• Kelly Grummons

Successful Succulent Gardens

Q: OMG! I see all these GORGEOUS succulent gardens and succulent container pictures in the gardening magazines. If I can even find succulents here, my containers never turn out as pretty and amazing as the ones in the pictures! What’s the secret?



A: OMG! It’s not an easy answer. Rather than buying tiny plants that must fill in, buy big, voluptuous plants and CRAM them together in the pot. Go to a reputable greenhouse and get advice on combining varieties that work well together culturally. I really enjoy my LARGE patio pots full of succulents and other high heat/low-water varieties. Mine include winter hardy succulents like tall and spreading Sedums, Hens and chicks (Sempervivums) and assorted ice plants (Delospermas) combined with non-winter hardy succulents like Euphorbia, Echeveria, Aptenia, Aeonium and Aloe. In October, I dig out the tender plants, put them in the smallest pot they’ll fit into and bring them inside in a sunny window. The winter hardy plants stay outside all winter. In mid-May, I put the combos back together. Often, I will add low-water annuals to enrich the combo. I use Nierembergia, Portulaca, dwarf Agastache, Thymophylla, Euphorbia and Salvia.


Fertilize with a mild organic fertilizer like seaweed extract every two weeks or so. Let the containers dry between waterings. Place them where they get at least 6 hours of sunshine.