How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Tough and beautiful, these trendy varieties won’t mind if you forget to water them for a while.

Succulents have become super popular over the last few years, and for good reason. There are hundreds of unique varieties and just about anyone can grow them, beginners included. Their special water-storing tissues allow them to survive in environments that are too dry for most other plants, so they'll hang in there even if you forget to water them for a while. Succulents also thrive in dry air and warm temperatures, which most homes already have, so you don't have to change a thing to grow one in your living room. If you're a new plant parent, here are a few of the best indoor succulents to buy as you start your collection. They adapt well to life on the inside and are easy to find at garden centers and nurseries.

1. Burro’s Tail

Burro's tail or donkey's tail (Sedum morganianum) is a trailing succulent that looks best in a hanging basket or container sitting on a ledge, shelf, or plant stand so it can drape over. Each stem can reach up to three feet long and is packed with gray-green leaves about the size and shape of a plump grain of rice. The leaves have a pale sheen on them that wipes off when you touch them so it will show your fingerprints. Also, the leaves are fragile, falling off easily so it's best to avoid  handling this plant as much as possible. Native to Mexico, burro's tail prefers bright light for best performance. You can let the soil dry out between waterings, especially in winter when it isn't growing as actively.

2. Christmas Cactus

Unlike other cacti, the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) doesn't have sharp spines. Its flat, fleshy, segmented stems can reach a couple feet in length, often draping over in a way that earned it the nickname, crab claw cactus. It also prefers a bit more moisture than its spiky kin, so water whenever the top inch of soil in its container is dry. But if you forget to water for a while, it will bounce back easily from a little drying out. Keep it in bright light near a window, and this plant will likely reward you by blooming in winter. And if it blooms a little earlier than you expect and the stem segments are spiky instead of scalloped, you might actually have a Thanksgiving cactus (they're closely related to Christmas cacti), but the care instructions are similar for both.

3. Hens-and-Chicks

Two succulent plants share the common name of hens-and-chicks. They're closely related but look a little different. Both produce "chicks"—small, identical plants that are slightly offset from the mother (the hen). Echeveria elegans such as Mexican Snow Ball ($13, Etsy) forms flat, flowerlike rosettes with rounded edges and grows arching, bell-shape blooms every year. Sempervivum tectorum such as this hens-and-chicks collection ($21, Walmart) also forms rosettes, but each leaf tends to be flatter and more pointed. It has tiny, star-shape flowers. Both of these succulents come in all sorts of varieties that offer interesting shapes and colors, so they are especially fun to collect.

Echeveria and Sempervivum have similar needs when they're grown as houseplants. Both should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings because constant moisture often causes their stems and roots to rot. They'll do best in bright light near a window. You can easily propagate these succulents by removing the chicks and placing them in their own container, but make sure to use a sandy potting mix labeled for cacti and succulents so your plants will have the drainage they need.

If there is a plant one could compare to the proverbial cat with nine lives, it would be succulents.

They are known to be resilient and survive unfavorable conditions that other plants cannot. Planting succulents is, therefore, easy and stress-free.

400;”>Succulents grow under challenging circumstances.

They grow in deserts and close to seabeds where the soil is filled with minerals. However, most plants are not epiphytes.

They have extensive roots that need sufficient soil to grow and flourish. They need the nutrients, moisture, and warmth provided by the right soil to survive.

Gravels, rocks, and pebbles cannot support plants’ growth alone as they do not have what plants need.

The ideal soil for succulents is well-drained. As a result of this, most gardeners have come up with the practice of adding rocks or gravels to the potting mix.

These are commonly referred to as potting pebbles. Rocks and gravels are primarily used when potting succulents to improve drainage.

Placing stones on the bottom of the pot enhances drainage and prevents root rot. Succulents and cacti naturally grow in sandy soils that drain quickly, and their roots should never be left in wet soil.

