Some of the best looking succulent arrangements are mounded, meaning plants are massed atop the container. Mounded arrangements look established right away and are quick and easy to make. The secret is to stack root balls on top of each other and angle the rosettes outward. They don't tumble out because they're recessed, and are supported by plants below them.
For a 12-inch-diameter container 3 inches deep, I used 22 sempervivums (hens-and-chicks) and six sedums (stonecrops) each in 2-inch pots. Find species and cultivar names below. All are from Mountain Crest Gardens and are cold-hardy to at least zero (some to -30F). Other rosette succulents, like echeverias, would work as well.
- (Above) Fill the container to about an inch below the rim with potting soil.
2. (Above) Slide plants out of their pots and lean them along the rim so their root balls are atop the soil, and the base of each rosette rests on the edge of the pot.
3. (Below) Add soil to the open area, then add more plants to create a similar second layer. These should be recessed, angle upward at about 45 degrees, and their bottom leaves rest just behind the first layer.
4. (Below) Add more plants to create a third (top) layer. Use soil to elevate them, if need be, so the overall shape of the arrangement is a dome. Tuck sedum into gaps. Hint: Gently pull sedums apart, root balls and all, to divide them. That makes them easier to tuck into small gaps.
5. (Below) Fill remaining openings with soil. (I used a spoon.) To add interest, and just for fun, I also embellished the arrangement with ceramic drawer knobs that resemble semps.
6. (Below) Hose off the arrangement to remove soil still clinging to the leaves and to help secure the root balls. When it was done dripping, I used my mounded succulent arrangement as a patio table centerpiece.
What these are (but just about any semps or fine-leaved sedums will work):
Figure 25-30 total: Sempervivum heuffelii (various), S. calcareum, S. 'Watermelon Rind', S. globiferum, S. arachnoideum, S. 'El Greco', S. 'Zulu', S. 'Chocolate Kiss', S. 'Strawberry Kiwi', S. 'Mint Marvel'; Sedum spathulifolium 'Harvest Moon', S. hispanicum 'Blue Carpet', S. spurium 'Tri-Color', S. dasyphyllum 'Himalayan Skies', S. tetractinum.
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