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I grew up in a home with a vegetable garden and a yard full of flowers. When weekends weren’t spent fishing with Grandpa, cooking or baking with Granny, mom would attempt to have me help her in the garden. My mom has this amazing green thumb that can make anything blossom. As a little girl, I remember how she would hold up a plant cutting and tell me all about it – where it’s from, what kind of food it liked, and how to best grow it. Today, I still love watching her transplant orchids or inspect her vegetables.

For several years now, my husband and I have been living in a condo, and I’ve been wanting to incorporate natural elements into our home. It would need to be something that requires minimal attention and is condo-living friendly. After talking to my mom, she mentioned I should create a dish garden full of succulents and other xeriscape-friendly plants. It sounded interesting and complicated, but the minute she mentioned I could use succulents, I was sold! This past weekend, she made lunch and took me through each step to create my own dish garden. I was amazed at how easy, fun, and quick it was to create. Plus, it didn’t require me to dig in the dirt!

I hope these photos inspire you to create your very own dish garden.

Helpful Notes:  This should take a seasoned gardener 20-30 minutes for potting time and 40-45 minutes for a beginning gardener. Prior to starting, think about composition and color. This is an easy maintenance project.

Maintenance:  Water once a week if it’s in partial shade. Water twice a week if in full sun. Less water is better but be mindful of the types of succulents you’ve selected.

Supplies Needed:  All of these items can be found at your local garden store.

  • Shallow pot, bowl or dish. Be sure that your pot has drainage holes so water does not sit in the pot.
  • Cinder and soil mixture.
  • Nutricote – This is the fertilizer for the succulents.
  • Root hormone powder
  • Small soil scooper
  • Long tweezers
  • Assortment of succulents. These can be whole plants or cuttings.

Step 1:  Heavily line your pot or bowl with cinder. Be sure to save some cinder and soil on the side. You’ll need to mix a small batch together.


Step 2:  Layer on the cinder and soil mixture. Be sure not to fill it to the top.

Add a top layer of soil and make a small mound.


Step 3:  Next, sprinkle Nutricote on potting soil and cinder mix. Leave enough room for another layer of soil.



Step 4:  Add a final top layer of soil and make a small mound. Now you’re ready to add your succulents!

Add a top layer of soil and make a small mound.











Step 5:  If using a whole plant with roots, be sure to take off the soil. After removing the soil, you are able to plant the succulent with roots still intact. But say you have plant cutting, with no roots, this is where the root hormone powder is used. If using a plant cutting, dip the cutting into the root hormone powder. Be sure the cutting is dry before dipping it into the powder. This will help the cutting to root faster.



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Step 6:  Next, make a hole in your soil mix and place the tallest plant in the back or the center of your pot.  Keep in mind the composition you planned for earlier or be spontaneous and let your creative side take control. Be sure to press the soil around each plant to ensure it is snugly placed into the soil.




Step 7:  Continue to add succulents until the dish is filled to your desired amount. Remember to add color with your succulents and xeriscape plants. Once your dish is filled, be sure to turn the dish around and view it from all angles. Make adjustments to plants as needed and enjoy! This makes a weekend project with friends or a great gift for loved ones.

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Photographed by Kevin Kabei


About Taryn Kabei

When not working as the Digital Media Specialist for C. S. Wo & Sons, Ltd., Taryn, an avid foodie is always cooking and trying new recipes. Taryn lives with her husband, Kevin, and their cat, Keiko in Honolulu.

One comment on “

  1. Terri Dux
    May 26, 2015

    What a easy tutorial! Your post inspired me to make a mini dish garden over the weekend. Thank you!

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2015 by in Gardening and tagged , , , , , , , .
Potted Succulents

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