Culture

Winter Craft Project: Bring the outdoors in with a succulent dish garden


With the popularity of succulents and cactuses at an all time high, many people are bringing their passions inside the home with succulent dish gardens. Alice Kitajima, who has a degree in forestry and has spent most of her career working at botanical gardens, says she’s never seen the public fall so in love with succulents.

Kitajima, program director at Walnut Creek’s Ruth Bancroft Garden, knows some of the reasons succulents are hot. They come in a huge variety of types, sizes and shapes, and they are extremely forgiving, making them good “starter” plants for beginners. However, Kitajima says, when the plants are given the best conditions — the right pot and just the right amount of light and water — the results can be astounding. And the plants can tolerate life as houseplants, which feeds into the trend of bringing the outdoors in.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden, recognized as one of the best succulent gardens in the world, offers classes in creating dish gardens. The class, which is done virtually these days, includes a kit with all you need, access to a YouTube instruction video and advice for taking care of your garden as it grows.

If you can’t get to their garden shop to buy yours, here’s all you need to know to create your own — and maybe a few more for holiday gifts.

A Succulent Dish Garden
Materials

Ceramic dish with a drainage hole (shallow pots are recommended, and the drainage hole is essential)

Roll of drywall tape

Potting soil for succulents and cactuses

An assortment of succulents, perhaps including cactuses

Chopsticks or skewers

Top dressing (usually a light-colored gravel)

Directions

Cover the drainage hole with a piece of drywall tape, which will keep the soil from spilling out, but let excess water drain.

Fill the dish about two-thirds full of potting soil.

Remove plants from their plastic pots and gently remove any soil that clings to the roots and plants.

Arrange the plants, keeping in mind the design elements of fillers, spillers and thrillers. You want something in the foreground, the middle and the background that are focal points. Taller plants (thrillers) often go in the back, while plants that might grow or drape over the side of the pot (spillers) go in the front. Fillers go in the center and to fill in bare spots. Use your chopsticks to help in placing the plants just so.

Once you’re happy with the design, fill the rest of the pot with soil, leaving space for the top dressing, and tamp down the plants so that they are securely in place.Related Articles

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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