DIY Succulent Centerpiece Step-by-Step


A raised pedestal container garden stuffed with a lush collection of succulents looks complicated, but it’s simple once you know how. To create this floral-style centerpiece, the designer chose a white-painted wooden urn 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall, with a basin 3 inches deep. Plants include ‘Sunburst’ aeonium, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’, burro tail sedum, assorted blue echeverias, lithops (living stones), and Seneco radicans (fish hooks).


  1. Cut a circle from heavy mil plastic (such as a trash bag) and use it to line the basin. Fill with potting mix and press down on the soil with your palms to compact it. Form a mound several inches high in the middle that slopes to just below the rim.



2. In the center, plant an upright cluster of the largest rosettes.


3. Tuck smaller plants or cuttings around the center grouping, facing outward at a slight angle.


4. When the arrangement is nearly finished but still has some gaps, use a chopstick to push roots of remaining plants into the soil, and to tuck and conceal the edge of the plastic below the rim.


  1. Gently brush spilled soil off the leaves, then water the completed arrangement lightly to settle the roots. Because there’s no drainage, water it minimally, about once a week, to moisten the soil, but not so much that the roots are sitting in a puddle of water.

Design by Fresh Chic, a division of CW Design & Landscaping

For more Fresh Chic designs, see my article, Tips from a Top Container Garden Designer

Also find lovely centerpieces in my book, Succulent Container Gardens. Learn how to make them in my online Craftsy class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements. And be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more great ideas for using and designing with succulents! ~ Debra Lee Baldwin 

10 replies
  1. Enid Sherman
    Enid Sherman says:

    Is it better to cut blooms off succulents or let them flower?
    Thank you,

    Hi Enid — It’s really a matter of personal preference. Generally I let them bloom, but occasionally I snip off flowers that I don’t like the looks of (such as the dandelion tufts of senecios) or that tend to drain too much energy from the plant, such as those of flapjack plants (Kalanchoe luciae). Agaves die after flowering, but you can’t stop that from happening by removing their bloom spikes, so you might as well enjoy the show.

  2. Kathleen McCarthy
    Kathleen McCarthy says:

    Such a beautiful arrangement – I love it!
    I am surprised to see the inclusion of the lithops. I love the look, but I would have thought it might be challenging to water the entire arrangement without over watering them? I am still v-e-r-y new to lithops, but eager to work with them. Are they not as difficult to care for if planter among other succulents as I thought?

    • Debra
      Debra says:

      Excellent observation, Kathleen. I agree, and would not have included them. Too fiddly. A similar living stones type of succulent commonly called baby toes (fenestraria) would have been a better choice. Good catch!

  3. Stacey Spark
    Stacey Spark says:

    Debra –

    Love your style! I have been looking for something just like this.

    I am having trouble finding the urn or pot to go under it though.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks, Stacey


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