17 Jun 7 Succulent Varieties and Unique Ways to Plant Them
Have you ever seen those crazy creative succulent designs that double as works of art? We’re talking about those multi-media display pieces that showcase succulents as the plant material. While some of these art pieces are professional installations, there are many that are perfectly doable for the handy DIYer — and we have a feeling that’s you.
First, we want to give you some succulent design ideas to inspire you in your own creations, then we’ll talk about choosing the perfect succulents to include in your design.
What are the best succulent varieties to design with?
A quick search on Pinterest gives you an almost overwhelming array of succulent art displays. The sky’s the limit on what you can use, but here are some ideas to get started:
Succulent Design Ideas
- A double or triple-tiered concrete birdbath – fill the tiers with cactus soil and plant with succulents.
- Pumpkins — hot glue a layer of moss on top of the pumpkin, then hot glue (yes, you read that correctly) small succulent clippings onto the moss. The succulents root into the moss and thrive with occasional misting from a water bottle.
- Driftwood from your beach vacay — attach succulents to your driftwood the same way you would the pumpkin.
- Picture frames — Staple hardware cloth into the back of the frame (where the glass would normally go), then attach a cedar shadowbox to the back of the frame. Turn over, add soil through the hardware cloth and into the shadow box, then place stems of succulent clippings through the openings of the hardware cloth.
- Pot in a pot — this one is just adorable. Take a large round container, fill it will cactus soil, then nestle a tiny terra cotta pot on its side into the soil. Finish by planting a variety of succulents out of the “top” of the smaller pot — it looks like a silhouette of a planter within a planter.
- Sand — simply nestle your succulent clippings in the sand for a super easy display with other trinkets like pebbles or beach glass.
1. Kalanchoe thrysiflora: You know this one as “paddle plant” with its rounded paddle-shaped leaves. Granted, it can get rather large, so start with a small specimen and you’ll have a stunning focal point in your display for months and months. Hardiness Zones 10-11.
2. Echeveria elegans: This rosette-formed succulent is ideal for creating those “flower” shapes within your art design — and the offset babies are perfect little additions to tuck in here and there as smaller “flowers.” And the best part? They actually do flower, with long slender stems that end in bell-shaped pink flowers. Hardiness Zones 9a-11b.
3. Sedum spp.: There are tons of sedums out there — for these types of art pieces, look for the ones that are the small-leafed varieties. My favorites are Sedum mexicana, Sedum americana, and Sedum rubrotinctum (jelly bean plant). Some have a gentle groundcover or trailing effect, while those like the “jelly beans” have little plump leaves in shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. Hardiness Zones dependent upon variety chosen.
4. Graptopetalum amethystinum: I can’t even stand the cuteness on this one. Also called “lavender pebbles,” it has plump rounded leaves in tones of lavender, pink, and green — and it has a dusty surface that contrasts well with other, shiny succulents. Think Jordan Almond candy. Hardiness Zones 9a-11b.
5. Haworthia fasciata: With so many of these succulents featuring soft, pudgy forms, let’s throw in a succulent that adds some contrast to the mix. Alternately referred to as “zebra plant,” Haworthia fasciata has upright, enlongated leaves with white striping — the growth is somewhat rigid, a great foil for all of the cascading and rosette succulents. Hardiness Zones 9-10.
6. Senecio rowleyanus: Also known as “String of Pearls,” this trailing succulent is ideal for adding some softness and dimension to your succulent art. Artfully placed, it will cascade over the edge of your picture frame or drape out from your driftwood piece. Hardiness Zones 9-12.
7. Haworthia cuspidata: Thick, fleshy green leaves with translucent markings make this haworthia an interesting addition to your succulent design. Hardiness Zone 10.