I’ve been playing around with decorative containers planted with succulents lately. Succulents are fun because they are easy to care for, plus they look really cool. They’re pretty fool-proof if you think you have a brown thumb. Here’s what you need to know to make your own:
Materials you will need:
- A shallow container that has a drainage hole. You can buy one or use your creativity to come up with something clever. For example, you can use an old colander or sieve, or drill some holes in an old cake pan or vintage wooden box. Visit the thrift store or hit garage sales and see what you can find.
- Dampened sandy potting mix. You can buy bagged cactus mix or mix your own using two parts potting soil to 1 part regular sand from the home improvement store. Dampen it before using.
- Piece of window screen large enough to fit over the hole in the container, so the soil doesn’t run out.
- Plants. Most garden centers carry a selection of succulents in a variety of shapes, colors and patterns to choose from. If you want to place your container outdoors, make sure the plants are hardy for your area or you’ll need to bring them in for the winter. A few plants go a long way, plus they will continue to grow in the container, so you don’t need too many. It’s a good idea to plant in odd numbers—3 generally suit a small container, and 5 or 7 may fit a large container.
- Ornaments such as stones, driftwood, marbles, etc.
- Top dressing of gravel, pebbles, sand, or moss.
Here’s how to put your container together:
- Use your creativity! Think about a style to enhance your décor. Succulent trays can be little vignettes that transport you to a different time and place. They can be inspired by an Asian vibe, the desert, a lake or a river, or you can go with a contemporary feel. Check Pinterest for loads of ideas.
- Place the piece of screen in the bottom of the container.
- Fill it about half full of soil, then smooth it out with a spoon or other small utensil. You can sculpt the soil if you want to include hills and valleys.
- Remove each plant from its pot, shake off the soil, and trim any roots that seem excessively long. Scoop a hole in the soil, add the plant, then gently backfill the soil. Repeat until you have planted all the succulents you want to include.
- Smooth and sculpt the soil. You may need to add or remove some.
- Dress the soil surface with gravel, pebbles, sand, or moss for a finished look.
- Clean any debris from the plants and edges of the container with a small, soft paintbrush.
- Place the tray in a sunny spot or somewhere that has bright light.
- You don’t need to water your succulent tray very often, maybe once a month.