While there are many plants with small leaves and flowers that suit fairy gardens, garden railroads or a small scale container garden, a few plants stand out for their ability to mimic larger plants when placed next to scale buildings, furniture or figures. The plants on this list are relatively easy to find and suit many climates and locations. Many will work for an indoor or outdoor container garden.
Click on the links for specific growing and training information to use the plants in miniature... and fairy gardens.
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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.
This Chamaecyparis makes a great focal point at least for a few years in a miniature garden in a broken flower pot
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Grow this version of miniature spruce tree for a tiny Christmas tree which will stay in scale with model buildings for many years. Best grown in the ground although it can be grown for a few years in a pot with care, especially over the winter.
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Schleranthus uniflorus - "Knawel Cushion" for a Miniature Fairy Garden Lawn
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.
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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, careful shaping of the plants can turn any potted bush thyme into a 'bonsai'. Harvesting your thyme for seasoning can have the added benefit of keeping it trimmed as a small tree. See how to choose and prune a bush thyme into a miniature treeContinue to 5 of 6 below.
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Miniature curry plant 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 seem in scale with small figures. Easy to grow it needs hard pruning each year, and likes poor, well-drained soils, making it a good plant for dry fairy gardens.
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Rhodohypoxis is a South African native, which in scale miniature gardens resembles a plant similar to an iris in a full size garden. Although there are several varieties with larger flowers, the smaller flowered variety "platypetala" works well for dollhouse and garden railroads sized figures and buildings.