soil volume, high pruning requirements for some plants, Too much or too little light, etc.

    Growing miniature can be great “training wheels” for full size gardening so starting with super-simple plants and developing the skill to keep them alive should come first. I


  2. […] I wrote the blog back in late June about New Gardeners Coming to Miniature Gardening with Mixed Results, I left out one very valuable […]


  3. […] We’ve planted several miniature gardens in-ground over the years but our most successful were the gardens that were right next to the sidewalk, or on the parking strip, where they could be seen by passers-by. Perhaps it was the simple fact that the garden was on display for all to see that made us keep them looking their best at all times, but ultimately, it was really because of that ol’ garden rule, “right plant, right place.” […]


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