The rocks help move water through the soil quickly so that the soil remains well-drained

Also, using rocks and pebbles on your soil can improve the aesthetic appeal of your succulents. If you have ever seen one of these, you will know that they are creative and beautiful.

But the real question is: can succulents survive on rocks and gravel alone? Succulent needs soil to survive, and they cannot survive on rocks and gravels alone.

You may be wondering how other gardeners achieve these arrangements. The truth is that they add some soil before they arrange the gravels, sand, rocks, and pebbles.

The soil is not the usual quantity of soil used to plant succulents but enough to bury the roots or supply the necessary nutrients.

A typical potting arrangement with gravels and bricks usually has an inch layer of soil at the base or in between. You can either fill the pot with gravel and then put soil on top of the gravels and put more gravel over the soil.

Or, you can put the soil at the base and add the gravel on top of the soil.

There are smart ways of ensuring that your succulents survive this arrangement for some time. I will explain these tips below.

Can You Plant Succulents in Just Rocks or Gravel? How To Do It

Add Fertilizer

Apart from moisture gotten from the soil, one other important soil content succulents cannot do without are the nutrients in the soil.

If you must make this arrangement work, you must provide the plants with sufficient nutrients.

You can make your potting mix condensed with enough fertilizers, either organic or inorganic, to support the growth of your succulents for as long as they will remain in this arrangement.

You can also apply the fertilizers tropically on the soil when the succulents are planted already. You can also opt for soluble fertilizers that you can frequently add to the soil.

What is important is that your plants should not lack the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy and beautiful. If your succulents don’t get enough nutrients, they will begin to die or start looking weak and pale.

If you notice that your plants are not as green and beautiful as you want them to be, this is a sign that you need to feed them. You may not have to fertilize as frequently as you should since the soil is nutrient-packed.

Top Up The Soil Occasionally

If you are going to work with this arrangement, then your orchids need a constant soil refill. After one to two weeks, top up the soil in the pot to provide them with sufficient soil to grow in.

Plants need a certain amount of soil to survive. The soil needs to cover the base of its roots, at least. If the soil is no longer sufficient to cover the base of their roots, you need to top it up. When doing this, you don’t need to take out the rocks and gravel.

You can simply pour in the soil and shake the pot so that the soil settles down where it needs to. It would be stressful if you had to remove everything in the potting mix each time you want to add more soil as you would be doing that often.

Use the Right Species

If you are going to stick with this arrangement, it’s best to use certain species of succulents. For instance, the tropical cacti epiphyte can survive with a small amount of soil.

They usually grow on barks and branches of trees. This is the right species to use for this type of arrangement and not any kind of succulents.

Some succulents can barely go a week without soil, and you will end up killing the plants if you attempt this with them. Ensure that you use a more tolerant species of succulents that can survive this arrangement.

Mist Your Succulents

Succulents love moisture, and they can absorb moisture from the leaves and through the roots. They conserve moisture, but they also need to be watered consistently so that they can always replenish what was lost.

Since your plants do not have enough access to soil, it will be difficult for them to absorb moisture through their roots. Therefore, it is not advisable to water the way you would typically by watering the soil directly.

There is technically no soil to hold the water, and you may end up with a waterlogged pot. The best way to ensure that your succulents still get as much moisture they need to thrive is by misting.

Misting simply entails spraying the leaves and stems of your plants with water through a spray bottle. When you shower your succulents, the leaves absorb water and transport the water to the stem and roots. This way, your plants will get enough water and not die of thirst.

Repot Your Succulents

Ultimately, this should be a temporary arrangement. If you want to create a beautiful pattern to display your succulent collection at an exhibition, you can use this method.

However, you should plan to repot your succulents to a better potting mix eventually. Most succulents will not survive this arrangement for a long time, and if you do not want to kill your plants, you should have a plan to repot them.

After some time, you may notice that your succulent roots will start growing out of the potting mix. This is a natural reaction to unfavorable conditions as the plant will start looking for comfortable places to put its roots.

