Succulent Container Design

Design ideas and must-dos for beautiful, easy-care potted succulents

Here you'll find info on succulent container design in articles and videos. Scroll down to see what interests you and best meets your needs. Click to see my gallery of 150+ floral-style arrangements!

Succulent Container Gardens, How-To

Welcome to the most comprehensive info on potted succulents on the Web. You're in good hands: I authored Succulent Container Gardens; my YouTube Succulent Container Gardening playlist has 85+ videos; and I'm an expert on succulents-in-pots for major media. This page is all about helping you grow and enjoy lovely, carefree portable succulents. Have fun! -- Debra Lee Baldwin 

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

Learn About My Online Class! This lush and colorful succulent combo in a pedestal pot looks difficult, but it’s simple once you know how. With the help of the step-by-step instructions and photos that follow, you’ll soon be making your own lovely DIY floral-style succulent centerpieces, gift arrangements, and more. To create this floral-style centerpiece, the…

Succulent Centerpieces

Learn About My Online Class! Succulent centerpieces last months and look good long after the occasion you made them for. Shown here are ideas for tabletops, floral-style arrangements, groupings and more. Follow the links for additional info and how-to help. Above: Jeanne Meadow of Fallbrook, CA, keeps this succulent centerpiece on her patio table. Jeanne’s…

Rosette succulents (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Plant a Pot with Colorful Rosette Succulents

It’s easy to plant a pot with colorful rosette succulents that makes people gasp when they see it. A sure-fire way to make one appealing is to combine succulents that are similar yet different

Potted echeveria garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Plant an Echeveria Garden in Pots

Echeverias do great in containers, so why not plant an echeveria garden all in pots? Because echeverias have great color, symmetry and resemble fleshy flowers, my own potted collection suggests an exotic flower garden.

Fancy ruffled echeveria

How to Behead and Replant Echeverias

Fancy ruffled echeverias—those large, flowerlike succulents—eventually need to be beheaded and the rosettes replanted. This is a bother, but it comes with a benefit: New clones will form on old, headless stalks. But not always. Here’s how to ensure success.

Floral style succulent arrangement (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

150 Ideas for Pots of Rosette Succulents

Enjoy and find inspiration in my idea gallery of 150+ floral-style, potted arrangements featuring rosette succulents. Each is a living bouquet!

Jeanne Meadow’s Topdressings for Succulent Art Pots (3:56)

Your plant-pot pairings aren't finished unless you cover the soil. The ideal topdressing works well in terms of contrast and repetition, but doesn't call too much attention to itself. Jeanne Meadow has elevated topdressing to an art form. See her palette of topdressings and embellishments, and what she chooses for collectible art pots.

Make a Mini High Desert Cactus Garden (3:51)

The dish garden that Debra Lee Baldwin made for the article that features her in Garden Design magazine suggests a hike through the backcountry past rock formations and intriguing, otherworldly succulents.

Why Topdressing is Essential for Succulent Gardens (3:25)

Crushed rock or pebble topdressings look good and offer practical benefits. Don't let bare dirt show!

The Dilemma of Too-Bright Pots for Succulents (3:41)

Bright colored pots may upstage succulents, especially those in pastel or blue-gray hues. Here's what to avoid, and what works every time.

Select the Right Succulent for Your Pot (3:37)

It's a lot like trying on clothes: Take the pot to the nursery, and see how it looks with various succulents. Debra explains her criteria as she evaluates plant candidates for a pot glazed with blue and celadon green. Do you agree with her final selection? It may surprise you!

Debra Lee Baldwin at Roger’s Gardens: Mounded Succulent-Cordyline Container Garden (4:58)

This colorful arrangement illustrates how the technique of "mounding" creates a dramatic, lush-looking succulent container garden. It includes a low-water companion plant for succulents---Cordyline australis 'Torbay Dazzler’.

How to Make a Succulent Dish Garden in 5 Minutes, with Jeff Moore (4:36)

Jeff Moore of Solana Succulents nursery demonstrates how to quickly assemble an appealing succulent dish garden. Jeff's tips include positioning tall plants in back, shorter in front, and adding an ornamental rock and topdressing to create the look of a miniature landscape. Two different compositions

Indoor Containers

Windowsill succulents with glass topdressing (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulent Windowsill Pots DIY

In my Succulent Windowsill Pots DIY here and on YouTube, you’ll find out how to make a simple, colorful succulent windowsill garden. Whenever you glance out your window at work or home, you’ll see and enjoy your living gems.

Succulent Desk Buddies, DIY

“Desk buddies” are succulents that look good on your desk and require almost no care. They’re cute and classy, and visitors invariably ask about them. All you have to do is dribble water on them twice a month (which also keeps them dusted). I chose haworthias for my desk buddies because they do great in…

Create a Colorful Succulent Terrarium (3:13)

How to combine plants, contrasting colors of sand (orange and blue) and small pebbles to create an eye-catching tabletop garden.

A Succulent Sansevieria Arrangement for Shade or Indoors (3:59)

Sansevierias are succulents with stiff green leaves sometimes banded with a lighter green and/or edged in creamy yellow. In this video, I share my enthusiasm for short-leaved "bird's nest" sansevierias as I replant a tired low-light arrangement.

