Make magic in an imaginative fairy garden that you can display on your porch, patio or tabletop. Begin with a container, fill with potting mix and include mini shrubs like boxwood, tropical foliage plants or even bonsai.
Build out your fairy world with a fairy garden kit and accessories from The Home Depot’s Garden Center.
For best results, check plant tags and select plants for your fairy garden that require similar amounts of sunlight and water. Drought resistant shrubs and small conifers are slow growers that can handle partial shade and won’t require daily watering like some blooms.
Seek out varieties like Japanese boxwood, rosemary (this is a creative post-holiday use for a tree-shaped tabletop rosemary plant), bloomers like azaleas, and conifers like cypress and arborvitae. Look for plants in one gallon or smaller pots to fit in your fairy garden. Bonsai are perfect for this project, and will do best when kept in their original container and then placed in the fairy garden.
Creating a fairy garden takes less than an hour from start to finish. Part of the fun, especially if you’re making this project with children, is shopping for fairy garden accessories and looking around your home and garden for items that can be repurposed for the garden. Small toys, dollhouse accessories, even novelties left over from birthday parties, can all find a place in a fairy garden.
Nature offers much that can be reimagined and repurposed, and fall is probably the best time of year to find natural “miniatures.” Acorn caps can be teacups, small twigs and bits of moss can be fashioned into furniture and houses, and leaves can be blankets or roofs.
When choosing plants, consider dwarf shrubs and conifers for outdoor gardens. Good choices include dwarf cypress, dwarf spruce, miniature juniper, dwarf mugo pine, sky pencil Japanese holly, succulents like hens and chicks, and moss.
How to Build a Fairy Garden, Indoor and Outdoor Versions:
Tools and Materials:
- Small shrubs, bonsai or tropical foliage houseplants
- Potting mix
- Decorative rocks
- Fairy garden kit and accessories
- Garden trowel or soil scoop
- Gardening gloves
- Spray bottle or plant mister
1. Begin with a container.
Make sure the container has a drainage hole. It’s very difficult to control water levels when there’s no drainage. If the container will be placed on a tabletop, be sure to protect the table with a tray.
Fill the container with good quality potting mix. If you’re using houseplants, or shallow rooted annuals, you’ll need just four to six inches of potting mix. If you’re using larger plants, include more soil.
Depending on the depth of your container, fill the bottom with packing peanuts, soda bottles or any lightweight material covered with a thick layer of newspaper. Top with potting soil and use the edge of your trowel to level it off.
With the trowel, dig holes and place plants and shrubs along back edge of container.
2. Create the hardscape and add accessories.
Create paths with small pebbles or sand. Add fairy garden structures and characters to garden. It’s okay to rearrange your garden, in fact, it’s one of the perks of owning a fairy garden.
3. Maintain your fairy garden.
Your garden can vary through the year when you add seasonal blooms. When plants get too large or don’t appear fresh and happy, pull them out and find a new spot elsewhere for them. Replace with new plants for a fresh fairy garden.
Houseplants can be misted daily to provide moisture. Larger plants like shrubs can be watered about once a week or when the soil feels dry to the touch.
An outdoor fairy garden container will do best in part shade, even sheltered, such as on a porch. Place an indoor version near a sunny window and away from air vents.
Photos by Laura Mercer
Find more inspiration for fairy gardens: