A Tiny Teacup Garden Is Just the Thing for Your Winter Blues

Children and adults will love making a miniature nature scene filled with dwarf plants and small figurines.

Create a Teacup Garden

If winter's cold and lack of greenery has you down, fight back, by crafting a lovely, tiny teacup garden for your home. Teacup gardens are also great gifts and a wonderful project to do with a child to show them the fun and creativity of growing.

Assemble Your Foundation

To create a teacup garden, you'll need some basics: potting soil, river rock to act as a drain for excess water build-up and sheet moss. You can use decorative tinted or natural deer moss, as shown here, to add a layer of whimsy to your garden.

Choose Your Vessel

Thrift stores, big box home goods stores and even your own cupboards are great places to find containers for your teacup garden.

Vessel Options

Traditional, petite teacups make wonderful miniature gardens. But if you are aiming for a bit more plant real estate and room to tuck in whimsical details, oversized mugs are a nice option.

Add River Rock

River rock helps with drainage in your teacup garden. Spread an even layer of rock in the bottom of your teacup or mug.

A Layer of Potting Soil

Place potting soil over the layer of river rock and gently pat down. Leave about 1/8 inch from the top of your container to add sheet moss.

Cut Sheet Moss to Fit

Cut your sheet moss to fit your teacup or coffee mug. Place your sheet moss in a bowl of water and allow the moss to get completely wet. After filling your container with potting soil, leave about 1/8 inch from the top of your container for the sheet moss.

A Delicate Teacup

Pretty, old-fashioned teacups can be found in thrift, antique stores and home goods retail. Even the daintiest cup makes an adorable teacup garden. This one came from my great grandmother's teacup collection.

Use a Variety of Plant Types

I used mini fittonia, autumn fern, ripple peperomia, calandiva and bonsai to bring various colors and textures and vertical interest to my teacup gardens.

Colorful Calandiva

Add color and texture to your teacup garden with a variety of plant types.

Choose Brights and Darks

A mix of small plants in your teacup garden will bring interest. Mix lighter and darker plants, some with intense color and variegated and solid leaves to make for a more unique garden.


A manicured bonsai can add just the right miniature touch to your teacup garden, whether isolated in the landscape for a little drama or mixed in with other plant materials.

Tiny Christmas Trees

You can keep your teacup garden pure and just use live plants, but I had fun adding some of my holiday tiny tree collection for a kitschy touch.

A Selection of Tiny Animals and Decor

Get creative when sourcing items for your teacup garden.

Shop Seasonal Sales

After Christmas, Valentine's and other holiday sales can mean a selection of decorative goods at half price. These small embellishments are part of an after-Christmas sale and make great quirky details when placed in a thin slice of cork in a dinosaur garden.

Shop Craft Stores or Your Own Decorating Supply

After holiday sales are a great time to pick up small ornamental details that can stand in for plants or flowers to supplement the real plants in your teacup garden. You may also find decor among your own holiday decorations that you can repurpose for your garden.

A Cat Teacup Garden

Sometimes the cup (or mug) makes the garden. This whimsical teacup garden was inspired by the oversized cat mug that contains it and provides instant fun to a mix of variegated plants, some faux-trees and miniature mushrooms. All add up to a one-of-a-kind garden sure to delight a child or a cat lady (or guy).

Cute From All Sides

With the right cup and accessories your tiny garden will be a showstopper from any angle.

Embrace Cute in Teacup and Mug Choices

Your teacup garden will already have a jump on cute if you choose an adorable vessel like this supersized kitty cat mug.

A Charming Cat Mug

Sometimes you can find teacups or mugs with so much personality, they make your teacup garden. This oversized cat mug offered the perfect vessel for a garden filled with charming faux mushrooms and an array of multicolored plants.

Play With Scale

Teacup gardens are full of expressive possibilities. Choose larger animals for impact or to spotlight a child's special interest, or smaller versions that make the plants look like trees and foliage towering over the creatures.

Finished Dinosaur Garden

Outrageous colors from repurposed Christmas ornaments and tinted deer moss, a dramatically-shaped bonsai and an array of dinosaurs tucked into foliage define this dinosaur teacup garden.

A Fantastical Dinosaur Garden

For dinosaur gardens, a colorful container adds an element of fun. There are many size options when it comes to dinosaurs, but I used very small dinosaurs tucked in among the plants and bits of glittery holiday decor. With children in mind, I thought it would be more fun for them to slowly discover the creatures in the landscape.

Tiny Details

Tucking a variety of small dinosaurs into your dinosaur teacup garden means children can spend time exploring and discovering the creatures within your design.

Vivid Colors and Textures

If something more otherworldly is your aim, a dinosaur garden filled with dyed deer moss, a bonsai tree, glittery holiday decor, multicolored plants and a variety of colorful dinosaurs offers plenty of visual space for small children to explore.

All in the Details

Place your miniature woodland creatures, dinosaurs, plastic bugs or other decorative accessories as a single accent, or throughout your teacup garden.

Finished Teacup Gardens

Whether you choose a delicate teacup or a more capacious mug for your garden, something traditional or a bit more fun, teacup gardens are a fun project for both adults and children and a fulfilling way to express your creativity. They are great for small spaces and apartment gardens and cost very little to make, especially when you source materials at thrift or craft stores or use your existing holiday decorations as embellishments. Water your garden with a spray bottle up to 2-3 times a week depending upon soil dryness. Keep your sheet moss damp to ensure the soil underneath is moist. As plants grow, you may need to prune or transplant certain plants to keep overcrowding in check.

Shop This Look