Prune ‘n Plant Your Way to Sensational Succulent Terrariums & Containers

How-To Tips and Fixes
Potted succulents

Pruned, propagated and planted succulents in a pot. Here ends the tongue twister of the day! source: oscarzagal.photoshelter.com

I’m a bit of a late-bloomer when it comes to loving succulents.

Yes, I just did that.

But, now that I’m totally in with these totally IN water-friendly plants, I want more! So, with the help of my green-thumb blogging friends, like Drought Smart Plants, I thought I’d give y’all a super-duper easy way to prune, propagate, then plant your favorite succulents.

1. PRUNE

These FIskars pruning shears cut like butter

These Fiskars pruning shears cut like butter.

Using quality pruning shears, cut just above a set of leaves. If you’ve got leggy succulents without leaves, just prune it to the look you like. Note: it’s really quite difficult to go wrong here…they’re quite hearty!

Pruning succulents - where to cut diagram

Pruning succulents – where to cut diagram. source: droughtsmartplants.com

I’m super happy to welcome Fiskars as a new sponsor and am even happier I was able to try their PowerGear2 Pruner – it seriously cuts like butter. It has the ability to cut through tough stems and even thick branches and feels great in my hand.

The Fiskars PowerGear2 Pruner is now my garden's best friend 2

The Fiskars PowerGear2 Pruner is now my garden’s best friend 2.

Now, you’ll find that when the plant starts to grow new shoots, they’ll look larger near the top and smaller near the bottom.

Pruning succulents - what to expect diagram

Pruning succulents – what to expect diagram. source: droughtsmartplants.com

2. PROPAGATE

Pruned trimmings begin to callous and sprout roots

Pruned trimmings begin to callous and sprout roots.

Like many cookie recipes, I’ve found that there are several versions of how to properly propagate succulents (say that 5 times fast!). The most seemingly popular way is to:

(a.) first prune a section (as mentioned above), then allow to dry a minimum of 1-3 days and up to 1 or more weeks (Yes! They’ll be okay if left alone that long!). The trimmings will form a callous, which is necessary for them to develop cute li’l pink shoots which are basically tiny roots (see image above).

(b.) If you’d rather not bother with the drying part, you can place them on flat or tray or pot of succulent soil (here’s a great make-your-own recipe), then allow them to do their “thang” – yes, these self-sufficient succulents will actually find their way into the soil if left to their own devices!

They’re the CATS of the plant family!

You might then ask, “What about watering?”

The wonderful thing about succulents during propagating, is that they don’t require water until (a.) their roots have formed, and/or (b.) taken hold. Once they have, for the FIRST watering, you should saturate them in water, then allow them to dry out again.

3. PLANT

Ready to plant!

Ready to plant!

Planting succulents is really quite simple:

a. Container: you can use anything from a pot, to a glass bowl, tin, or pretty much anything your heart desires!

There are all kinds of containers perfect for succulents

There are all kinds of containers perfect for succulents.

b. Soil ‘n decorative sands: use cactus and succulent soil – it has a higher rate of drainage and is designed for the needs of these dessert-friendly plants. You can also add sand and pebbles for more efficient drainage or texture and a more decorative finish. All the above are easily found at any box store or nursery.

The planting supplies

The planting supplies.

c. Watering: RULE OF GREEN THUMB: water outdoor succulents once a week, 1-3 for indoor ones. For succulents with no drainage, you can water 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.  Tip #1: ICE cubes are an easy way to water succulents – use one cube for every 2″ plant. Tip #2: buy a soil moisture meter to stay on top of your succulents’ watering needs.

Ice cubes are great for watering succulents

Ice cubes are great for watering succulents.

d. Gravel or no Gravel?: if you’re planting your succulents in a NON-drainable container (a terrarium or wooden box with no holes), gravel (or pebbles) is a great way to help maintain the right amount of moisture, and can possibly prevent root rot. Pretty important step I’d say!

Terrariums ‘n Containers

A plethora of planters

A plethora of planters – you’ll see these at the Wonderful Collective office soon!

A terracotta pot, vintage bucket, glass container, a repurposed fishing bowl and even a whiskey tin does the terrarium trick! There are so many ways to plant this wonderfully water-friendly plant, so be creative and prune away!

All photography (except where noted) by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly

Fiskars has provided me with one of the products used within this project. I was also compensated for my time and this blog post. All opinions and positions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Fiskars.
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Written By Skaie Knox

Decor/Design/Repurposing nerd and DIYer, brand ambassador, freelance writer, and the editor-in-chief for HomeJelly. Skaie is also a signed and published singer/songwriter (Fervor Records/ASCAP) and kid's book author (Big Bug Lunch!). She was voted "Class Clown", and is a rescue dogs crusader.

  • http://www.alittlerosemaryandtime.com/ Kelsey M

    What a great post! I’ve been looking into improving my succulent garden recently (I seem to have…poor luck with them) so I’m hoping some of these tips will help!

    • HomeJelly

      That’s great, Kelsey! I’m so glad you enjoyed these tips! I’ll be posting the how tos of the individual terrariums and containers soon…stand by!

      • http://www.alittlerosemaryandtime.com/ Kelsey M

        Fantastic! Look forward to seeing them!