All Posts   Posted:   April 12, 2016 by Jennifer Williams

There is currently a geometric craze sweeping the country, I’ve see the festive tell-tale triangular patterns on anything from clothing to dishes and recently I’ve been delighted to see pottery getting in on the angular action. These patterns somehow blend modern and retro seamlessly, two styles that I often find at odds.  Pair geometric patterns with the whimsical character of cactus and succulents and you have a match made in heaven. Cactus have some of the most amazing adaptations of the plant world, all designed to help them survive the harsh conditions of the desert. Fleshy and spiny foliage are protective mechanisms that help to store water during times of drought – lucky for us these adaptations are perfect for our homes as well, providing a tough as nails (pun intended) plant that even the most inexperienced can grow.

Containers:

 A fun fact about cacti is they love cramped quarters and sunshine, think windowsill here! They can live happily in the tiniest pots, for years so you don’t have devote half your square footage to greenery.

When selecting a pot, keep in mind sticking close to the current size of container the plant is in, excess soil can equal a death sentence for cacti by leading to root rot.

Contrary to the above root rot warning, drainage isn’t essential either but without it you’ll want to water sparingly and use a layer of horticultural charcoal in the bottom of the pot. This is really a game-changer as a lot of great container options don’t have drainage.

Soil:

This is pretty straight forward, use a soil blend just for cactus and succulents. If you want to mix your own add more sand and pumice to ensure the sharp drainage these desert plants prefer.

Plants:

Barrel cacti are classic, squatty, rounded cactus covered with spines, there are many different types but as a whole are some of the easiest to grow and will thrive in intense sun.

Columnar Euphorbia is a more linear and structural form of cactus, even more amazing when you realize they’re related to Poinsettias!

Aeonium remind me of mini palm trees with whorls of flat, fleshy leaves that come in green, creamy edged (this one will burn in hot sun) and a dramatic dark leaved one called ‘Zwartkop’.

Crassula (Jade) plants come in many shapes and sizes, try a variety named ‘Lutea’ with cone shaped leaves for a new twist on an old favorite.

Echeveria are truly fantastic succulents that grow in charming rosettes with loads of different colors – a few of my favorites are a dark leafed version called Echeveria ‘Black Prince’, one with powder blue foliage called E. glauca and a fuzzy leafed variety called E. setosa. These will want some direct sun to keep them compact.

Haworthia (commonly known as Zebra Cactus) is another rosette forming succulent that has great white horizontal striping and is more tolerant of shade.

Be sure to wear protective gloves when handling cacti with spines. It's also helpful to have a tool such as our wine cork poker available to compact the soil in tight spaces.

Top-dress:

Half the fun of planting cacti and succulent dish gardens is the colored rocks and sand that you can decorate the top with, taking color coordinating with your container to a whole new level.

Try our favorite “party rocks” (tumbled glass) in great blues, greens to contrast with your desertscape.

We have a great selection of these geometric plantings in stores now. Visit one of our Portland garden center locations to pick one up today or make your own.

There is currently a geometric craze sweeping the country, I’ve see the festive tell-tale triangular patterns on anything from clothing to dishes and recently I’ve been delighted to see pottery getting in on the angular action. These patterns somehow blend modern and retro seamlessly, two styles that I often find at odds.  Pair geometric patterns with the whimsical character of cactus and succulents and you have a match made in heaven. Cactus have some of the most amazing adaptations of the plant world, all designed to help them survive the harsh conditions of the desert. Fleshy and spiny foliage are protective mechanisms that help to store water during times of drought – lucky for us these adaptations are perfect for our homes as well, providing a tough as nails (pun intended) plant that even the most inexperienced can grow.

Containers:

 A fun fact about cacti is they love cramped quarters and sunshine, think windowsill here! They can live happily in the tiniest pots, for years so you don’t have devote half your square footage to greenery.

When selecting a pot, keep in mind sticking close to the current size of container the plant is in, excess soil can equal a death sentence for cacti by leading to root rot.

Contrary to the above root rot warning, drainage isn’t essential either but without it you’ll want to water sparingly and use a layer of horticultural charcoal in the bottom of the pot. This is really a game-changer as a lot of great container options don’t have drainage.

Soil:

This is pretty straight forward, use a soil blend just for cactus and succulents. If you want to mix your own add more sand and pumice to ensure the sharp drainage these desert plants prefer.

Plants:

Barrel cacti are classic, squatty, rounded cactus covered with spines, there are many different types but as a whole are some of the easiest to grow and will thrive in intense sun.

Columnar Euphorbia is a more linear and structural form of cactus, even more amazing when you realize they’re related to Poinsettias!

Aeonium remind me of mini palm trees with whorls of flat, fleshy leaves that come in green, creamy edged (this one will burn in hot sun) and a dramatic dark leaved one called ‘Zwartkop’.

Crassula (Jade) plants come in many shapes and sizes, try a variety named ‘Lutea’ with cone shaped leaves for a new twist on an old favorite.

Echeveria are truly fantastic succulents that grow in charming rosettes with loads of different colors – a few of my favorites are a dark leafed version called Echeveria ‘Black Prince’, one with powder blue foliage called E. glauca and a fuzzy leafed variety called E. setosa. These will want some direct sun to keep them compact.

Haworthia (commonly known as Zebra Cactus) is another rosette forming succulent that has great white horizontal striping and is more tolerant of shade.

Be sure to wear protective gloves when handling cacti with spines. It's also helpful to have a tool such as our wine cork poker available to compact the soil in tight spaces.

Top-dress:

Half the fun of planting cacti and succulent dish gardens is the colored rocks and sand that you can decorate the top with, taking color coordinating with your container to a whole new level.

Try our favorite “party rocks” (tumbled glass) in great blues, greens to contrast with your desertscape.

We have a great selection of these geometric plantings in stores now. Visit one of our Portland garden center locations to pick one up today or make your own.