Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Succulent Preemies In The Garden

and also

This old German beer crate ( that is the White Wednesday feature!)
 has served as an NICU for baby, tattered, abused and torn succulents for
about the last six years in my garden.  It works extremely well in protecting
"fallen angels" (the little pieces and bits that get broken off during the winter
months) from their more robust counterparts and from other dangers in the
garden.  I also dig these little guys from places they shouldn't be,
 like between the pavers on the patios.  If you don't have a garden
that is over run with these guys, check your local Home Depot for 
succulents in tiny pots to accomplish the same "look."

They quickly put out new roots in their protected environment and
within a few months will be ready to be transplanted back into the
garden beds.  Over the summer months other orphans and new
offsets are added as space opens up in the nursery.

My garden tea cart ( which has been freshly painted for the season )
was at a tea party just yesterday, but has now been put into service
as the mobile part of the succulent nursery.  It allows me to move
the babies in and out of the sun until they toughen up a bit and I'm
also able to bring them in under cover should the nights turn frosty
again.  Our official frost date is April 20th here in Zone 10B.

It's important, if you are planting these little guys in this kind of situation, to
make sure they are not sitting on concrete or other hard surfaces that 
prevent air flow and will cook all the little roots that you are trying to grow.
You can see in the image below that this cart will allow good airflow 
from underneath the crate.

I've employed several different planting methods over the years, all
of which worked equally as well in promoting fast growth for the kids.

1. pack sphagnum moss in the base of each opening, drop in some
potting soil appropriate for succulents, which need good drainage.
Add your plant and fill around the top surface with more moss.

2.  Use the tiny little plastic pots that many succulents are sold in,
again packing the bottom of each opening with moss.  The roots
will search out the openings in the bottom of the pot and fill the
moss with a mass of roots.  When ready to plant, just cut away
the pot, retaining the new root mass with the plant.

3.  The method I used this year was to line the interior of the
crate with a lightweight screening material (you could even
use newspaper or cardboard) to keep the soil from washing
through the bottom slats of the crate. The screen can also
be stapled to the bottom of the crate, if you want the down 
and dirty quick way!  Again fill the base of each opening with
moss, add potting mix, your plant and tidy up around the top
surface adding moss if you want to, I left it off this year.

Give the whole thing a quick shower with the hose and then
watch your babies grow!  Remember that succulents don't
need a lot of water and can not take up water until they
have roots to do so.  Don't over water these kids or they
will rot and die off over just a few weeks.

Give it a try, succulents are the easiest things to grow!


  1. I love all your wonderful succulents .

  2. Candy,
    This is just as cute as a button! I put succulents in a birdbath last year, but I really like your crate idea. You have so many varieties.

    Stop by Applejack Lane if you have the chance.

  3. I am going to get some succulents and plant. They should do well in my area. Your plantings look so pretty.

  4. What a cute idea! The succulents are the only plants that survive at my home! I don't have to water them that much ;))
    Happy WW,

  5. I'm glad those succulents have someone like you to watch after them!

  6. I LOVE this idea! I don't have an old beer crate, but I am going to look for a crate to paint shabby white and fill with succulents!

    Thanks for the planting tip with the moss - I'll try it!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya!

  7. They look so gorgeous in your photos. The colors pop and they're so healthy looking. A testament to recycle, reuse!

  8. That's adorable - from the descriptions I couldn't figure it out, but then finally the pictures loaded on my slow dial up connection. I'm glad I waited!

  9. They look so gorgeous in that crate. They are so colorful and healthy.

  10. Hi Candy, This is so beautiful

  11. I love this idea, and you have such a beautiful variety of plants. So pretty, and practical too! Kathy

  12. Very pretty pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I'm just discovering succulents! I love how you planted yours in the crate. Thanks for the tutorial!

  14. I love that box painted like that with fleurs on it and all those beautiful succulents.

  15. Hi Candy,
    What a great post. I love how you have written about your little ones...love the NICU comparison. I'll bet you have quite a garden seeing how you lovingly take care of these guys. I so enjoyed reading your work tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thanks for shareing your collection of plants. They look great the way they are in the old wooden crate. Julian

  17. I really loved the whole arrangement. You have a marvelous touch.

  18. What a great selection! And loved the how-to because I am getting ready to pot a few varieties and don't have the greenest thumb. Lovely tea cart too!
    Thanks for the tips ;-)

  19. That is the cutest arrangement of plants in that beer crate. Good job!
    Come by my blog and enter for a chance to win Rachael Ray bake ware. It would look really great with your Fiesta.

  20. Oh my that handled crate is to die for. You must be a great green thumb. Gorgeous plants too.

  21. My "fav" photo are the succulents in the cart.
    Joyce M

  22. That is so pretty. Very creative and efficient. Succulents are so pretty to look at too. That box is great. I love the white.

  23. The german beer box planter is super cute! Bella

  24. What a fabulous idea! I typically just reuse the little plastic pots to save the babies but this looks so much better.

    Thank you for sharing your tips with us today!

    ~ Tracy

  25. Oh my! How much do I love this cart?

  26. Wow, they look amazing all together like that, and I love your little cart:)

  27. Bee-You-Tee-Full Post! I adore your planter! I invite you to drop in at my place one day this week as you get a chance. until later...

  28. Adorable tea cart and you have quite the green thumb!!

  29. Gorgeous! Love the contrast between your tea cart, that shabby fab growing box and your succulents.

  30. Hello to all you plant lovers! I'm so glad you stopped by to see the succulent NICU! These are such great plants and so very forgiving.

    The things to remember are: loose soil (add, pumice, small gravel, perlite...anthing to make it fast draining), little water, excellent light!! And a 1/4 strength mixture of fish emulsion once they have established a root system. About once a month with the fish emulsion and they should go gang busters. And if you have cats they will also be entertained by the wonderful aroma! (Fish emulsion now does come in a form WITHOUT the smell, so look at what you buy!)

    I have had a lot of inquiries about the little tea cart. I've had it probably 15 years and got it at Pier 1 at the end of the summer season for $20! Too cute and it has served so many purposed over the years.

    Again, thanks to all of you for taking the time to stop by, the babies are available for viewing 24/7.


  31. That is so neat and a great idea! I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day and Outdoor Wednesday :)

  32. Beautiful and makes me want to get out in the garden (even if it is dark outside right now)
    God Bless,

  33. Hi Kathy and Julie!

    Thanks for stopping by .... Spring is here in California! Spending more and more time outside and hope the same for you soon.



Thank you for your lovely comments.

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