I am something of a wishful gardener.
I have dreams — some would call them delusions — of a beautiful landscape and a garden overflowing with vegetables. But I’m not willing to put in the work to make those visions a reality. Plus, I sometimes forget to water my plants.
But succulents I can handle. They’re the most easygoing, forgiving plants around — like a hybrid of Matthew McConaughey and your grandma.
All right, all right, all right — when it comes to succulents, there’s not much you can do to mess them up or upset their equilibrium.
Forget to water them for weeks on end? You’re golden.
Leave them outside all winter? I did this with a pot of hens and chicks, and I thought for sure they would be done for, given all the snow and ice we had this winter. Now that spring as has sprung, they’re not only surviving but thriving. (I wouldn’t recommend leaving succulents outside in frigid temperatures. Ours survived, I think, because they were up against the house, behind some bushes, and sheltered from the worst of the weather.)
My son and I love to visit the local greenhouse and check out all the miniature plants. We took a field trip recently looking for succulents to plant in some tin coffee cups I scored last year at a yard sale.
I knew as soon as I saw these cups that I wanted to plant succulents in them.
This was a fun afternoon project for my son and I. Jackson really likes plants, and he’s pretty attached to them. He has an aloe, an air plant and a cactus in his room, and he’s given a few of them names.
He really likes digging in the dirt and placing rocks and other baubles to create a miniature world, like he did when we planted this fairy garden. What a funny adventure that was; you have to read it to believe it!
We were too busy (and too dirty) digging in the dirt when we made these succulent dish gardens for me to take step-by-step photos.
But trust me: if I can do it, you can do it.
- aluminum coffee cups or small containers
- small rocks or pebbles
- activated carbon (find it in pet stores with the aquarium supplies)
- cactus and succulent potting soil mix
- assorted succulents
- Fairy garden miniatures (optional)
- sheet moss (optional)
Begin by adding a layer of pebbles to the bottom of your container.
Add a layer of activated carbon or charcoal, followed by a layer of soil.
Plant succulents in soil and top with a layer of dried moss or more pebbles. (If using moss, be sure to keep it dry to prevent root rot in your plants.)
Decorate with fairy garden miniatures, rocks, gemstone or other natural elements, as desired.
Mist your dish garden weekly, being careful not to overwater.
We have gone a little bit crazy over succulent dish gardens in our house.
In addition to the tin cup ones Jackson and I made, I also made this one.
These little gardens are like their own little worlds.
But these little piggies might be my favorite. I actually bought this dish garden a few weeks ago at the local home show. I couldn’t resist those cute-as-a-button oinkers traipsing around on little wood slice stepping stones.
For more miniature gardening ideas, everything from succulent dish gardens to fairy gardens, I recommend these books: