How To Make A Succulent Centerpiece

The designer selected a wooden urn with a basin that was 3 inches deep, 12 inches in diameter, and 8 inches tall to make this floral-inspired centerpiece. Aeonium “Sunburst,” Echeveria “Perle von Nurnberg,” burro tail sedum, several blue echeverias, lithops (living stones), and Senecio radicans are some of the plants present (fish hooks).

  • To line the basin, cut a circle from thick mil plastic (like a trash bag). Fill with potting soil, then compact it by pressing down on the earth with your palms. Create a mound in the center that is several inches high and slopes down to the rim.

2. Place an upright group of the biggest rosettes in the center.

3. Position smaller plants or cuttings at an angle facing outward all around the central grouping.

4. When the arrangement is almost complete but there are still some gaps, tuck and cover the plastic’s edge beneath the rim while pushing the roots of the remaining plants into the dirt with a chopstick.

  • Gently brush any soil that has spilled off the leaves, then softly water the finished arrangement to help the roots settle. Due to the lack of drainage, water it sparingly, once a week, just enough to moisten the soil but not to the point where the roots are submerged.

Additional design tips

Designer Melissa Teisl offers the following additional tips for obtaining a “flower style” aesthetic:

  • Choose succulents that will fit into the container.
  • Repeat the hues or shapes of the plants in the container you choose.
  • To draw the eye and frame the plants, use the lines and contour of the pot.
  • For an abundant appearance, plant densely.
  • Cover the soil with crushed rock topdressing.
  • Set the composition in a favorable environment, and vice versa.
  • Adding non-succulents will broaden your palate. For instance, a cordyline will give a tall pot height and drama.
  • Add a satin or velvet bow to a present arrangement to dress it up.

In my books Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified, you can find DIY floral-inspired succulent centerpieces. My free Craftsy class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements, teaches you how to create them. Visit my YouTube channel for more fantastic suggestions on how to use and decorate with succulents!

homemade succulent centerpiece

When you walk into the GC office, one of the first things you probably notice is a large shallow bowl filled with succulents of all different colors and forms that were specially produced by our in-house florist Ella Stavonsky (of Ask Ella fame). It’s a firm favorite among the GC employees, and we’ve been keen to duplicate it at home.

This mini-garden idea is a triple threat as a design element: lovely, simple to make, and minimal upkeep. (Additionally, it develops and changes over time as the succulents expand.) Succulent centerpieces are a sophisticated fusion of home and garden that can be blended into many different styles, appealing to both experienced and inexperienced plant enthusiasts. Ella used a bowl with no exterior drainage to make ours, so you may put one anywhere you think a little extra greenery is needed (no coaster necessary).

There is a ton of space for creativity with this DIY. You can make it with a large or little basin, with colored succulents, or with succulents of various sizes arranged in a pattern. You must first choose a solid basin that can bear the weight of sand, water, and mud without buckling under the weight. Similar to terrariums, establishing the base and providing drainage within the pot are crucial components. Start by roughly halfway filling the container with wood chips. Then, add dirt to the basin. We advise carefully looking for soils that promote succulents. According to your aesthetic, arrange the succulents in the soil, and then cover the entire centerpiece with a thick layer of dark sand. Only water the soil when it is fully dry, suggests Ella. (Overwatering is a serious issue.) Otherwise, you may let the centerpiece be a striking, low-maintenance addition to any house without much follow-up care.

Selecting Succulents

Succulents are a ton of fun to mix and match in your favorite container because they come in such a wide variety of wonderful forms, sizes, and colors. We began with two Desert Escapesix-packs, each of which had a unique combination of plants.

Did you know that the thick, fleshy leaves that succulents utilize to retain moisture in arid regions are what give them their name?

What is Desert Escape?

The professionals at Costa Farms put developed a unique selection of cacti and succulents called Desert Escape. These kinds were all picked for their attractiveness and toughness. Although Desert Escape plants come in a range of sizes, tabletop containers work best with the smaller varieties.

