All Posts   Posted:   July 17, 2018 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education

A popular gardening theme, especially during summer months, is planting succulents together to create flashy, easy-care containers that work great as patio-table centerpieces, garden accents & gifts. Succulents come in all shapes and sizes and are generally grouped into two categories: winter hardy or NOT winter hardy (aka annual). Although the world of hardy succulents is full of weird & wonderful choices from Hens & Chicks to the ever-popular ‘Angelina’ and ‘Autumn Joy’, most of them have smaller leaves and a lower profile than the non-hardy varieties. The larger foliage and somewhat bulkier profile of these annual types leads to dramatic contrasts of interesting textures, shapes and colors and makes them hard to resist!

Using low, shallow containers filled with cactus mix, provides the best planting environment; it is best to have drain holes but if using a container with no holes, diligent and watchful watering with restraint will be your path to success. All (well, most all) succulents prefer full sun so be sure they are placed in an area with at least six hours of direct sun each day. If growing indoors, a south or west-facing windowsill is best with supplemental lighting in winter to keep it stocky and colorful. Once planted I like to use natural or brightly hued decorative rocks as a top-dressing to cover the soil for a clean, finished look. These low-profile plantings make the perfect table centerpiece for your outdoor eating area or an eye-catching display on your desktop at work.

Succulents grow at a slow to moderate pace but generally the less-hardy types grow faster. As they grow they may spill over the sides of the container, intermingle, and lean on each other. Each one has a bloom that is short-lived but adds a delicate beauty to the planting while it lasts. Just like other annuals, they can be pinched and trimmed to shape and contain but what’s best about trimming them is that each piece can be easily rooted to create more of its kind! Each leaf, in fact, can be used to grow an entirely new plant – this will never cease to delight and amaze me. Allow a leaf or two to drop onto the soil near the base of the main plant (no need to bury it) and watch it slowly make a root over the course of a few days or weeks.

Another reason succulents are so popular is their versatility of uses due to their low-water needs and ease of care. I have planted them in a retired pair of high-heel shoes (good riddance ankle-breakers!), on top of birdhouses and chicken coop roofs; I’ve even used tiny cuttings planted into cored-out wine corks glued to magnets for my refrigerator (thanks Pinterest). I have seen succulent cuttings used in bridal bouquets and boutonnieres like flowers and practically infinite project ideas are on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Although they are not as thirsty as the average plant, they do best if given occasional water and lightly fertilized on a regular basis.

These seasonal succulents will begin to slow their growth as fall weather arrives and the winter tender types will die completely after the first frost however many of the hardy types can withstand temperatures well below zero degrees.  The entire plant or even pieces can be saved or propagated by bringing them indoors by Halloween and growing inside through winter. I have plans to take cuttings from all of my succulents in early October and use them for a crafty fall pumpkin creation that will last me from Halloween through Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for that project update coming soon: Spectacular Sedum Pumpkins!

But for now, here is a fun succulent planting project to try all summer long:

We sell a great assortment of metal sphere cages that will work for this planting project. Line them with burlap liner to provide a space to secure the soil.

Cactus planting mix is our recommended soil medium when planting succulents and sedums.

Pick a selection of fun colors, textures and sizes of succulents before you start planting.

Before planting, shake off exess soil (we love these tuff totes for garden projects).

It can be tricky to plant in these cages so be sure to handle the plants with care.

Top dressing with decorative moss is optional to present a finished look to the design. Here's we've chosen to use spanish moss.

A popular gardening theme, especially during summer months, is planting succulents together to create flashy, easy-care containers that work great as patio-table centerpieces, garden accents & gifts. Succulents come in all shapes and sizes and are generally grouped into two categories: winter hardy or NOT winter hardy (aka annual). Although the world of hardy succulents is full of weird & wonderful choices from Hens & Chicks to the ever-popular ‘Angelina’ and ‘Autumn Joy’, most of them have smaller leaves and a lower profile than the non-hardy varieties. The larger foliage and somewhat bulkier profile of these annual types leads to dramatic contrasts of interesting textures, shapes and colors and makes them hard to resist!

Using low, shallow containers filled with cactus mix, provides the best planting environment; it is best to have drain holes but if using a container with no holes, diligent and watchful watering with restraint will be your path to success. All (well, most all) succulents prefer full sun so be sure they are placed in an area with at least six hours of direct sun each day. If growing indoors, a south or west-facing windowsill is best with supplemental lighting in winter to keep it stocky and colorful. Once planted I like to use natural or brightly hued decorative rocks as a top-dressing to cover the soil for a clean, finished look. These low-profile plantings make the perfect table centerpiece for your outdoor eating area or an eye-catching display on your desktop at work.

Succulents grow at a slow to moderate pace but generally the less-hardy types grow faster. As they grow they may spill over the sides of the container, intermingle, and lean on each other. Each one has a bloom that is short-lived but adds a delicate beauty to the planting while it lasts. Just like other annuals, they can be pinched and trimmed to shape and contain but what’s best about trimming them is that each piece can be easily rooted to create more of its kind! Each leaf, in fact, can be used to grow an entirely new plant – this will never cease to delight and amaze me. Allow a leaf or two to drop onto the soil near the base of the main plant (no need to bury it) and watch it slowly make a root over the course of a few days or weeks.

Another reason succulents are so popular is their versatility of uses due to their low-water needs and ease of care. I have planted them in a retired pair of high-heel shoes (good riddance ankle-breakers!), on top of birdhouses and chicken coop roofs; I’ve even used tiny cuttings planted into cored-out wine corks glued to magnets for my refrigerator (thanks Pinterest). I have seen succulent cuttings used in bridal bouquets and boutonnieres like flowers and practically infinite project ideas are on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Although they are not as thirsty as the average plant, they do best if given occasional water and lightly fertilized on a regular basis.

These seasonal succulents will begin to slow their growth as fall weather arrives and the winter tender types will die completely after the first frost however many of the hardy types can withstand temperatures well below zero degrees.  The entire plant or even pieces can be saved or propagated by bringing them indoors by Halloween and growing inside through winter. I have plans to take cuttings from all of my succulents in early October and use them for a crafty fall pumpkin creation that will last me from Halloween through Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for that project update coming soon: Spectacular Sedum Pumpkins!

But for now, here is a fun succulent planting project to try all summer long:

We sell a great assortment of metal sphere cages that will work for this planting project. Line them with burlap liner to provide a space to secure the soil.

Cactus planting mix is our recommended soil medium when planting succulents and sedums.

Pick a selection of fun colors, textures and sizes of succulents before you start planting.

Before planting, shake off exess soil (we love these tuff totes for garden projects).

It can be tricky to plant in these cages so be sure to handle the plants with care.

Top dressing with decorative moss is optional to present a finished look to the design. Here's we've chosen to use spanish moss.