Fairy gardens are a fun project for anyone to try and are also a great way to introduce kids to gardening. They have grown so much in popularity over the last decade that it is quite common to see tiny plants and miniature accessories available for sale at most garden retailers. There are a few things to consider when planning a fairy garden to ensure success.
To optimize planting space, choose a container that is wider than it is tall. Make sure it has at least one drainage hole and a matching saucer to catch any runoff. Any regular potting soil without any added fertilizer will work fine, but don’t fill your container with soil from the ground. I have also seen some fun fairy gardens that utilize broken pots. The broken side is used to frame the scene and shards are strategically placed to help hold the soil in the container and create a lovely “hillside” scene.
Choosing plants can be a little tricky since you don’t want anything that will get too large. If planned properly, a fairy garden can last a decade or more. To get the most realistic effect, choose one taller plant to act as a tree, several medium-sized plants to act as shrubs, and then several creeping or mat-like plants to accent the ground. Succulents, mosses, small houseplants, and dwarf plants work well in fairy gardens. Be sure to get plants that have similar light and water needs.
Now for the fun part, accessories! Pick a few pieces of furniture and other objects to place around the scene, but make sure that they are of similar scale to each other and to the plants you have chosen. Also be sure that accessories are made of ceramic, metal, or plastic so they won’t deteriorate after being watered. Maybe add a tiny fairy or gnome or a little house? The options are almost endless.
Lay out your plants and accessories in the container until you have a pleasing arrangement, and then start planting with the largest plant first. Once everything is in place, consider adding a pathway, patio, or “water” feature. Materials that work well for this are pebbles, flat pieces of wood, pennies, small flat pieces of stone, or glass gems. Let your imagination run wild and create your own little magical fairy garden!