Growing a Succulents Garden


A succulents garden in a pot is a beautiful, easy-care, no-mess addition to any home decor.

If you enjoy plants but don't want the fuss of having to water every few days, then a succulent container garden may be just what you need.


What is a Succulent Plant?

First, what is a succulent? A cactus is one type of succulent, but there are many other succulents that are not cacti: some of the most commonly sold as houseplants are Jade plant, Snake plant, Zebra plant, Echeveria, and Hens & Chicks.

Basically, succulent plants are any plants that are able to store water in their stem or leaves. Most succulents have leaves that feel "fat", due to the water that is stored in them.


Benefits of an Indoor Succulents Garden

These are just some of the benefits of growing an indoor succulents garden:

  1. You don't have to water them too frequently;
  2. They grow fairly slowly, so they won't need repotting or outgrow your space;
  3. Succulents come in every color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple;
  4. Succulents come in all sizes, so they are the perfect fit for any spot, from a sunny windowsill to a table centerpiece to your garden patio;
  5. It is easy to find a variety of small succulents at very affordable prices in many garden centers;
  6. Many succulent plants really will grow in any container no matter how small or unusual - most do not require a lot of root space, and in fact many prefer to be a little root-bound.

Succulent Garden Design

The first step in designing your succulent garden planter is to select your plants and the container. Try to choose plants that have similar light and water requirements, and that will work well in the location you have in mind.

An attractive succulents garden will include some variety in color, shape, and/or texture. Succulents come in a wide range of hues, sizes and shapes, from soft and fuzzy to sharp and spiky.

Finally, think about any other design elements for your succulent garden planter, such as rocks or gravel for topping the soil, larger stones or small "boulders", statues or other hardscape elements, etc.


Succulent Garden Care

There are three important things to remember when caring for a succulents garden indoors:

  1. Don't water them too frequently - inside, they probably don't need water more than once or twice per month,
  2. Don't let them stand in water - make sure the soil and container drains well, and they are not sitting in a saucer of water, and try to avoid water on their leaves,
  3. Give them enough light - depending on the type of succulent plants, they will need a sunny windowsill or a grow light to be really healthy.

Succulent Garden DIY

It is easy to create a succulents garden yourself. You can visit your local garden center and choose three or four plants that you find attractive, then select an interesting container to plant them in, plus some cactus soil mix. Once you have the plants in place, you can add some top-dressing, such as rocks or pebbles or moss, and additional hardscape features if you like (eg, small statues or figures, larger decorative stones, etc).

If you want to create something a little more interesting there are many unusual succulent garden ideas, such as planting succulents in an old boot, a coffee mug, an unused gift box, or using a recycled kitchen pot or kettle as a container. You can also use succulents along with other hardscape elements to build a fairy garden.


Succulents: Types of Succulent Plants

There are literally hundreds of different types of succulent plants that you can choose from: cacti, hanging plants, winter-hardy succulents, rosette types, and many other forms.

These are some of the most common succulent varieties that you might find in a typical "big box" garden center:


Succulents FAQ

Why are succulents called succulents?

What kind of plants are succulents? Basically, a succulent is a plant that is able to store water in its leaf or stem, so it is able to survive periods of drought. The word "succulent" means "juicy", which definitely applies to these plants if you break a leaf or stem.


What is a succulent garden?

A succulent garden is a garden of succulent type plants (cacti and/or other succulents). It can be outside planted in the ground, or in a container such as a succulent planter. Most succulents like dry, desert-like conditions, so succulent gardens are usually very drought-tolerant.


How do you take care of succulents?

Succulents are easy to take care of, if you just remember two things: they like lots of sunlight, and not too much water. If you are growing succulents as inside houseplants, they will be happy on a sunny windowsill, and let their soil dry out completely before watering again.


How often do you water indoor succulents?

Indoor succulents probably don't need watering more than once or twice per month. Only water your succulents garden when the soil is completely dry throughout the pot - you can check by sticking a wooden chopstick down into the soil.  If any soil sticks to the chopstick, then there is still enough water there for the plant. You can also purchase affordable water meters that you can use to test the soil.


Do succulents need sunlight?

Most succulents are sun loving plants, so they do need to have some direct sunlight (or a grow light) during the day.

There are some varieties of succulents that are more tolerant of low light conditions, including snake plants (Sansevieria), Haworthia (such as Zebra plant) and some Jade plants.


Can succulents grow in garden soil?

Your succulents will grow best in a cactus soil mix, which has a bit more sand and/or grit than typical garden soil, which allows the water to drain out more quickly.  In regular garden soil or average potting soil, your succulent plant's roots may stay wet for too long after you water it, leading to root rot and potential death.


What succulents grow well indoors?

Are succulents indoor plants?  Well, they can be, if you select the right ones and give them the light and water that they need. Most succulents can make good houseplants, except for those that prefer to experience a cool winter (such as sempervivum).


Can succulents survive outdoors?

People often ask "can succulents survive outside?" or "can succulents survive winter?" Whether your succulents garden can survive outdoors depends on the climate where you live. Certainly any succulent would be happy to spend the summer outdoors. However, most succulents do not do well at temperatures below about 50F for an extended period of time, so if your location has a colder winter than that most of your succulents will need to come indoors for the winter.

However, there are some succulents that are cold-hardy, even down to temperatures well below freezing and covered in snow!  These include Sempervivum (hens and chicks) and some varieties of Sedum and Opuntia cacti.


Next, learn about some common types of succulent plants: Jade plant (crassula), Zebra plant (haworthia), Echeveria (like Echeveria pulidonis or Echeveria Cubic Frost), and various types of Cactus.

Want to explore some other ideas for gardens in pots? Learn how to grow a fairy garden in a container or set up an air plant display.



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