DIY Succulent Driftwood Designs

DIY Succulent Driftwood Designs

Succulent driftwood design

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 for succulent driftwood designs

Driftwood pieces (from Sea Foam Driftwood) come with pre-drilled crevices for potting.

Embellishments for succulent driftwood designs

Materials include cuttings or small, rooted plugs (tiny plants ready to be plugged into pots), sea shells, bits of tumbled glass, moss, rocks and sand. Tools are clippers, hot glue, and a chopstick for tucking-in plants and settling roots.

Succulent driftwood design, prep

Begin by filling the planting hole with potting soil.

Succulent driftwood design in process

Add small rooted succulents and cuttings, envisioning them as undersea flora and fauna growing in and on submerged logs.

Succulent driftwood design, how-to

Use a chopstick to tuck floral moss into remaining gaps. Moss will conceal any exposed soil and help hold cuttings in place until they root.

Succulent driftwood design with shell

Cuttings include trailers (Ruschia perfoliata, Crassula lycopodioides), colorful rosettes (Sedum nussbaumerianum and Graptosedum 'California Sunset'), and Crassula tetragona, among others. A sea urchin shell, attached with hot glue, is the perfect finishing touch.

Succulent driftwood design, completed

Here's a slightly different assortment: Crassula lycopodioides (watch-chain crassula), a dwarf aloe, Aeonium haworthii, Crassula perforata 'Variegata' (a stacked crassula), and for upright interest (at right), Hatiora salicornioides.

Succulent driftwood design, finished

Fill a piece of driftwood with pieces of jade, Kalanchoe pumila, variegated aeoniums, an echeveria, a dwarf aloe that resembles a sea star, and dainty cremnosedum rosettes. You might cluster smaller shells, too.

Succulent driftwood design

A long piece of driftwood, with several areas for planting, makes a good centerpiece for a rectangular outdoor table.

Succulent driftwood design with shells

Watch my YouTube video: Succulents in Driftwood (2:51)

See “Marine Life Look-Alikes” on page 101 of Designing with Succulents (2nd ed)

Related Info on This Site:

Clam shell planter

Seashell potting demo at Roger's Gardens


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  1. Jussimara Santos Guisso on September 6, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Sou fascinada pôr plantas , amo amo principalmente suculentas e cactos de todas espécies quando estou com elas esqueço de tudo a minha felicidade é muita, um forte abraço ! ???

  2. Kathleen De Pauw on April 14, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Hi, i want to know where i can order driftwood. i cant find any nice ones to use for planting like you show. please email me back. i love your stuff. thanks, Kathleen De Pauw

    • Debra on April 14, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Kathleen — You want Pacific Northwest driftwood. Katie (who is from Washington) gathered these on a visit, but I did find a supplier online: Drifting Home.

  3. Ashley​ on April 17, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    What do you suggest using for preserving or finishing the driftwood so that it is safe for the plants? Do you have a certain brand of product you like to use?

    • Debra on April 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      I blast it with a hose to dislodge loose dirt and accretions, scrub it with soapy water if it’s really dirty, soak it for several days in a tub of water to which a little bleach has been added (1/4 cup bleach to 5 gallons of water), then place the wet driftwood in the sun to dry for several days.

  4. Dawn S on September 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Hi, I live in Green Bay, WI, there really is no where no find Driftwood any where here, what would you suggest I do? I absoultly Love this idea!! Thank You

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