Archive for Miniature Plants

In Search of The Perfect Miniature Garden Tree

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I’m always on the look out for fun advertising fodder or puns to use – it’s one of the perks of the job. :o)

In Search of The Perfect Miniature Garden Tree

The store was a bit quiet the other day and Steve was looking for something to do. So, I told him to see what was up in the big world of miniature garden trees, fairy trees, railroad garden trees or bonsai starts by just Googling them to see what comes up. Whoa Nellie! Here’s what we found out.

From the Two Green Thumbs' archives.

Group shot taken in 2009. We still have some of these miniature gardens today that are still in miniature gardens now that I revisit the photo. I can see only one tree (that we don’t carry anymore) that ended up to big for us: the bushy cypress in the orange pot in the middle. I’ll remember the variety name at around 2 am tomorrow morning. Lol!

Miniature Garden Trees – Fairy Approved!

Where did everybody go? Lol! We’ve never shut down for the winter because miniature gardening has always been a season-less hobby for us here in Seattle, but you can do it anywhere. We’ve mentioned before how we can easily keep gardening and because you can plant a container at any time of year. You can plant in-ground anytime the ground is not frozen too. So keep gardening until you can’t, I say!

I so need the garden therapy after a hard week at work and I’m sure you can always use some peace and tranquility too. Checkout the wide variety of hardy trees and shrubs for your miniature garden adventures this season here, where they are sorted by USDA zones. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Miniature and dwarf trees for railroad gardening

You can see how using high-quality, well-behaved trees is a worthy investment for any railroad gardener. The cone-shaped trees are dwarf spruces. The variegated shrub, bottom-left, I think is a euonymus and I’m pretty sure the blue shrub, bottom-right, is a Blue Star Juniper. That’s Steve in the back.


The Miniature Garden Society


Railroad Garden Trees

Miniature and dwarf trees for any garden railroad must behave as expected. This may be why most railroad gardeners shy away from the plant-side of the hobby and tend to focus more on layin’ the tracks and runnin’ the trains – at least in my experience they have.

If a tree doesn’t grow in as promised, and grows super-fast without the engineer-gardener expecting it, it can cause a major renovation and upset for the railroad that was built around that now-overgrown tree. The beauty with railroad gardens is the same as miniature gardening, the age of the garden really brings the charm and magic. So to upset a grown-in, planted scene merely two or three years after planting, will bring the age of the scene back to “0.” Fun if you planned for it but if you didn’t, not-so-much!

All our true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs are of the highest quality in the country, are very well-behaved and do as the tag says in shape, growth rate and care. Our trees are always well-packed by (quite possibly) the best packer in the country (Steve, for real,) and they are sent the fastest way to avoid any stress, by USPS Priority Mail. We have plants for all sizes of miniature gardens.

Bonsai starts or pre-bonsai, this is the popular Elf Dwarf Spruce.

Elf Dwarf Spruce or Picea glauca ‘Elf.’ This tree is about 8 to 10 years old. Transplanted in 2012 from a 4″ pot.


Bonsai Starts

In our research, we have found a great many trees that we carry in our online store are used for bonsai as well. I’ve always bragged about how our trees naturally grow-in to look like a bonsai in a couple/few year’s time and while it feels like cheating, we’re just letting nature take its course. It appears as bonsai starts go, ours are pretty inexpensive if you have some time to grow them in for awhile.

Plant your Two Green Thumbs’ tree in a pot at least 8″ deep and let the baby tree grow a thicker trunk and wider branches for a couple/few years. Then bonsai the roots to fit them into the bonsai tray – you’ll be glad you did because you’ll be that much further ahead in the growth of the tree. If you bonsai a young tree right away, it will take much longer for the trunk to develop and the branches to reach out and thicken.

Don’t want to wait? Check out our one-gallon pre-bonsai trees up in the plant section of our Etsy store here. We do get smaller “pre-bonsai” tress in from time to time too, if you would like to join our email list to get first dibs. (Average cost is $20 or less!)

