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The Succulent Dish - Let’s dish the dirt on succulents and wall hanging planters

It's time to plant a succulent in a wooden hanging planter to create some plant pizzazz! Step by step process on how I plant succulents in our handmade planters.

So, I bet you have a wall or a fence that needs some plant pizzazz?

Do you have a collection of beautiful succulents and you NEED to display them? Or maybe you NEED to go plant shopping, again. Time to get some planters to hang up and plant some succulents! For this post let's talk about how to plant succulents in a wall hanging planter. I will go over step by step what I do to plant succulents in our handmade planters which are made from wood. We have been making wood planters and displaying them in our yard and home since 2014 and I can still find a wall or fence that needs more planted planters or plant pizzazz! Check out this spot below that is definitely ready for a planter.

This is a sad fence in need of more plants. A fence in a backyard ready for a succulent planter planting.
A naked fence longing for plants

Let's focus on one plant per planter for this post and in a future post I will do a succulent dish garden. I think it will also be fun to do a post on a succulent dish garden with flowers, like this froggy planter to the left. One of my favorite combos is succulents, flowers and reclaimed wood!

I am going to use a rooted succulent plant and we can spend some time talking about planting cuttings another time.

Too much fun to be had!

To go straight to the steps and skip all my blah blah blah, scroll down to the bottom for the step by step recipe.

I'm pretty lazy sometimes when it comes to planting. I love to purchase all the plants and eventually have what looks like a small nursery in our yard. A lot of times I break off cuttings and just toss into a planter so it looks cute for the moment and after a few weeks (or months) realize oh ya no dirt!

Side note: Most of my shared photos of our planters don't have soil at all. I don't want to to dirty up a customers planter before they get the chance to! Plus, it is always fun to share succulents in newly made planters dirt or not! Just like this sunny planter here with agavoides in it.

Usually the succulent cuttings that I toss in the planters around the house last a great amount of time and continue to look pretty, but it really depends on what type of plant you put in and where it is located.

Fat leaves that can store a lot of water and are NOT sitting in the full hot sun all day, those babies can last months. Thin delicate leaves blasted with full hot sun and they will get sad quick! Succulents left in a planter in a dark room and you will have stretched out succulents in no time just searching out some sunlight.

An example of a hardy plump long lasting succulent? Our current home (we moved here in 2018) has a bunch of jade plants. I used to not really be a fan, but I think it just all depends on how they are displayed. Anyway, we have a ton and we also have a ton of planters on our walls. Go figure! :D Sometimes you just want some green in more places.

This jade plant is very hardy and can last a very long time without water or without soil since it is storing a lot of water in the leaves. This one in the picture above is showing off its stressed out red tips and looking pretty good I think!

Of course stressing out plants could be considered plant abuse at some point, but for the most part they are pretty happy for a great deal of time. When they are starting to get thirsty and leaves are shriveled, you know it is time to plant them.

Sometimes I just take the succulent that looks thirsty and drop it in a cup of water for a few days, then it just plumps right up.

But eventually it is time to plant these succulent babies so they don’t get sad and end up hating you.

So let's plant a succulent and not abuse them for today! We can talk more about cuttings later.

To start, find a planter you like that matches your theme. Do you have a beach thing going on or maybe you like birds or elephants or bunnies? Perhaps you want to hang a Ukulele planter or a Mermaid planter? Or hey just grab something that catches your eye and makes you happy!

I am eyeing that big beautiful turquoise planter below with the starfish on it. I love turquoise and my eye goes straight to the brightest color always :)

Take a look at your planter and note the size and colors and what types of plants will complement this planter, or I should say... What planter will complement your plant.

Make that plant pop in your planter!

For my planter choice I am going beach theme, the turquoise and the coral colors can easily bring out some fun colors in succulents and I may want to find something that looks like it lives underwater. The size of this particular planter is on the larger size so I will want to keep that in mind when I go shopping.

Did someone say plant shopping? Time to find some new succulents!