Although succulents can be found all over the world, the majority of cultivated varieties originate in Africa and South America.

Getting Started

A succulent dish is quite simple to make. First, add potting soil to a sizable terra cotta dish. Succulents detest moist soil, so search for a mixture that has perlite or sand to aid with drainage. Make a hole in the middle of the container, then insert your tallest succulent inside. We positioned a Flapjack kalanchoe in the middle of this area because it has a potential height range of 12 to 24 inches.

You don’t need to be concerned about an unplanned invasion or pandemic because succulents have relatively few insect or disease issues.

Tease the Roots

Some of your succulents may have a densely packed root ball when you remove them from their grower’s containers. Before placing the plant into the dirt, carefully separate the roots with your fingers. They will be inspired to sprout new growth as a result.

A succulent leaf that has been broken off can be rooted to grow a new plant. After allowing the leaf to heal for a few days, plant it in soil and watch it grow.

Mix Colors and Textures

There are little differences between working with annuals and perennials and succulents. Plants with contrasting colors and textures look best when together. Here, for instance, we combined the vibrant, spherical leaves of portulacaria with broad, flat-leaved succulents like echeveria.

Although not all succulents are cacti, cacti are succulents. Cacti are only defined as succulents having spines.

Space Properly

Despite the temptation to crowd your succulents together, it’s vital to provide each plant enough space to spread out as it matures. We gave the plants in our bowl a three-inch separation. This gives the container a polished appearance straight away while giving the plants room to grow.

Much like other plants, succulents also produce blooms. They may not bloom until they are fully developed, but they will ultimately bloom.

Water Thoroughly

After planting succulents, make sure to immediately water them. This aids in removing air pockets from around their roots and provides them with a much-needed drink following transplantation. Succulents appreciate watering whenever the soil seems dry to the touch after they’ve adjusted into their new place.

Succulents that are cold hardy can be grown in northern landscapes. Two examples are sedums and hens and chicks.

Wash Away Excess Soil

You could find some potting dirt stuck between the leaves of low-growing succulents like echeveria after planting them. Although the plant won’t be harmed, it won’t look good, so we advise spritzing the plant with water to clear away any extra soil that may be hiding between the leaves.

Succulents can be grown anywhere; you don’t need to live somewhere dry. As long as they receive enough sunlight and have proper drainage, these plants will thrive even in rainy areas.

Find the Sun

Sun worshipers are succulents. Therefore, it’s crucial to put your finished bowl in a spot that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. Also keep in mind that most succulents cannot withstand freezing temperatures, so bring them inside and place them in a sunny area before the first frost.

Collecting succulents is very popular. Additionally, you have access to a nearly limitless variety of succulent species because they are found in over 60 different plant families. These incredible plants will keep you interested for life.

Watch it Grow

Your succulents will quickly fill in the spaces between one another as they develop. Just 7 weeks after planting, you can see how lush and beautiful the plants have grown in this picture. To help the plants develop more quickly, we didn’t take any additional measures. We only watered when the soil felt dry to the touch after leaving the container in the sunlight. We’ll bring the pot inside for the winter in the fall.

Because succulents come in such a wide range of forms, textures, and hues, it’s simple to create a distinctive design by combining various varieties to make a living tapestry.

Do succulents grow well in glass bowls?

It is simplest to use an unglazed porous material like a concrete bowl or terra cotta because they will both absorb some water. You may grow succulents in a glass bowl, but you need to be especially careful not to overwater them.

Growth needs

There are so many different kinds of succulents. A general rule of thumb is to select succulents with comparable requirements if you want to arrange them. They will coexist peacefully and preserve the ensemble’s aesthetic for a very long time.

For instance, Graptosedum California Sunset grows best in the summer, whilst Crassula (Jades) prefers the winter. So planting them together wouldn’t be a good idea. You should take into account the growing season, hydration requirements, lighting requirements, and soil requirements while choosing succulent combos.

