9 perfectly petite fairy garden plants
Creating a fairy garden is a fun and creative gardening activity for kids (that’s sure to bring out your inner child too) - the perfect way to get them outside when isolation boredom hits. 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. 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. Pratia thrives in full sun to light shade.
No fairy garden is complete without a touch of magic. Lavender Avonview and French lavender both have striking foliage and stems with a silvery sheen that brings a whimsical feel. Fairies will love playing under the tall blue-purple flower heads and will delight in the strong, distinctive fragrance. As a bonus, lavender Avonview's flower heads are topped with petals that give the effect of butterflies fluttering through the garden. Lavender is a lover of heat and thrives most if planted in full sun, but can also tolerate part shade and grows beautifully in pots. Learn more about growing lavender here.
3. Sagina subulata
Also known as pearlwort, this ornamental grass substitute grows knee-high to a fairy but is very dense, making it the perfect groundcover for a fairy garden. It forms green, moss-like mounds dotted with tiny white flowers through spring and summer. This plant 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). Dianthus likes to grow in full sun. Read our dianthus factsheet.
With its swathe of small but showy flowers, butterflies and birds will love this plant, and so will fairies. This low-care perennial blooms from late winter to summer, providing colour, texture and fragrance. Phlox is available in several colours including pure white, violet, light pink and a vibrant hot pink. To get the best out of your phlox, plant in full sun.
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.
To liven up your fairy garden with winter colour, plant violas. Their delicate, dainty petals are arranged in the shape of a butterfly, they come in a whole spectrum of vibrant colours and sometimes give off a waft of perfume. Many varieties even look like they have tiny little faces! Violas like 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.