So-Easy Succulent Container Gardens


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So-Easy Succulent Container Gardens

Succulents make excellent container plants because they’re easy to grow and need almost no care. Check out our 14 ideas for succulent containers.

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  • Start a succulent container garden

    Potted succulents are perfect summer plants for a Midwest porch, patio, or deck thanks to their small size, water-saving habits and sun-loving nature. These tips will help you start a successful succulent container garden:

    — Select a container with drainage holes. Spread gravel in the bottom of the container to speed drainage, and top with a potting soil mix designed for succulents or cacti.
    — Plant succulents tightly in the container (left). They are slow-growing, so pack them into the pot from the start.
    — Let the pots dry out slightly between watering. Succulents store water in their fleshy leaves and flourish in dry conditions.
    — Bring containers indoors to a bright windowsill in winter. Some succulents, such as hens-and-chicks and Sedum spp., are hardy to Zone 3 or 4 and can be transplanted into your garden. Click on “Best Succulent Plants for the Midwest” to see which varieties can take winter’s chill.

    Ideas for great-looking container succulents are on the next 14 slides.

  • Singular beauty

    Fill an urn with the thick pointed leaves of hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.). Some varieties, like the one used here, bear white hairs that form what looks like a spiderweb over the plants. The naturally variegated colors and tightly packed texture add plenty of visual interest to this single-specimen planting.

  • Mixed greens

    An eclectic group of succulents in a wooden tray creates a nostalgic combination. Our plant choices:

    –Top row, left to right: Aloe striata, Cotyledon ‘octopus’, burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum), Mexican hens (Echeveria shaviana)
    — Middle row, left to right: watch chain (Crassula lycopodioides), Aloe zanzibarica, ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), crinkle-leaf plant (Adromischus cristatus var. zeyheri)
    — Bottom row, left to right: Sedum hybrid, Kalanchoe beharensis, Crassula conjuncta, string of beads (Senecio rowleyanus).

  • Simply sedums

    Large-leaf Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and yellow-flowering Sedum kamtschaticum pair up to create a texture-rich combination. When ‘Autumn Joy’ produces its pink blooms, the colorful combo is doubly striking.




  • Fall for color

    Elevate Echeveria spp. on a fence post or column to better enjoy the flowers that cluster on the top of stalks sprouting from between the thick, rounded blue-green leaves. Echeveria foliage comes in a variety of shapes and colors.

  • Long and short

    Pair a tall, narrow pot overflowing with trailing variegated Dischidia spp. and a squat square container of colorful Echeveria spp.

  • Step it up

    Blue-green echeveria (Echeveria spp.) combines with white-striped zebra haworthia (Haworthia fasciata) and fuzzy panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) with brown-tipped leaves. A separate container with burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) adds color and textural contrast as it drapes over the edge of the next step.

  • Case goods

    Give a flea-market find–an old beverage bottle case–new life as the home for tall, silvery ghost plants (Graptopetalum paraguayense) and burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum).

  • Graceful accent

    Single out one of the more than 300 species of agaves, a relative of the lily family. An eye-catching plant, Agave celsii sports thick, wide, swordlike leaves with sharp tips. Colors range from bright green to blue-gray.

  • Golden glow

    Mass a single species of succulent for maximum impact. At left, a golden-hued Sedum nussbaumerianum provides a colorful counterpoint to a gray planter.

  • Triple play

    Show off three foliage champs in clay pots: Dyckia marnierlapostolle in the pot at left in the photo, and the ubiquitous Echeveria spp. in the pots at center and right. Note that leaf tips of the slow-growing, spiny-edged Dyckia can shrivel in excessive heat.

  • Concrete jungle

    Nestle a couple of hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) among the lush spires of watch chain stonecrop (Sedum sexangulare) in a concrete bowl. In summer, the stonecrop bears tiny yellow star-shape flowers on its lanky stems.

  • Dish harmony

    Decorate a garden tabletop with a trio of small potted plants–left to right, Euphorbia spp., jade plant (Crassula spp.) and Hayworthia spp.–arranged inside a shallow dish

  • Vintage appeal

    The mottled colors of old metal compotes complement this collection of succulents. On the left, ruffle-leaved Mexican hens (Echeveria shaviana) pair with ghost plants (Graptopetalum paraguayense). In the lower tier, a collection of hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) circles the fleshy paddles of Cotyledon spp.

  • Sharp contrast

    Focus on exotic plant forms by pairing mother of thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana, center plant in photo, with bristly rat tail cacti (Disocactus flagelliformis). The violet-flowering Kalanchoe also bears the name devil’s backbone, for its serrated edges.

  • Video: How to create a succulent arrangement

    A cake stand and some florist’s moss provide a simple foundation for this stunning succulent display that works great as a centerpiece.

  • More on container gardens

    Click the links below for more container garden inspirations.