How to Make a Terrarium Fairy Garden

Creating a terrarium fairy garden is a fun and inspiring project for all ages, whole families, siblings, best friends and solo gardeners! They also make a very unique and refreshing gift and can decorated according to different themes and designed to convey a special meaning or message (NOTE TO SELF: terrariums for birthdays, housewarmings and Christmas!!). So let’s get cracking shall we…..

Step 1: Choose your terrarium container and gather materials

You’ll need to source a glass container for your terrarium (with or without a lid). They are available in varying sizes and shapes from nurseries, gardening stores and sometimes florists. Fish bowls are also fabulous to use and available from Pet Shops. Large glass candy jars and apothecary jars also make beautiful terrarium vessels and can be sources from discount and home decor stores.

Terrarium Plants
Image credit: Better Homes and Gardens –

Gather these materials:

  • Terrarium container as already discussed (NOTE: consider size in relation to plants and fairy garden ornaments)
  • Activated charcoal (purchased from your local garden centre or pet store)
  • Small pebbles for drainage (fairy river stones were used in this project)
  • Potting mix (suitable for indoor plants)
  • Dried Sphagnum Moss
  • Live moss (if available in your area)
  • Terrarium plants (small shade loving/indoor plants).
  • Potting shovel
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Gardening gloves
  • Miniature fairy gardening ornaments and accessories
  • Decorative shells, crystals and interesting shaped stones to add contrast.
Terrarium Fairy Garden Supplies
 Step 1: Planning
Do take time to have a think about what sort of fairyland scene you would like to create. BEST ADVICE: Simplicity is the key and LESS IS MORE! You might like to draw and map out your terrarium space and play around with different ornaments until you have the perfect arrangement. Or you might like to just free style it. It is up to you, however do keep in mind that a terrarium is a relatively small contained environment and the plants will require some space to grow. Avoid over crowding with ornaments. When you are ready…..begin to pot up your terrarium.
Step 2: Pebble Layer 

Add a layer of gravel or pebbles to the bottom of your glass container. This is to create a drainage layer so water can settle and not flood the plant. I used fairy river stones from the Garden Sparkle range. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the terrarium container, the thicker the drainage layer. Remember to leave enough space at the top of the container so the terrarium looks spacious and isn’t cramped.

Make your own terrarium fairy garden


Step 3: Activated Charcoal Layer

Next add a layer of activated charcoal. “Activated” means that the charcoal has been through a process where it’s made more porous and therefore more absorbent. Charcoal can be purchased as small granules or as shards – either is fine. You just need enough to cover the pebbles layer. The charcoal is an important ingredient as it will improve the quality of your miniature world and also reduce bacteria, fungi and odors.

Make your own terrarium fairy garden - add activated charcoal


Step 4: Sphagnum Moss Layer

Then add a layer of sphagnum moss. This will stop the potting mix from falling down into the lower layers of charcoal and pebbles.

Add a layer of sphagnum moss to your fairy terrarium

Step 5: Potting Mix Layer
Potting mix is the next layer – at least 4 cm deep. You can even create hills and valleys.
Add a layer of soil to your terrarium fairy garden
Step 6: Plants
Moisture-loving indoor plants from tropical and subtropical regions are ideal for terrariums. When choosing plants go for a range of heights, colours and textures. Low-growing plants are preferred, but if using taller plants, trim their tips occasionally. Make sure you choose plants that have similar temperature, light and water requirements.
Terrarium Fairy Garden Plants
Better Home & Gardens recommends the following terrarium plants however pop on down to your local nursery and there will be plenty to choose from.
Terrarium Fairy Garden Plants
When it comes to planting your terrarium fairy garden you will notice that some plants have more of a dense and fibrous root system.  You may need to reduce the size of the roots so that plants can fit into the terrarium space. You can trim up to half the roots and the plant will still be fine.
Carefully remove your plants from their pots (trim and split foliage as necessary) and position them on top of the soil allowing enough room between the plants for additional soil. If your terrarium is to be viewed from all angles, I suggest arranging your plants with the tallest one in the middle. If it is to be viewed from one angle, position the tallest plants to the rear.
Add plants to your terrarium fairy garden
Once you are happy with the arrangement, use your hands to pack soil in and around plants. Tuck plants deep enough into the soil to ensure all roots are covered and also to keep the plants from reaching too far out and above the top of the terrarium container.
Potted fairy terrairum
If you are lucky enough to be able to source live moss locally, you can now position the moss on top of the soil and in between the plants. After planting out your terrarium , mist spray all of the plants to clean off any potting mix sticking to the leaves or sides of the container. The water from the mist will be sufficient to provide moisture and settle the potting mix.
Step 7: Decorate and arrange miniature fairy garden ornaments
Create your fairy garden scene by adding miniature ornaments and accents. I prefer the Cicely Mary Barker Fairies so chose Bindi Fairy for my largest terrarium.
Bindi Fairy 2ed rcStork's Bill Fairy
Other fairy friends can be added along with a teenie tiny fairy pet if there is room! As an alternative you might like to add just one fairy and a couple miniature fairy garden accents accessories, or some fairy garden furniture.
Terrarium Fairy Garden Accents
Add interesting stones and shells for decoration and touches of colour.
Decorate your fairy garden with shells, stones and crystals
Make your very own terrarium fairy garden
IMG_0397 (5184x3456)
How to make a terrarium fairy garden
If your terrarium has a lid, keep the container uncovered until the leaves are completely dry, then close it and enjoy your magical little fairy world.
Maintenance of your terrarium is minimal once the plants are established. As they grow you may want to trim any branches that grow out and over the top of the container. This is a really fun and rewarding activity for all ages, whole families, siblings and friends.
Make sure you place your terrarium fairy garden in a well-lit area with indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight and from heaters because they will get too hot and dry out.  Watering requirements are dependent on the types of plants you have selected and the environment they’re growing in.  Do check the soil for moisture before watering.
TIPS: With or without a lid???
If your terrarium has and open top (no lid), just water the plants as they require with a mist spray. Take note it will require more watering than a terrarium that is enclosed. If your terrarium has a lid it may not need watering for several months as the plants will recycle the moisture. However, if the soil in your closed terrarium looks dry or you notice the plants starting to wilt, water them with a mist spray, wait for the leaves to dry then close the lid again. If water condenses heavily on the inside of the glass container, you have added too much water. If this is the case, remove the lid straight away and leave the container open for several days to allow  excessive moisture to evaporate then close the lid again.
Have fun tending to your miniature fairy world terrarium and watching it grow!
Customer Love + Terrariums
I was absolutely wrapped to receive these snap shots from our wonderful customer Belinda. Shared with permission, take a look at the magical terrarium she created with her three year old daughter.
Image credit: Belinda Doyle. Shared with permission.
Terrarium Fairy Garden with Fairy Door - Image shared with permission by Belinda Doyle
Image credit: Belinda Doyle. Shared with permission.
Magic of Childhood - Fairy Gardening an Terrariums - Image by Belinda Doyle
Image credit: Belinda Doyle. Shared with permission.
We’d love to see your terrarium fairy gardens so please feel free to share with us on our facebook page or email your photos to me at [email protected] .
 Happy fairy gardening!
Fairy Kate xxx