Head to your favorite nursery (wear a mask!) or checkout plants online. Another nice thing about succulents is they travel well so delivery is always fun. Plant mail! My absolute favorite kind of mail.

Here are a few new succulents that I purchased for this post that have different colors and textures.

I love the grey/green colors and wonderful texture on this Crassula Mesembryanthemoides. Good thing this isn't a video! Can you pronounce that one correctly the first time?

I think this one would look stunning with a dark wood with green accents. He might even go nicely with a few different tones. Perhaps even just a wooden rustic planter with no colors.

Either way this one is pretty flexible and would be a star for any planter.

Sedum Sun Sparkler Blue Elf succulent plant
Sedum Sun Sparkler Blue Elf

This Sedum Sun Sparkler Blue Elf has a great pale green and slight purple haze thing going on.

This would look great with a planter that has purples or blues or a dark brown background.

On the tag it says it would make a good ground cover and will spill over edges. This one would make a great candidate for a succulent dish garden!

Last but not least, I am digging the wavy Crassula undulata 'Jitters' with reddish tips. This might be the winner for my new planter.

It reminds me of a plant you would find underwater in the sea and I think the colors will be complemented by the turquoise starfish planter I chose.

Find your plant? I know it is hard to choose just one. I had a hard time during this exercise because I saw multiple matches that looked so good. But hey, you know what looks better than one hanging planter? Multiple hanging planters! I like mixing a few wood planters with some fun pottery. A real crowd pleaser. Also, I like to buy multiple plants at once because when is too many plants a problem? It just makes the process easier and more plants equals more fun. I probably need to get out more but hey quarantine.... and plants make some of the best friends!

So we have some plants for our planter. Next, I always hold it in the planter or by it to see if I like how it looks. This is where having multiple plants comes in handy. Most of the time you will know when it is a match! Colors pop, plants pop and you just feel good inside :D.

Check out some combos I tried out before I decided what planter I was going to use:

And finally there is the planter I chose with the wavy crassula and coral/red tips.


I thought this looked great in this planter because:

1. The reddish coral tips match the starfish and it makes the tips pop a little bit more

2. The green waviness reminded me of the sea and this is a beach planter 100%

3. The green leaves have an almost blueish tint to them and it stands out even more next to this beautiful turquoise planter

We have our planter, we have our plant, now we need soil and topdressing.

We can make our soil mix or buy a cactus/succulent mix already made. Usually you can easily find this mix at your local nursery depending on where you live and what year it is.

2020 has made it a little tough at times to find things you need at the store. There is also always Amazon! Sorry mail carrier.

Many years ago I went to the San Francisco Garden show and saw Debra Baldwin talking about succulents. Right away I was a fan and now buy all her books. I learned from Debra Baldwin that using Dry stall (pumice) and regular soil is a great way to make your own succulent soil mix. I went to my local feed store and bought a huge bag. Great if you pot a lot of planters and want to mix your own.

Why use a special soil mix? Drainage!!! Drainage is best for your succulents, by the way, all our planters are handmade with wood so it naturally drains out the seams, but we also include drain holes for extra drainage. No drainage? no problem, just water like me :) Basically I forget for months sometimes. Oops.

Now lets get your soil mix added to the planter and make sure you leave just enough room for your new succulent plant, top dressing and room for watering. Get that succulent plant out of the container it came in and give it a shake to drop some loose soil and wake it up a bit. Sometimes you can even trim the roots if you want to make more room for your new plant but that depends on the container. This comes in handy when planting in a shallow dish or planter.

Place your succulent plant in the soil and get it nice and cozy. Add more soil mix to cover up the roots and press down a little to really get it comfortable.

Now it is topdressing time. Dress up those succulents, cover up that dirt, it really is the cherry on the top! Find some fun rocks or pebbles, maybe some sea glass or shells or anything you can find that looks nice with your new planter and succulent plant. I have a lot of pea gravel around so I like to use that and then toss a few sea shells in.

Almost done, but first it's shower time!

