Succulent Container Madness!

9 Dec

You can shove succulents in anything!

Hi all!  Megan here to show you some fun gifty ideas with succulents. I’ll shove a succulent in almost anything, whether it be a grill that nobody’s used for years, or an old wagon I picked up for five bucks at a garage sale.  The possibilities are endless! First off,  I want you to know that in many cases these are not permanent plantings (this is especially true for terrariums). Several months or even years down the road, depending on how quickly the succulents you plant grow, it’s extremely likely that your creations will benefit from a little fluff. I redo the wagon & the grill once or twice a year. Think of your succulents like sculptural elements & have fun. It’s not like you’re deciding where to plant a tree that you’ll have to live with for many a year.

Succulent Roos

The ultimate key to succulent happiness in the great outdoors (sorry folks in freezing locations) is drainage. Non-draining containers + rain = rotty mush. Pick up a ceramic bit & you can drill through almost anything so that the water can flow. These kangaroos came from Goodwill & after a quick meeting with the drill they drain perfectly. When it comes to drilling holes, higher quality ceramic items tend to be more challenging to drill through & glass is the trickiest, but it’s all possible if you’re willing to take the risk of a stray break here & there. Load up on inexpensive containers at your local thrift store. I’m a big proponent of succulent potting mix  to achieve ultimate drainage.  To create the roos above all I did was drill holes in their booties, fill with cacti/succulent mix & stick cuttings.  Easy, peasy. These cuties would work inside in a bright location, too!

Graptopetalum paraguayense paradise

One of my all time favorite succulents for containers are the creamy pinkish blue rosettes of Graptopetalum paraguayense. Gardening in almost pure sand, two blocks from Ocean Beach in nearly frost free San Francisco means lots & lots of succulents are happy campers in my backyard. Okay, it’s succulent heaven, but before moving to California I actually grew a wide array of succulents in my living room closet with lights. Taking cuttings is easy. Just snip, snip & you’re done. If you’re a rule follower, snip your cuttings at least a day in advance so the cuts have time to dry out & heal over, preventing bacteria, etc … I normally don’t do this due to patience issues & things seem to turn out fine.

Oscularia deltoides & Satureja douglasii

Another one of my favorite succulents for cutting is Oscularia deltoides. It seems to benefit from a little haircut now & then anyways. Here it is escaping the border with a San Francisco native that smells like heaven, Satureja douglasii.

Aeonium simsii

Aeoniums seem to put up with indoor action fairly well & Aeonium simsii is one of the highest rated of the bunch for indoor happiness. Love the eyelashes on the leaf margins.

Succulent Assortment

Over the past few years of putting together succulent containers & terrariums, I’ve found that often times less is more. I used to shove ten different succulents in an itty bitty container & let them battle it out. The results were often scraggy & sad.  I tend to go for lower growers that form a dense mat, or splashy bigger rosettes.

Vintage Succulent Containers

A couple holes in the bottoms, some dirt, plants & they’re ready to go! Since these were taken as cuttings they have no roots, which means they have nothing to take up water with. Don’t fret, the water stored in the leaves will hold them over until they pop out new roots from the stems jammed in dirt. No fancy rooting hormones needed! I  don’t even water containers composed of cutting based succulents for the first two weeks or so, to let them root out a bit. A sunny to part sunny spot is all they need. Indoors, they like a bright window.

Graptopetalum paraguayense Dino-land

Terrariums are all the rage these days, but I’ll tell you upfront – they’re a little trickier to keep happy. The key to keeping a container with no drainage is water control. Overwatering is a sure fire way to rot the roots out & keep a fungus gnat family happy, but if you’re using glass it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on how much moisture is making it to the bottom of the container. I like to use a spray bottle. I’ll spray a bunch then wait a couple minutes to see how deep the water seeps in and spray more if needed.

Ornament Fun

Many hardcore succulent folks think it’s cruel & unusual punishment to put plants that like free draining soil & low humidity in glass, but I’ve had numerous successes with succulents in non-draining situations. They’re very forgiving. Planting wise, it’s easy. I like to use pretty rocks or gravel on the bottom for a wee bit of drainage space, plus it looks cool. Some folks add a sprinkle of horticultural charcoal in for good measure before adding the succulent potting mix in. I don’t. The next step is getting the plants in there. I like using rocks as a topdressing not only because they’re pretty, but they help keep the plants where you want them. If your container is small, it’s handy to have a pair of chopsticks for nudging stuff around.

Succulent Swan

Wishlist alert! I couldn’t resist showing ya’ll this adorable little newbie Echeveria amoena. It’s still a baby here at the nursery, but it will be available down the road. I absolutely LOVE this plant.  It’s adorable with or without blooms & loves life in containerville. I’ve got plenty more ramblings about stuffing succulents in things on my garden blog Far Out Flora & am happy to answer any questions you may have, just post a comment.

Terrarium Fun Links: Going Glass Globe Crazy, Want to Win Succulents? (old contest), Totally Terrariums, Glass Jar Terrariums, Gardening in Glass

Succulent Container Links: Rearranging Rocks, Cranking Out Containers, Succulent Gardens Containers, Succulent Pots, Cool Creative Containers

12 Responses to “Succulent Container Madness!”

  1. Gabrielle January 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    I LOVE succulents- mostly because of all the cool crazy places you can put them!

    • home glass March 6, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      me too, the glass succulents look nice, good pictures and nice garden guys 🙂

  2. Candy Suter January 27, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Great post Megan! Love the container’s and I can’t wait to try my diamond drill bit out. Is there any tricks you can give me to help from breaking things? That would be awesome! I got an Annie’s gift cert. for Xmas so I am going to come and get some stuff. It will save on shipping! So hopefully I will meet you finally!

  3. Cameron Brooks February 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm #


  4. SoundEagle July 22, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Bravo! Keep up the great work in your garden!

  5. SoundEagle July 22, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Reblogged this on Potted Plant Society.

  6. January 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    I actually intend to save this specific blog, “Succulent Container Madness!

    ” on my very own internet site. Do you care in case I
    actuallydo? Regards ,Tracy

    • anniesannuals January 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Hi Tracy: Do you mean you want to republish this blog on your own website?

  7. savannah February 5, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    just started messing around w/succulents to help keeping my mind from being an over protective mom now that my son is 18. ( u know, gotta cut the apron string and let him experience life his way.) I’ve been to a few succulent sights But keep coming back to yours the most. I think im hooked, = D


  1. Succulents! | Seven Day Fool - January 11, 2012

    […] Succulent Container Madness! ( […]

  2. D&K’s Prosperity Tribe Contest! | Deliberate Creation Project - February 24, 2012

    […] Succulent Container Madness! ( Rate this: Share this:EmailFacebookRedditTwitterStumbleUponMoreDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. Satureja douglasii | Find Me A Cure - January 7, 2015

    […] Succulent Container Madness! ( […]

Leave a Reply to SoundEagle Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: