Tag Archives: succulent plants

DIY Succulent Terrarium

A few months back my mom came to visit with this large glass apothecary-esque jar in tow.

“I figured you could use it for something,” she said. “Maybe a terrarium?” Brilliant. It was perfect for a terrarium to bring a little green to my new office at work, which happens to have a large, sunny (and empty) window ledge.

Last weekend when picking up a few extra vegetables and plants for my actual garden, I finally got around to getting the goods for my terrarium. Instead of the moisture-loving plants found in many terrariums, I went with charming succulents to create a quirky, low maintenance cactus terrarium.

This is a pretty foolproof project even if you’re not the gardening type. The hardest part of the whole project was editing my plant selection! I ended up with two neon colored cactus, an aloe plant, a mini jade, two sempervivum and a frilly ground cover succulent – which I’m happy to report are thriving so far.

What You’ll Need:
glass jar, apothecary jar or similar transparent container
variety of mini succulent plants, such as cactus, aloe, jade, sempervivum
cactus soil (quantity will depend on size of your container)
small river rocks
gardening charcoal (found at your local garden store)
a spoon

*NOTE: These are rough instructions. Depending on the size and shape of your terrarium container, you may not need all three “soil” items or you may need to adjust things to fit in a smaller container.

1. Line the bottom of the container with a thin layer of charcoal. This helps with drainage and with preventing potential odors in your terrarium.

2. Next, line with a thin layer of river rocks. In a smaller container you could reverse the layers of soil and rocks for a more “zen garden” look.

3. Depending on the size and shape of your container you may be able to put the cactus soil in first or the succulents, filling in the soil around them. I had to put the plants in and use a spoon to fill soil around the plants in order to fit them. Place plants as desired to mix up shapes and colors.
4. Finish off with soil or with additional rocks to achieve the look you want.

Care: Your succulent terrarium needs lots of sunlight but only needs to be lightly watered about once a week. If you choose to keep a lid on it, water less frequently as the plants will generate moisture.

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Pretty in a Pot

The April showers have brought in the May flowers! I was so excited to get out in the sunshine this week and finally start to work on our garden. After hours of wandering aimlessly (in a good way) around the local garden center, my husband and I came home with the first of many rounds of flowers, shrubs and veggies to plant.

The past two years, my attempts at planting annuals alongside our front walkway have failed. I blame the failure on the poor soil, not my gardening skills, and I plan to keep it that way. I decided to ditch trying flowers alongside the bushes this year and bought a pretty pot to decorate the entryway to the front door.

I purchased a 15″ diameter ceramic pot in bright blue. Since the container is fairly tall, I didn’t want to waste too much potting soil, so I placed an empty plastic pot from one of the other shrubs we planted at the bottom of the large pot and placed potting soil around it. When potting plants, make sure to use potting soil and not garden soil. Potting soil is much lighter and not as moist as garden soil. You can tell the difference when you lift the bags.

When planting, I followed the rule that Better Homes & Gardens calls “Thriller, Filler, Spiller.” To create some height and depth to your pot, I purchased a tall Spike. I placed Zinnias in Profusion Orange and Profusion Cherry as well as Sorbet Orange Delight Violas and Red Picotee Dianthus to fill the pot and add color. I couldn’t resist planting Jade, one of our favorite succulents for the season, in the front of the pot. For the “Spill” I added Snowstorm Giant Snowflake (Sutera cordata) and Vinca.

To get your desired arrangement, lay your plants in the pot in their containers before planting them. I’ve placed some river rocks over the top of the pot to help with drainage. You can also add other decorative rocks or mulch. I’ve set this pot up to thrive in partial shade. When picking out your flowers and plants, make sure you read the labels. Lots of great information exists on that small little insert, including height, conditions and tips.

I can’t wait to watch as my pot grows and bursts with color throughout the summer! I will keep you updated as they bloom.

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Obsessed with: Succulents

After my trip to LA, I’ve had succulents on the brain. I’m in love with their plump little leaves and the funky, exotic vibe they lend to both indoor and outdoor landscapes.

For those of you with black thumbs, these little beauties are a perfect houseplant because, unless you stash them in a closet, they’re nearly impossible to kill. All you need is a well-draining pot and light!

Succulents love bright light indoors or full sun outdoors that replicates their natural environment of African deserts or Alpine rock ledges. They naturally retain water (the term succulent literally means “full of juice”), so you don’t have to water them often. Regular rain outside or once every few weeks inside should do the trick.

In the succulent family, cacti are certainly the poster child, but these are some of my new favorite varieties:

Sempervivum
Also known as Hens and Chicks or Jovibarba (Jupiter’s Beard), sempervivum are easy to identify by their pretty rosette shape.  Highly adaptable and frost resistant, they make for a lovely coffee table plant and work equally well as a low-growing filler along the edges of raised garden beds.

Sempervivum succulent, Hens and Chicks

Succulent rock garden

Jade
Sometimes called the “money tree” or “friendship tree” (and who couldn’t use more of both), Jade plants work well on window ledges or patios and can be pruned like a bonzai to control their size.  They can produce small pinkish white flowers like the plant below and can easily be divided by clipping off just a small branch…perfect for sharing with friends! My friend Anne just picked one up at the farmer’s market last week so I may be stealing a cutting of hers once it gets going!

Jade plant, Money tree, Friendship tree

Sedum
Sedum come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and styles ranging from mid-size flowering shrubs to mat-like stonecrops.  Flowering shrubs like this one below are hearty in cold weather and produce masses of burgundy flowers that are pretty fresh or dried.  They also divide and transplant well so check with your gardener friends to see if you can snag a clump.

Sedum foliage

Aloe Vera
Not just something that comes in a bottle dyed green!  Aloe vera plants can be grown at home and their leaves snipped to treat wounds, burns or sunburn.  Just double check that it’s the aloe vera that you’re getting since some aloe species can be poisonous.

Aloe vera plant, Succulents

Non-HAP Photos: Jade plant and Aloe plant


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