Miniature Plants for Indoors

My Garden Life
February 2, 2022
Table of Contents
If you love tiny things, then you’ll love the many different ways you can enjoy miniature plants. They’re a great way to display plants in a windowsill, on a shelf, or tabletop. Miniature plants are also a good option for small spaces such as a dorm room, apartment, or office. Create a miniature garden with a dish garden, fairy garden, a terrarium, or a set of teacup plants. Once you have the perfect container picked out, you’ll need to decide on what miniature plants are suitable.

Here are ten miniature plants you may want to consider:

1. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Pot on a table filled with three different colors of polka dot plant

The vivid leaves of this Madagascar native will add a pop of color to your mini garden. The green leaves of the Hypoestes can be splattered with spots and dashes of white, pink, purple, or red. To keep this miniature plant compact and bushy, pinch off new leaves as they bud.

2. Nerve Plant (Fittonia species)

Beautiful dish garden planted with three different colors of Fittonia surrounded by pebbles

The simple, eye-catching beauty of the nerve plant makes for a lovely teacup plant. The green leaves can be etched with white or pink veins and the striking contrast will embellish a terrarium nicely. Fittonia is a slow-growing houseplant that stays small and does well in mini gardens.

3. Club Moss (Selaginella species)

Close up photo of club moss in a blue pot

Among houseplants that stay small, the feathery leaves of club moss are a source of depth and texture. Club moss is native to sub-Saharan Africa and will enjoy the greenhouse-like environment of a terrarium. Simply prune the Selaginella often to keep the creeping stems within the small space.

4. Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)

Close up photo of baby tears plant showing its dainty little foliage

Monsieur Soleirol discovered this elegant beauty in Corsica in the early 19th century. Baby’s tear’s dainty little leaves make it the perfect plant for a fairy garden, where it can be used to simulate moss. For a charming look, allow the Soleirolia vine to spill over the sides of a teacup or pretty porcelain dish.

5. Creeping Inch Plant (Callisia repens)

Close up photo of creeping inch plant in a pot

Creeping inch plant is a trailing houseplant that stays small but spreads readily. The leaves are densely packed and get smaller in size the further out from the plant’s core they get. The leaves of the ‘Pink Lady’ variety are green with white stripes and have a pink tint. Creeping Inch Plant is also known as Bolivian Wandering Jew, Dwarf Wandering Jew, or Turtle vine.

6. Variegated Ivy (Hedera helix)

Small English ivy in a decorative pot on a table

Beautiful, adaptable, and tough, English Ivy is most often found outdoors climbing a garden fence or wall. For a captivating miniature effect, keep the ivy trimmed close. Grow it in a dish or fairy garden and let a few vines scale a nearby tiny trellis.

7. Peperomia (Peperomia species)

Watermelon peperomia in a pot on a counter

Native to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean, Peperomia comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The leaves can be large or small; textured or smooth; variegated, marbled, or solid; and come in shades of red, green, gray, or purple. It has distinctive conical flowers that spike up through the foliage.

8. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

Hand holding a tiny pot planted with a string of pearls plant

For a change from leafy plants, Senecio’s dangling, round foliage looks like a string of green pearls. The shallow roots of this succulent make it the perfect plant for a teacup or dish garden. It has tiny white flowers with long stamens that have a spicy, cinnamon-like scent.

9. Leptinella (Leptinella squalida)

Close up photo of the dainty, ferny foliage of a Leptinella plant

Leptinella’s tiny greenish-yellow flowers and bronze-tinted foliage have earned it the nickname “brass buttons”. There’s also a popular hybrid named ‘Platt’s Black’ that produces deep purple-black foliage that is ideal for creating color contrast in a mixed planting. The tiny, textured foliage resembles large-scale fern plants. Use it to create the illusion of ferns in a terrarium, dish garden, or fairy garden.

10. Chinese Money Plant (Pilea species)

Chinese money plant in a pot on a rustic wooden table

Pilea is a fun, offbeat plant with many nicknames. The round-shaped leaves led to the nickname “pancake plant”, and in China it is known as the “Chinese money plant”, because the leaves are thought to resemble coins. In China it is believed that displaying this plant will bring luck and fortune to its owner.
The “babies” that Pilea plants produce are easily removed and replanted, leading people to share this “pass it on plant” with friends. To help the plant stay small, cut off the babies and plant them or pass them along to other plant lovers.

Keeping Miniature Houseplants Healthy

Decorative glass terrarium filled with a variety of tropical foliage plants

Miniature houseplants are easy to grow and there are many ways to use them. Here are some tips for growing miniature plants:
  • When planning a fairy garden, terrarium, or dish garden be sure the soil can drain well. A container with drainage holes would be ideal. You can – carefully – drill a hole in a teacup, or other small container, and use a saucer to catch any water that drains out (then empty the excess water from the saucer).
  • Grow in a location near a window where the plant will receive bright, indirect light or grow under artificial light.

A variety of different sized glass jars with cork stoppers planted with small tropical plants to make terrariums

  • Avoid overwatering by allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Use a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month when the plants are actively growing (usually spring and summer).
  • Trim your miniature plants to stay within the confines of their little containers or let them trail over the edges.
Click one of these links to find more ideas on creating teacup plants, dish gardens, fairy gardens, or terrariums using miniature houseplants.

Yellow mug on a wooden table planted with a string of pearls plant


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