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How to Make an Indoor Succulent Garden

There is both an art and science to creating an indoor succulent garden. I show you how to select the right succulents and containers, along with exactly how to layer your DIY succulent garden. Discover the tips and tricks about designing your little indoor haven.

An indoor succulent garden has gorgeous leaves as it sits in its snug container.

I haven’t always had a green thumb. I used to kill every plant I came into contact with within days or a couple of weeks. 

Over time, with some persistence, I have learned a thing or two. I now enjoy gardening and have a steady, growing indoor collection. 

My first successful plants were succulents. They’re low maintenance and perfect for a beginner. Even for more seasoned gardeners and plant enthusiasts, they are a favorite. 

They love sunshine and need less water than other plants, which makes them a perfect plant for a newbie. I like to give mine some freedom during the summer months and sit them out on the patio. In the cooler months, they proudly sit in the bay window of our living room. 

An indoor succulent garden sits in a bay window of a cottage.

My husband, AJ, and I recently took part in a succulent container workshop at a local nursery and just loved it. My only complaint is that I thought there would be more of a lesson.

We were told, “Pick your container, pick three plants, and layer it with soil and then any of this other stuff.” 

On one hand, I enjoyed the ability to learn and create at my own pace. But I had expected a bit more guidance. I wanted to know why we were using certain layers, how to make the containers gorgeous, and how to care for each one. We were there for maybe 30 minutes total and were on our way.

Bound and determined to learn a bit more about succulents, I later researched the methods of building an indoor succulent garden. Now that I’ve built my own DIY succulent container garden, gathered research, and have cared for many succulents over the years, I feel like it’s time to spread the knowledge.

What is an indoor succulent garden?

Succulents are fleshy plants that store water within the structure of their leaves. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors. The vast variety of succulents makes them a popular pick for plant lovers everywhere. Arrange them in a container for keeping indoors and this ornamental garden is perfect for keeping in your main living space.

A cactus sits snugly in its container with other succulents.

Cacti boast short or long spiky needles with the occasional vibrant flowering tip. Aloe is intriguing with its spiked leaves and medicinal properties. Aeonium’s brightly colored leaves look like petals of a flower in full bloom.

They’re so breathtaking and exotic looking.

I personally like to use them as part of my summer decor in my cottage. Simple, natural, and understated, they’re a quiet sophistication in the plant world. Wildly tolerant, they can withstand periods with little water and thrive in full sun. Although tropical looking, they can thrive with low humidity. Great for an indoor garden!

Indoor Succulent Garden Ideas

Materials You May Need

Ceramic or concrete planter

Organic potting soil

3-5 succulents, depending on container size

Straw, sand, or moss

Pebbles or rocks

A DIY succulent container is proudly sitting on a wood table after being created in a workshop.

Selecting a Container

Choose a container made from terra cotta, concrete, or ceramic. These materials allow water to evaporate quickly. They’re porous, so they prevent succulents from getting waterlogged. Be sure there are drainage holes, too. This is important. 

When deciding on the size of the container, you want the plants to be snug. Opt for something about 10% bigger than the plant(s). For example, a container that is 8×4” can fit about 3 small succulents inside them. A larger one, say 12×6,” can fit closer to five succulents inside. 

Indoor Succulent Garden Additions

To make an indoor succulent garden beautiful, you’ll want a variety of succulents. Vary the colors, shapes, and sizes for a stunning arrangement.

A variety of materials have been used to create an indoor succulent garden. They sit on table in a nursery alongside other potting ingredients.

Here are a few of my favorites:

String of pearls, dolphins, or turtles 

Aloe  

Haworthia  

Kalanchoe  

Opuntia  

Aeonium

Moon cactus  

Old Man of the Andes” cactus  

There are so many varieties, so feel free to use any they speak to your soul. You really want it to represent you and your personal style.

A variety of succulents have been arranged in a bay window area where they can catch some sun.

How to Layer Your Succulent Garden

1. Start by adding some loose organic succulent soil (potting mix works, too) to the bottom of the container. Fill the container about half full.

2. Next, start adding in your succulent plants. Don’t worry about roots breaking or being damaged. Succulents differ from other plants–if their roots break, they’ll grow back stronger. 

3. Arrange the succulents however you prefer. 

4. Now you’re ready to add a bit more soil in to get them snugly fit into the container.

5. Finally, add pebbles, lava rocks, or gravel to create a decorative effect. This serves as a top dressing. It helps regulate soil temperature and moisture within the container, along with aiding in pest prevention. Top dressing acts as a barrier to pests, preventing them from getting to the soil or laying and hatching eggs that need organic matter to survive.

An indoor succulent garden is growing as it consists of three small succulents nestled into a ceramic planter box.

Tips for Your Indoor Succulent Garden

If you want to add larger rocks, straw, or moss, feel free to do this in place of or alongside the layer of pebbles. 

I like to water my succulents about once a week, using just a few ice cubes that melt into it. So far, this method has not let me down. You can also measure or eyeball a couple tablespoons of water or so per plant. If you overwater them, the leaves will become full and limp. Be careful about this.

A string of pearls succulent is the star in this DIY succulent container covered with lava rocks and pebbles.

More Gardening Topics:

Spring Garden Plans  

What I Learned From Gardening in Clay Soil  

How to Start Composting  

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