How to Build a Succulent Container Garden

Hello, plant lovers! I spent this Sunday unwinding in the garage with a new plant project. Cacti and succulents never impressed me much, just like Brad Pitt to Shania Twain, you know? But during wintertime, these were the only plants that fared well between the cold weather and my space heater. My collection started with cuttings from my mom’s garden and baby plants from my local nursery, residing de facto by my windowsill to get some good old sunlight, that sweet nectar of photosynthesis. Soon, however, I accumulated a bunch of succulents in random mini containers.

After a brief trip to The Home Depot, I came across those popular succulent container gardens and decided that I wanted to make one of my home (sans glued down plants, thank you very much). And so, I gathered the necessary materials and got to work.  

What You Need:

  • One clay pot (I used a ten-inch one that I got at The Home Depot for $3)
  • Cactus soil 
  • Baby succulents and cacti
  • Gardening gloves
  • Face mask
  • Water

Here’s what you need to do. Feel free to adjust depending on what materials you have on hand. I’m sure I’m just winging it as well. 

Step 1: Fill your pot 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through with cactus soil. I dumped in residual dirt I had along with some fresh cactus soil. I also stuck a few broken terracotta pieces and extra perlite in for better drainage. 

Step 2: With gloves, carefully remove your succulents and cacti from their plastic containers. I put my cuttings in old Keurig cups, yogurt containers, and basically any small cylinder you could imagine. I removed some of the soil from each plant, but not all of it, just because I didn’t want to damage the small roots. The plants I used included a mix of cacti, echeveria succulents, jade plants, donkey tail succulents, and more. I originally put in a moderately sized echinocactus, but the spines were too much to deal with, so I left it to the side. 

Step 3: Fill the gaps in with cactus soil. This is where it gets messy and dusty. I didn’t use a face mask, but it’s a good idea to use one if you don’t want to breathe in a bunch of dirt. Make sure the roots are covered and that your plants aren’t toppling over. I like to leave space between each plant just so that their root systems have breathing room.

Step 4: Add water to set the soil. You don’t want to add so much water that your succulents get root rot, but you do want to make sure that your plants are in place. Misting with a spritzer is OK as well. 

And voila! You have a succulent container garden. Make sure your plants get plenty of bright sunlight so that they can thrive!

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