Drought-Tolerant Succulent Container Garden Plans

Stone slab succulent table garden
Grow succulents in containers for easy-care color in any sunny, dry site.

Double Dish Succulent Garden

Serve a big helping of succulents with this dish garden within a dish garden. The double-container system ensures excellent drainage because the inner pot sits on pebbles. The spreading shoots of pale sedum and pachyveria echo the stiff arching leaves of the variegated century plant. Artificial coral adds a decorative touch.

A. Pachyveria spp. — 1
B. Pale sedum (Sedum sediforme) — 2
C. Artificial coral
D. Variegated century plant (Agave americana 'Mediopicta') — 1
E. Cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum) — 1
F. Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae) — 1

Sculpture on a Pedestal

Play up the artful qualities of succulents in simple displays. Place your potted garden on overturned pots to grab attention with bold plant forms. This garden planted in an urn rests on a square upside down black pot.

A. Dwarf century plant (Agave desmettiana) — 1
B. Ice plant (Lampranthus deltoides) — 3
C. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina') — 3

Fiery Forces

A trio of creeping sedum and two varieties of hen-and-chicks makes an attractive low-growing grouping in this triangular metal container. When the sedum blooms yellow, the combo glows with warmth. These succulents are hardy to Zone 4, so you could leave this container garden outdoors in most regions. All are spreading groundcovers that will eventually creep over the edges of the container.

A. Creeping sedum (Sedum sarmentosum) — 1
B. Firebird hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Firebird') — 1
C. Glowing Embers hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Glowing Embers') — 1

Test Garden Tip: Drill several holes in the bottom of containers to ensure good drainage for succulents.

Sleek Line Succulent

What could be simpler than growing a solitary multistem yucca in a sleek contemporary container? 'Golden Sword' yucca is aptly named for its variegated yellow-striped leaves with razor-sharp edges. Grow it out of traffic flow to avoid injury to guests but where it will receive at least 6 hours per day of direct sun.

A. Yucca filamentosa 'Golden Sword' — 1

Urning their Keep

Pink blooms of 'Brilliant' showy sedum echo the pinkish purple cast of 'Perle von Nurnberg' echeveria while string of beads tumbles over the edge of this urn. These plants fill the classic roles of thriller (showy sedum), filler (echeveria), and spiller (string of beads).

A. Brilliant showy sedum (Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant') — 1
B. Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg' — 4
C. Echeveria shaviana — 2
D. String of beads (Senecio rowleyanus) — 1

Tray Bien

This attention-grabbing tray of unusual echeverias, kalanchoe, and silver squill derives its showiness from variegated leaves and sculptural foliage. Most of the plants are rosette formers, so a flat saucer provides just the right scale for a spectacular display.

A. Echeveria 'Mauna Loa' — 1
B. Graptoveria acaulis — 2
C. Echeveria lilacina — 1
D. Silver squill (Ledebouria socialis) —1
E. Paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae) — 1

Hanging in the Balance

A salvaged metal plant stand creates the impression of the scales of justice when outfitted with trailing succulents. The Madagascar senecio is related to string of beads, and burro's tail is in the same family as groundcover sedums. If pieces break off, root them to start new plants.

A. Madagascar senecio (Senecio antandroi) — 1
B. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum) — 1

Excellent Echeveria Collection

This trio of echeverias in a pair of mismatched terra-cotta pots creates a stunning centerpiece on this stone slab. The more than 100 echeveria species and cultivars from which to choose means it's easy to create unique groupings of these easy-care succulents. Clump size of these spreaders increases over time. If the plants become too crowded in the container, divide and replant them.

A. Echeveria 'Golden Glow' — 1
B. Echeveria elegans — 1
C. Echeveria prolifica — 2

Accessorize with Concrete

Concrete serves as the unifying element in this collection of succulents. Each grows in its own pot, but by grouping them, a dramatic display results. The neutral grays and blacks of the containers allow the plants to star. A matching concrete sphere extends the theme.

A. Kalanchoe 'Flapjacks' — 1
B. Sedum 'Matrona' — 2
C. Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos spp.) — 1
D. Sticks on Fire euphorbia (Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire') — 1
E. Canary Island aeonium (Aeonium canariensis) — 1

Step It Up

Soften sun-baked entry steps with containers of succulents. Group several pots together to lead visitor's eyes up the staircase to the entry. Unify the collection by repeating a plant in each container. Echeveria fills that role here. Include some trailing types, such as burro's tail, which cascades down the edge of the step.

