A Succulent Garden

June 7, 2007

Last weekend I put together a succulent garden.

While at the Friend’s of the Farm Rare and Unusual Plant Sale at the Experimental Farm, I saw a gorgeous pot of succulents. Sadly, I didn’t buy it and couldn’t find a way to buy one afterwards. There are no cactus/succulent stores in my area so I started to check out the local nurseries and garden centres for individual succulents. Here’s what I found:

Wal-mart Barrhaven – terrible selection and very poor quality. Their cactus had little fake vibrant-coloured flowers glued on the top. There was an entire tray that was withered away. I didn’t buy any here.

Home Depot Baseline – better selection and better quality but still left me wanting to look around more. Good prices on their mini pots. Almost bought some here.

Ritchie Feed and Seed East – not a lot of variety, however, they did have a sickly-looking lithop which I would have bought if it had been in better shape.

Canadian Tire Hunt Club – Succulents? What?

Richmond Nursery – Shockingly, a small step up from Wal-mart. Their mini cacti were in rough shape, some with the glued flowers on top. Their larger varieties were in better shape but I wasn’t wanting any of those. I didn’t buy any here.

Rona Hunt Club – Good selection, good prices and knowledgable staff. I had a hard time selecting my favourites. They did have a cute little Astrophytum myriostigma that I didn’t get. I bought three little pots here.

Pioneer Nursery – There’s an area of this nursery that I’ve never been in and that is where they keep all their succulents and cactus. Very good quality, very well cared for. I bought one plant from here as I already had three others. I also picked up an outdoor Sempervivum arachnoideum from which I took a cutting to root in my indoor succulent garden.

I took my five little plants home. Here they are (minus the Sempervivum arachnoideum) before they were potted:

I really wanted to mix my own cactus soil using the following recipe:

  • 1 part organic matter (peat, loam, compost or soiless potting mix),
  • 2 parts coarse sand, and,
  • 1 part inorganic matter (grit, perlite or crushed lava rock)

I had a hard time finding coarse sand and ended up buying a pre-mixed soil from Wal-mart. It felt pretty light and airy compared to some of the other catus soils that I had seen. Here it is:

Next was the pot. I had really wanted to find a nice, thick concrete wide bowl-shaped pot, couldn’t find it and settled for a terracotta bulb pot from Rona:

I also picked up some stones/pebbles from IKEA and Micheal’s. Not knowing how the succulent garden was going to look like when I was done, I had a hard time selecting these. Looking at the finished product, I think I might go with a natural pebble stone from an aquarium store (unfortunately this is more expensive). Here’s the rocks I got:

Arranging the plants in the soil in the pot was pretty fun. Should the big one go in the middle or off to the side? Does the spikey one look better closer to the rounded one? So many decisions. Here is it with the fifth succulent in the middle foreground:

On go a mixture of the rocks and voila! My very first succulent garden! It’s now enjoying a temporary piece of hardwood floor in a southern window until I can find a nice little plant stand.

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9 Responses to “A Succulent Garden”


  1. This looks great! I love the desert, and the succulents, but have no luck at all with growing them. I’ve tried several times and they just die. I did bring home some agave starts from Arizona this year – had them in water. They are still doing great, and are still in water, so I’ve just decided to leave them in water.


  2. […] 13th, 2007 I made my first succulent garden a couple of weeks ago and I had been wondering about the names of each plant.  There are a few […]

  3. soekershof Says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Nice to see that you also have a plant (Haworthia sp) which originates from this area (Robertson, Western Cape, South Africa). For soil mixtures look into our blog (http://www.soekershof.wordpress). Best is to make your own mix; it’s cheaper and more rewarding.
    Cannot figure out where you are living in Canada but the best nursery with succulents we know about is Swains in West-Lorne right between Toronto and Detroit. From Toronto pass London and St. Thomas and turn (half an hour drive approx.) into West Lorne. Drive all the way to the old provincial road and there you have to turn right or left (bit confused now); anywhere just a few hundred metres drive from that t-junction. Huge very well maintained Golden Barrel cacti as well. Good staff.
    And if you drive back towards West Lorne. First turn left (gravel rd) and second house on the right. Do regards from South Africa to Leo and Anneke.

    Yvonne & Herman

  4. gillian Says:

    The pot looks great Kathy! Can you tell me the name of the bright green, flat-leafed one with the slightly fuschia tinge to it is? I have one that I got from the Montreal Botanical Gardens and I stupidly didn’t get the name when I bought it. I love mine – the colour is so cheery.

  5. gillian Says:

    Oops – sorry! I just saw the other post where you include the names. 🙂

  6. little-junkie Says:

    Kathy, my boyfriend got a little pot of a succulent (exactly the second left one you got in the first picture before you re-plant them), and the leaves keep falling off the stems. We have no idea what we have or not have done. He said it’s called “trailing jade” but I couldn’t find anything with that name online.
    Anyone here has any idea?

  7. Kathy Says:

    Hi little-junkie! The only picture I could find was this one. Seems like the name is Senecio jacobsenii a.k.a. Trailing Jade or Weeping Jade. I’m not really familiar with them. You could try posting on the Cacti and Succulents forum at GardenWeb.

    Good luck!

  8. rob roy Says:

    I go to any garden outlet including the most expensive like some food emporiums and pick up the scraps that have “broken off.” These pieces can be put into the crappiest of soils and they will take. This is the cheapest form of gardening, but the best bargain. Not only that, when stuck with a microscopic space like an apartment balconey, you don’t have to worry about watering.


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