Agave, Echeveria, and Sempervivum are several succulents that go dormant in the winter and look fantastic together. Aeonium, Aloe, Graptopetalum, and Kalanchoe may come to mind if you want to group the summer-dormant succulents.


In addition to the succulents’ characteristics, height and color must also be taken into account in order to arrange them harmoniously. You should have a thriller, filler, and spiller in your layout.

Use tall succulents to provide height to the thriller and enhance the overall design. As filler around them, use shorter succulents. To finish the arrangement, add a few “spiller trailing succulents.” The recipe is straightforward, and you can always add your own spin to make it appear appealing to you.


It is easy to choose a theme for your succulent arrangement. There are a variety of succulents that may make your succulent arrangements appear fantastic, whether you want them to be colorful or monochromatic.

Monochromatic, similar, and complementary color combinations are the three most common types.

You must group succulents with the same colors but various shades together for a monochromatic arrangement.

When using similar settings, you will group colors that are adjacent to one another on the color wheel (orange, yellow, and green).

Contrasting colors on the color wheel are required for complementary color schemes (red and green).

Can I combine several succulents?

Recently, I’ve received several inquiries from folks wondering how much room should exist between the succulents in their arrangement. The reply is, “It depends.” Succulents are perfectly capable of being planted quite near to one another.

Succulents grow more slowly when planted closely together, helping the arrangement to better maintain its original layout. When they are close together, watering them can be more difficult. But this is a really fantastic approach to plant your succulents, particularly if you’re creating the arrangement as a present or for an event.

A nice illustration of succulents that are firmly packed together is this clam shell planter at Waterwise Botanicals.

Succulents are generally slow growers, but if you give them a bit extra room to spread out, they’ll grow a little faster and eventually fill the space. If you want your plants to grow larger or reproduce more readily on their own, this is a fantastic alternative. I suggest using this slightly dispersed strategy if you are just getting started with succulents.

It is simpler to water the succulents correctly when there is room between the plants. The soil will dry up more quickly due to the improved air flow. We are aware that succulents thrive in rapidly draining soil!

Remember that you don’t want the succulents to be too close together or in a pot that is much bigger than they are.

Succulents will prioritize generating roots over growing larger if they are given too much room. A good distance between plants, in my opinion, is between 1/2 and 1.


Choose a pot that is just big enough for the plant to grow in, but not too big. The circumference of the appropriate pot is 5–10% greater than the size of the plant. Choose pots with a maximum excess space around the sides of an inch or two. The delicate roots will spread if the pot is too big before the plant has a chance to develop. There won’t be any room for the roots to spread in a pot that is too tiny.


The ideal pot should not only complement your style and decor but also the physical properties of the plant. Tall pots look excellent with upright-growing succulents, like aloe. Low-growing cultivars, like Echeveria, look fantastic in little pots. Not to mention spillers with trailing growth tendencies like String of Pearls. Spillers in shallow pots or hanging plants look fantastic and grow well.


There are many different types of materials for pots. The most prevalent materials are wood, terracotta, metal, ceramic, and resin. Terracotta or ceramic pots work best for succulent plants. Both of these materials allow for proper air and water circulation because they are both breathable. Just keep in mind that both ceramic and terracotta are weighty, especially after adding soil and plants.

Pick resin or plastic pots for larger plants, especially ones you plan to move around. Your back will thank you for using those lighter pots as you move or reposition plants.


Before you plant and cultivate succulents, the most important thing to understand is that they don’t like a lot of water. Even before you develop a watering schedule, this is relevant. Without adequate drainage, water that accumulates at the bottom of a container without anywhere to go may cause root rot in your succulent.

The ideal pots for succulents, regardless of design, are planters with drainage holes in the bottom. Since many succulent planters lack drainage holes, you can use any of them as long as you keep in mind to water succulents sparingly and keep an eye on them frequently.