New Miniature Garden Trees for the New Hobby, Part II

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The Fairy Puff Sawara Cypress eventually charmed us with its soft, feathery texture and great color.

New Miniature Garden Trees for the New Hobby, Part II

We are catching up to the new miniature garden plants and trees that we have in stock this season. The last blog covered a few of them, find it here in case you missed it. In this post we have quite the selection, from Siberia to fairies to a new dwarf willow that we are playing with. All are very fun – do keep in touch if you are one of the lucky ones to get your hands on these gems, and let us know what you think of them!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Follow the delicate, creamy tips down the branch and you’ll find a rich, gray-green color. Shear it in the winter to maintain this great color scheme.

Fairy Puff Sawara Cypress

A sweet lil’ puff of green goodness! The Fairy Puff Sawara Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Fairy Puff’) has lovely coloring and whimsical branches leaping out of the globe-shaped shrub, just so. The creamy buds on the tips of grey-green branches can easily be paired with dwarf or miniature spruce, juniper or mugo pines.

To keep the foliage soft, fluffy and bushy, shear it in late winter and it will stay in that tight, cute ball. It grows 1 to 3” per year, but with the shearing, it will slow it down to well under 2” per year. Prefers cooler sun, or a sunny spot where the soil won’t dry out. Hardy to -20F (or -5F in a container,) cold zones 5 – 8, heat zones 8 – 1.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Put this into the hands of a miniature gardener, and it will champion the garden when it blooms. Ruby-red bloom turn to pink against the pretty chartreuse green leaves.

Alpine Spirea

Okay, my old sales rep recommended this one to me. If it doesn’t work, I’ll give you his email address. Lol! But he has assured me that the Alpine Spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Alpina’) is a perfect for the miniature garden – and it certainly looks like it will be a gem. The leaves are the perfect scale with tiny, chartreuse foliage and distinctive, ruby-red flower buds that open up to pink. Let me repeat that just in-case you missed it: ruby-red flower buds that open up to pink flower clusters on top of chartreuse foliage – well, need I say more?

Like all our dwarf Spireas (pronounced spy-REE-ahs,) it will need shearing in the wintertime when it’s dormant. This will help slow-down the 2 to 3” per year growth rate and keep it’s globe-shape. And shear after flowering to clean it up a bit. Hardy to -30F (or -15% if it’s in a container,) cold zones 7 – 9. Heat zones 9 – 1. It likes full-sun but don’t let the soil dry out between watering sessions, I think it will get a bit cranky.

Miniature Garden Plants

The new Siberian Cypress is a ground cover cypress. It will grow to about 1 foot tall and then spread out gradually.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Double Delight: A very hardy ground cover cypress AND the lacy foliage is airy and can lend itself to fairy gardens or whimsical themes.

Siberian Cypress

The Siberian Cypress (Microbiota decussata) is a promising candidate for the miniature garden because it’s really a ground cover. It grows to about one foot tall then it will start to grow prostrate (sideways.) The feathery foliage turns bright green in the summer, and a bronzy purple in colder areas in the winter. Apparently it does well in poor soil and windy areas too.

Hardy, hardy, hardy to -40F! Take that polar vortex! It will need full-sun and well-drained soil, leave the soil to dry out to barely damp in between watering sessions to avoid over watering. Prune to control wayward growth. Hardy to -25F if planted in a container, cold zones 3 – 7, heat zones, 7 – 1.

Miniature Garden Plants

The Dwarf Willow in the spring time. Some pruning is necessary to shape it up and to keep it in shape. A flush of tiny green leaves follows the catkins.

Miniature Garden Plants

The red catkins on the Dwarf Willow. They flush out in the springtime followed by the tiny, shiny green leaves.

Dwarf Willow

We’re still playing with this little Dwarf Willow (or Salix lindleyana.) We had a ground cover called Salix lindleyana last year, and here it is in a tree-form looking all cute and pretty. This must be its natural height, and then it will grow prostrate (sideways.) The pink catkins are very pretty to see in the springtime. We are keeping one trimmed by pruning away the bottom-most branches to show off the trunk. Note that the trees come un-pruned, so you can do what you like with it. See the photos below how we pruned ours, we would love to see what you do with yours.

We know that Willows don’t mind moisture so use this gem in a place where the soil will never dry out and it will be able to handle cool, full sun. Keep it in partial shade if it’s in a pot to help maintain the dampness of the soil. Hardy to -10F (or 5F if in a container,) can be grown in cold zones 7 – 8, and heat zones 8 – 7. Rare, quantities are limited.


Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The same tree as above, a few weeks later. Steve and I went back and forth on how to prune this new Dwarf Willow. I liked keeping a couple of the “‘suckers” on the base of the tree to keep the look casual…

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

… so I Photoshopped them them out to see if it looks better! Lol! Okay, it does change the look from casual to a more formal look. It will depend upon how the growth reacts to the pruning now. Stay tuned!

Zoned Out (ICYMI from Part I)

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.

USDA Cold Zone Map is here.

AHS Heat Zone Map is here.

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  1. I love the dwarf willow, so cool to see it so small. Definitely will try to implement it into my next fairy garden that I make. I look forward to seeing post from you about fairy gardens.


  2. […] New miniature garden trees for the new hobby, Part 1 and Part 2, June […]


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