Happy Miniature Gardening!


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Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

It’s a brand new, totally focused website on everything gardening in miniature with all the bells and whistles!**

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you would have heard about our Miniature Garden Society member’s only website opening up a few months ago. Well, truth be told, it did get lots of kudos, oohs and ahhs, but it couldn’t add any community, forums or post-ability to make it just that more fun. BUT, alas! Have no fear because your miniature gardener is here!

Welcome to the NEW Miniature Garden Society website! It’s all that and more. Now that we have some roots and branches to the site, it’s time to get it really growing. Personally, I can’t wait because it’s a place to share all our ideas and information that didn’t fit into this book – nor did it fit into this book either. Lol!

Yup! Can’t tell you any more – need to get back to the new site! Learn more about it here. 

**May contain fairies. :o)

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How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening


Layer it. The Jacqueline Hillier Dwarf Elm is a great anchor tree for the miniature garden bed – you can easily plant under it as it gets older. That is a miniature Blue Planet Spruce in the back, left side. Sedum Angelina to the right and miniature daisies on the right. The pond is handmade – the best kind!

How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

Do you want to save some time and money? 

Do you want to have a successful miniature garden next summer too?

Did you know you can have BOTH?

  • Fact: Fall is the best time to plant your garden bed.
  • Fact: You can save time and money next summer by planting your garden right now.
  • Fact: The success rate for getting trees established in the garden bed is far greater in the autumn months than any other time of year.

(Images are from our Instagram feed. Follow the leader for more fun in the miniature garden, I’m under @theminigardener!)


This miniature garden was sold around 2003 and lives on the Oregon coast. The couple who sought us out and bought it for their sister in law still keeps in touch with us. Apparently it is still alive and thriving. A testament to our true miniature garden trees, plants and shrubs!

Fall Planting Perks

Many people think spring is the best time to plant an in-ground miniature garden, but fall actually has many definite advantages. Fall planting is perfectly positioned in between the hot summer months and the cold winter season so any plant planted right now, will use this time to an advantage to get established in your garden bed. You can plant in-ground as long as the ground is not frozen.

You see, the plant’s roots still grow in temperatures 40° or above so, even though the temperatures might feel cool to you, the plant does not mind at all. During this time the root systems have a chance to develop and become established before winter. If you’re in a place where it doesn’t freeze, the roots will actually keep growing and establishing themselves to get ready for next spring.

When spring comes back, the new root system can fully support and take advantage of the flush of new growth. When the leaves start to bud and grow, the stronger roots are now able to tap in the reservoir of water on their own. You’ll save time because there is less maintenance to do, you’ll save money by lowering your water bill AND you will lose less plants to the whim of nature because they are already well-on-their way to becoming established. You can spend more time on creating and crafting the details of your miniature garden instead.


Blue-colored shadows underneath the Golden Sprite Hinoki Cypress that’s about 9″ tall now. Our true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs grow up to look like a majestic tree – in miniature! Why do you think we keep using them in our gardens? Because they can stay in the small scale for years and years…

Tips for your fall planting:

  1. Always invest in the best plant material as possible. High-quality trees and shrubs come with a well-developed root system that is ready to grow. Don’t get fooled by bargain plant sales – many of those plants have been fertilized consistently over the last few months and will crash when you plant them in your yard because you have no idea on the level of feeding they are use too. Do you always wonder why you easily loose plants from plant sales ALL the time? This is it. Word.

For example, Steve and I invested in a couple of cherry trees a few years back. We got them on sale – and it was the end of the sale – so we compromised and chose the best two out of four on the lot. We brought them home and planted them in our new garden about five years ago.  Well, this winter I’m definitely pulling both of them. They didn’t branch out as I expected. They did not produce any cherries – oh wait, I think I got one (1) cherry last year. This year, no cherries at all – none, nada, zilch, zippo. I even tried to prune them each year to attempt the shape them and increase the cherry production with disastrous results. After five years of trying to compromise with these bargain-sale trees, we ended up with a big huge waste of time and money. Had we stepped up and invested in decent high-quality trees to begin with, I would have cherry jam on my pantry shelf, and I would be looking forward to another cherry blossom show next spring.


That’s a mugo pine on the left and a hemlock tree in the center. In the background on the right, is a wall of Monteray Cypress (a.k.a. Wilma, Goldcrest or Lemon Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’)


2. High-quality trees and plants will reward you year after year by a behaving as they should. Take the time to find the best trees for your miniature gardening. Here are the questions that you need answers to in order to find the best plant for your gardens (- oh, and yes, we  answer them right in each listing in our online store!)

  • How do they grow: what shape they will grow up to be?
  • How much will they grow per year?
  • What do they need to stay happy and healthy in your miniature garden?
  • What are the water needs?
  • Do you know how to tell when to water so you don’t overwater or underwater??
  • Can it even grow in your area?

If you’re buying plants without answering these questions, you’re not taking advantage of our experience and expertise at our Miniature Garden Center, All of our customers can get hands-on advice specific to your planting needs – just for being our customer! 


From our Instagram feed. The miniature garden bed, full of texture and color, looks like a full-sized garden bed. How fun is that? The green lobe-shaped leaves are miniature daisies, about 1/2″ long. 

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!


3. Buy from a nursery that has fresh plant stock each season.  Many of the copy-cat online nurseries that attempt to specialize in true miniature and dwarf trees get their plant stock once a year: IN THE SPRING. That’s why you will see plants on sale right now, because they are leftovers. You may be getting a great bargain – but it’s not – that plant has been sitting on their store shelf for the last six months, in the hot weather, getting completely stressed out and is definitely root bound by now. Our trees and shrubs, and because we ONLY focus on miniature gardening, are FRESH each and every season. We are able to order in small batches from our high-quality grower to keep our inventory at the highest quality for YOU, our Fellow Miniature Gardener.

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you'll miss the show that these plants put on!

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you’ll miss the show and have to wait for another full year before they do it again!

On top of saving time and money by planting this fall, here are more great reasons:

  •  You don’t have to wait a year for results, enjoy the spring flush IN the season! If you plant your miniature garden now, you can enjoy the spring flush of growth at its prime. The lime-green buds that emerge from the tips of the miniature spruces, hemlocks and firs are so soft and bright, you’ll giggle with delight. The buds (called candles) of the wee mugo pines magically flush out in tiny, softer growth, you’ll wonder how they do that.
  • You can witness the spring with the deciduous trees too, (deciduous = lose their leaves in the fall) as the little baby leaves quietly unfurl on the small branches. The spring flush of growth is often so magical, you can see the leaves growing. So if you wait and plant it in the spring, you’ll miss it – have you will to wait a full year before experiencing the awesomeness of spring in your miniature garden.
  • You can appreciate the winter’s blush for months. Many of the conifer’s foliage change color in the colder temperatures and will give you a colorful show to enjoy in the winter months when you need it most. The miniature and dwarf hinoki cypress change to a wide variety of colors, plum, amber, purple and orange. The cryptomerias blush purple as do the junipers. The arborvitae turn a wonderful, solid amber color that looks great in the gray of winter. If you plant now you can appreciate this colorful wonder of nature for the winter THIS year. 

Showtime! More winter bonuses by planting in the fall months: you get to see the entire cycle right now – no waiting another year to find out what you’ve missed! Above, the Pusch Dwarf Norway Spruce has cones from last year mixed with the new growth and emerging cones for a fantastic delightful experience.

So you don’t have to shut-down your miniature gardening just because winter is coming. You still have plenty of time to get your miniature garden or fairy garden ideas planted in the ground before it freezes.

See our plants by zone here.
See our plants by light here.

Remember that miniature gardening is, indeed, a season-less hobby because you can always, always, always plant a container garden at anytime of year.

More useful blogs:

Winterizing Your Miniature or Fairy Gardens
About getting your in-ground gardens ready for the winter.

Keep Gardening This Winter with Indoor Miniature Gardens
Includes dish gardening and terrarium information.

