Here is the inspiration for the project: the entry garden of our a house our friends rented in Sri Lanka during their trip around the world. The bowl of flowers in water near the front entry attracts positive energy and luck.
A bowl of flowers in water near my front entry will only attract raccoons and my thirsty labrador retriever, so I tried for a similar effect with succulents. I selected a couple of varieties of Dudleya with rosettes similar to the white flowers with their pointed petals and planted them in concrete bowls from Vietnam which I bought at Filoli’s annual plant sale. Here are similar planters at Terrain.
Dudleyas are the easiest succulents, you just plant them. To start a new plant, just snap a rosette off at the stem and stick it in the dirt. They’ll even root and form a new rosette from a single leaf. They are much more fragile than Echevaria so handle them carefully.
Here is the finished result on my porch.
Emily Joubert in Woodside sells these beautiful pieces, but they also make a fun DIY and anyone would love them as a gift. Here’s how to plant succulents in a driftwood or old log planter:
- You can use driftwood, or any piece of wood that has some age and weathering to it. Soft woods will make a faster, easier project.
- Start with a crack or depression that is somewhat towards the middle of the wood. Use a gouge tool to dig it out and make more space for your plants. You don’t have to dig out very much: succulents don’t need a lot of root space.
- If the crack goes all the way through the wood, tuck in a piece of screen and secure it with a couple of small nails, tacks, or staples.
- Fill with dirt. I have been gardening with succulents forever and I’ve rarely used a cactus potting mix. I just use whatever potting soil I have on hand, which is usually the cheapest one, and my succulents have always been fine.
- Arrange your succulents. Go for either uniformity or as dramatic a mix of colors and shapes as you can find. If you’re doing a mix, do a spike, a rosette, a silver, a green, and a purple or black. Put in your bigger forms and then tuck the little ones around the edges.
- You don’t need to leave them room to grow. Pack them in there like you are arranging flowers. If they make babies, pop them out and repot when things get crowded. If they get leggy, snap off the stems and stick the rosettes back in the dirt. That’s it. They don’t have strong roots so they are as easy to rearrange as cut flowers.
There’s nothing prettier, or easier, than a single bloom in a small vase. These were spotted at Vanilla Moon Bakery on a cupcake outing with my daughter. A small, squat white vase with a single spider mum placed on each dark wood table. This shows off the beauty of the flower more than a full arrangement and is more budget friendly if you buy your cut flowers. Which I would in this case: I love spider mums but I don’t think they’re a plant for a lazy gardener.