New Miniature Garden Trees for the New Hobby, Part I
Ahhh, summertime is just around the corner! A new season always brings new reasons to the miniature garden workbench: parties, barbecues, gardening, relaxing, enjoying, making fun and creating. Want to lower your blood pressure? Start a miniature garden. Want to escape from the every day? Create a miniature garden. Want to help clean the air around you? Grow a miniature garden. Want to make someone happy? Give a miniature garden. With a combination like that, miniature gardening could get very, very contagious. And we’ve only just begun.
So, with a new season, we bring new plants for your miniature gardening pleasure. Here are the newest trees to our inventory, three of which we have been selling for a while, (but we wanted to make sure they would work out before officially introducing them,) and the other four are promising candidates recommended by our grower. This is part one of two blogs on our new trees that are now in stock.
I thought I might have killed it – again. But my Dwarf Wisteria (Millettia japonica ‘Hime fuji’) bounced back and looks as pretty as ever. I’ve left it to grow-in naturally to see what it does and I haven’t been disappointed. Mine turned into what I call a small country-garden tree, or a tall, leggy shrub that you can plant something in front of to hide the trunk.
It’s not a dwarf version of the real wisteria apparently, but it looks like one. Do note that it does not flower. Keep it in a sunny spot but don’t let the soil dry out. Trim the wayward branches back to maintain its bushiness. Gradually trim off the bottom growth/branches if you want more of a tree look. This gem can be moved inside for the winter if you are in one of the colder regions of the country, otherwise its hardy to 10F, (or about 35F if in a container,) cold zones 8 – 10, heat zones 10 – 7.
Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm
Charmed, I’m sure! We love this new Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Seiju’) for it’s perfectly in scale trunk and tiny leaves. It’s a common tree for bonsai so we know it will work well in the miniature garden. The leaves will drop in the fall and leave an interesting framework as the stems develop an exfoliating bark, as they get older.
Trim wayward branches, it should promote more bushiness too. It prefers full to part sun, and moist, well-drained soil. It matures slowly, about 3” per year to 4 feet tall; you can slow this down even further by trimming it back in late winter. Keep the foliage pruned away from the trunk to keep the tree’s shape. Hardy to -20F (or -5F if in a container,) cold hardy zones 5 – 9, heat zones 9 – 5.
Bullata Japanese Spirea
A little shrublet for the miniature garden AND it flowers too. The Bullata Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica Bullata’) offers a deep green,
broadleaf with clusters of rose-crimson flowers that flush out in late spring. This will be a very pretty compliment to the miniature and dwarf conifers in your miniature or fairy garden.
This spiraea (pronounced spy-REE-ah) is slow-growing at 2 to 4” per year, but for the miniature garden, shear this little bush back about one third each winter to help keep it small for years. Great for a full sun spot with soil that can remain damp. I think it can tolerate a little dryness, but never leave it too long in between watering sessions. Shear it after flowers in the spring and you’ll get a second bloom out of it. Hardy to -30F (or -15F if in a container,) cold zones 7 – 9. Heat zones 9 – 1.
Don’t know your zone? The USDA developed a general cold zone map. And the American Horticultural Society developed a heat zone map for the other half of the country. Put the two together if you are in the southern states, and be sure to double-check to see if the plant you want is the correct heat-zone rating. Right plant, right place – but you may be surprised with a little experimentation too.
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