Looking for a little something different? You can make a cozy garden by filling a saucer-styled planter with succulents.
Perhaps your only garden is a collection of containers and you want one more, or it is a wide open landscape, where a focal point needs a lone planter; a succulent garden in a saucer is fun to plant and an easy addition.
A saucer planter is a container that has a shallow depth and a wide mouth. Container gardeners often use this type of pot as a base to grow plants like aloes, echeverias, and aeoniums.
Planting a Saucer Planter and Succulents for a Container Garden
Saucer planters have a squat appearance. They range from less than one foot to three feet in diameter with a relative depth.
Devised for short-rooted plants, and popular in desert gardens, saucer-styled containers come in a variety of materials – but should always have drainage holes in the bases.
Saucers made of terra cotta dry out quickly, but even this type of material, without a drainage hole, will allow a plant’s roots to sit in water in the bottom. Succulent roots will succumb to rot and kill the plant when they repeatedly sit for long periods of time in water.
Saucers for container gardens come in tiny to massive sizes and include options made from simple terra cotta clay to those made of glazed ceramics decorated with artful designs. Old soup bowls and deep-set coffee-cup saucers are favorites of eclectic gardeners who like to salvage housewares for gardens.
Drilling a hole in the base of an unconventional pot should still be attempted, despite the potential for cracking its surface. A second choice to add drainage, but with unpredictable success, is to add a layer of small stones with activated charcoal at the bottom of the saucer before setting in the plants and adding the soil.
Chose succulent plants sold in small square or round pots that range from one to three inches in diameter. They are the best sizes for beginning a mixed-planting in a saucer planter.
Eventually each succulent will grow large and produce plantlets that can be separated and transplanted into other pots. New gardeners who want to build up a succulent collection will find this an economical strategy in gardening.
Succulent Plants Aloe Blue Elf and Crassula Hottentot
For a terra cotta saucer approximately 14” in diameter and 6” deep, you will want five small succulents.
In this example, chosen variations of green and blue leaves, some with highlights of rose in leaf tips, and coral in tiny flowers add interesting color.
Aloe is the tallest of the five plants.
Aloe species are found in a variety of sizes and colors, from the coral aloe (Aloe striata) with gray-green leaves to bluish hybrid aloes like Aloe ‘Blue Elf.’
Blue Elf matures to 1 ½ feet tall with a 2 feet spread, has grayish blue leaves that grow upright, and produce orange tubular flowers.
Set alongside, Crassula marnieriana ‘Hottentot’ has muted blue and gray colors, but it is the unusual stacked leaves, one upon the other, which create stems, that catch a gardener’s eye.
Maroon color tinges the edges of each succulent leaf margins.
The plant stems splay out from each other and creates a colony habit; Hottentot easily distinguishes itself with the unexpected contrast in this planting.
Rosette Formed Succulents Echeveria Aeonium and Pachyphytum
Succulents that form rosettes are plentiful for gardeners building a mixed planting. Echeveria, Aeonium, and Pachyphytum are genera that come from the Crassulaceae family.
You may recognize common plants from this family such as the jade plant (Crassula ovata) and hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum.)
Echeveria peacockii and Pachyphytum compactum lend blue shades to this succulent mix. Although both plants form rosettes, the leaves of an Echeveria peacockii are spoon-shaped and feel thinner.
The leaves of a Pachyphytum compactum are fleshier and narrower with the tips ending in a distinct point.
Echeveria and Aeonium differs from each other, too; Echeveria plants are primarily without stems and Aeoniums have tiny cilla (hairs) on the margins of its leaves.
Aeonium haworthii cv. ‘Kiwi’ brings color and imaginary of a small tree to the planting. Kiwi has fleshy spade-shaped leaves, each with a pointy end.
The rosettes are set on stems and light up a mix with colors of lime green and rose, radiating out from the tip along each leaf’s margin.
Growing a Container Garden with Succulent Plants
Growing a mixed planting of succulents is, admittedly, a common container garden idea. Though, no matter how many you make, each mix will be unique.
There is an abundance of little succulent plants from which to choose tiny sedums and stonecrops.
In their small sizes, the plants are an economical way for container gardeners and indoor gardeners to build up a collection.
A saucer-styled planter filled with a variety of aloes and succulents from the Crassulaceae family are sure to make an interesting container wherever a gardener places it in a garden.