Low Maintenance Easy Design Tips with Succulents in Exterior Containers

Succulent-fountain.jpgSucculents are your best friend if you live in Orange County and are looking for a low maintenance plant.  They are versatile and can live in almost any type of container with very little water.

Here is a picture of a Succulent Fountain we planted about 3 months ago.  It does not have a lot of root space or soil, but it does have drainage holes (drilled).  The plants are thriving and by not having a lot of root space, the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (aka Flapjacks) has turned red and the Crassula ‘Campfire’ is blooming and sprawling all over.  We water this succulent fountain once a week and check for insects regularly.  So far, it has been insect-free and is in full sun by the coast.

Make your boring containers pop by planting succulents around the Succulents to underplant a shrubbase of your tree, shrub or this bird of paradise plant!  It’s one of the easiest and most cost effective transformations you can make to your container plants.  This once boring bird of paradise is now a focal point in the garden.  We took different shades and sizes of succulents with the same basic shape (rosette) and planted them all the way around at the base.  In this container we planted Aeonium zwartkopp, Aeonium urbicum, Aeonium kiwi and Sedum clavatum.  Have fun with it, but it’s best to have a plan.  Either stick to a color theme and/or shape theme.

Succulent plants in exterior containerThis next exterior succulent container was planted as a flat container landscape in a pot.  As I said before, you should always have a ‘plan.’  In this plan, we used the color of the purple Echiveria to create an ‘S’ shape down the center of the round pot and then we build around the ‘S’ with a similar Echiveria in blue with Jade ‘golem’ around the outside for some contrast.  Picking only three species of succulent and repeating them creates a modern design and look.  Creating a living succulent design can be that easy!

My final tip to create a dramatic succulent container garden is to create something spectacular and repeat it!  As you can see these matching tall vase planters have virtually the same succulents planted in each container.  They are lining the entry way to this home in Newport Beach, CA.  As you walk up, you can’t help but notice the color, shapes and texture of these interesting plants.  Best part, is their low maintenance and year-round interest!
Modern Succulent pots


My Tricks for Simply Modern Interior Plants

Modern style is something that can be stunning when done correctly.  It’s also a style that can feel cold and not home-like at all.  No one wants to live in a cold museum, but a glamourous modern home is much desired.

That’s where plants come into the picture!  Plants are living, breathing beings that create an instant sense of warmth to a space.  I am a fanatic about balance and I believe that a cold modern space is easily balanced out by the warmth of a living plant.  Plants make us feel human and even the most architectural-like plants still have a natural organic form that is calming to our soul.

The following are my personal tricks for Simply Modern Interior Plants:

Agave vasesTwo Matching Extra-Large Plants is better than a Jungle of Small Plants

Three used to be the magic number with design, but lately I’m in love Euphorbia plantswith the number two!  Modern design begs for even numbers and when you make a space for two extra large plants in a room they have a undeniable presence!  Keep it simple and repeat the pattern exactly or almost exactly.  Plants with architectural form are often used, but I think even free flowing plants can look modern when used properly.  

Resist the urge to underplant with smaller plants, this will only take away from the natural form of your original specimen plant.

Repeat of same plantRepeat the Same Plant and the Same Color

Monotony is NOT boring, especially when it comes to plants!  It’s chic and Yellow Bromeliadssophisticated.  It again makes the mind calm and give you a sense of order.  The best part of monotony with plants is that they actually aren’t monotonous because each plant is actually slightly different than the other one.  This makes the scenario even more interesting to the eye and the mind!  

Pencil Cactus in Red PotsSorry guys, but SIZE MattersPalm in cylinder

Whether it’s an extra large container with a small plant or an average sized container with an enormous plant.  Size does matter!  If you have the space, the bigger the better!  Think over-sized, big big big!  (just don’t hit the ceiling…that’s too big!)

Don’t forget the top-dressing

The finale of your spectacular specimen plant is the over-looked and under-planned top-dressing.  The typical choice is moss for most people which works pretty great to cover the soil and grow pot.  Although, if you want your plant to be a true show stopper, you’ll want to consider some alternatives.  These are some of my faves:

White RocksSTONES:  White Decorative Stones as top-dressing.  Elegant and dramatic contrast, but honestly stones come in so many beautiful shapes and textures you can really have fun here.  Pick a color that will complement the decor and feeling of your space.  I think Stones always look MODERN and are one of my first choices!

moss n stoneglass top-dressing

MOOD MOSS WITH STONES AND GLASS WITH STONES:  These both add contrast in elements.  Both giving off a yin and yang feng shui feeling of balance! 

Reindeer Moss




REINDEER MOSS:  This gorgeous chartreuse moss is fluffy and has a gorgeous natural texture.  It comes in all colors of the rainbow, but chartreuse and white are by far my favorites!