For the Love of Conifers: The Winter’s Blush
Dwarf and mini conifers change with the seasons too.

Winterizing Your Miniature Garden And Containers
A few tips on winterizing your containers from central Ontario – the land of icy tundra!

Like this? Well then join thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners and sign up for the world’s ONLY regular miniature garden newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. It’s FREE and delivered straight to your inbox each Friday. Sign up here.

Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!

We wrote the book on it. Click the pic to see more.

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Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Some of the plants used for our Northwest Flower and Garden Show display were chosen as experiments to see how fast they grow up. The Parahebe, the small plant in front of the big Hinoki tree in the front blue pot, ‘looked’ like a good possibility – until it grew up.

Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

I STILL do it!

I always fall for the cutest little plants, especially when they are in flower. I buy it, plant it and watch it grow – and grow and grow and grow! So not cool if you are a miniature gardener.

So. Not. Cool. If your the world renown expert on miniature gardening either. Thankfully you have me to make these mistakes for you!


After all, we ARE looking from them to stay small or grow really slowly.

I’m getting a lot of emails lately asking about what kind of plants to use for miniature gardening – or how to find out what works in your backyard and what doesn’t. So I put this mini-directory together of previous blogs that have touched upon the subject in various ways. If your question isn’t answered here, please do let me know.

How to Find the Plants

This is part four of our beginner series. You’ll find the links to the rest of the series in the post. These are the steps to take for indoor and outdoor plants:

Examples of What to Look For

The main points of what to look for with a few examples of plants that we like:

Ad-FallPlanting - 1

Secrets to Success

In this post, I talk about some of the plants that trick us into thinking they would work – until they grow up:

About the Plants Behind the Winning Gardens

From our annual Miniature Garden Contest – I break down the plants that each winner used in their miniature gardens:

The Meaning of “Dwarf” and “Miniature”

Dwarf and miniature are often used in the names of plants to help sell them – which can be misleading. Here are the definitions and what we mean by “dwarf” and “miniature:”

Signs of the Plant’s Demise So You Can Prevent It

A discussion on the signals that plants give you when they are not happy. Notice the signs, save the plant.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

NWFGS miniature garden container

Four months later: the Parahebe sure has pretty flowers – that have overgrown the scale of the miniature garden! I’ll transfer it to one of my in-ground miniature gardens in the fall.

What Can be Grown in your Area?

The very best way to get to know what plants work in your area is your local garden center or nursery – NOT a big box store. You know, one of those cozy, plant-laden stores where you hear a soothing fountain off in the corner, the air is thick with humidity and you have to duck under trees and walk over the hose to get to the cashier – and this is inside the building – THAT kind garden center.

Take some time and walk around and get a feel for where they have the plants at the nursery.  You should find the right plants in the right place too. Note the zone info and what kind of soil they recommend for the plant (and use NO potting soil with added fertilizers!) Then you can retreat home and look again at the space that you are thinking for your miniature garden if you haven’t decided that yet.

Find the tested, tried and true miniature garden trees, shrubs and plants here, up in our online store. We have the best shipping methods and we ship safely all year long!

Here’s a quick-list of what you are looking for:

  • Miniature or slow-growing dwarf trees or shrubs
  • Groundcovers
  • Rockery Plants
  • Alpine Plants
  • Sedums & Succulents (small leafed, of course)

For a complete discussion of the trees, shrubs and plants for miniature gardening, look forward to the first comprehensive book on miniature gardening from Timber Press:

Gardening in Miniature

Now available for through, or wherever books are sold. To order your signed-by-the-author copy, from our online store, click here

Join us for more fun in the miniature garden and sign up for our FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox after you confirm your subscription through your email. Join us here.


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CUTE ALERT! How to Make the World’s Smallest Miniature Garden!


Miniature Garden Kits by Two Green Thumbs! Make a miniature garden for your miniature garden.

Miniature Garden Kits by Two Green Thumbs. Make a miniature garden for your miniature garden.

