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How to Make a Succulent Garden

Outdoor succulents are ideal for low-maintenance landscapes. Keeping succulents indoors benefits air quality, visual aesthetics, and mental health.

Soil quality, light provision, and watering practices are the keys to successful low-maintenance succulent gardening. Gardeners can create fabulous landscapes indoors and out by choosing complementing plants. Most succulents need little watering and a lot of light.

Outdoor Succulent Gardens

Below is a table of succulents, including cacti, that can be grown outdoors. I have included the USDA Hardiness Zones in which they flourish, the light requirements, and preferred watering needs.

Scientific NameCommon NameLight NeedsWater NeedsHardiness Zones
AeoniumTree HouseleekFull sun;
Partial shade
Very dry9 – 11
Agave Century PlantFull sunOccasionally dry;
Very dry
9 – 11
Aloe veraAloe VeraFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry10 – 12
Austrocylindropuntia subulata Eve’s Needle CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry9 – 11
Cephalocereus senilis Old Man CactusFull sunMoist, Occasionally dry9 – 11
Crassula arborescensSilver DollarFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry9 – 11
Crassula ovata Baby JadeFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
11 – 12
Echeveria elegans Mexican GemFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry9 – 11
EchinocactusBarrel CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
9 – 11
Echinopsis ancistrophora ‘Dominos’Easter Lily CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry11 – 12
Epiphyllum oxypetalumOrchid CactusPartial ShadeMoist, Occasionally dry10 – 12
HaworthiaZebra CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry10a – 10b
Kalanchoe Chandelier PlantFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
9 – 12
Lophophora williamsii MescalPartial ShadeOccasionally dry9 -11
MammillariaPincushion CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
9 – 11
Opuntia microddsysBunny EarsFull sunOccasionally dry9 – 12
SchlumbergeraHoliday CactusPartial ShadeOccasionally dry9 – 11
SedumSedumFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
3 – 9
Selenicereus undatusMoonlight CactusFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry9 – 11
SempervivumSempsFull sunOccasionally dry4 – 8
SenecioRagwortFull sun;
Partial shade
Occasionally dry;
Very dry
9 – 12

Xeric Gardens

An excellent low-maintenance gardening alternative is a xeric garden using succulents.

A xeric garden’s objective is to eliminate the need for additional water in a particular landscape by utilizing a variety of drought-resistant plants.

Most plants are adapted to the particular temperatures or environments in which they will be planted.

They will have sufficient water storage to prevent runoff and water waste. But they will have access to enough water without needing more.

Indoor Succulent Garden

Your garden layout should group various succulents based on their needs and growth traits.

Group plants with high light need to be together near a southern window in the Northern hemisphere and a northern window in the Southern hemisphere.

Plants that require lower light levels (partial shade) can be grouped in a western window.

These include plants like Haworthia, Gasteria, and Aloe.

Succulent Garden Components

Succulent Containers

The ideal container would include a drainage hole at the bottom because, as said earlier, succulents don’t really like a lot of wetness.

Regrettably, many glasses or porcelain containers lack drainage holes.

Although root rot is significantly less likely in containers with drainage holes, there is a way to work around the challenge by creating a false bottom and paying special watering care.

Clay or terracotta containers make the best succulent pots because they drain faster because of their porosity.

Succulent-Friendly Soil

The kind of soil you use is likely the most crucial factor when it comes to creating a succulent garden. Succulents don’t like much moisture, and standing water can quickly lead to root rot.

Even though you may be able to salvage the situation, it will mean dismantling your garden and replacing the soil. Often, the damage is so far gone that the plant is beyond redemption.

A well-draining growing medium is essential if drainage holes are significant.

Succulents hate wet feet, so adding some inert aggregates is vital to aid air availability and boost drainage.

Many succulent enthusiasts opt for a medium made entirely of grit instead of potting soil. Surprisingly, many of the best succulent soil amendments originate in the bonsai hobby.

Check out my The Best Bonsai Soil Mix for Bonsai Health.

Turface, pumice, pea gravel, expanded shale, and granite grit are inert materials that help plant roots manage water and air availability.

Their combined qualities result in a medium that retains the right amount of water for your plants while allowing the extra drain.

Succulent Plants

Naturally, the focal point of your succulent garden will be the plants. Choosing your plants carefully is a good idea because not all succulents demand the same maintenance, and some are considerably easier to cultivate than others.

Consider your terrarium’s lighting requirements when selecting the succulents that will go inside. While certain plants like their light to be indirect, many species require as much light as you can provide.

The way the succulents will appear in the garden should also be kept in mind when shopping for your succulent garden. It’s a good idea to plan your layout before you start shopping.

The finest terrariums have plants of various heights, textures, and colors, but avoid using too diverse varieties lest you end up with an arrangement that looks disorganized.

In Conclusion

Succulent gardens offer an excellent opportunity to create a décor piece to display your gardening skills and artistic flair. The biggest challenge is ensuring good drainage, but the plant selection is also essential. Grouping plants with similar cultural needs for light and heat will ensure better success.

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