How to plant beautiful & healthy succulent gardens in 5 easy steps! Best design & care tips on sun, soil, water, varieties & container ideas.
Succulent gardens are among the easiest gardens to grow. Almost every garden design project I worked on had succulents in them! Besides being almost impossible to kill, succulents offer such gorgeous shapes, colors and textures.
Last week I was at a nursery and saw these amazing succulent container gardens and succulent fountains that I just have to photograph and share them with you! Let’s look at 5 easy steps to plant gorgeous succulent gardens outdoors or indoors, with lots of succulent care tips and garden design ideas.
Step 1. Choose the best light and temperature conditions to plant succulent gardens.
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The first thing we need when planting succulents is to select a spot with good light and temperature conditions to plant succulents.
As a garden designer, I often hear people ask: ” How much light do succulent need?” or ” Can I plant succulents outdoors / indoors?”
Most succulents love sunny locations. Some will grow in the shade but they will look different than the same species growing in the sun. For example, Sedum nussbaumerianum takes on a vibrant orange color in the sun, and green in the shade.
If your succulent looks leggy or dull in color, it is likely that the plant needs more sun.
In order to grow healthy succulents indoors, give them the brightest spot such as a sunny windowsill. In the warmer months, bring them outside if possible, for some extra fresh air and bright sun. This will make them stronger before you bring them indoors again for the winter.
If you love the look of succulents, here’s a super easy plant ( Sansevieria ) you can grow indoors even in low light! More details here on how to grow and propagate Sansevieria plants in water or in soil!
When it comes to planting outdoor succulent gardens, the main challenge is temperature. Almost all the succulents will thrive in places that do not get freezing temperatures.
If you live in a colder climate, there are still lots of hardy succulents to choose from that can even survive -20 Fahrenheit! These include lots of Sempervivum ( Hens and Chicks ) and Sedum ( Stonecrop ) varieties.
Step 2. Best soil for planting succulents
The native habitat of most succulents are on dry sunny slopes, which is why succulents love well drained soil. Below is a good soil mix recipe for planting succulents.
Succulent soil mix recipe:
2 parts by volume of standard potting soil, 1 part 1/4″ to 1/8″ fine gravel, and 1 part fine bark. The bark provides slow release nutrients and holds water but allow good air circulation. The gravel helps with drainage and also holds heat.
Now we have our planters and soil ready, let’s start planting succulents!
If you like these concrete geometric planters perfect for succulents, you can check out these DIY concrete geometric planters.
Step 3. Creative containers for succulent gardens
The whimsical shapes and forms of succulents and their shallow root systems make them the perfect candidates for unusual creative container plantings!
Find containers with lost of character. Make sure they have drain holes, especially if they are going to be outdoors exposed to the rain.
Step 4. Think scale, color and texture in a succulent garden
Succulents have such unique looks: some look like rosettes, some resemble chubby little branches, some form a dainty textured carpet…
The key to a stunning succulent planter is to have enough contrasts in the scales, colors and textures.
Remember the design formula ” thriller – filler – spiller” in these gorgeous flowering containers? The formula works just as great for succulent plantings!
Step 5. Succulent care: how often to water and fertilize
If you live in a climate that rains at least once a week, there will be almost no need to water your succulents. Only water them during a hot and dry spell.
In a climate like here in Southern California, when there’s almost no rain from spring through fall, succulent gardens need to be watered once or twice a week.
Succulents need less water and fertilizer than most plants. However, potted plants do need supplemental nutrients.
During the growing season, fertilize your potted succulents with an all purpose fertilizer diluted at 1/2 to 1/4 the strength recommended for other plants.
Hope you are enjoying lots of beautiful time in the garden! See you next week!