CUTE ALERT! How to Make the World’s Smallest Miniature Garden!

Okay, you know how I always tell you that miniature gardens can make anyone smile? I mean anyone? Well here is another way to guarantee that smile and possibly some giggles too: a miniature garden for your miniature garden! The perfect size to go next to a chair on the patio, on the edge of your mini cedar deck, tuck it underneath a miniature tree or use it to fill in an empty spot in the garden bed. Got a miniature house in your fairy garden? Place two pots on either side of the door for a great welcome for your fairy guests!

It’s all in one lil’ kit and only from your friend’s at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center where we are truly and unequivocally (good word, huh? ;o) are obsessed with anything miniature garden.

Miniature Garden Kits by Two Green Thumbs

The tiny gardens can fit in almost any sized miniature garden. It’s in one of our older boxwood gardens above. The wall in the back is made from the Mini Patio Mix Kit too.

We have them up in our Etsy store where we put all our weird and wonderful ideas to be tested. Each kit is a bit different, you’ll find a variety of different accessories in each kit, from Buddhas and birdbaths. See our Etsy store here. Now, quantities are limited so if you click in and find them sold out, check back or get in touch through here, or through any of our websites, to be notified when more are in stock.

Now make sure you leave at least a few minutes to complete this project. Lol!

We use our miniature sedum cuttings, together with our exclusive Mini Patio Mix, for this little kit. The Mini Patio Mix is the perfect scale for the tiny gardens AND there are three pots with enough plants to go ’round –  so call your friends over for a True Miniature Garden Party!

There’s a full-color instruction booklet included too – you’ll learn how to make any sized miniature garden. How fun is that? Especially with the holiday gift-giving season soon approaching. See them here.

Check out our new short video below – it may be too short – Lol! Leave any comments or questions below.



For any part of the kit, a la carte, please visit our store, we’re America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

Like this? Join us and thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners for your weekly dose of cuteness and fun, delivered straight to your inbox each Friday, the world’s only newsletter completely dedicated to the hobby of gardening in miniature: The Mini Garden Gazette. Sign up through the front page of our main website here: Added bonus for subscribers besides a free PDF is our newsletter list gets first dibs on anything we produce. Join us! 

Miniature Garden Kits by Two Green Thumbs

Snuggle it into a garden bed for added interest!

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Miniature Garden Fun With Sedums and Succulents

Miniature Garden Fun with Sedums and Succulents

Miniature Garden Fun With Sedums and Succulents

You know how miniature gardeners keep their tiny planted pots happy? We don’t plant them. We just put the sedum and succulent cuttings in the wee pots without soil because they can last for a few months before they need to potted-on to a bigger place to root and grow. Just mist the cuttings, pot and all, or sprinkle water on them a couple of times a week during the hot months and maybe once a week in the winter months. When they start to complain or put out too many roots, go ahead and plant them properly and they should grow into proper plants for you. (Plant them in a sunny spot, let the soil dry out in between watering sessions.)

Here’s a quick chart to help you maintain the tiny pots with success:

  • If the leaves start to shrivel, mist it more often.
  • If the leaves are getting too puffy and pale, back-off on the watering.
  • If the leaves are starting to reach for the light, (grow long and spindly,) it needs more light. Monitor this closely at first, the cuttings won’t recover if they reach too much.

What’s the Diff?

So, what’s the difference between sedums and succulents? It’s a blurry line at best apparently. What I did find out is that all sedums are succulents but not all succulents are sedums. Succulents come in all shapes and sizes, indoor and outdoor, tropical and hardy. Succulent means they store water in their leaves, stem or roots. Sedums have leaves that store water so they can be called succulents. I found this expert definition if you want to dig deeper – pun intended.

And here is a few different sedums and succulents that we now have available for your miniature garden pleasure. Click the photos to see more photos and information.


Baby Hens and Chicks!

Baby Hens and Chicks!

See our Set of Baby Hen and Chicks here, in our Etsy store.

Bird's eye of top photo. Tiny bouquets of color!

