Growing a Fairy Garden

It’s no longer a fantasy – fairy gardens are coming to life in a yard near you.

Patrick Newman with Red Butte Gardens explains why this trend has taken off, and how to create a mini fairy-inspired garden of your own.

Fairy gardens are miniature garden spaces designed with fairies and garden sprites in mind. The plants used typically stay small and serve as a replacement for larger trees and shrubs found in a real garden. Adding miniature furniture and accessories creates the large garden feel, while appealing to fairies and giving your garden a unique, personal touch. You can choose to add a fairy figure or just leave the garden as is, for fairies and sprites to find. Use the following tips to create your own very fairy garden.

1. Select a container. The sky is the limit here; a ceramic pot, wooden box, trough, pan, basket, or and old wheelbarrow. Be creative in your selection, and remember to allow for adequate drainage.

2. Design your garden. Draw a rough sketch of your garden before you plant and place elements. Decide where you want paths, where you plan to place furniture and features, what direction the garden will be viewed from. Experiment with different arrangements and features until you find one you prefer.

3. Choose your accessories. Create a scene within your garden by choosing from a variety of furniture and structures including fairy houses and furniture. Adding structures, such as arbors, fences, and paths, helps to define the garden space. Perhaps your fairy needs a small watering can or garden trowel? You can build small structures or tables and chairs, purchase mini items for doll houses or fairy gardening wares from the Red Butte Garden Gift Shop. You can use found objects like bottle caps and thread spools. The accessories you add will welcome fairies to your new miniature landscape.

4. Select your plants. Different plants can be used for different purposes; the important thing is that they stay small and won’t quickly outgrow the garden space. Remember to select plants that have similar water and light requirements. Plants that work in fairy gardens include:

Groundcovers “Lawn”
· Scotch or Irish Moss
· Creeping Thyme
· Baby Tears
· Cushion Pink
· Blue Star Creeper

· Lemon Cypress Cone
· Euonymus variegatus
· Neanthe Bella palm

· Hens & Chicks varieties
· Blue Mouse Ears Hosta
· Polka Dot plant
· Zebra plant
· Ageratum

· Variegated Dwarf Myrtle
· Gold leaf sedum
· Sedum “Fairy pink”
· Dwarf Myrtle
· Mexican Heather
· Boxwood Honeysuckle
· Angel Vine
· Alyssum

5. Use a good quality, commercially produced potting mix.

6. Be sure to maintain your fairy garden as you would a larger one. Water regularly during the heat of the summer, but be careful not to overwater the smaller plants. Use pruners to trim plants so they don’t become too large. (you can remove plants that outgrow the environment). Pluck weeds and dead leaves or plants. Proper fertilization will help keep your garden looking lush and healthy.

7. Most importantly, remember to be creative and have lots of fun! The possibilities are limitless and the results are whimsical and enchanting.

Grow memories this summer at Red Butte Garden. Come for a sunset picnic, take a class, or attend a Garden Adventure with your kids. Explore the Secret Garden, cool off in the fountain, and attend a summer concert or free Sundance Film. All this, and so much more! Visit for a list of everything happening at the Garden this summer.

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