How to Create a Succulent Container Garden
A common example of a succulent is a cactus, but don’t be fooled: While cacti are succulents, not all succulents are considered cacti. Due to their unique design, these plants are quite hardy and can thrive under the care of even the least green-thumbed gardener around.
Although you may consider tending to just one species of succulent in a pot, consider creating a succulent garden instead. Succulent gardens frequently feature a variety of succulents planted near each other, offering a showcase of the different colors, shapes, and sizes. This article will focus on creating a succulent garden in a pot for indoor use; however, you can just as easily dedicate a spot in your garden to showcase succulents.
General Succulent Care
Whether you decide to plant a succulent garden outside or keep it indoors, succulents need bright light in order to thrive. If you decided to keep your plant indoors, some professionals suggest installing a sheer curtain between a hot south-facing window and your succulents. The sheer curtain allows for bright filtered sunlight without the harsh effects of direct rays from the sun.
Regularly inspect succulents for weak-looking stems and overly wet soil. If overwatering is an issue, consider increasing drainage by selecting a cactus soil potting mix or adding course sand or perlite to the soil.
Unlike other plants, most succulents can grow from a cutting from a mother plant and don’t require roots to grow. That’s just another reason why succulents are a great investment! You have the opportunity to grow more and more plants or give cuttings to friends again and again.
- Remove a segment from the selected succulent with either a sterilized knife (or pair of sharp scissors) or by twisting off a segment by hand. Ensure that the selected segment looks healthy and has healthy leaves.
- Set the segment aside for a few days so the “wound” can dry out a bit.
- Check the cutting after about five days to ensure the area has scabbed over.
- Set the new cutting in sandy, well-draining soil intended for cactus or in regular potting soil with added perlite.
- Water the soil lightly and tamp the area down. Set the pot in a sunny location.
When considering succulents to add to your garden, it's best to make sure you select healthy plants from the start. Choosing healthy plants from the start will help ensure your mini garden is a success.
Look for succulents with tender, plump leaves. Avoid purchasing plants that look leggy or are too sprawling; healthy succulents tend to grow compactly.
Creating a Succulent Garden
Select a shallow vessel large enough to accommodate the quantity of succulents you’ll want to plant in your “garden”. Avoid crowding your plants together to allow plenty of room for future growth of each plant. Keep in mind that some succulents often grow “pups” or “chicks” (smaller offshoots) near the mother plant.
- Fill your vessel three-quarters full of well-draining soil intended for cacti. Ensure that your container has a drainage hole so the succulents won't be exposed to standing water.
- Apply a top layer of gravel to the potting soil and combine the mixture together thoroughly.
- Mound the soil up higher in the center and lower towards the edge of the vessel.
- Water the soil mixture lightly.
- Arrange your desired plants on top of the soil until you find an arrangement that pleases you. You may find that you want clusters of similar colors together, or that you want to keep similar shapes together as well. Generally speaking, arrangements look best in odd-numbered groupings. Don’t be afraid to leave plenty of “negative space” between your plants.
- Plant succulents in the desired position in your vessel. Gently tamp down the soil around each plant once you are pleased with the placement.
- Sprinkle small rocks or aquarium gravel until the soil is completely covered.
- Water sparingly, about once to just a few times a month.
- Place your succulent garden in a bright location.
Like other plants, succulents are susceptible to root rot. Unlike other plants, succulents don’t need to be watered very often.
If you are worried about overwatering your succulents, a good rule of thumb is to check for moisture in the soil like you would check a cake for "doneness". Place a bamboo skewer or chopstick in the soil and check for clinging soil when it is removed. If the skewer comes out clean, you’ll need to add some water or even a few ice cubes to your garden (the ice cubes melt slowly instead of adding a lot of moisture at one time).