Bird’s eye view of the top photo. Tiny bouquets of color! You can either mix up all the different cuttings or, for a simpler statement, use multiples of the same in the pot.

See our Small Set of Sedum Cuttings, as in the photo above, here in our main online store.

See our Pot, Tool and Equipment department here.


If the pot is big enough, like this 2 3/4" wide terra cotta pot, go ahead and plant them in organic potting soil (not Miracle Gro, it will burn the cuttings.)

If the pot is big enough, like this 2 3/4″ wide terra cotta pot, go ahead and plant them in organic potting soil (not Miracle Gro, it will burn the cuttings.) Steve planted this wee garden. 

See that pot, in a set of two, here.

See our Large Set of Sedum Cuttings here.

Sedum ternatum has big, beautiful, lime-green leaves with yellow flowers. It gets darker green with more shade.

Sedum ternatum has big, beautiful, lime-green leaves with yellow flowers. You can see it start to bloom in the lower left corner. It gets darker green with more shade.

See the Sedum ternatum cuttings here in our Etsy store.


Outside of the miniature garden, the cuttings can be a quick and fun monochromatic garden accent for any table-top. These small cache pot containers don’t have a drainage hole. The cuttings are simply placed in the tin. They will last for a few months before needing to be properly potted.

See more weird and wonderful ideas for your miniature or fairy garden here, in America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

 Sedum spurium 'John Creech is cold hardy to -40 or Zones 3-9. An outdoor plant, full sun, let soil dry out in between watering sessions to avoid overwatering.

Sedum spurium ‘John Creech is cold hardy to -40 or Zones 3-9 <~ that’s every State of the Union! An outdoor plant, full sun, let soil dry out in between watering sessions to avoid overwatering. I love that hot-pink flower color against the dark green leaves. It blooms in the middle of the summer.

See the John Creech Sedum up in our Etsy store here.

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' wears a wonderfully bright yellow-green color.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ wears a wonderfully bright yellow-green color. Pretty yellow flowers in summer. 

See the Angelina Sedum up in our Etsy store here.

See them in our new Miniature Cinderblock Planter and our new Miniature Palette Planter here.

I love the geometric leaves on this Miniature Ice Plant or Delosperma congesta. They look surreal.

I love the geometric leaves on this Miniature Ice Plant or Delosperma congesta. They look surreal.

See the Miniature Ice Plant here.

Miniature Ice Plant's yellow flowers pop up for a day and then disappear. Thankfully, they don't do it all at one time so it's a really sweet surprise to see them.

Miniature Ice Plant’s yellow flowers pop up for a day and then disappear. Thankfully, they don’t do it all at one time so it’s a really sweet surprise to see them. You just never know when you’ll see the next one!

See all our plants for sun and part sun here.

Theses bigger Hens and Chicks come in a set of 4 miniature garden plants, all of which can be divided right away.

Theses bigger Hens and Chicks come in a set of 4 miniature garden plants, all of which can be divided right away. You can see the “chicks” on the mother plant that will roll off when they are ready. That rosette is about 2 1/2″ wide. Pink flowers in the summertime. 

See all our plants, parts and pieces for miniature gardening here, in our main online store.

Want to dig deeper into the huge world of gardening in miniature? Join us and thousands of other like-minded people for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox, each Friday. Join us here.

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Dog Days of Summer Sale at Your Miniature Garden Center!



Dog Days of Summer Sale at Your Miniature Garden Center!

The the dog daze of summer upon us, we are taking a break this week too. Orders are still being shipped as they come it. We may delay shipping plants for a day or two to avoid the box sitting somewhere strange over the weekend. Please email us for a faster response here.

Please enjoy some eye candy on our Flickr page:

Please enjoy a rare, surprise sale for your Miniature Garden Center Store!

We are
America’s Favorite
Miniature Garden Center


We wrote the book on it. Get an autographed copy from our store or find it on!

We wrote the book on it. Click the photo to get an autographed copy from our store or find it on! (An affiliate link.)

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