6 Best Plants for Fairy Gardens and Miniature Landscapes

Tiny landscapes need tiny plants with miniature leaves and flowers

When you create a miniature landscape you need plants on the same tiny scale, and they're not always easy to find. There are a few plants that stand out for their ability to mimic larger plants when placed next to scale buildings, furniture or figures in fairy gardens and garden railroads. The plants on this list are relatively easy to find and suit many climates and locations. Many will also work for an indoor or outdoor container garden

  • 01 of 06

    Choose Ellwood's Pillar (Chamaecyparis Lawoniana) for a Miniature Evergreen Tree

    C.lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar' With a 1:12 Scale Ball Jointed Doll For Scale
    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar' shown with a 5 1/2 inch 1:12 scale ball jointed doll for scale. The plant in this photo is from a 4 inch pot. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    This lovely columnar dwarf evergreen is a miniature "Port Orford" Cedar. With its narrow growth habit, it resembles an Italian Cypress in miniature and garden railroad scenes. This one needs as much sun as possible and shelter from cold, drying winds. It grows around 3 inches a year, and will eventually reach 3 feet in height. The Chamaecyparis makes a great focal point at least for a few years in a miniature garden in a broken flower pot

  • 02 of 06

    Jean's Dilly is a Miniature Spruce Tree

    Conical shape of a young plant of dwarf white spruce "Jean's Dilly".
    Conical "Christmas Tree" shape of a young plant of Picea glauca var. albertiana "Jean's Dilly". Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Grow this version of a miniature spruce tree for a tiny Christmas tree which will stay in scale with model buildings for many years. It's best grown in the ground although it can be grown for a few years in a pot with care, especially over the winter.

  • 03 of 06

    Schleranthus uniflorus Creates a Miniature Fairy Garden Lawn

    Scleranthus uniflorus used as grass for dollhouse scale dolls
    Scleranthus uniflorus shown with 1:12 and 1:24 scale dolls to show its usefullness for scale model settings. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Miniature lawns are difficult to create in fairy garden scale, but Schleranthus uniflorus, a New Zealand native found in the rock or alpine garden section of many nurseries, can be used for flat lawns or rustic hummocks in miniature landscapes. It has a tendency to grow into a cushion shape so you will need to press it down occasionally to keep a lawn look for your fairy garden. If you want a flat effect, this is much easier to maintain in a container garden than loose in the ground.

  • 04 of 06

    Prune Bush Thyme Can Mimic Miniature Trees

    A young plant of 'Silver Posie' Thyme pruned to develop as a miniature tree for a fairy garden
    A young plant of 'Silver Posie' Thyme pruned to develop as a miniature tree for a fairy garden or garden railway. Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    The bushy forms of thyme used as herbs can often be pruned to resemble small trees or shrubs for miniature landscapes, garden railroads, and fairy gardens. Easily grown in container gardens, carefully shaped plants can turn any potted bush thyme into a bonsai. If you harvesting your thyme for seasoning you'll also wind up keeping your tiny tree properly trimmed.  

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Miniature Curry Plant

    A young silver leaved miniature curry plant, Helichrysum italicum 'microphyllum' in a fairy garden.
    A young silver leaved miniature curry plant, Helichrysum italicum 'microphyllum' planted in a fairy garden container.,. Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    The Miniature curry plant (Helichrysum Italicum Microphyllums) is another great candidate for fairy gardens or railroad gardens, in the ground or in a small container garden. It has very fine needle-like leaves which are in scale with small figures. This plant is easy to grow, needs hard pruning each year, and likes poor, well-drained soils, making it a good plant for dry fairy gardens.

  • 06 of 06

    Choose Rhodohypoxis baurii for Clumps of Tiny Flowers

    Rhodohypoxis baurii beside a dollhouse scale doll to show the size of the plant.
    Rhodohypoxis baurii variety platypetala shown with a dolls house scale doll for size. Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

    Rhodohypoxis is a South African native, which in miniature gardens resembles a plant similar to an iris in a full-sized garden. Although there are several varieties with larger flowers, the smaller flowered variety "platypetala" works well for dollhouse and garden railroad-sized figures and buildings.