How to Make a Miniature Garden
Tiny Gardens in Cute Containers
I have discovered how much fun it is to make mini gardens. They make wonderful gifts. They take up very little space, and best of all, you can use your imagination and create tiny habitats for little plants, rocks, and small ornaments.
The clog garden features a couple of little succulent plants, some rocks and a tiny terra cotta indian boy.
Create Your Own Mini Landscape!
Gather a bunch of cute containers, some potting soil, tiny plants, rocks, and your imagination and make some cute micro gardens for your plant-loving friends and family.
What you need to get started
Materials you will need
You will need some good potting soil. Since the container gardens are so small, they tend to dry out quickly, so get the kind of soil that has lots of organic matter such as peat or spagnum moss and perlite, which keeps the soil moist and prevents it from getting compacted. For cactus gardens, add some sand to the mix.
Many containers don't have drainage holes at the bottom, so I add about a half inch to an inch of gravel or other small rock material to the bottom of the pot before I add the soil. This keeps the plant from getting their roots too wet.
I like to use small garden tools which are designed for small spaces, but you can use a teaspoon and an ice pick to hollow out spces in which to plant your tiny plants. Popsicle sticks work well too.
One of my favorite things to do is go to yard sales, thrift stores, and dollar store and look for cute containers to use for my gardens.
You can use tea cups, gravy boats, little vases and pitchers, toys, childrens' shoes, anything that has a cavity and is relatively water-resistant.
You can buy rocks at hobby shops, crafts stores or dollar stores. You might even find some nice specimens in your yard. Sea shells look lovely in mini landscapes.
I find small ornaments everywhere. I've found some cute items on keychains and shower curtain rings. Dollhouse suppliers yield appropriately sized ornaments. Look for wee little cats, bunnies, dolls, anything that will fit in your garden without being big enough to overpower the rest of the garden.
There are many varieties of plants you can use to create your gardens, including succulents, cacti, small bromeliads, mosses, ferns, and even some plants that would normally be considered weeds. I like to use a wild variety of purselane which springs up in my lawn and in the cracks in sidewalks. It has small pink or yellow flowers and I think it's lovely. Inexpensive too!
May all your weeds be wildflowers.
Grow your own plants
The plant nursery
Plants tend to get kind of expensive if you have to keep buying them from the garden center, so I always have some growing from cuttings and pieces that people are kind enough to give me.
Succulents like jade and hen and chicks are very easy to grow. If a leaf falls off onto the soil, it will put down roots and a new plant will grow from the leaf. Spider plants and ferns will put out new growth which can be separated into a new plant.
Bromeliads grow rather slowly but they will multiply and give you babies.
Try to keep similar plants in the same pot and don't mix water-loving plants with those, like succulents, that will rot if you water them too much.
See the Featured Lens for more information about caring for cacti and suculents.
Gardens for the fairies seem to be all the rage at the moment. These delicate creatures need very special little habitats and a fairy garden would be a lovely gift for a little girl who loves fairies.
Fortunately fairies are easy to find. Amazon carries a lot of different types of fairies, so have fun creating a woodland world for them.
Tiny ferns are good plants to use, along with any plant in which a fairy could conceivably make a home.
Fairies for the garden
A fairy garden needs some fairies.
Don't Water Too Much!
If the pot you are using for your miniature garden doesn't have a hole in the bottom, make sure you put some gravel in the bottom and don't give the plants too much water. Let the garden dry out a little between waterings. If it starts to look droopy or dry though, water immediately!
Find a great watering can here. For mini gardens, I like one with a long skinny spout to direct the water to a tiny area.
Cute Gravy Boat Garden - I love purple and green
The saucer for this lovely burgundy gravy boat is missing so I decided it would make a good planter. I put gravel in the bottom, filled it up with potting soil and planted the Christmas cactus, two pieces of purple wandering jew and a tiny succulent. I put some smooth rocks on top of the soil. These add interest and also help keep moisture in the soil.
Then I looked for an ornament to grace the garden. I decided on this little green cat. He looks sweet sleeping on top of a rock in the garden.
He kept sliding off, so I glued him to the rock with silicone adhesive.
Small Gardening Tools
Small gardens need small tools.
If you haven't already seen my lens, Garden Signs from Recycled Wood, you might want to check it out. My garden signs would be way too huge for these tiny dish gardens, but you can use the principle of garden signs on a tiny scale.
I like to use small strips of wood on popsicle stick stakes to make miniature signs for my miniature gardens.
If it's a seasonal garden, try signs that say "Happy Halloween", " Merry Christmas" or "Happy Easter:
If it's to be a gift. try ones that say "Happy Birthday", "Happy Mother's Day", "Get Well Soon", "Congratulations".
Tiny decorations for your mini garden
It's fun to search for the perfect little item to decorate your tiny landsscape.
Seasonal Dish Gardens
Gift and decor for the holidays
Right now I'm working on Halloween. I'm keeping my eyes open for small decorations that can enhance my little gardens.
Tiny owls, skeletons, witches, black cats and other Halloween symbols can add interest to a dish garden and make it come alive.
Visit craft stores, dollar stores and yard sales to find cute little objects that will provide a nice focal point.
Christmas will be fun as well. I'll be on the lookout for little Santas, elves, tiny trains and Christmas trees. This is a good time to take cuttings of your Christmas Cactus to use in your gardens.
Miniature Garden Books
Amazon has some lovely books on the topic of miniature gardens. Get inspired!
Rock Signs - Inspirational messages
I love smooth river rocks in different colors and textures and they make great garden accents, especially if you write inspirational words on them.
This is a list of messages I printed with a permanent black marker on a bunch of beautiful rocks that I brought home from a trip to Colorado. It's surprising I got through security with all those rocks. They were very heavy!
Peace, Love, Grow, Imagine, Sing, Dance, Live Laugh Love, Live, Believe, Faith, Hope.......
You get the picture!
Figure out what's meaningful to you and write it on a rock in your miniature garden.
Succulents in containers
This video gives you ideas for the different containers you can use for your miniature gardens. It also gives you advice on how to care for succulents.
If Mothers Were Flowers, I'd Pick You.
Mosaic Mug Garden
This ceramic mug was broken, so I glued it back together and coved it with a tile mosaic. It makes a nice home for a few small plants.
For more information about using mosaics in the garden, see my lens, "Garden Mosaics".