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How to Create the DIY Succulent Gardens of Your Dreams
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How to Create the DIY Succulent Gardens of Your Dreams

Succulents are all the rage in California’s spring gardens. If you want to get your hands on a DIY succulent garden, this is how you do it.


6 min read

May 09, 2021

Succulents are all the rage in California’s spring gardens. Most likely, you’ve spotted the vibrant hues of their thickened, fleshy, leaves in interior design magazines, elaborate sustainable wedding centerpieces, or in your mom’s vertical succulent garden. Point is, succulents are everywhere—and they’re super easy to care for. If you want to get your hands on a DIY succulent garden (which you totally should), this is how you do it.

Do you have a green thumb? Succulents are the ideal houseplant to grow. A single plant can create a whole new setting in your living space.

How to Make an Indoor Succulent Garden 

If you have a handful of different succulents all over your home, it’s time to repot them to create a beautiful indoor succulent garden. As charming as they are individually—collectively, they’ll really make your home decor pop. Whether you’re planting succulents for their air-purifying purposes or simply because they’re gorgeous, succulents are the easiest and most versatile houseplants to grow. So get ready to bring spring into your home and groom your blooms in style. This is the best way to plant succulents in your house.

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Step One: Choosing a Container 

When starting a succulent garden, the first thing to do is select a container for your plants. Almost any shallow container will do—let your imagination run wild. Get your hands on dishes, pots, saucers, or any other decorative items and you’re good to go. 

One thing to have in mind is that the root systems of your succulents should be compatible with the depth of your container. It is also better to have a drainage hole. However, in the event that your container lacks a drainage hole, you may either drill one or add a layer of pea gravel or tiny pebbles to the bottom to generate drainage.

Planting succulents in the right soil is key to having healthy plants. Succulents need soil that drains, so regular soil from your yard won't do.

Step Two: Select Potting Soil

Choosing the right soil for your spring garden is the most crucial step in growing succulents together. Getting ready-made potting soil made especially for succulents is the easiest option. This might easily turn into a do-it-yourself succulent garden project if you can't locate ones that are ready. To master gardening 101, just combine one part perlite, one part ordinary potting soil, and one quarter part coarse builder's sand.

The best part about growing these house plants is getting to choose which gorgeous succulents you want to pot together. Who's going to make the cut?

Step Three: Select your Plants

When it comes to planting succulents together, your choices are practically endless. For an easy, low-maintenance house plant, opt for growing kalanchoes. These come in pinks, oranges, yellows, and a variety of other colors. And what’s a succulent garden without everyone’s favorite house plant, aloe vera? Another easy indoor plant to grow, aloe vera makes a great addition to your DIY succulent garden

Although succulent plants are best grown indoors, there’s a certain art to planting succulents outside. When growing succulents outdoors, you have to pay more attention to your choices. Aeonium, agave, and ragwort are common outdoor succulents that’ll make your spring garden look as charming as ever.

Whether or not you like to get your hands dirty, potting the soil properly is important to plant your succulents the right way.

Step Four: Pot the Succulents 

Your container has to have a drainage hole, as we previously explained. To begin, fill your pot with a layer of pea gravel or pebbles on the bottom. Be careful not to fill it to the brim when adding a layer of potting mix. Make sure your container has enough space at the top for a thin layer of sand or gravel to serve as insulation.

There should be a vertical space between the potting material and the base of your plants after they are planted. Fill up this space all the way to the base with more potting mix. Watch the roots carefully throughout this process; they need to be fully covered. Make sure the plants are positioned correctly in the container by tamping down the dirt.

Sand, tiny river boulders, or additional pea gravel may be spread over the top. Your outdoor succulent garden will be less likely to decay since your top layer will keep moisture away from the plant bases.

Since vertical gardens are all the rage, make one yourself for your garden. All you need is a couple of tools and passion for gardening.

Tips for Planting a Vertical Succulent Garden

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need climbing plants to grow a vertical succulent garden. Countless succulent house plants can be trained to grow in a vertical arrangement. 

