5 succulent garden ideas

Wonderfully low-maintenance and visually stunning, it’s no wonder succulents have remained popular garden plants for years. Beloved by collectors, this group is vast and easy to care for, making them great for beginners.

If you want to get started on your succulent growing journey, try out a few of these succulent garden ideas to make the process that much more rewarding.

Succulents in containers - combo of species

Combine succulents in containers

Most succulents are warm-weather plants that don’t handle cold well. That’s why many choose to grow them in containers, where they can be moved around to suit their needs. The compact size of most succulents also makes them ideal for pots where they can shine, compared to out in the garden where they may get lost in massive mixed beds.

To up your succulent garden game, don’t grow a single species in one container – combine them. As with regular container plantings, succulent gardens become much more interesting when mixed and interplanted. This allows you to play with different shapes and colors to turn a simple pot into a garden feature.

Succulent bowl surrounded by other succulent plants

When choosing your plants, make sure they have similar growing needs. Most succulents share the need for little watering, but some may need more sunlight than others, or different nutrients, and so on.

Different types of succulents
Choose a variety of different types at the garden center and let each one spread over its own little patch

Use succulents for groundcover

If you would prefer to keep your succulents in the ground but don’t quite know how to fit them into the rest of your beds, use succulents as groundcover plants. Smaller species that won’t make much of an impact in a mixed bed become much more impressive when planted en masse.

Those with geometric and structural forms are ideal, appearing uniform but more complex when you take a closer look.

Succulent and cactus garden outdoors

Choose a spot in your garden where plants may struggle to grow. As long as it is in full sun and the soil drains well, your succulents should be happy there. Once planted, they will spread quickly to fill in the gaps, creating a wall of juicy leaves to enjoy.

String of pearls in succulent bowl

Collect string succulents

There is one group of succulents taking the gardening world by storm at the moment – string succulents. Although not a technical classification, these succulents are easy to spot with their long vines, sporting a variety of thick and interestingly shaped foliage.

String succulents can be grown indoors or out, as long as they have enough sunlight to keep them happy. For this reason, they have become popular as indoor plants, growing better than desert succulents that need several hours of direct sun to keep their shape.

Trailing succulent

String succulents also come with a long list of descriptive (and sometimes comical) common names. String of pearls and string of tears are two popular options, but you can also try string of dolphins, string of bananas, or even string of watermelons.

Succulent terrarium

Plant a succulent terrarium

Terrariums are tiny self-sustaining ecosystems planted in glass containers and typically kept indoors as a decorative feature. While the ‘self-sustaining’ part is quite difficult to achieve, they have still become popular garden DIYs, with many creatives displaying their artistic creations online.

Succulents are not great terrarium plants. In these closed containers, where water does not escape and humidity is high, the roots will quickly rot and the leaves will drop off the stems completely. However, with a few tweaks, you can create something with the same visual appeal as a terrarium that will be a great environment for succulents.

Potted succulents

Start by choosing a glass container that is open at the top, or has a lid that can be left open. This may defeat the purpose of a real terrarium as the moisture evaporates, but this is a perfect environment for succulents.

Layer coarse gravel at the base, follow by succulent soil mix and a thin layer of fine gravel on top. Make sure you layer evenly to create distinctive sections viewed through the glass. Then, plant a few small succulent species and decorate with natural elements like stone and rock to finish off the look.

As there are no drainage holes, it’s vital to avoid overwatering. To keep the roots satisfied, water only around each plant using a straw directed right towards the roots. Even better, choose succulents that need very little watering throughout the year, such as lithops.

Succulent wall art planter

Turn succulents into art

Succulents are visual delights on their own, but when planted in a container, they do still look like regular plants. But, thanks to their compact nature and shallow root systems, these regular plants can be used and manipulated to become entire art pieces.

The simplest way to do this is to create a shallow wooden box covered with wire. Fill the box with succulent mix, plant the succulents in the holes in the wire and pack with sphagnum to keep in place. Then, hang the box on your wall for a framed picture of succulents.

Succulent kokedama

That’s just one idea, but there are many other things you can try. Recycle old furniture like chairs or coffee tables, filling in any gaps with succulents, or create a succulent kokedama to hang from your patio. It’s your time to get creative.

Potting station for succulents and cacti
Madison Moulton
Madison Moulton

Madison Moulton is an esteemed gardening writer and editor with a profound affection for plants that took root in her childhood. As a life-long plant enthusiast, Madison’s early captivation with indoor gardening blossomed into a full-fledged profession. Her dedication and expertise in the field have seen her words grace the pages of several national gardening magazines, as well as some of the most popular online platforms.

With bylines in notable gardening publications such as Epic Gardening, Rural Sprout, Homes & Gardens, and All About Gardening, Madison’s voice stands out as a beacon for sustainable and eco-friendly gardening practices. Moreover, her vast experience with tropical plants has not only made her a valuable contributor to our team but has also earned her features in esteemed platforms like Real Homes and Architectural Digest.

While Madison’s extensive writing portfolio speaks volumes about her gardening expertise, her mission remains consistent: to inspire novice and seasoned gardeners alike to approach gardening with both the flora and the earth’s well-being at heart. Outside the digital realm, Madison is hands-on, immersing herself in the rich soils of her home country, South Africa, where she passionately plants and tends to her own garden.

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