When this happens, you should repot the plants to a better succulent potting mix.

Planting succulents on rocks and gravels is very innovative, and it makes your plants more beautiful. These plants are usually grown in transparent pots to display the beautiful arrangement of the rocks, gravels, and pebbles.

It is eye-catchy, and you may be tempted to use this to plant your succulents. However, you should know that most succulents cannot survive in this medium for a long time.

The best you can do to prolong its stay there is by adopting the mechanisms discussed above. However, give them the soil they need in the right quantity as soon as you can.

Most miniature succulents are baby plants or cuttings which haven’t achieved their full size. They can be planted on their own or with other plants. They can also be glued or wired onto whatever arrangement is being used, be it a wreath arrangement, a wall art, a wood planter, etc.

Keeping this in view, what should I plant small succulents in?

When planting or repotting succulents, fill a bowl of your choice with potting mix. You can use a special soil mix for succulents, or create your own by mixing potting soil with sand to make it more porous. (Remember: Succulents don’t like wet roots.)

How long do mini succulents take to grow?

Indoors you can expect these to keep their compact size and grow an inch a year. Haworthias are extreme slow growers. To go from a 2 inch size to 4 inch, it can take up to a year, sometimes longer. Another slow grower, these can take up to a year to go from 2 inch to 3-4 inches.

10 Related Question Answers Found

How deep do you plant succulents?

Fill the bottom of a shallow dish with 1 to 1 1/2 inches of fine gravel. Any shallow container with a depth of at least 2 inches is suitable as long as the container has at least one drainage hole in the bottom.

Do succulents like to be crowded?

As a rule, succulent plants do not mind crowding whether the plants are grouped in one container or are alone and fully filled out in the container. Transplanting a plant that has filled its container will generally allow the plant to experience a new spurt of growth.

Do succulents like small pots?

Usually, novice gardeners give their succulents plenty of space to grow, which leads to a healthier plant. Your succulent may survive in a large pot, but such space does not encourage healthy growth. … While roots are more prone to rot in damp soil, pots with small amount of soil will not hold excess moisture.

How do you keep cute succulents small?

If you’d prefer to plant your succulents and cacti one at a time, but still want to keep them small, consider using smaller containers. Planting your succulents in pots that will limit the spread of the root system will help keep your succulents at a more manageable size.

Can you put succulents in a fairy garden?

Fairy Garden Plants

Use any succulents you can find. Small succulents are best. You can purchase them online or from your local markets or nursery. You can also propagate your own succulent pups from cuttings.

What can I plant in a fairy garden?

23 Fairy Garden Flowers and Plants

  1. The Fairy Rose. ‘The Fairy’ is a popular ever-blooming heirloom rose.
  2. Chinese lantern’s berry has a lantern look perfect for fairy garden lamps.
  3. Lamb’s Ear. …
  4. Thyme Seedlings. …
  5. Cherry Tomatoes. …
  6. Pelargonium ‘Ashfield Serenade’ …
  7. Lettuce. …
  8. Nasturtiums.

How do you plant a pixie succulent?

You will receive 10 different baby succulent cuttings carefully wrapped in tissue paper varying in shape, color and size! Simply place your cuttings in soil or in a dry place with natural filtered light. You will see small roots sprout within a few weeks.

What is the easiest succulent to grow?

Here are six succulents that are easy to grow indoors year-round.

  • 6 Succulents to Add to Your Home.
  • Jade Plant. Native to South Africa, the jade plant has thick stems and glossy green leaves. …
  • Aloe Vera. …
  • Echeveria. …
  • Zebra Plant. …
  • Panda Plant. …
  • Crown of Thorns. …
  • Ready to start your own succulent collection?

Can you plant succulents in shallow dish?

