Succulents & Cacti

Feb 28, 2014

Indoor Succulent and Cactus Gardens – Get Your Creativity On!

The Creative Side

Succulent and cactus gardens are gaining popularity and it’s easy to understand. Not only are they a breeze to maintain, but the options for a container garden full of these little plants is almost too good to resist. Like little treasures, with varying textures and colors, succulents can be surrounded with beach glass, moss, interesting rocks or shells. Endless opportunities for your creativity abound!

What is a succulent?

Most of us know what a cactus is but may not be as familiar with succulents. Sedum, echeveria, aeonium, pachyveria, portulacaria and aloe are just a few types of succulents. Although they vary greatly in color, shape, pattern, and texture, they all share a common characteristic – the presence of fleshy water-storing leaves. Because of this, they can be easily combined in a container since they enjoy the same amount of light and water. Cactus also have the ability to store water for long periods, so they can be mixed into your garden too.

How to Make a Succulent  and/or Cactus Container Garden

Choose a Container

Here is something you don’t hear often in the world of plants. The container doesn’t necessarily need to have drainage holes! Almost any container will do whether it’s a traditional clay pot, an old colander, old shoe, or a birdbath top…well, you get the idea.

Your container will need to be at least 4” in height to allow for gravel and soil.

Planting Mix

All media should be well draining. Start with a layer of small stones or gravel in the bottom of the container. Next, add a thin layer of charcoal to aid in air filtration. On top of that, you’ll need a cactus mix up to about an inch from the top of the container.


Moisten the soil, take your plants out of their pots and after disturbing the roots, set them in the soil, arranging as you like. No need to water now since the moisture will be adequate for a while. In a week or two, water lightly.

This is where the fun starts! You may want to simply make a minimal grouping, but you can also let your imagination go. Try spray painting small rocks for just the right color or incorporate sand for a lovely desert feel. There is plenty of inspiration online as well! Succulents vary greatly in size, shape, color, and pattern so you might try some different layouts before planting.

How to Care For Your Garden

Succulents and cactus are among the most forgiving plants. Since they’re made to store water, they’re ideal for those of us who can be forgetful! (yes, me.) They are easily transported between indoors and out, so no matter what the season you’ll have your desert garden to look at. Indoors, they’ll need bright light for most of the day so a south facing window with no shade in front would be best for our area of the world.

Summer: Just as with most houseplants going outdoors for the summer, you’ll want to wait until the outside temperature stays above 45. During the growing season, you’ll want to add some plant food once a month.

Winter care: move your garden to a cooler spot for the winter (50 degrees or so) and hold back on watering. Perhaps once a month will be adequate.

Enjoy your creation!