Undersea-Themed Succulent Containers

Undersea succulent clamshell planter

Plant an Undersea Succulent Clamshell

Undersea Succulent Clamshell Planter Succulents that resemble coral-reef flora lend themselves to containers that immerse the viewer in an undersea experience. This succulent clamshell planter sits atop lava rocks near my home’s entry. It’s semi-shaded by Texas privet, the trunks of which frame the arrangement and repeat the upright lines of Senecio anteuphorbium. Certain succulents…

DIY Succulent Driftwood Designs

DIY Succulent Driftwood Designs When you make succulent driftwood designs, the plants resemble undersea flora, and the wood hints at something you’d see washed up on the beach. The two combine to make a special, almost fantasy-like composition that works well as a patio centerpiece or special gift for a friend. Driftwood pieces (from Sea…

My Sea-Themed Potting Demo at Roger’s Gardens

For my sea-themed potting demo at Roger’s Gardens, I combined rosy-pink barnacles with cuttings of a pink-tipped, cream-striped crassula, and did a multiplant arrangement in a seashell pot. These were something I decided to do on the spur of the moment. Roger’s Gardens (the largest independently owned garden center on the West Coast) is all about…

A succulent mermaid's garden

Nancy Englund’s Succulent Mermaid’s Garden

Having a theme for part or all of your garden is certain to spark your creativity. Nancy Englund’s succulent mermaid’s garden “has made going to nurseries more fun,” she says, “because I’m not attracted to every plant. I can narrow it down…you know, to just the weirder ones.” Admittedly “a big fan of weirdo plants,”…

Art pot pairings

Plants and Pots at the Cactus & Succulent Society Show

To see amazing succulents in elegant art pots, attend a Cactus & Succulent Society Show. The largest in the US is the annual Inter-City Show at the Los Angeles Arboretum mid-August. Judges award ribbons and trophies based on how well a specimen is grown, its rarity, and how well it’s “staged” in its pot. Pots aren’t…

Succulent Pot Shopping with Jeanne Meadow at the San Diego C&SS Show (12:13)

You can almost hear her baying. Succulent collector and designer Jeanne Meadow is in hot in pursuit of artist-designed pots.

Pairing Succulents with Hanging Pots (5:46)

Hanging containers by artist Alicia Iraclides of Potted Arts in Fallbrook, CA, pair beautifully with succulents.

Pairings with flair

Vintage Containers for Succulents

Megan Boone of Nature Containers Vintage Garden Art uses cast-off objects to showcase succulents. As shown by the planted pick above, Megan brings elegance and whimsy to her artistry. I love how the aloe perfectly repeats the shape and color of the rusty metal, and also emphasizes its arc.

Gallery of large pots of succulents

Showcase Succulents in Large Pots

For a dramatic, memorable enhancement to a garden or patio, showcase succulents in large pots. Big containers are both sculptural and eye-catching. Add succulents and you have a dynamic, ever-changing display as plants grow and seasons shift. Examples here are from my own garden and others I admire. Find more great ideas for succulents in…

Succulent White-Pot Pairings

White pots are a simple, effective way to display your prized succulents and cacti. Here I’ve paired colorful, geometric cacti and sculptural succulent euphorbias with an assortment of white-glazed containers. Solo or in groupings, succulent white-pot pairings would look good on your patio, deck, entryway or sunroom. #1 Euphorbia lactea variegata, crested I usually start…

Plant Trailing Cactus in a Tall Pot (3:45)

Cacti from South American rainforests are perfect for tall pots because they cascade. During her San Diego Spring Home Garden Show presentation, Debra plants what she calls a "dreadlocks" cactus and gives tips for growing the tropical succulent successfully.

Mini Succulent Landscape in a Fire Pit (7:41)

See step-by-step how to create a mini mountain scene using a repurposed fire pit, miniature buildings, succulents that resemble much larger plants, crushed rock, a mirror for a lake, and upright pieces of flagstone.

Plant a Birdbath with Succulents (4:02)

Several dozen echeverias fill a 4"-deep concrete birdbath basin. The height of the arrangement is as wide as the basin---18”.

How to Pair Succulents with White Pots (4:19)

A simple, effective way to display your prized succulents and cacti is in white pots. Here I've paired colorful, geometric cacti and sculptural succulent euphorbias with an assortment of white-glazed containers. Solo or in groupings, they'll look good on a patio, deck, entryway or sunroom.

Container Garden Tips & Tricks

How to Make Large Pots Lighter (2:18)

This simple idea makes pots easier to carry, cuts down on the amount of soil needed, and is good for shallow-rooted plants like succulents.

Drill Holes in Nondraining Containers (3:10)

Quickly and easily repurpose ceramic vessels as pots for plants by giving them drainage holes. (Without one, roots may rot.) CAUTION: This is not recommended for anything that might shatter, such as glass. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES. Because this involves power tools, it is not recommended for children.

Refresh an Overgrown Succulent Container Garden (4:32)

After two years, the succulent color wheel I'd made for my 7-lesson online class (Stunning Succulent Arrangements at had become messy and overgrown. One of my students suggested I show how to trim it, take cuttings, and replant. In doing so, I also added nursery plants in yellow, orange and red, because the composition, which had been in dappled shade, had lost its warm tones.