|Mini Plants for Huge Delight!|
One of the fastest growing trends in horticulture today is the popularity of miniature plants. Railroad gardens and fairy gardens have been growing in numbers across the land, and both these formats call for mini-sized plants for a small-scale landscape. Add to this the increased number of apartment or condo dwellers with little room to garden. Then add the growing interest in container growing and it is obvious that the demand for these fascinating little gems is on the rise.
My passion for miniature plants began decades ago with Fairy Gardens. In the past, it was difficult to find plants that fit the landscape scale for a 4” fairy. Tiny thymes, babies tears, violets and Irish moss were not even that easy to find back then, and most plants found in standard garden centers were just too large. So, the search was on for more reliable perennials in miniature size.
Breeding programs that select for dwarf size, as well as discoveries by plant-finders around the world have led to a boom in the number of miniatures that are now available. And as I’ve been able to travel, I’ve discovered many plants that stay very petite.
For flowering perennials, miniature coral bells with masses of flowers on dainty 6” or shorter stems can’t be beat. And everyone knows that fairies love plants with “bells” to ring during their parties and dances.
“Petite Pearl Fairy” has burgundy leaves and pink blooms. “Fairy Dust” has bright pink flowers, and there are other rare species in our Collector’s Corner.
For bright blue blooms, there are mini-columbines, and tiny “Miss Tilly” bellflowers only 4” tall.
“White Angel” is a mini columbine with pure white blooms. Elfish “Mrs. Holt” veronica is only 3” tall, with small spikes of pink blooms in May-June.
Dwarf penstemons add a lot of color and tidy foliage. We love the “Pinacolada” series for its range of colors, but “Pygmaeus” with its purple flowers is also lovely. Cushions of narrow foliage that support drumsticks of bright pink bloom are the feature of aremeria, a fairy favorite and the variegated Armeria “Nifty Thrifty” is especially showy.
Miniature hostas are a delight for shady places. “Venusta” is only 1-2” tall with bloom stalks with a lavender flower only 4-6” tall. It and many others are reliably hardy over the winter. Look for these mini hostas: “Dragon Tails,” “Mouse Trap,” “Cat’s Eye,” (above) and “Daisy DoLittle,” “Imp,” “Teeny Weeny Bikini,” (below)
“Cracker Crumbs,” “Blue Mouse Ears,” and “Frosted Mouse Ears.”
The nearly black leafed, ferny foliage of the tiny “Fairy Fern” that’s great in containers, troughs or small gardens. It doesn’t always make it through the winter, but it’s easy to keep in the house during the cold months. The same is true of Corsican Mint, with its intense minty aroma. Tiny thymes, such as “Elfin,” “Fairy,” “Lemon Drop,” or “Mint” are not only miniscule, but fragrant.
The interesting leaves of “Little Pickles” actually look like miniscule light green cucumbers. This tiny succulent will grow anywhere it is sunny and dry. Late in the summer, it has bright yellow blooms. Miniature hens & chicks are also delightful additions to the dry container or garden. There are many other tiny succulents that work in small landscapes or containers. We especially like “Love in A Tangle,” tiny haworthias, sedum “Harvest Moon” or “Coral Reef,” or a sweet little chartreuse sedum that’s airy and dainty.
There’s lots more, so if you are interested in tiny plants for troughs, railroad or fairy gardens, containers or just want a lot of plants in a small space, you’ll find just what you’re looking for! Come see many of them in the Fairy Garden, the “Thomas the Train” container garden, or in the “Miniature Plant” display.