Succulents are all the rage right now and for good reason. They’re good looking, drought tolerant, and many are easy to grow. Designing a pot featuring succulents is no different than designing a pot with “regular” plants; you still need thrillers, fillers, and spillers.
You do need to take into consideration a few special points in the actual planting process though. Succulents like good drainage, now is not the time to use a pot without a drainage hole. You’ll also want to use a fast draining soil, preferably one designed for cacti and succulents. I have started using my own mixture of two parts soil-less potting mix to one part sand.
Finally, be sure to take into consideration the amount of light your balcony gets. I have a couple of Echeveria and an Aloe that do not like full sun conditions. Not all succulents are sun lovers. I found this out the hard way when the sun scortched burn marks on their leaves and killed some of my other succulents. If I had just read the plant tags more closely…
Here are a couple of my succulent containers:
This pot features my current favorite succulent, Kalanchoe “Flapjacks,” there in the back. He’s the guy with the red tinged upright leaves. To his left is a Sempervivum arachnoideum (“Hens and Chicks”), aptly named “Spiderweb.” To the right of the Kalanchoe is “Burros Tail,” one of the first plants I ever owned, a cutting from my grandma’s garden. In the front, a sedum spilling over the edge of the pot.
What I tried to do here is what I try to do with every container I plant: find a thriller (the Kalanchoe), compliment it with some fillers (in this case, the Sempervivum and the Burros Tail) and then finish it off with an appropriate spiller (the Sedum). I’m not always as successful as I think (hope?) I was here. But ever since reading about the thriller, filler, spiller idea I’ve had a lot more success with creating nice looking containers.
This is another container (same pot from Ikea to help create a cohesive display) with a an unknown (the pot was mislabeled) dusty rose colored succulent and an unknown variety of aeonium serving as the thrillers in the back. To the right is another one of my favorite succulents, Anacampseros telephiastrum “sunrise,” which has yellow leaves tinged with magenta (filler). In front of the Anacampseros is another Sempervivum (filler). In the front, left side of the pot is a different variety of Sedum (spiller). Finally, on the left side of the pot is a Mammillaria cactus (filler).
I admit that in this pot I was trying to use up some random succulents I had around, but I did try and use plants that were blue-green or pink so that the container didn’t look too haphazard.