Every vertical succulent garden starts with a simple wooden box with a depth of about two inches. If you’re opting for something bigger, don’t go overboard. Anything over 18 inches will make your succulent house plant dry out in the loose soil.

When planting a vertical succulent garden, use rooting hormone or even a sprinkle of cinnamon and watch it work wonders. While your roots will start growing quickly, don’t water them for at least a few weeks. 

To start a DIY vertical succulent garden with cuttings, add a wire screen to the box. This way, both the soil and the plants are held neatly. Once everything is in place, wait a month or two for the roots to grow, before hanging the beauties on your wall. You can easily attach the box vertically to any wall you have in the house—just make sure the succulents are exposed to enough indirect sunlight.

While succulents are the perfect house plants thanks to their low-maintenance nature, planting them outdoors is completely possible.

What to Plant in an Outdoor Succulent Garden 

Growing succulents outdoors is possible when you know what you’re doing. Here are tips for the best way to plant succulents outdoors, starting with prepping your soil

Line a container's bottom with a two-inch layer of gravel. Because succulents dislike having their roots wet, the gravel will aid in drainage. Add a little amount of cactus potting mix, which is a dry soil that drains quickly. It's then time to put your succulents outside. 

Your biggest plant should go first; it doesn't have to be in the center of the container to serve as the centerpiece of your succulent arrangement. The simplest method to assist you in deciding which plant to put where is to plan out your arrangement in advance. For example, cascading succulents appear best along the borders of the container.

Make sure not to concentrate on one spot in your container. Place your succulents all over your designated green space—you’ll want your outdoor succulent garden to look lush and full, so fill in every gap you can find.

As for which outdoor succulents you want to plant, the best ones are echeverias, hens and chicks, ragworts, and stonecrops. Your outdoor succulent garden will look especially enchanting if you include pigmyweeds and agaves. Haworthias and snake plants also make great additions to your DIY succulent garden

California’s Top Succulent Classes, Workshops, and Events

Sculptor and painter Jennifer Ahlstrand is the founder of WestWind Succulents. She cultivates 50-plus different species of house plants.

WestWind Succulents

Based in Lafayette, WestWind Succulents is a small succulent nursery and design company. Established by Jennifer Ahlstrand—a sculptor, painter, and succulent enthusiast—the company has over 50 different succulent species including aeoniums, aloe, echeverias, and kalanchoes. WestWind Succulents offers virtual succulent classes, pop-up tours, and corporate events to make your life a little greener.

When you sign up for a virtual succulent class, the company delivers the supplies directly to your house. Then, the guests are sent a Zoom meeting link to join the online class and create a mini DIY succulent garden.

Succulent Gardens 

Succulent Gardens is a delightful boutique nursery in Monterey County. As you approach the three-acre nursery, you’ll find drought-tolerant plants on display both in greenhouses and outside. Whether you’re a retailer, landscape professional, or succulent enthusiast, the shop offers a handful of educational classes and talks hosted by the expert staff. The nursery’s gardening classes show you the best way to plant succulents both indoors and outdoors.

You can find succulents in just about every color of the rainbow. Shades of green are a given—but you can also find them in blue, purple, and red.

The Juicy Leaf

When you visit The Juicy Leaf, you’re immediately transported to a lush green paradise dotted with succulent arrangements, designer terrariums, and a vintage lamp collection. Located in L.A.’s Glassell Park, The Juicy Leaf offers a fresh and positive take on modern retail. The company provides planting parties for all occasions—birthdays, baby showers, engagement parties, corporate team building, and everything in between. Order your succulent kit and build your own arrangement with The Juicy Leaf’s Insta Live Workshop. 

Succulence Life and Garden

Located in San Francisco, Succulence Life and Garden features bookcases full of plants, a make-your-own plant bar, and plenty of fun workshops. Enroll in the Vertical Gardening DIY class to learn everything you need to know about gardening. The Terrarium Workshop is the best succulent class for beginners—you learn how to care for succulents including maintenance, propagation, and transplanting. As for the Discover Succulents class, the knowledgeable staff walks you through planting a selection of succulents and decorating them with rocks, sands, and mosses.

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