Friday, May 18, 2012

~ Succulent Dish Garden ~ How-To, Tutorial

We are still working outside right now, and one of the last things to do is to freshen up some of the succulent dish gardens, or make new ones. My love affair with many of these succulents continues. I guess I just never saw many of these in my early years of gardening or plants like mother-in-laws tongue didn't hold much interest for me.

So even though this is a repeat, you might enjoy it again, or for the first time.
Making a succulent dish garden
is one of the easiest garden projects you will ever do. And it is so rewarding for instant gratification, and months or years of enjoyment. The one above is a few months old. It sits in a semi-shade spot and I water it occasionally if it hasn't rain in a while.

1. Select a container at least 4 inches deep.
This terracotta dish is only about $5, and is really perfect for succulents. You want a shallow dish but one that is at least 4 inches deep. You can find these at Home Depot, Lowe's and garden or nursery centers.

2. Purchase various succulents in small pots.
(Of course you could use cuttings, but this takes longer and more patience.) These vary in price from the smaller peat pots starting at about $2 and then up for the size and type of plant. If you really need instant gratification of a look that is months old already, you can purchase larger plants and the prices will reflect their size.

3. Cover the bottom with gravel, then add cactus potting soil.
Moisten the soil before adding the plants.
Do not water again until the soil is dry.

Just as with any gardening, look for colors and textures so you will have a more beautiful combination.

A wonderful bonus is that some succulents have very pretty and vibrant flowers. Not usually very large, but pretty none the less.

There is no need to water again when starting your dish garden if you began with moist soil. The garden can go without water much more easily than adapting to too much water or rain.

The cuttings should be allowed to sit and dry a bit before starting them in soil. Then they like a constant lightly moisten soil to root before they will be like the grown plants which need much less water.

If you go through a very rainy period, then move the dish gardens where they are able to stay dry. In the winter, they do need to be brought inside or sheltered when the temps go below 45* or so.

The stonecrop succulent in the hanging basket above is an example of a really pretty succulent that can take a bit more water and be used with other plants that require more water.

Growing succulents indoors can be a bit trickier.
* They need a lot of light and they also like a hot and dry environment.
Be sure to turn them so that the entire plant receives the same amount of light.
* A terracotta container works great since it breathes and can let the soil dry easier.
* They need special cactus soil. They don't do well in plain sand. I have cheated and mixed
some regular potting soil with nutrients into my cacti soil, and it has been fine though.
* Water thoroughly with lukewarm water, and then let them dry between water waterings.
* When you take them back outside, don't put them in full sun right away. They can get sunburn

Lots of good info for growing them inside and outside here at Desert Gardens.

See Y'All Soon~


  1. Love your succulent trays in pretty colors. The flowers are a nice bonus as is the scant amount of watering.
    Thank you for visiting. Have a lovely weekend in your pretty garden, Monica

  2. Oh Beautiful!! I have just brought home a large assortment of these amazing plants and am spending my afternoon planting..How wonderful you blogged about them today..Now I know how to get started. Thank you!!

  3. Beautiful assortment! I too love to work with these gorgeous plants if only they could weather over up here!Great job! Deidre~


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