Creating a fairy garden is a fun and creative gardening activity for kids (that’s sure to bring out your inner child too). Here are nine of our favourite fairy garden plants for a magical miniature world no fairy will be able to resist.
Where to locate your fairy garden
Fairy gardens can be created in the garden or in any container you can think of, from a pot to an old wheel barrow or sink or even an unused sandpit. Just make sure there are drainage holes. Also consider the types of plant you’ll be using and whether they need a sunny location or whether they’re happy in the shade.
What you’ll need:
- Quality potting mix appropriate for the type of plants you’ll be using.
- Gardening gloves
- Gardening trowel or similar tools
- Watering can
- Interesting rocks, pebbles, shells, pine cones, driftwood or anything that you can find in and around the garden to create a wonderland fairies will love.
1. Zoysia tenuifolia
Also known as Korean velvet grass, this creeping, ornamental, perennial grass grows knee-high to a fairy and very slowly, making it the perfect groundcover for a fairy garden. It forms unique, moss-like mounds and its emerald leaves are soft and fine. Likes full sun to part shade.
2. Pratia pedunculata
If there’s one thing fairies love, it’s flowers. This hardy ground-hugging perennial herb is native to South Australia. From spring to early summer it reveals an abundance of dainty white or pale-blue star-shaped flowers that almost cover the dark green foliage. Likes full sun to light shade.
3. Cuphea Toffee Apple
No fairy garden is complete without a miniature tree for fairies to play in. Cuphea Toffee Apple is the perfect little specimen. This evergreen perennial shrub has been trained as a standard (ball on a stick), growing just 30 centimetres tall and blooms for most of the year. Likes full sun to part shade.
For a pop of fairy garden colour, dianthus is the ticket. Also known as carnations or pinks, dianthus flowers from spring to autumn and its silvery-green foliage creates interesting contrast. Many dianthus boast two-coloured petals that are laced, flecked or picotee (an outer margin of another colour). Likes full sun. Read our dianthus factsheet.
5. Iberis candytuft
With its swathe of small but showy flowers, butterflies and birds will love this plant, and so will fairies. This low-care free-flowering perennial blooms late winter to summer. For a splash of white, try White Heat (Iberis amara) or for a lovely lilac shade, plant Iberis Lavish (Iberis gibraltarica). Likes full sun. Read our iberis candytuft factsheet.
To liven up your fairy garden with winter colour, plant pansies. Their delicate petals are arranged in the shape of a butterfly, they come in a whole spectrum of vibrant colours and sometimes even give off a waft of perfume. Likes full sun to part shade. How to grow pansies.
Mazus is a tiny groundcover perennial plant, growing just five centimetres tall. It forms a dense mat of foliage, making it a welcoming flowering groundcover for your fairy garden. In spring, it’s dotted with tiny mauve, pink or yellow flowers. Likes full sun to part shade.
Hardy, self-sowing annual alyssum will give your fairy garden year after year of bright winter blooms in pink, salmon, purple, white and yellow. Alyssum grows only up to 15 centimetres tall and produces clusters of tiny flowers in clumps. Likes full sun to part shade.
Succulents come in a universe of shapes, sizes and colours and best of all, they're easy to care for. Ideal fairy garden succulents include echeveria, which produces beautiful flowers, Crassula perforata (string of buttons) is a fun addition, or rosette-forming succulents like hen and chicks. Likes full sun to part shade. Check out our beginner's guide to growing succulents.