I've always got my eye out for unique and interesting objects that I can turn into succulent planters, and I usually spot some of the best candidates hanging out in the home decor isles at Marshalls, TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Ross. Think outside the box! One of my latest creations appears to be some type of artichoke shape with a pedestal, and as soon as I saw it beaming at me from the shelf I knew it would be perfect to stuff with a variety of colorful succulents.
Remember, you can turn almost anything into a succulent planter as long as it has a hole in it, water drainage is very important in order to prevent waterlogging and root rot from killing your plants. Granted, a lot of cacti don't require much water over extended periods of time, therefore if you wish to skip the hole drilling just make sure you keep the planter in a covered area where you can control the amount of water it receives. If you choose not to drill a hole in your succulent planter, simply use a spray bottle to finely mist the soil beneath the plant leaves whenever you see it's thirsty - succulents and cacti let you know when they want water when they lose their plump appearance and begin to drop leaves and shrivel.
I like to drill holes in everything that I turn into a planter unless the object is too small or too fragile to handle the drilling. Whenever drilling a hole in any object, it's important that you add a shallow layer of water to lubricate the process, and go slowly! Anyway, after drilling a hole in this yellow artichoke vessel with my ceramic drill bit (you can find these in a variety of sizes at your local hardware store), I added a layer of small rocks at the bottom - making sure to arrange the ones directly over the hole in such a way that does not prevent water from flowing out. After adding the layer of rocks, I fill the succulent planter with my cactus soil mixture, about half way. I recommend using a combination of cactus soil (sold at hardware stores), sand, and perlite in equal parts. Next, I add the plants, my advice is: cram them in! As many plants as you can fit, the more the merrier. I have found, through much trial and error, that succulents and cacti like to be crowded, they seem to thrive off of one another. Once you get your plants in, just top off the gaps with your soil mixture and pack it in well. After a couple of waterings, you might notice that some gaps open up due to the soil settling, in which case you want to add more soil as needed.
Well, what can I say, that's about it. It's not difficult to create a beautiful succulent planter, honestly - that's the easy part... The hard part is keeping your plants alive and thriving, which is something you can only learn over time with practice. My biggest tip would be to wait for the plants to tell you when they need water, after all it's much easier to kill succulents and cacti with overwatering than it is with underwatering. Some of these magnificent plants can live for months in bone dry soil, hence their abundance in desert climates. When you see the leaves lose their plump appearance and they become soft to the touch, it's time for a good thorough watering.
What are your tips for keeping your plants healthy? Please feel free to share your advice and garden creations in the comments below!
Stay tuned for more of my unique succulent planter creations...
List of succulents and cacti in this planter:
Graptoveria paraguayense 'Fred Ives'
Senecio herreianus (a.k.a. String of Pearls)
Senecio kleiniiformis (a.k.a. Spear Head)
Portulacaria afra (a.k.a. Elephant Bush - variegated)
Hatiora salicornioides (a.k.a. Dancing Bones Cactus)
To the best of my knowledge, I believe this succulent below is of the genus family Graptopetalum, although I'm not sure about its species name:
This magnificent purple beauty is a Graptoveria paraguayense 'Fred Ives':
As you can see, a lovely little ladybug decided to make a cameo whilst I was taking my photos:
The yellow planter really brings out the vibrant colors in the succulents, especially the purple tones!
(All images are the property of The Succulent Artist and Inspire Bohemia, please do not use without written consent.)