Plants for Miniature Gardens

Miniature gardens (often referred to as fairy gardens) are a very popular method of introducing gardening to those who do not have the space or time for large scale landscape, as well as helping to spark the imaginations of a generation of children who do not have the resources available elsewhere. Miniature gardens need small leaved plants that can mimic trees or shrubs around the small scale landscapes they are designed with.

Several mini hostas, sedges, and creeping herbs can be found in the author's miniature garden
Several mini hostas, sedges, and creeping herbs can be found in the author’s miniature garden

There is a wide variety of plants available solely for use in miniature gardening. Many nurseries are beginning to offer “fairy” plants that have been specially designed for such use. These include grasses, annuals, perennials, tree seedlings, shrub seedlings, and water plants. Plants that are used for miniature gardens should be used correctly to provide color, balance, height, structure, texture, and form as if to mimic a full sized landscape.


Plants that mimic groundcovers such as turf or ivy in the mini-garden are sedums, grasses, thymes, and lamium. These ground hugging plants help define the spaces of the mini-garden as well as limit the amount of mulch or rock covering the ground in the garden. For shrub mimics in the mini-garden, try annuals with compact size, small perennials, and some shrub seedlings. Tree mimics can be annuals with minimal branching habit, tall herbs such as lavender or rosemary, or tree & shrub seedlings.

The following is a list of plants that Grimm’s Gardens offers through the growing season for use in miniature gardens.

Mini-Garden close-up
Mini-Garden close-up


Angelonia – use for flowering trees in the background

Coleus – use as backdrop or tree mimic

Firecracker plant ‘Vermillionaire’ – use as a flowering tree

Helenium ‘Dakota old’ – use as a flowering shrub

Strawflower – use as a flowering shrub

Vinca – use as a flowering shrub


Sedge ‘Blue Zinger’ – use as a large grass

Liriope – use as a bunching groundcover


Lamium – use as a blooming groundcover

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ – use as a foliage shrub

Allium ‘ Millenium’ – use as a flowering shrub

Dianthus – use as a groundcover

Sedums – use as a groundcover

Hens & Chicks – use as a groundcover

Coral Bells – Us


Thyme – use as a groundcover

Lavender ‘Phenomenon’ – use as an evergreen tree/shrub

Rosemary – use as an evergreen tree

Basil – use as a large shrub/tree

Sage – use as an evergreen shrub




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