Succulents in Willy Guhl pot (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Create a $2,500 Succulent Planter for $250

Loved the look but (eek!) not the price

Hefty Midcentury pots by Swiss designer and artist, the late Willy Guhl, are prized collector’s items. Those two feet or more in diameter can go for upwards of $2,500---and that's unplanted!

I spotted them at The Well, a high-end boutique specializing in outdoor furniture and accessories. It's in Summerland, CA near Montecito where Oprah and the royals have large estates (lah-dee-dah).

Willy Guhl pot w echeverias

Willy Guhl pot with echeverias at The Well

Here and in my new video, I show you how to make similar grid planters for your garden. Hey, how often do you save thousands of dollars AND get something that's easier to move?

Echeverias in a Willy Guhl cement pot

Echeverias in a Willy Guhl cement pot

Same Look for 90% Less

Back home, I realized I had a similar-sized pot from a garage sale. It was free because they were happy to get rid of it. It’s lightweight, probably fiberglas. I did some checking, and comparable ones average around $100 online.

Concrete-look resin planter (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

I dabbed my resin (fiberglas?) pot with gray paint to make it look like concrete

Well then! We simply have to make a similar succulent grid planter, don't we?

The goal is to create a planter that resembles those at The Well yet cost less than ten percent.

Here's how...

Materials

  • Large (2-foot diameter) shallow synthetic pot. On Ebay, search "large outdoor resin bowl planter." On Amazon (affiliate links) go to:  https://amzn.to/3C31xLA
  • Succulents: Echeverias or sempervivums are good choices because they're symmetrical and keep their circular shape as they grow. Go with echeverias if you live in a mild climate; semps if you get below-freezing temps.

I chose blue Echeveria 'Allegra' from Oasis Water Efficient Gardens nursery in Escondido, CA. Pot size: 3.5 inches. Plant diameter: 4 to 5 inches. I estimated I'd need 21 but got 24 just in case. Order Echeveria 'Allegra' online.

Wide shallow resin pot

I used Echeveria 'Allegra' in 3.5" pots for my 21" diameter pot

  • Gray paint (optional). After cleaning my weathered white pot, I dabbed the outside with gray acrylic paint to make it look like cement.
  • Potting soil: I used Bonsai Jack, a coarse mix that doubles as a topdressing.
  • Lazy susan (optional). I like being able to rotate a large pot while planting it.

Method (from the video)

  • Give the pot a drain hole if it doesn't have one. Here's how. 
  • Fill with soil to one inch below the rim.
  • At the midpoint, plant a rosette so its crown is about even with the rim of the pot. (A plant's crown is just above the soil, where stem and roots meet.)
  • Create a plus-sign with plants that extends to the rim of the pot. Mine consists of two echeverias flanking the first one, on four sides, for a total of 9.

Faux-concrete succulent grid planter (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Here's my finished faux-concrete succulent grid planter. I love that I can move it (concrete would be too heavy).

  • Fill in the corners, adjusting plants as needed to make a criss-cross pattern.
  • Add topdressing: more Bonsai Jack potting mix, pebbles or crushed rock to conceal bare dirt and give the composition a finished look.

Succulents in a grid w holiday balls (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Little red holiday balls make mine look like a big dessert

How many plants do you need?

Cut a paper circle the size of your pot’s inside top diameter. Fold the circle in quarters to pinpoint its center. At the nursery, lay the paper on the ground and place small potted succulents on top, just as you'll plant them: from the center outward.

How many succulents do you need

20" diameter pot = 37 plants in 2" pots

What if you’re ordering plants online? Cut paper circles or squares the size of the nursery pots, and set those on the paper circle.

How many succulents for a circular pot

12” diameter pot = 21 plants in 2” pots

Find 12" diameter terra-cotta pots on Amazon.

LMK what you think!

Have I inspired to make something similar? Do let me and other members of our succulent community know. I welcome your questions and comments here and on YouTube!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Alex on November 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Thank You very much for your interesting videos. I have got every time a lot of usuful information. I impressed especialy of your succulent garden. It is impossible in my place .We have cold winter. I grow up my plants in greenhouse in summer.If You are interested I could send some photos & videos of my succulent plants.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on November 11, 2021 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Alex — I think that would be fascinating! You’re in Russia, right? You can send me photos in response to my newsletter.

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