Posted in category: Designing Fairy Gardens.

Starting a New Fairy Garden

fairy-gardenA recent question left by a site visitor seemed worthy of a post rather than the somewhat limited space of the comments section. Their question was what they needed to do to start a fairy garden. Seems like a straightforward question, but, upon a bit of thought, there’s a lot of decisions to make before beginning or making the first purchase. The good news is that most of them are really common sense. This article is designed to get you thinking about the options and potentially avoid expensive mistakes when building a fairy garden.

Location of a Fairy Garden

The location of your fairy garden pretty much drives all other decisions you will make. Consider the following issues before deciding where to plant your fairy garden…

  • Will your fairy garden be inside or outside?
  • How much sun or artificial lighting can you provide?
  • What moisture conditions exist – will watering be taken care of by Mother Nature or will you have to water it yourself?
  • Will it need to be pet proof, squirrel proof, deer proof or rabbit proof?
  • How much garden space can you allocate for your fairy garden?
  • How much desk, table or pot space will be available for an indoor fairy garden?

Plants for a Fairy Garden

Fairy garden plant selection should be based upon the following criteria . . .

Will your fairy garden include live plants?
While most fairy gardens include live plants, I’ve seen some wonderful play fairy gardens and gardens created by miniaturists that do not include live plants. There are tons of great options for children including this Little Sandbox Garden from Amazon.

Will your fairy garden be inside or out?
Consider both your summertime and wintertime conditions when selecting plants. If the plants you would like to grow are not tolerant of your local seasonal highs and lows, you’ll need to have a place to keep the plants during those times of year or plan on building an indoor fairy garden.
How much light can nature or you provide your fairy garden?
If your garden will be outside in a shady location, look for shade loving or plants that can tolerate only partial shade. If your garden will be inside, make sure you can provide the level of light the plants require; unless you have the perfect window for your chosen plants, plan on using an artificial light source to keep your plants happy.

What are the water requirements of your intended fairy garden plants?
How much time and effort will be needed to maintain the moisture level your plants require? Is your intended fairy garden location naturally too wet to sustain succulents? or, too dry to be self-sustaining of more moisture-loving plants?
What are the soil requirements for your new fairy garden?
Plant choice guides soil choice. Succulents like different soils than tropicals. Some folks even plant african violets in special soils rather than general potting soil. Research what your plants like and make your soil and co-planting decisions accordingly.

Have fun Fairy Gardening

succulent-dish-gardenContainer and dish gardening have been around for a long time; as evidenced by this vintage succulent dish garden drawing from a 1900 seed catalog. The addition of fairies and other bits of whimsy is a more modern adaptation and one that makes miniature gardening so much more fun.

My primary advice is to maybe start out small and research each fairy garden plant to ensure it will be happy living with the other plants you have chosen. So much of the advice for miniature gardening is sadly incorrect and misleading. It’s sad to see beautiful gardens that people have created knowing that they won’t live – very young tropical plants that will get huge interplanted with succulents and other non-complimentary species.

My goal with this post is to get you thinking about location, space and care needed prior to making any purchases and starting a fairy garden so that you will be able to enjoy your tiny green garden for a long time.

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