Create a Desert Dish Garden

  • Desert dish garden

    Desert dish garden

    This easy-to-assemble mixture of cacti will bring the look of a desert oasis into your home. It’s as simple as four steps!

  • Preparing the dish

    Preparing the dish

    Select a container at least 2 inches deep; large terra-cotta saucers, like the one pictured, work well. Fill to ¼ inch of the rim with sandy, well-draining cactus potting mix.

  • Arranging the cacti

    Arranging the cacti

    Experiment with the layout of the plants while they’re still in their pots. If the garden will be visible from only one side, try placing taller plants toward the back rather than in the middle.

  • Planting the cacti

    Planting the cacti

    Wearing gloves as protection from the cactus spines, plant the cacti, removing soil as needed to allow space for the plants’ roots.

  • Finishing touches

    Add pebbles or gravel to the top of the soil to bring a desert feel to your pot. If you like, decorate with rocks, small pieces of wood or figurines.

    Put your dish garden where it will get the correct amount of light for the plants you’ve chosen (check tags when you purchase plants). Remember that a shallow container dries more quickly in a sunny spot. When the soil in the dish garden is almost dry, add water a little at a time. Feed your garden sparingly to avoid excess growth.

  • Hypertufa trough

    Pop of color

    In this dish garden, cacti colors pop against a neutral-tone hypertufa trough and small, light-color gravel.