DIY succulent dish gardens

succulent dish garden

I spotted this beautiful succulent dish garden a few months back at Flora Grubb Gardens (they also offer classes if you want to make your own).

Unfortunately, we are still in the grip of this terrible drought. I didn’t plant anything new this fall, because a lot of the poor plants I planted the previous fall didn’t make it through the summer heat without enough winter rain to get them established. Suffice it to say most of my gardening this year will be succulents in containers.

1. The container:

Two of the best places I’ve seen for containers are Flora Grubb and The Botanist in Los Altos, Ca. Online, I’ve found gorgeous ones at: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Anthropologie. Terrain has wonderful things as well but they are just too expensive for me.

You can drill a drainage hole in the bottom or put a layer of small rocks or pea gravel on the bottom.

2. The potting soil:

Honestly, I just use whatever potting soil is cheapest. If you live in an area where you get a lot of rain, you should go with a cactus or succulent mix or save money and make your own with 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts sand and 1 part perlite, all of which you can get at your local nursery, Lowes, Home Depot, OSH, etc…

3. The plants:

You can see this container uses the Thriller, Filler, and Spiller method. I’m guessing the Thriller is Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg.’ Mix in some clusters of not more than four kinds of smaller echeveria. Make sure to vary color and texture: green, purple, silver, spiky leaves, fuzzy leaves, rounded leaves. Tuck some small sedums in two or three places around the edges where they can spill over.

Pack the dish or container completely full so that you don’t see any dirt. Succulents slow growers and ridiculously easy to repot when they multiply or outgrow their space. With these plants what you see is mostly what you get, so I like to move them around and arrange them in my nursery cart until I’m happy with my composition.

4. Care:

Succulents grow beautifully in full sun, part sun, and bright shade. Water once a week, less in cooler weather. You can feed them if you want, but you don’t need to. When they multiply you can snap off the babies and repot them. If the stems get too long, pull them up, snap them off close to the rosette, and stick them right back in the dirt.

4 thoughts on “DIY succulent dish gardens

  1. Succulents are a huge trend here in NY. The problem is they have to be over-wintered indoors and most people (me included) don’t have enough natural sunlight inside, so the succulents do not thrive. It’s a shame because they are such beautiful plants & my cat doesn’t eat them 🙂 We hear a little about the drought in CA in the media, I’d be interested to hear more about it from you – a personal perspective. I wonder if what you experience now, everyone will experience later, due to global warming.

    • It’s pretty awful. It’s shocking to see how low all of the lakes are and while we are not close to the fires, the air down here is definitely affected. I haven’t updated my blog in ages because I am just not gardening at all – just trying to keep my bigger, more established trees and shrubs from dying. The conventional wisdom here is fall planting, so that the winter rains can get everything established, but without those rains many of my fall plants did not make it through the September heat. We are all bracing ourselves for what’s coming this winter. And then the terrifying warning signals like the all the sea lions starving along the coast.

      On the bright side, we are seeing a lot more drought tolerant landscaping. And the response by the horse community heading up north with thousands of trailers to help evacuate animals from the fire areas, sheltering them, bringing animal feed, was so wonderful to see.

      • Thank you for sharing. It does sound terrible I am so sorry to hear this. We don’t hear much about it in NY, just some news snippets about the wild fires. It’s important to get the word out so people are aware of the reality of global warming, it’s so abstract unless it directly affects you. If you write about it in a blog post I will share it for sure. But I understand you are busy, so it you don’t have time I understand. Here in NY it’s been a very dry summer, a foretaste of things to come no doubt.Thanks and best wishes.

  2. Gorgeous succulent dish! This post was an absolute treat for the eyes and I couldn’t help but follow your blog immediately!
    I’m in love with Cactus & succulents and they’re slowly making their way into every corner of my apartment!
    I recently did a post on the cactus plants in my house ❤
    Can't wait to make a cup of tea and browse through more of your beautiful blog!
    Love from India

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