If you’ve accumulated too many potted plants to be able to display them effectively or are tired of the pot plus plant equals pot plant equation, it’s time to try this mini DIY project. All you need is plants, a good-sized pot, a little time, and your creativity to make it happen. Ordinary pots too boring for you? A lot of weird and wonderful everyday items can become containers for your mini garden.
Let’s get started a step by step guide for your mini garden!
Step 1: Choose Plants With Similar Requirements
This step is easier than it sounds. If you’ve already had your plants for a while, you’ll know how often they need water and how much light they need to thrive. If you’re starting from scratch, shop with these two factors in mind. As a rule of thumb, most succulents will be happy to share space in your mini garden while indoor tropicals will also have similar requirements to one another.
The only plants you should absolutely avoid in this indoor gardening project are those that don’t tolerate root disturbance well. There are surprisingly few of these. The myrtle family and the erica family are broadly known for disliking root shake-ups while surprisingly soft plants like Bacopa will tolerate it with ease.
Step 2: Mix and Match to Choose “Mini Garden” Elements
Basic garden design elements apply – only rather more intensely because your garden will occupy a relatively small space. To allow each plant an opportunity to make its impact, use contrasting colours, textures, and heights.
I like to work in threes. For example, I would choose one dark green, one silver, one gold or light green plant. If the container is quite large, I might plant many more than three, but by splitting up the contrasts, I can create a kind of visual rhythm.
The same goes for heights. Choose one tall feature plant, a mid-height plant to compliment it and a low-growing plant to fill. Big leaves and small leaves also create visually interesting contrast. Once again, a transitional leaf size can help to form a link without spoiling the contrast.
Step 3: Arranging Your Plants Like a Pro
Once you get to arranging your plants, you’re likely to find that leaving the root balls intact leaves too much space inbetween. This is the part that makes my audience gasp at gardening demos, but with the right plants, it does little to no damage. To loosen the root balls, hit them with a trowel or quite literally bash them on your potting bench. The soil crumbles away beautifully and most of the roots don’t get hurt at all.
With your plants ready to arrange, you need a good layer of potting soil at the bottom of the new container to rest the roots on. Since some of your plants have more roots than others, begin with those that have the most root volume. After that, you can add another layer of potting medium for the more shallow-rooted plants to rest on.
You can treat this just like flower arranging and place the plants as close together as you like. In a few months or years, you may want to divide them up again, but it’s perfectly doable.
Tamp in the soil to fill any large air-filled gaps, water well, and inspect your handiwork to see if the potting soil has subsided again anywhere and needs a top-up.
Step 4: Aftercare and Finishing Touches
If you chose succulents for your mini garden, they won’t need any special treatment despite the way you’ve disturbed them. Softer plants will benefit from about two weeks in a shaded spot. Keep the soil moist during this time and mist down the leaves if you still see any signs of wilting.
If there are still a few little spaces in your mini-garden, you can fill them with attractive stones, interesting pieces of wood or even porcelain figurines. Now, you can sit back and enjoy your DIY mini-garden. Are you a great mini-landscaper? Sure you are!