With Summer quickly winding down, I’m continuing my end-of-the season gardening theme with another way to bring lovely greenery indoors.

Succulent plantings not only make for a beautiful presentation, they’re also among the easiest plants to maintain.

Throughout this post, I’ll share how to create your own small-scale, succulent garden that you’ll be able to enjoy for many seasons to come.

pebbles for drainage
Succulents are also called fat plants thanks to the large amount of water they retain in their leaves and stems.

While they are easy to grow, they do require a few special planting materials to ensure they thrive in your home.

When building an indoor succulent garden, start with a large pot and place a layer of small pebbles in the bottom of the container to help with water drainage.

activated charcoal

Next, add a layer of activated charcoal evenly over the pebbles that were just placed.

Activated charcoal helps with air filtration and can be found at most pet stores in the aquarium section.

Activated charcoal is also referred to as activated filter carbon.

sand for succulents

Finally, add your succulent soil which can be purchased pre-packaged at most nurseries or garden shops and should be labeled as such.

If you can’t find pre-mixed succulent soil, you can make your own by combining 2-parts regular potting soil with 1-part sand (do not use beach sand).

The type of sand needed for this combination can also be found at many garden shops and is generally sold by the bag.

After pouring the charcoal layer, spread the succulent soil mix evenly for a final layer in preparation for the plants.

  soil for container garden

There are many beautiful succulent choices available in different colors, shapes and textures.

You can find succulents at most garden shops, nurseries and even in many home improvement stores in the gardening section.

Allow me to share a little more about the succulents I selected for my small container garden.

succulent plants

Hen and Chicks are very easy to grow and are available in multiple colors, shapes, sizes and textures.

They grow in separate little family-like clumps as you can see in the photo below and will spread fairly quickly in your container once planted.

Hens and Chicks

One look at this succulent and you know right away why it’s called a Jelly Bean.  In some circles, it’s called Pork and Beans.

Different seasons prompt this plant to display different appearances.

They may start out green in the Summer but by Fall with exposure to sun, the bean-shaped leaves turn burnt orange or red.  In the Spring you can look forward to these bean-shapes turning yellow.

Jelly Bean succulent plant

While the Desert Rose is native to tropical regions, it still thrives as a succulent house plant in most areas. 

This plant stores its water in a distinct, bulb-like stem.  The bright green leaves of the Desert Rose eventually give way to beautiful pink, white or red flowers.

WARNING: The Desert Rose produces a sap which can be poisonous so keep children and pets away from this succulent.

Desert Rose succulent plant

The Jade succulent is well known for its soft and fleshy leaves which also retain plenty of water.

In fact, Jade leaves often become so water-logged, its leaves can often break under the weight.

It’s still a beautiful, thick plant and one of the easiest to grow and share via cuttings.

Jade succulent plant
Aloe Vera is known for its natural, potent moisturizing properties including essential vitamins, amino acids and minerals just to name a few of the more than 75 known nutrients.

The elongated leaves make it easily recognizable.  Aloe Vera is considered one of the most popular medicinal plants known to man and is often used to rejuvenate and hydrate human skin.

 Aloe Vera plant

As with most plants that have started out in small pots, the roots of succulents may be a bit compacted when removed from its original container.

Gently pull on the root ball to separate the roots before planting.

root ball

This garden is starting to look pretty good.

However, there’s one more thing you can add to finish off this pleasing presentation of succulents.

succulent garden

River rocks are an inexpensive, decorative element that can give any garden a more earthy feel.

I picked up a small bag containing about 100-assorted river rocks for just $5 at a local nursery.

River rocks have a soft, smooth surface thanks to the natural force of river water rushing over them over time.

river rocks

River rocks add a nice decorative element to the succulent garden.

The rocks also help separate the individual plants so they are more clearly defined within the container.

container garden with succulents
Meanwhile, succulent gardens can be grown in just about any container as long as the nourishing layers are properly stacked.

If you’d like to go smaller than a garden pot, consider the ever-trusty and versatile Mason jar.

(NOTE: I have a few Mason Jar projects in my blog pipeline and I’ll share those later in upcoming posts.)

To make Mason jar gardens, simply repeat the layering steps but on a smaller scale.

Start with pebbles, add activating charcoal, succulent soil and then put the plant in place.

mason jars with pebbles mason jars with charcoal mason jars with soil
Carefully screw the band back onto the jar without the lid.  Make sure you don’t damage the succulent during this step.

Now you have a beautiful, small succulent planting to present as a gift to garden lovers.

This would also make a nice housewarming gift.

NOTE: My 13-year old daughter (a plant lover) has these three succulent jar gardens on a shelf in her room and they look great.  They also give her something to take care of (since I’ve nixed the repeated pet dog recommendations).

Mason jars with succulent plants

There are so many interesting succulents that can be used for a small-scale garden project like this.

Stop by your local nursery, garden shop or home improvement greenhouse to browse the colorful options.

Here’s one more look at a few of the types of succulents I used for my container garden.

Succulent plant variety

I’m really pleased with how this (first-time) garden project turned out.

Succulent garden with mosaic pot

So, have you ever planted a succulent garden?

If so, what are your favorite succulent plants?  If not, I hope you’re inspired to give it a try. 

  • Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for this advice for a succulent garden. I didn’t know that the sand you can get can be found at a lot of garden shops. You mentioned you can make the soil by using 2-parts regular potting soil and 1-part sand, and I’m interested to learn how much sand would be needed.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Taylor, the amount of sand you need will really depend on how large the container you’re trying to fill.
      As long as you maintain that 2-to-1 ratio, I think you’ll be good.
      If you’re looking at a large container, you may have to do an eyeball guess at how much you’ll need.
      So, if you use 10 cups of potting soil, mix it with 5 cups of soil.
      Good luck and let me know how our succulent garden turns out for you.
      Happy day to you.

  • Martha Martinez

    Intentaré hacer en frascos de conservas, mi pregunta es según sus instrucciones cada cuanto se riega agua, gracias por sus consejos

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Creo que un cuarto de taza por semana será suficiente. Puede que tenga que añadir un poquito más que eso si está seco o húmedo y las plantas empiezan a parecer que están marchitándose. Buena suerte.

  • carmen mcgregor

    Thank you so,so much

  • Lola

    Thank you so much for your article
    I really enjoyed reading it and I’m in the process of planting my succulents 😊

  • Amanda

    How often do you have to water succulents? I too, am not great at keeping plants alive but these intrigue me! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Pebbles before the soil never came into my mind and its purpose. Since you are into planting, you might want also to consider some of the things that i’m doing to grow healthier plants. You do have a big container or drum in your place. put some soil(ordinary) in it, and throw there every decaying things that you have like egg shells, meat bones, peal or anything except for mussels that you need to pound. Or if you have time, cut those into tiny pieces to decay faster. do it always. leave it outside. cover it with soil again if it stinks. and see the progress in months. Try to plant using that soil. It will be healthier.

  • Angela @ Cottage Magpie

    Oh, it’s beautiful!!! I just love succulents, but I haven’t been brave enough to actually do anything with them yet. I am great in the garden, but inside I kill everything!!!
    Maybe I’ll give this one a try.

Leave a Comment