Succulents and containers go hand in hand. Actually, planting and repotting them is so easy that it seems like I always have some succulent project going on. I pick up a new plant whenever I find one I don’t have and take cuttings from my garden on a regular basis. If you don’t already know, succulents practically propagate themselves. If you scroll on down, you’ll find the steps I take when planting succulents in containers.
Here’s my succulent bowl before the nocturnal critters (skunks? raccoons?) that visit my garden tore it all apart. Shells & glass chips went flying. As you can see, the ruffled Echeveria is the shining star.
The next manifestation involved the addition of the a Cryptanthus or Earth Star, a sweet little bromeliad. As you can see, the Echeveria is starting to grow out of the pot. It had been in there for almost 18 months by this point. I decided to leave it in for the time being because of the 2 emerging flower stalks. I knew the planting of this bowl, round #3, was not far off.
Here’s the Echeveria after it’s been cut away. The stems & the leaves made it very heavy. No wonder it was leaning out of the bowl! I’ve since propagated both the plant & the stem. Yes, baby plants will appear if you plant the stem horizontally.
Here’s exactly what I do when planting or repotting succulents:
* First, choose a composition of plants which is pleasing to you. Most succulents have the same light requirements but some do take more sun that others. Make sure that 1 of the plants is not going to quickly overtake the other or you’ll be repotting it sooner than you’d like.
* I always use an organic mix that’s specially formulated for succulents & cacti. It’s very important that they stay on the dry side and have excellent drainage. Resist the urge to smother them with a heavy planting mix or too much water – they’ll say “adios by bye” faster than you know.
* I cover the drain hole with a piece of coffee filter. You can use a piece of newspaper if you’d like. The mix is so light that it will escape right through the hole. This keeps it all from spilling out while the plants are settling in.
* I fill the container with an amount of mix to the height I want the succulents to be. I then add another 1/2-1″ of the mix because the weight of the succulents (remember, their leaves & stems are full of water) will pull them down a bit in the light mix.
* I then sprinkle in a few handfuls of my favorite planting weapon – Buckaroo worm castings. The brand I use is Sanctuary Soil & Feed. I usually toss in some organic compost too. Succulents don’t need fertilizers so this duo works like a charm for my container plantings.
* I arrange the plants in the container adjusting the soil underneath & in between so they are all roughly at the same height. Sometimes I do a mounding if there’s a fancy pants plant I want to showcase in the center.
* The container gets filled in & topped off with the mix. I usually have to add more mix after a few weeks because the mix has settled.
* I top dressed this bowl with shells & glass chips for a little decorative somethin’ somethin’. With other pots I’ve packed the plants in tight because that’s the look I’ve wanted. You choose which you like best.
* Lastly, I let my new planting stay dry for a week or so before watering it in. Be patient with the initial watering because the mix is so light & porous the water tends to overflow rather than absorb in right away. You don’t want your efforts to wash away with the first attempt.
For the makeover of the makeover, I used some cuttings of the succulents which had been in the bowl & added a couple from this selection here.
For this project I’ve used plants which stay on the smaller side and don’t grow too fast. If the critters get into it again then they’ll be another re-do. I’m hoping not. The most important step to this makeover, or any for that matter, is to stand back & admire your work. I do so everyday!
Here’s the bowl as it looks today. The Cryptanthus (the little bromeliad on the lower left) had reverted to green over the winter but is now turning pink again as the days get longer.
Here’s The Video Of The Makeover Of The Succulent Bowl Makeover – In Other Words, #2