A. Zebra haworthia (Haworthia fasciata) — 1
B. Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) — 1
C. Echeveria elegans — 2
D. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum) — 1

Tabletop Treasures

A blue ceramic bowl holds a collection of small succulents, creating a tabletop centerpiece for the garden. A combination of rosette plant forms, an upright "pine" tree, and a sprawling succulent "vine" results in a pleasing grouping that will last for several years with little care.

A. Miniature pine tree (Crassula tetragona) — 1
B. Tiger jaws (Faucaria tigrina) — 1
C. Paddle plant (Cotyledon macrantha) — 1
D. Narrow-leaf haworthia (Haworthia angustifolia) — 1
E. Ox tongue (Gasteria verrucosa) — 1
F. Variegated creeping crassula (Crassula sarmentosa variegata) — 1

Triple Play

For an easy-to-arrange grouping of low-maintenance succulents, arrange three containers of similar size on a table. Rosette forms, such as these echeverias and dyckia, are most effective when viewed from above, making them the perfect choice for display on a low occasional table.

A. Dyckia marnier-lapostolle — 1
B. Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg' — 1
C. Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy' — 1

Crazy Quilt Container Combo

Silvery blue foliage is a good indicator of plants that require little moisture to thrive. Plants in this shallow bowl echo the container's blue color. Stiff, grasslike stemless senecio and variegated Kamchatka sedum add vertical elements among the low-growing groundcovers.

A. Variegated Kamchatka sedum (Sedum kamtschaticum variegatum) — 1
B. Jungle Fire hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Jungle Fire') — 1
C. Echeveria elegans — 1
D. Sedum lydium — 1
E. Stemless senecio (Senecio acaulis) — 1

Masterful Mix

This dish garden contains both familiar and unique succulents. Some, such as the silver jade and warty panda plant, are close relatives of the more common green jade and panda plant. Medicinal aloe is renowned for its ability to soothe burns. Black mondo grass is usually considered a groundcover rather than a succulent, but because it has low water needs, it works well in the mix.

A. Felt bush (Kalanchoe beharensis) — 1
B. Harpoon daisy (Senecio cuneatus) — 1
C. Moonstones (Pachyphytum oviferum) — 1
D. Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') — 1
E. Silver dollar jade (Crassula arborescens) — 1
F. Warty panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) — 1
G. Medicinal aloe (Aloe vera) — 1

Vintage Appeal

Surround a large-leaf succulent with a ring of rosette-forming ones for a quick container fix. Mulch with dried sheet moss for a decorative touch. (Keep the moss dry so that it doesn't cause the succulents to develop stem rot.) This vintage pedestal and bowl provide the perfect backdrop to the plants.

A. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) — 7
B. Echeveria shaviana 'Mexican Hens' — 1
C. Paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae) — 1
D. Lola echeveria (Echeveria 'Lola') — 6

Delightful Dozen

Display a mix of succulents still growing in their 4-inch nursery pots set in a vintage wood carrying case. Move the plants around to vary the look, or switch them out with different varieties to keep the combination fresh. A thin mulch of sphagnum moss disguises the nursery containers.

A. Coral aloe (Aloe striata) — 1
B. Stemless senecio (Senecio acaulis) — 1
C. Sedum furfuraceum — 1
D. Echeveria 'Easter Bonnet' — 1
E. Watch chain plant (Crassula lycopodioides) — 1
F. Zanzibar aloe (Aloe zanzibarica) — 1
G. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) — 1
H. Two-row sedum (Sedum spurium) — 1
I. Sedeveria (Sedeveria spp.) — 1
J. Felt bush (Kalanchoe beharensis) — 1
K. String of buttons (Crassula conjuncta) — 1
L. String of beads (Senecio rowleyanus) — 1

Ring of Rosettes

This combination of rosette-forming succulents makes a simple but elegant statement. Washed river rocks act as decorative mulch that echoes the bluish gray leaves of the echeveria. The strong lines of the metal grill provide contrast with the rounded forms of the plants and the container.

A. Echeveria elegans — 1
B. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) — 1
C. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum marmoratum) — 1
D. Aeonium 'Kiwi' — 1
E. Hairy houseleek (Sempervivum ciliatum) — 1

Barrel of Sedums

This collection of cold-hardy sedums flows out of a wooden barrel. Upright Autumn Joy sedum, which tops off the combination, will develop dusky pink blooms in late summer after the yellow flowers of Kamchatka sedum have faded. Newly planted tricolor sedum and white blooming cup flower, an annual that needs to be replanted each year, will cover the sides of the barrel as the season progresses.

A. Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy' — 1
B. Kamchatka sedum (Sedum kamtschaticum) — 9
C. Tricolor two-row sedum (Sedum spurium 'Tricolor' — 6
D. Cup flower (Nierembergia scoparia) — 6

Tabletop Succulent Garden

This collection of succulents balances upright forms with ruffly rosettes and trailers in a lightweight concrete-look trough. Sculptural twigs and a bird figurine complete the habitat. Smooth river stones serve as pot feet.

A. Red jade (Crassula coccinea) — 1
B. Echeveria shaviana — 1
C. Chinese sedum (Sedum tetractinum) — 1
D. Flower dust plant (Kalanchoe pumila) — 1
E. Turkish rosularia (Rosularia muratdaghensis) — 1
F. Crassula pellucida — 1

Elegant Iron Urn

A wrought-iron urn elevated on a matching plinth block brings classic elegance to a garden. By using water-thrifty succulents, such as tree aeonium and trailing string of beads, maintenance of the planting is a snap. The tree aeonium gives the combination needed height, while string of beads soften the harsh metal edge of the urn.

A. Tree aeonium (Aeonium arboreum) — 3
B. String of beads (Senecio rowleyanus) — 3

Faux Bois Feeder

A concrete faux bois trough planter filled with trailing burro's tail and echeverias makes a colorful, drought-tolerant display for a hot, sunny site. The texture-rich foliage of the succulents enhances the rough barklike appearance of the container.

A. Hens-and-chicks echeveria (Echeveria imbricata) — 2
B. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum) — 2

Two-Tiered Tapestry

Place a pot in a pot to gain height and drama. In this example, a small container of variegated century plant rises several inches above the level of the main matching pot. The small pot nestles in one corner of the large one, creating a riserlike effect. Large chunks of broken aquamarine glass fill gaps between the succulents.

A. Opal century plant (Agave americana 'Opal') — 1
B. Pachyveria spp. -- 2
C. Echeveria shaviana 'Mexican Hens' — 1
D. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum) — 1
E. Echeveria agavoides — 1
F. Graptoveria 'Margaret Reppin' — 1
G. Echeveria 'Afterglow' — 1
H. Echeveria imbricata — 2
I. Senecio mandraliscae — 2

Round 'Em Up

Circular clay containers create the perfect home for this grouping of sedums and echeverias. Clay pots make a good choice for succulents because they absorb water so soil in this type of container dries quickly. An upright showy sedum anchors the large terra-cotta pot; the sedum develops pink flowers in late summer. Clumps of echeveria surround the tall sedum, and trailing 'Angelina' sedum offers textural contrast. The sedum also flows from a second, smaller container.

A. Showy sedum (Sedum spectabile) — 1
B. Echeveria secunda — 3
C. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina') — 4

Keep Me Posted

A large timber post serves as a tabletop for a spectacular flower dust plant displaying its splendid pink blooms. Several containers of echeveria accompany this flowering kalanchoe. One pot mounts to the post by means of a plant hook. The others rest on board benches.

A. Flower dust plant (Kalanchoe pumila) — 1
B. Echeveria imbricata — 5
C. Echeveria secunda — 3

Stone Trough Succulents

A mix of upright, rosette, and trailing succulents fill this round stone container to overflowing. A trio of upright growers—aeonium, showy sedum, and silver dollar jade—draws attention upward. Sprawling sedums and variegated elephant bush trail over the edge of the container. And mounding Cuban oregano, echeveria, and pachyveria fill the gaps.

A. Tree aeonium (Aeonium arboreum) — 1
B. Variegated showy sedum (Sedum spectabile) — 1
C. Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) — 1
D. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) — 4
E. Echeveria runyonii 'Silver Spoons' — 1
F. Sedum furfuraceum — 3
G. Silver dollar jade (Crassula arborescens 'Blue Bird') -- 1 H. Variegated elephant bush (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata') — 1
I. Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce' — 1
J. Pachyveria spp. — 1

Tabled for Now

A shallow metal tray resting on a stone slab makes an attractive base for this living centerpiece in an outdoor patio. Soil in the tray mounds for extra height to provide ample room for root growth. A bronze statue tucked among the succulents creates a whimsical focal point.

A. Giant echeveria (Echeveria gibbiflora) — 1
B. Echeveria shaviana — 1
C. Echeveria elegans — 1
D. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina') — 1
E. Graptoveria spp. — 1
F. Sedum spp. — 1
G. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) — 1
H. Echeveria runyonii — 2

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