So I have read a few different things on the internet about this, but I tend to not always follow what everybody says, especially if the results are good for me. I mostly do what works for me and if it doesn't work I stop. Pretty simple. My absolute favorite part about planting a new dish garden or planter or anything really is rinsing it off after.

If you have new cuttings you probably don't want to just toss them in the dirt and water them right away so they don't get diseases or rot etc. But I never skip this rinse off step and I have always had pretty good luck. It gives me too much satisfaction to skip it :)

We are done, it is Succulent Planter Hanging time.

If you are planting in one of our planters we include nails to use. Tap the nail into your wall or fence board wherever you decided to display your plants. Make sure the nail is in there good and now hang her up! Be sure to stand back and admire your new creation and don't forget to take a picture. I can't even begin to think how many photos I have of these beautiful plants and it NEVER gets old.

So there you have it, a beautiful planter with beautiful succulents to enjoy - now it's time to take pictures and share with all your succulent loving friends and hey even your non succulent loving friends, who knows you could make someone a new fan!


Succulent Planter Recipe

Time it takes to plant and hang your planter

If you already have your Ingredients: 30 minutes tops - Add shopping for time for total time


  • Planter Visit shop for ideas

  • Succulents Be sure to get a few different plants with different colors and textures. That way you have the freedom to play and choose what looks best. Plus extra succulents are always a good thing and once you hang up one planter you are going to want to add more. Keep in mind what planters you are going to plant in while shopping for your plants if you already have one. You might have a planter in mind that has a bright orange color or a cool green color that you can make your plant really pop if it has similar or contrasting colors.

  • Soil mix for succulents Buy a mix at your local nursery or hit up amazon OR you can make your own, see above for my recommendation on making your own with dry stall.

  • Top dressing Pebbles or sea glass, maybe seashells or fun rocks. I like to have different things around so I can match up with what my plants might like, but mostly I use pebbles because it is what I have a lot of. I also like lava rock and adding seashells is always a fun touch!

  • Water


  • Garden shovel or scooper

  • Hammer and nails to hang

  • Camera (optional)


  1. Choose a planter that you want to hang to display your succulents.

  2. Place your succulents on a table next to your planter and one by one take a look at each one to see which looks best. Think about colors, shapes, textures and size.

  3. Prop your planter up and toss some succulent soil mix in, but not to the top. Keep in mind the size of your plant you decided on so it has room to sit in the planter.

  4. Get that plant out of its container and shake off some dirt to get it ready. If needed clip off extra dangling roots. this comes in handy if your planter is shallow.

  5. Size the plant up with your planter and soil already added and add a little more soil mix to the container if needed.

  6. Plop that succulent in and take another look to see if you like the combo.

  7. If needed, take a chopstick, tweezers or your fingers and push it in to secure it.

  8. Add more soil mix to the planter so that your plants roots are covered up and leave a space for top dressing. You do not want it filled to the brim or it will all spill out when you water ,we want to be able to water it and let it drain through.

  9. Time to add top dressing! Pick something that compliments the plant and the planter.

  10. Now my favorite part! Rinse off. NOTE: I have read both that it is OK to do this and not OK to do this. I do not care because it makes me happy and I haven't seen bad results from doing so! I usually take the hose with a spray nozzle and lightly spray it down OR sometimes I use a spray bottle similar to what you might do after a flower arrangement is done and mist it. I like to get the plants, the top dressing and even the planter. I feel like it is the finishing touch, like the hairspray on a finished hairdo and a tiny celebration of the beautiful new planting all shiny and sparkling in the sun!

  11. Now hang that planter up. Take a picture and share! What is more fun than to share beautiful plants and planters?!

Questions? Comments? Corrections? email me

Enjoy your new succulent dish and have a succulent day!

74 views4 comments


Denise Dresbach
Denise Dresbach

Thanks Jess 😘


Jesse Dresbach
Jesse Dresbach

Awesome! The beach themed planter came out great, perfect color match. I like your style, go with what works for you and if it doesn't work, stop 😅 thanks for the info!


Denise Dresbach
Denise Dresbach

Thank you! 💕


Looks awesome!! Great job!!😍❤️

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