How to make a dish garden from succulents

How to make a dish garden from succulents

Succulents are very easy to grow. All you need is a little imagination and these adaptable, abstract shaped plants will present an amazing display of exceptional flowers, foliage and forms when planted as a container garden.

This dish example includes a variety of upright plants, spreading plants and fillers. The upright plants used here are Jade and Aftican Milkbush. Jade has a beautiful shaped with thick, green, glossy leaves tinged in maroon. In autumn white, star-shaped flowers will appear. The African Milkbush makes an elegant specimen. The bright green leaves of ‘Rubra’ have a shimmering effect and are highlighted with deep purple accents.

The two types of spreading succulents are Sedum sieboldii and Sedum cauticolum. The Sedum sieboldii supports clusters of tiny, star-shaped, yellow flowers which are surrounded by small scalloped shaped, green leaves. The Sedum cauticolum used here provides a combination of striking soft grey-blue leaves edged in maroon with clusters of pale pink flower buds.

The fillers are Pearl Echeveria ‘Texas Rose’ and the Panda Bear plant. ‘Texas Rose’ presents itself with eye-catching, bold rosettes and graceful flower stems topped with multicolored blooms. The Panda Bear plant gets its name from its incredible silver, velvety leaves with rich brown accents.


Step 1

Select your container

Choose a container that is at least 4 inches (10cm) deep and wide enough to accommodate all your selected plants. Make sure it has drainage holes. I usually place a small square of flywire or shade cloth over the drainage holes to prevent the gravel falling through but still allowing good drainage. Place a 2 inch (5cm) layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the bowl.

Step 2

Prepare the soil

Prepare a special soil mix for succulents using one part sand, two parts sterile potting mix and one part leaf mold. Fill the bowl about two-thirds full with the mix.

Step 3

Begin the planting

Moisten the soil mix and then plant the African Milkbush ‘Rubra’ at the rear center. Place the Jade Plant in front of it to the right.

Step 4

Plant the spreaders

Position each spreading Sedum to trail over the edges of the bowl at opposite sides just outside of the Jade Plant, firming the roots in well as you go.

Step 5

Planting the fillers

Add the Panda Bear plant next to the Jade Plant and place the Pearl Echeveria front and center for a full effect. Allow some growing space between all the plants.

Step 6

Finishing the planting

Firm in around all the plants and add more soil as needed. Cover the soil surface with a layer of fine gravel then place the container in a prominent sunny, outdoor location where it can be admired.

Things Needed
• 20 inch (50cm) clay or plastic bowl
• Fine gravel
• Potting mix
• Leaf mold
• Coarse sand
• 1 African Milkbush ‘Rubra’
• 1 Jade plant
• 1 Sedum sieboldi
• 1 Sedum cauticolum
• 1 Panda Bear Plant
• 1 Pearl Echeveria ‘Texas Rose’

Tips & Warnings
• Succulents are easy to propagate, so save money and cut the offsets from the main plant and let them sit for a day so the stem forms a callus before potting.
• Succulents don’t like frost so if you live in a frosty region move your succulents indoors and place them on a cool, sunny windowsill or on a verandah where you can enjoy their beauty. Return them to the garden in spring.
• To avoid rot, wait serveral days before you water newly planted succulents. Water only during the growing season and let the soil dry thoroughly between infrequent waterings.
• Succulents do not need a lot of fertilizer. Feed them only once or twice in spring and summer with a weak solution of complete fertilizer or blood and bone.
• In winter, keep succulents cool and do not feed.


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