Coral Reef Succulent Garden

A big problem with planting containers on my mom's patio is that it often goes unwatered due to her health.  I had always thought that succulents needed full sun to do well, so I hadn't considered the possibility of using them... until now! 
This container will have a coral reef theme, and as I acquire plants that fit this style like dyckias and sanseverias I'll pull out the cacti and vriesea.
There's also a starfish flower in here, which will have huge starfish shaped flowers, perfect for my theme.
I know that one of the plants is a bromeliad, but vriesea fosteriana "rubra" adds a nice punch to a succulent garden, so until its replaced with a dyckia its here to stay.  Its been happy in shade and when I slowly move the container to a sunnier part of the patio it will turn a nice beet red, popping out against the white rocks.

I've also included an aloe "crosby's prolific" that will clump nicely, filling in the gaps of white rock like a clump of coral.  Until then I've added those useless watering globes (as seen on tv!) but sunk them all the way down to resemble a chihuly installation.  In the "jewel box garden" spirit of things I've included a couple of seashells I've found at Honeymoon Island.  I've done a similar idea with my big seagrape bush when I first moved into my apartment, completely covering the soil with sea glass, sea beans and seashells.  Then someone stole the whole shebang one night.  I was devastated!  Anyhoo, the aloe seemed adapted to a deal of shade judging by the deep green leaves, so I decided to keep it in the shade for a while just in case.

These cacti were started from seed last spring from a generic seed packet I got for $1.25.  I've grown them in a tiny pot on my balcony in full shade and they've done just fine!  A little leggy, but that's just their way of adapting to reach the light.  I will slowly move this towards the sun so they can be happier, but I'm sure they'd be fine even if I didn't.  Aren't they cute?

I'll eventually find a dyckia that looks like a brittle star or a feather duster worm.  I'll be adding little succulents as I find them, and I even have some burro's tail sedums I've propagated  that can be plugged in.  Then they can drape over the edges, completing the garden.


  1. that looks lovely, and I like the way you have already planned for its evolvement...

  2. You got a good design going on here. That vriesea fosteriana "rubra" looks beautiful in that container. But I love your dyckia idea as well! I have aloe "crosby's prolific sitting on my bar counter, and it looks leggy compare to yours. I maybe try to move to a brighter place.

    I also just started a cacti seed packet a couple of weeks ago, will see what I eventually get out of it. Some of them are already srouting.

  3. Beautiful! I was just researching on succulent plant care yesterday and then transplanted one of my succulent into a fast draining soil mix.

    I like I see here today - love the way you display them. Neat.

  4. I'm not sure if my first comment came through or not...but just wanted to say how much I like your added glass and shells. I am sorry to hear about your stuff all getting stolen from your outdoor space! Rotten. Anyway...this is a neat pot, and I am loving it!!! Take care-

  5. Great planting!! I've recently checked out a cacti/succulent book from the library. It's amazing to see the varieties. You mention growing them by seed...another thing I've never considered. I always thought of propogation of these from cuttings or pups. I've also become aware of the starfish flowers from my book...VERY cool! Great theme! Your mother is fortunate that you enjoy making her space so enjoyable...I'm certain she's appreciative of your efforts!! Finally, I find your theme interesting...a coral reef succulent garden...such polar opposites, and yet, it works! You're really awesomely creative and thoughtful in your choices. Bravo!!!!!


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