How to Plant Succulents in a Bowl

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I love succulents, but I don't love trying to find pretty containers for them. I either can't find the right planter or the planter is more expensive than the succulent themselves!

A few years ago I tried growing succulents in some kitchen bowls I already had...and guess what...it worked! Bowls don’t have drainage holes to let excess water out like plant pots do. That makes bowls nice and clean for tabletop use though!

I've since learned a few tricks to keeping succulents happy in a regular kitchen bowl. Don't worry though, they are still beautiful, low maintenance, and fun to grow.

Here's how to plant succulents in a bowl you already have:

Time: 30 MinutesCost: $15Difficulty: Easy
Step 1: Gather your supplies (see supply list at bottom of this post)

***A tip about choosing a bowl***

TIP: If you've got a choice, choose an unglazed bowl. Concrete, unglazed pottery, and terra cotta bowls will allow a touch of water through the walls.

Cooking bowls like glass bowls and other non-porous materials will not allow water (or air) to pass through the walls. That is totally ok - you just have to be extra sure not to over-water (more on that later!).

My succulent collection got WAY out of control (trust me, see the pic at the end of this post). I ran out of bowls pretty fast! I ended up buying plastic bowls at the thrift store and using them as molds to make concrete bowls. Now I can have an endless number of succulents!!!
Step 2: Arrange the succulents in the bowl

Test out the succulents in the bowl to see how they look:
-try an uneven number of succulents (1, 3, 5)
-choose succulents of the same height or of all different heights
-there are even succulents that will spill over the side

TIP: If the soil surface of the succulents is higher than the sides of the bowl, remove some soil on the underside of the potted plant. It's better to remove soil from the bottom than the top.
Step 3: Plant the succulent(s)

Remove the potted plant from the pot and place it in the bowl. Remove soil from the bottom of the soil plug until the succulent fits nicely in the bowl. The top of the soil surface should be about a half an inch below the rim of the bowl.

Fill the remaining bowl area with potting soil, keeping the soil level below the rim of the bowl.

Putting rocks in the bottom of the bowl is generally not necessary for drainage. You're far better off just not too over-water you plant! If you must put rocks in the bottom, use porous media like perlite or pumice. The small holes in the rocks will help trap air and water for the plant.

I chose only to plant one succulent in this bowl. The ones I had seemed too similar to be planted together...and I like the look of just one!
Step 4: Top with decorative sand

Sand is totally optional, but I like the look of it. Black sand is easier to take care of since it blends better with the colour of potting soil. Light colours of sand are pretty too, but need to be refreshed with more sand more often.
Step 5: Add the succulent bowl to your collection!

TIP: Watering (and not over-watering) your succulent bowl:

Before you water your succulent, take note of how heavy the bowl is. Then gently give it a bit of water at the base of the plant. Then lift up the bowl again and see how heavy it is.

A few days later, lift up the bowl and see if it is any lighter. When the bowl gets quite light, the plant can generally be watered again. I water mine about every 2 weeks in our climate.

Just keep an eye on how happy your plant looks. It just needs a bit of water now and then and some natural light.

For more tips on growing healthy succulents, follow my succulent care pinterest board :)

Suggested materials for this project:

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Home for the Harvest | Mary Jane Duford

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