What Up, Succa?

Yes, that is a succulent pun. And no, I’m not proud of it.

I’m sort of on a greenery kick (both outdoors and apparently indoors as well), so this is the story of four cheap-o succulents that I impulse-bought from Home Depot and then decided to plant in kind of a weird way.

The two small ones were $2.98 and the two middle ones were $3.98 a pop. Oh and I used to have a red cactus for years throughout middle school and high school. Seriously, I couldn’t kill that thing if I tried. So that’s why he’s in the mix for nostalgia’s sake.

Then I hunted around or some planters or baskets or old boxes to plant them in (Anthrophologie had some great succulents planted in old wooden boxes with pebbles around them and they looked super cool). Then my entire idea sort of shifted when I came up empty on boxes (and didn’t happen to have any cool white pebbles around either) but laid eyes on these old vases just sitting around in my cabinet.

How weird would it be if I planted them in something see-through? Probably pretty weird, but I’m ok with weird. Heck, I embrace weird. I paused to worry for a second that they wouldn’t have any drainage in these glass containers, but I realized that the ceramic pot that my wouldn’t-die red cactus from high school didn’t have any drainage holes (nor do any of the white Ikea plant pots that we have around the house) so I went for it. But they clearly needed more dirt.

So I went outside with a spoon (yes, a spoon) and used it to scoop some more dirt into my transparent little vessels. The verdict: I think they look pretty cool!

I mean, people mulch their gardens for a cleaner look, right? I think the dark brown tone of the dirt looks so pretty against the green of the plants. Plus a lot of our surfaces are white (and nearly all of my plant pots are white) so maybe my eyes just appreciate the contrast (my eyes are such rebels).

As of now two of them are hanging out in the hall bathroom (on the white counter, which definitely makes them pop) and one of them is on the white fireplace mantel in the kitchen (my little red cactus, since he’s quickly becoming my favorite for sentimental reasons). I’ll have to snap a picture of them in their new homes for ya soon. Although plants and pillows tend to migrate a lot around here, so they might pop up somewhere else next week anyway.

Have you ever planted something in sort of an unorthodox way? Or owned a red cactus in high school that straight up refused to bite the big one, even when you forgot to water it for months?


  1. Rosemary says

    My sister and I each had a cactus in middle/high school. I went back to my parents’ house during college (after YEARS of cactus neglect) and found it thriving in a cabinet under a bathroom sink! I watered it, put it in the sun, and gave it some love… it died within two weeks.

  2. Roxy says

    I love the architectural look of succulents. If your container doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can put pebbles in the bottom of the container, then the soil and plant. The pebbles provide drainage by holding the excess water away from the root ball.

    Your succulents will be quite happy without pebbles as long as you don’t over water ;-)

    • says

      Your succulents will probably do ok in regular old potting soil as long as they aren’t watered much. However, it is recommendable to add rocks, then sand (in that order) to the bottom of a succulent container, since the roots need well oxygenated, loose soil to thrive. Potting soil is easily compacted, so you just have to be careful.

    • donita says

      This was going to be my tip!!! ;-) My hubby has a green thumb, he taught me the pebbles in the bottom trick. This tip work’s great.

    • says

      :) I was going to say the same thing about the pebbles in the bottom. I do that for my Ikea pots. And you’d be able to cover them up with dirt for a seemless dirt look ;).

      Anywho, love them in the vases. I never thought of doing that! I have lots of clear vases like those and lots of plants… hmmmm… :)

  3. Angie says

    I haven’t had a red cactus refuse to die, but I’ve been trying to kill a rosemary plant in my backyard for 8 years now. It’s a running joke with my husband. The rules say we can’t use plant/weed killer of any kind and we can’t dig it up. Anything else is fair game. I thought I would win the Kill Our Rosemary Plant Game with a big trash can turned upside down over it (after pruning it back to almost nothing.) but no, it came right back. It’s survived several hurricanes unscathed including Katrina!

    • says

      That’s kind of a hilarious game. Poor bush, you guys have it out for him. But I love that there are rules about no plant weed killer. Haha.


  4. says

    looks great! i’ve plannted succulents in bath&body candle containers (once the wax was cleaned out). they make great little glass planters. and yes, i do have a cactus that refuses to die + he has been through a lot!! had him since college. you can read all about him (and his little succu friends too) over here. he always gives me a laugh, but then again i’m biased. :) http://mrcandmeblog.wordpress.com/the-ccc/

  5. Melissa says

    I have my succulents in clear vases with pea gravel around the outside and on the top of soil. I had some left over from a backyard project and I love they way they look! I wish I had more light in my place but I am planning a move soon so I hope I have an opportunity for more light and more succulents!

  6. says

    These remind me of terrariums you see popping up all over home decor this season- very trendy and cool. Keep us updated on how they thrive (I kill everything. hahaha)

  7. Ali Miller says

    Wow, this is a funny post to me because I did the same thing about two months ago. (I bought three succulents from Home Depot and planted them in clear glass containers, because I saw them planted like that in Anthropology and loved it ….I didn’t see the ones in boxes at our store.)

    Good news and bad news:

    Good: I also thought it looked super cool.
    Bad news: Mine didn’t seem to grow too well like that, and I’m a plant fanatic. If I had to count them, we probably have 30 or so house plants, including cacti and even pineapples (There’s a fun project). One kicked the bucket within two weeks, one is most certainly gone now, and one is still doing great.

    Bonus good news!!!: The one that is doing great is the same one you have in the top picture, second from the left. It bends toward the sun drastically so you have to turn it twice a week or so to make it grow straight, but mine is doing great. Keep us posted on your red cactus. I’ll have to try one of those.

  8. says

    definitely have put plants in glass vases before. love seeing the dirt. we also have bamboo growing in water and rocks in a really tall vase.

  9. says

    Those look great! I think seeing the potting soil also (perhaps) ties in your new kitchen flooring a bit, too? Regardless, super simple but high in impact! Love it!

    • Joy says

      I was thinking the same thing! As I was reading, I was thinking… these are going in the kitchen to tie in the new floors! I’m surprised you didn’t put them all in there for a grouping of 3, which looks so nice. I bought some succulants at Ikea last week. I love them and they seem to be doing well… so far so good. Great idea with the clear vases. I love the way it looks.

  10. Lourdes Edralin says

    We are on the same wavelength! This weekend, I hunted down some colorful bowls at the dollar store and bought a bag of cactus/succulent potting mix. (Oh, it’s still in my trunk!) A friend has about 40 varieties of succulents in her garden. I’m gonna propagate the little succas!

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