How to plant a Succulent Treasure Chest
Use a small wooden chest and succulent cuttings to create this tiny planter
Have you thought that succulents look like jewels? Each lush cluster of juicy leaves like a precious stone, one more beautiful than the last. Taking a few of them and planting them into a treasure chest makes so much sense. Whether mini, as in this tutorial, or in a larger chest, the succulents planted inside will intermingle and grow down the sides like a living carpet of gems. What a lovely thing to have growing in your home or garden or even better to give as a gift.
You can’t go wrong with mixing and matching succulents. They happily grow together and fill bare spaces with their soft yet spiky greenness. They also don’t need much in the way of soil so they’re great for using in places and containers that might not be able to hold much of it. Mini planters are perfect for succulents and practically any container can be converted into a planter as Ashley from The Bees Knees showed me for this tutorial.
Ashley uses succulents in many of her pieces and though she doesn’t consider herself all that green-fingered, she says that making and taking care of succulents is both easy and inexpensive. You can make them up in an afternoon and with just minimal watering and aftercare, you can enjoy the beauty of your living artwork pieces for years to come. Here’s how you make them:
How to make a Succulent Treasure Chest
– A small chest container (or any container any will do, be it wooden, plastic, metal, or shell)
– A square of plastic, be it a garbage bag, or any other non-permeable plastic
– Cactus potting mix
– Activated carbon/charcoal
– Sand – beach sand, building sand, Pink sand, Blue sand any non-toxic sand works!
– Assorted Succulents: Jade plant, Hen and Chicks, Alpines
– Long tweezers – for helping place the succulents
– Spoon – for scooping and patting the potting mix, sand, charcoal
– Paint brush – for gently brushing the succulents of any excess dirt
– Spray bottle filled with water
Step 1 – Take Succulent Cuttings
Basically all you do is locate or purchase your succulents and pinch off small pieces like you see in the image above. These plants grow easily from small pieces taken from the parent plant so if you have succulents growing in the garden, or you see some growing on a wall outside your home, or in a public space, go on and take a a few pieces. Be sensible and respectful if it’s not in your own garden though. Check out this link for a gorgeous assortment of succulents.
Afterwards, leave your ‘cuttings’ out in a cool and airy place for a few days so that the broken stems have time to dry and develop calluses. After this, you can plant the succulent into practically any soil and it will grow to become a whole new plant!
Step 2 – Create the Growing Medium
Take the piece of plastic and use it to line the bottom and sides of your chest/container. Leave the edges overhanging for now. Now layer in a thin layer of sand, about 1/2″ deep if it’s a small container like shown in this tutorial. Next, a fine layer of the charcoal, and on top of both of those layers fill the rest of the container to the top with cactus compost. Trim the plastic lining so that it comes up to the top edge of your planter.
Spray the cactus compost with water until it’s moist but not soaking wet. Using the long tweezers, create spaces in the compost and gently insert each succulent cutting. Place taller succulents at the back, trailing ones at the front and sides and medium to small height succulents in the centre. When you’re finished with your arrangement, use a paintbrush to gently clean any soil off the succulent leaves then set the planter in a warm, light, and airy space. Try not to touch the planter for the first few weeks other than to water it so that the cuttings have time to establish themselves. Afterwards, feel free to move it around and gift it.
Step 4 – Aftercare
Care of your succulent planter is easy. The plants like moist soil so try to keep an eye on the planter, especially on warm days. Use the squirt bottle to spray between the leaves and directly onto the compost. The plants won’t require any other additions but they will grow and potentially start developing roots on their stems. This is their way of finding a new place to grow so trim these dangly and leggy pieces off and plant them up in a new container!
If you liked this tutorial you’ll also like this one on how to create a DIY Succulent Terrarium. Ashley from The Bees Knees shows us again how to create a succulent planting but this time inside a gorgeous glass container. What I like about this one is that you see the layers of soil, sand, and charcoal from the sides and you can also hang the terrarium in a window or above a work space.
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