I have several fairy gardens in my back yard where I shoot photos for my fairy houses and accessories. I’m often asked which are my favorite plants for a fairy garden. I like plants that add texture, color, a variation in height, and an occasional surprise. I also try to find plants that resemble miniature trees, shrubs, and grass.
For ground cover, my number one pick is stonecrop (Photo below). It is a miniature sedum that loves moist soil and works well in full or partial sun. The stonecrop in one container in my backyard is quite prolific and I have to trim it with garden shears occasionally as it tries to cover my tiny pathways. It is easy to care for and its miniature size adds to the charming look of the fairy garden. I also like to collect moss from my yard to add to pots that are located in a shadier spot. There is nothing quite as charming as a little moss “grass” in a fairy garden.
For “trees” I often use portulacaria, or miniature jade (photo below). It responds nicely to lots of trimming, so I can easily direct the shape of the branches. Another nice “tree” candidate is Hawaiian Umbrella, or Schefflera arboricola. This pretty plant likes water, sun, and also creates lovely branches. Any Bonsai-style plants make beautiful trees. Remember with any miniature style you will need to trim often. My goal for trimming is to keep space between the branches so lots of light can hit each branch. I remove anything that grows straight up or straight down, as these branches don’t look like realistic tree branches. Additionally, the more I trim the smaller the leaves.
I live in a tropical climate. It’s important to think about your own climate when choosing plants. Years ago I lived in Michigan and lavender was a good choice for trees in that cooler climate.
Draping-style plants help to add interest to the overall planting. It is pretty when they “spill” over the sides of your container. Look for plants with small leaves.
Last, but not least, add a plant or two that produces tiny flowers. I have a gold fish plant in one garden, and its pretty orange flowers are small enough for the fairy garden setting and add a jolt of bright, happy color now and then.
I try to think about the soil, location, watering needs, and how much the plant will grow or spread. Look for plants that fit your style for maintenance, and to match the theme of your garden.