Succulent plants store water in their fleshy leaves, which enables them to survive in dry conditions. … Nearly any shallow dish works well, including bowls and clay planter drip trays. The dish doesn’t contain drainage holes so planting preparation is necessary to ensure the succulents thrive in the dish.

What is the best way to plant succulents?

When planting succulents, set them into prepared soil (using gloves for spiny types), and sift soil around their bases, gently tamping down as you go. Cover the soil surface with coarse sand, gravel, or other inorganic mulch, and water very gently to settle soil around roots and plant bases.

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Hi there! I’m Sarah Sweeney, the blessed wife of Raymond and mom of two precious children (Shauna and Teresa). Sharing my passion for succulents – and inspiring others in the garden – is what makes me tick.

If you’re looking for a simple way to add interest to your succulent arrangement, try making a miniature succulent garden! Add a few decorations and voila!

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Last fall I planted some cold hardy succulents in a container on my parents porch (which originally just had the tree in it). It did amazingly well over the winter, even after being covered with a sheet of ice at one point.

This spring as I was cleaning out the leaves and a few plants that didn’t survive, my mom thought it would be fun to turn it into a miniature garden and I agreed! It was so easy to do but really makes the arrangement more fun. I’ve since become hooked on the idea of miniature and fairy gardens and have another fun project planned.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Mountain Crest Gardens was kind enough to provide me with a variety of Sedums and Sempervivums to plant last fall an you’ll see them in the arrangements in this post. They have a great selection of high quality plants. Plus, they also have a selection of plants that are perfect for miniature succulent gardening!

It was close to Mother’s day when this miniature garden idea hit, so I thought it would be fun to add a few things to the succulent arrangement that were reminiscent of things in my mom’s childhood. I did some searching on Amazon and found this adorable miniature croquet set and knew it was perfect. My mom’s family loves playing croquet and we frequently play at my grandparents house. Of course the miniature garden also needed a seating area (so someone could watch the croquet game) so I decided to go with this twig love seat. My grandma is very talented with wood working and it reminded me of her.

I wanted to keep the miniature succulent garden pretty simple so I decided to start with those two items and see how it looked. Here is what the planter looked like last fall:

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

I planted the succulents spaced apart because I wanted to give them space to fill in. The rock was added to contrast with the plants and add variety to the arrangement. Adding a rock can really change the way your succulent garden looks, but I highly recommend it! At the time I wasn’t using top dressings on very many projects so the soil was bare.

To complete the fairy garden, I added the top dressing and then placed the bench and croquet set on top of the rocks. The croquet set wasn’t very stable and kept falling over so I wrapped a piece of floral wire around the bottom and stuck that down into the soil. It worked out perfectly that the top dressing made it look like a path through the succulents. So, if you’re planting succulents specifically for a fairy garden, try creating a curve that can be a path between the figures in the garden.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Both my mom and I were really happy with how this turned out. It wasn’t anything difficult or complex, but we felt like it made the arrangement a lot more fun. This pot is on their front porch so everyone who comes to the door can see it. Plus, isn’t the miniature croquet set so cute?!

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Last year we also planted a succulent garden around this fairy cottage (there are a lot of fun ones on Amazon and Etsy!) and bridge that my parents have beneath one of their pine trees. It wasn’t hard to do but really enhanced the little vignette. Again, there were only two pieces in this miniature garden (although they were a bit more than the two for the container garden), but it looks great!

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

If you’ve been wanting to try a miniature garden a try, you should! It really doesn’t take much (although you can get quite elaborate) and it’s so much fun! Like I said earlier, I’m planning on creating another fairy garden and have been shopping for fun pieces for it. You can see some of my favorites on my Etsy wishlist. I’d love to see miniature succulent gardens that you’ve created! Feel free to send me an email or tell me below about your experience.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Making a Zen garden with succulents is another way home gardeners are growing these plants inside the home. A mini Zen garden with just a couple of plants leaves plenty of room for sand in which to doodle and create a basic design. Read on to learn more about growing Zen succulents.

About Zen Succulent Arrangements

Zen succulent gardens are meant to represent an aerial view of the sea and shore, and whatever lies between. Some Zen gardens are designed with small pebbles, keeping sand to a minimum. Stones represent islands, mountains, and large rocks in the landscape. Sand represents water and the designs you make are ripples or waves.

If you don’t like the design you’ve created, use a small houseplant rake to smooth it out and try again. Use a tool from your houseplant kit for doodling, or even a chopstick. Some people seem to enjoy this simple process and say it calms them. If you find this a way of relaxing your mind and utilizing your creativity, make one for yourself.

Crafting Your Zen Succulents

A succulent Zen garden usually has only one or two plants and a few decorative rocks or other pieces, with most of the container devoted to sand for doodling. Choose sand or rocks as your primary element, depending how much space you want for doodling. Colored sand and various stones are available in many craft aisles or craft stores.

Find a shallow bowl that coordinates with other pieces around the spot you want to keep your mini garden. A morning sun area will help keep your plants healthy.

When planting this type of arrangement, the plants are normally kept in small containers or other makeshift holders. However, to keep your plant healthy and growing, plant it in a mix of fast-draining cactus soil in a portion of the bowl and divide the planting area with floral foam. Cover the roots with soil and then cover with sand or pebbles as you do the rest of the bowl.

Your plant roots will be planted in soil, still allowing the same amount of top space for creating your Zen designs. In a few months you’ll likely see growth, which can be trimmed back if it interferes with the concept of your garden.

Use low light plants such as Haworthia, Gasteria, Gollum Jade, or String of Buttons. These thrive in bright light or morning sun as well. You may also use low-maintenance air plants or even artificial plants. Ferns are a possibility for a shaded area as well.

Enjoy doodling when you have the urge. Even if that is limited, enjoy your mini Zen garden as an interesting addition to your indoor décor.

When you plant succulents, you dress outdoor spaces with living sculptures. Succulents are the camels of the plant world, bearing thick, fleshy leaves that store water. These textural beauties hail from regions as diverse as tropical Mexico and cooler Europe.

This tabletop succulent container is a great project for summer because succulents are so hardy and easy to grow. This dish garden can sit atop an outdoor ledge or patio table in the summer and can overwinter indoors as a houseplant. What better way to celebrate the beautiful colors and textures of plants that practically take care of themselves?

To begin this project, you'll first need to pick a planter. A wide but shallow dish, bowl, or plate works, but you'll want it to have a drainage hole. If you have a dish that you really want to use but that doesn't have a drainage hole, you'll need to (carefully!) tip out the excess water when the garden is watered or after it sits in the rain to drain excess moisture.

To begin, add a layer of pebbles—this is crucial to ensure that your succulents have proper drainage. You'll also want to use a soil mix that has aerating agents, such as sand or peat moss. Add a few inches of soil to your dish, but be sure to leave space at the top for plants.

It's a good idea to start by planting whichever succulent you want to be the focal point of your garden. We used echeveria, which often comes in different colors and patterns. Be careful when handling your succulents—because their leaves are so thick and filled with water, they can snap easily. But if a stem snaps off, no worries! Just poke it into the soil and it'll grow into a beautiful new succulent. (The same goes for the pups, or the small offsets that grow off the mother plant.)

When you pull the succulent plants out of their containers, you'll see the roots. Gently massage the roots to tell the plant that it's outside its pot and ready for a larger space. When adding succulents to your planter, don't plant them too deep—they'll like the extra drainage given when they're rooted slightly above the soil.

Once you've planted your succulent garden, the care is the easy part. Water your dish garden every five days if it's sitting outside in the hot sun. If your succulents are acting as houseplants, watering every two weeks will do the trick. The best way to tell if a succulent needs a drink is by sticking half of your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry as a bone, it's time to water. If the soil is moist at all, hold off on watering for now.

Once your succulents are planted, they make a beautiful presentation, looking almost like a mini landscape. Feel free to also add elements like stones or pebbles to make the garden more desert-like.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Do you still have some incandescent light bulbs hanging around? Once they burn out, give them new life (or is it light?) by repurposing them into do-it-yourself terrariums.

Pretty miniature light bulb terrariums draw your eye to them. The small space…the industrial bulb juxtaposed next to the softer nature elements…everything about it creates one captivating structure.

Mini terrariums typically house water-saving succulents, pebbles and any additional accompaniments you like, such as decorative moss, rocks or teeny tiny faux mushrooms or toy animals. They look particularly lovely beside a windowsill garden or lined up on a shelf.

Ready to get started, you crafty do-it-yourselfer? Get your miniature globe going with these easy instructions.

What plants to use

Your terrarium needs sun-loving plants that don’t mind a dry environment. Succulents, like cacti and jade, will thrive. Also try aloe, burro’s tail, echeveria, haworthia, sedum or tillandsia.

If you close off your terrarium with a wine cork (shown above) or other plug, succulents won’t survive. You’ll need to use different plants that don’t mind serious humidity, like miniature ferns, fittonia or wintergreen.

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How to make it

First, you need to remove the electrical innards of your light bulb. Read up on how to get rid of a light bulb’s guts in this tutorial.

Once you clean out your bulb, add a layer of pebbles or sand to it. You don’t need much. A few tablespoons will do. Grab some from your front yard (or your neighbor’s). A makeshift funnel will help with this part.

Many miniature terrarium guides disagree on whether or not you should add potting soil to your light bulb terrarium. Because it locks in moisture, potting soil can cause your terrarium to mold (not exactly the matter you were looking to grow). However, others suggest it. If you think your terrarium requires some soil for the particular plant you chose, add a layer of succulent-specific potting soil.

Now, the fun part! Use long tweezers to insert your mini plants. Add preserved moss and any other tiny knickknacks you like. It may take a bit of poking around with tweezers or a chopstick to get them positioned nicely.

Finally, perch your newly jazzed up light bulb on a napkin ring or bottle cap to keep it from rolling all over the place. You could also stick two silicone bumpers on your bulb to do the same trick.

Some TLC

Keep your terrarium in indirect sunlight. Too much sunlight can burn your delicate plants. Spritz the inside of your little globe with water every week or two. You can absolutely let the sand dry out between waterings. Be sure to drain any excess water. That’s it! Sit back and enjoy your work.

Tired of your terrarium?

Don’t worry! If you get tired of your terrarium, you can in fact recycle light bulbs. Like aluminum and glass, the materials in light bulbs are highly valued. Recycle your bulb at a retailer that offers a take-back program or at a hazardous waste facility.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Tap into your inner bliss and capture the intimate essence of nature by creating your very own miniature succulent zen garden. One of my resolutions for this year has been to make more time for self-love and self-care. So far, I’ve fallen in love with my home yoga practice, enjoyed long soaks in a hot bath, and have found myself eager to reconnect with nature through gardening.

Gardening is something that can be done anytime of year, no matter where you live! I don’t mean digging holes in the snow to plant lettuce, but instead looking at indoor plant projects that can be done no matter what the weather is like. As I looked out my window to see the sun shining, I got the urge to get in some gardening. But then by the time I got my boots on to play outside, the wind was biting and the rain was pouring. Ah, the Pacific Northwest is so unpredictable. To avoid getting drenched outside, I decided to work on a simple gardening project indoors while watching the crazy weather from my living room window.

I remember my mom having a desktop zen garden when I was little and loved playing with the tiny rake in the sand. With that in mind, I gathered up a few supplies and made my very own succulent zen garden that feeds my need for nature and tranquility, along with a healthy dose of nostalgia.


  • Shallow, decorative bowl
  • Small succulent
  • Sand (2 colors)
  • Small paper cup
  • Small rocks (for decoration)
  • Chopstick or other ‘drawing’ tool

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Make it!

Choose an indoor succulent for this project that will grow slowly and maintain a tidy shape. Haworthia, Gasteraloes, and Crassula, do well, as will a cactus. On the other hand, rosette-shaped succulents like Aeonium and Echeveria will quickly grow tall and spindly trying to get more sun. Learn more about growing and caring for succulents in the Essential Guide to Succulents.

Transfer your small succulent plant to a paper cup. I had to trim my cup to be slightly shorter so that the plant wouldn’t stick out too much from where I wanted to place it in the bowl.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Add some sand to the bottom of the bowl and nestle your plant into place.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Then fill the bowl up with sand.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Once the bowl is full, you can then choose the second color sand to fill in around your plant. I personally love the look of the black and white sand I chose to use and like the moon shape it created when I added the white sand around the succulent only.

How to grow a miniature succulent garden

Add a few natural rocks for decoration around your succulent and then use a chopstick or other ‘drawing’ tool to doodle a design into the sand.

How to grow a miniature succulent gardenTa da!
How to grow a miniature succulent gardenMuch like coloring, I find drawing simple designs in the sand to be quite a calming activity and I can now look forward to enjoying my miniature succulent zen garden every day!

Landscape artist Jamie Durie created this recycled steel-structured wall to house succulents from around the world. The combination of artistic and sculptural features gives the wall a true Southwestern touch.

Related To:

Succulent gardens are among the easiest ways to enjoy wonderfully diverse plants in difficult, dry sites, on small patios, and indoors. Learning to make a succulent garden can become a cool hobby that won’t require a lot of time or maintenance.

Garden succulents are fleshy plants that store water in leaves and stems, and provide a fascinating assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors, and often have unique frills, spines, and beautiful flowers.

Succulents can be native to arid deserts, cold mountainsides, or steamy jungle. Some will freeze easily, while some are cold hardy to well below zero, even in the harsh winters of our northern states.

Commonly-grown succulent garden plants include many unique species of Agave, Crassula, Sedum, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Sansevieria, Aloe, Sempervivum, Yucca, and more.

How to Plant a Succulent Garden

Succulent gardening involves not only choosing the right plants for your site, but also making sure they get bright light and that their roots don’t stay wet for very long – the plants have the ability to tolerate prolonged drought, sometimes going for months without rain in their native lands, and will rot if kept too wet.

A DIY succulent garden is not hard to get started. Many are grown in small or shallow containers, or in raised beds or hillsides, and in succulent rock gardens. In xeric (dry) climates, they are often used in foundation plantings and shrub beds, and even as lawn substitutes.

First, select a garden spot or window that gets a few hours of direct sun; with few exceptions such as Sansevieria, most succulents get leggy and weak if not given bright light, and will develop better foliage color with a direct sun. However, many will scorch when exposed to more than a few hours of hot summer sun, particularly in humid climates. Provide shade from mid-day sun, or a sheer curtain if grown in a south- or west-facing window.

Shallow-rooted succulents can grow perfectly well for many years in small well-drained areas, terraced hillsides, or shallow containers. Next, add coarse sand or grit to your native soil, at least six or eight inches deep to provide drainage during heavy rains. For container gardens, choose a cactus mix or make your own well-drained soil using organic matter such as peat moss or compost plus coarse sand and either crunchy perlite or garden grit.

How to Plant a Succulent

Plant succulents carefully, with soil covering their roots and firm enough with your hand to support the lower stems of larger plants. Don’t be tempted to crowd them – depending on the type, give them room to grow taller or to spread. Allow them to settle in for a day or two before watering, to allow broken roots to heal. And avoid watering succulents in mid-day sun.

If possible, protect from hot sun for a week or two. And though a lot of succulents grow best when soil is moist, none want to be kept wet; in general, water often enough to keep plants from shriveling.