Langan, who owns Mulberry Creek Herb Farm, a retail greenhouse and wholesale growing operation in Huron, Ohio, with his wife, Karen, got his first fairy gardening plant request about 15 years ago. As the popularity of fairy gardening grew, so did Langan’s frustration with the trend, as he kept seeing four cute but culturally incompatible plants plunked in a pot together.
“As an industry, we don’t put shade-loving begonias and calibrachoa together in one hanging basket; that’s not horticulturally wise,” Langan says. “Yet somehow we’re allowing our customers to make ill-fated selections for fairy gardening. I got really frustrated because, one, they were mixing and matching plants that were culturally incompatible; and secondly, they weren’t miniature, so they quickly outsized the accessories.”
Besides looking small and cute, Langan knew plants must be culturally suited for small spaces. He began cultivating a line of easily-pruned dwarf plants, launching Mulberry Miniatures (originally called Faery Plant Kingdom) three years ago. He now has a collection of 130 varieties of miniature plants.
As more small-scale growers emerge, the plant industry is catching up with the mini gardening trend, which had been driven largely by accessories. Breeders are actively producing varieties specifically for mini gardens. By keeping up with popular plants, garden centers can help customers make successful selections to drive the trend even further.
Location, location, location
Obviously, plants for mini landscapes must be small.
“When we started, you couldn’t give away 2-inch pots,” says Kelley Batson Howard, who owns Batson’s Foliage Group Inc., which launched a line of 2-inch Ittie Bitties in 2011. “Now, there’s popularity