Succulent Garden from Day 1


By Deb Pavlosky


If you are new to gardening with succulents, you may be curious about how they grow over a period time.  So, my grand idea here is to share with you the progress of some succulent container gardens that I made earlier this year.  I will describe to you as best I can what I planted and then how the plants fared over time.  I am learning and hope to be the rest of my life, so my results are definitely not perfect.  This is real life container gardening and if I can do it, you can too.


In succulent garden 1, you can see that I removed the split rock succulent (doesn’t take a rocket scientist here to figure out which one it is…) and replaced it with a haworthia (the one with zebra stripes in the second picture).  The split rock  plant was not doing well because this pot got way too much water in the rains, so I moved it to a pot under cover and it is doing much better.  You can also see that the desert rose in the back is VERY happy in its new home and is currently putting flower buds on as I type – So Exciting!  The kiwi aeonium just in front of the desert rose has changed color a bit from pic 1 to pic 2, but is still beautiful and growing as are the graptopetalum (on either side of the kiwi aeonium), the other haworthia and the golden sedum.   So, there you go, not perfect, but I am in love.

succulent 1 - pic 1 succulent 1 - pic 2

In succulent garden 2, you can see how much the ice plant (vining and overflowing the pot on the sides) is thriving.  It’s not blooming though, so I am thinking this pot doesn’t get quite enough light where it is.  At the back of the pot, I planted brake lights yucca and in pic 1 it is barely blooming.  In pic 2, you can see brake lights showing its amazing red color blooms.  Love this agave.  I also have two lipstick echeveria planted on either side of the pot behind the vining ice plant.  They used to have much more red on the edges, so, again, I have another reason to think this pot can handle a little more sun.  The jellybean succulent in front of the brake lights agave is doing well.  The echeveria in the middle of the pot has kind of disappeared in the ice plant, so I will definitely need to do some trimming up.  I am still pretty happy with the growth in this container.

succulent 2 - pic 1 succulent 2 - pic 2


In succulent garden 3, the black prince echeveria in the middle still looks fabulous.  And just like in garden 1, the kiwi aeonium plants have changed color as well as the small leaved spreading succulent that I have momentarily forgotten the name of.  The only succulent having an issue in this container is the baby toes growing to the right of the black prince echeveria.  Just like the split rock in the first container, it is getting too much water for it to be happy so, I will have to find it a new home.  All the other succulents are doing well, even with all the rain.

succulent 3 - pic 1 succulent 3 - pic 2

In garden 4, all the succulents put together reminded me of a reef, so I added some fish to swim through all the plantings.  Though I have lost one of my sempervivum hens and chicks, I was able to salvage babies from the plant that died to fill in the open spot.  The string-of-pearls plants are growing really well  (I think they look like fish egg masses) and I have had the occasional flower as well.  And, though the fire stick isn’t as firey in pic 2 as in pic 1, it’s thriving as are the corn cob euphorbia on the back left and the bunny ears opuntia on the back right.   It won’t be long before my coral reef is full again.

succulent 4 - pic 1 succulent 4 - pic 2


In succulent garden 5, there really hasn’t been much change.  The split rock is putting on a small baby in the back and the orange-topped grafted cactus is leaning a bit.  That’s about all the change I see so far.  I can fix the leaning with a little strategic rock placement.  Other than that, this pot is looking really good.

succulent 5 - pic 1 succulent 5 - pic 2


In succulent garden 6, I used fairies and birdhouses and small creatures as well as an arch and a geode for interest.  This container developed over time as I added succulents from other pots that needed repotted.  Besides my dogs walking too close to my donkey’s tail plant and knocking the leaves off, everything looks great.

succulent 6 - pic 1 succulent 6 - pic 2


In succulent garden 7, there is obvious growth in every succulent.  The opuntia at the back with the fleshy protrusions has nearly doubled in size since planting.  The barrel cactus and the octopus euphorbia have grown too.  The three grafted cacti are just as bright and fun as the day they were when I planted them.  Though this pot has gotten a lot of rain in the past few weeks, it is thriving and these plants don’t mind.  They have good drainage and that’s what really matters.

succulent 7 - pic 2 succulent 7 - pic 1


Well, that’s it for my progressive container gardens.  These last three pictures are of containers that  I want to share progress on in the future.


In container 8, I planted 4 lithops (rock-looking succulent) and it think it is so fun to have them planted among all the rocks.  Let’s see how they grow over time.

succulent 8


In container 9, I have to do some research on these succulents.  These three plants look similar to some varieties I am familiar with, but they have some differences that I need to investigate.  I will keep you posted on what I find out.  Love my little penguin friends in this pot.

succulent 9

In container 10, I have two haworthia,1 tall aeonium, 1 struggling agave Americana and that last succulent that I can’t recall the name.  I am sharing this pot to show you what happens if you don’t put enough soil in your container to begin with.  Over time, the soil compacts and your poor plants sink into the pot and they disappear.  The aeonium and haworthias were planted later and higher than the agave and the unnamed succulent.  I may or may not replant this one, but either way, I will be sure to share with you what I do.

succulent 10


Well, that’s all I have to share this month.  I will definitely keep you posted on the progress of these pots.  As I gain more experience growing succulents, I hope to be able to share with you what I learn.  These amazing plants have captured my heart and there are so very many plants to learn about.  I hope you are looking forward to learning along with me.