Fun Ways to Use Succulents and Cacti in the Garden | Living the Country Life
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Fun Ways to Use Succulents and Cacti in the Garden

The low-maintenance appeal and graphic nature of succulents and cactus allow gardeners to have fun when designing both containers and planting beds in the garden. Here are just a few ideas to help you unlock your own creative approach to planting with these low-water plants. A few growing tips: use a fast-draining potting soil and make sure containers have drainage holes. Many succulents and cacti are cold-tender, so plan to bring them inside when temperatures drop below 40°F. In hot climates, the plants appreciate the afternoon shade. If planting directly into the ground, use crushed lava or small pebbles as mulch to conserve moisture and cut down on weed growth.
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Succulents in Cookie Tin

    A vintage Canadian Mountie cookie tin contains a sweet assortment of succulents, including string-of-pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), ‘Neon’ stonecrop (Sedum spectabile), string-of-buttons (Crassula perforata), and beautiful Graptopetalum superbum. Tucked in back, the tin lid adds color and kitschy style. Drill or punch holes in the bottom for drainage and use a potting mix formulated for succulents when using repurposed items as containers.

     

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Beer Can Cactus

    Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) sprouting from an empty beer can shows that anything is a potential planter.

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Desert Cart

    Filled to the brim with bristling, sculptural plants, a rusty metal cart contains golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Texas sotol (Dasylirion texanum), prickly pear, agave, and ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense).

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Meat Grinder Succulent

    Echeveria subsessilis, its dusty blue leaves rimmed with pink, sprouts whimsically from a vintage hand-crank meat grinder clamped to a table. 

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Dry Garden Patterns

    A swirl of white rock echoes the curves of a trio of golden barrel cacti. Succulents don’t need an organic mulch like shredded bark, which disintegrates over time and can blow away. Moreover, the plants are from arid climates, which tend not to be forested. 

     

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Color in the Dry Garden

    Rocks of various colors, sizes, and textures flow around vignettes of plants and boulders. Colorful assortments of succulents include euphorbias, echeverias, stonecrops, dwarf aloes, senecios, crassulas, and aeoniums.

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Echeveria in the Garden

    A trio of Echeveria elegans, native to Mexico, looks sweet when nestled against a boulder and swaddled by a groundcover of stonecrop sedum.

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Photography by Ryann Ford

    Mix and Match Succulents

    Colorful echeverias and other rosette succulents appear to flow through a swale between boulders. A spherical barrel cactus mirrors the form of the terra-cotta ball behind it. In front of the rosemary shrub are a pair of Aeonium ‘Jack Catlin’, and cascading over the boulder is variegated elephant’s food (Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’). Flapjack plant (Kalanchoe luciae) adds red; coppertone stonecrop (Sedum nussbaumerianum) adds orange.

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017
  • Country Gardens Spring 2017

    Find more of these succulents and cacti, planted in funky containers and in captivating pocket gardens, in the Spring 2017 issue of Country Gardens magazine. 

    Date Published: March 14, 2017
    Date Updated: March 31, 2017

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