How to Make Your Own Succulent Garden

Mothers help us grow into the people we are today. Why not grow something for Mom on her special day? Just like mothers nurture their children, farmers devote energy to caring for their plants and soil health.

A succulent garden is easy to create and serves as a living symbol of your gratitude for years to come. We’ve provided the basics for making a succulent masterpiece below, which you can personalize by choosing the perfect container for your mom. Some ideas include colorful metal colanders, wooden boxes, teacups and saucers, geometric glass terrariums, decorative bowls or hand-painted terra cotta flower pots.

Some of our favorite succulents:

  • Zebra plant (Haworthia attenuata): this one looks just like its namesake, with white stripes to add a pop of color to your garden.
  • Jade plant (Crassula ovata): the plump, shiny leaves of the jade plant make them a popular addition to terrariums.
  • Aloe (Aloe vera): a succulent mainstay, the gel of this plant has been used for hundreds of years as a burn salve.
  • Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa): the panda plant is almost as cuddly as the real thing, with fuzzy, white leaves and red edges.
  • Pincushion cactus (Mamillaria crinita): this one is for looking, not touching! Needles cover the exterior of this plant, but it can also grow striking pink blooms at the top.

You can also make a succulent garden together by spending some quality time at Cliff Avenue Greenhouse and Garden Center. Owner Heidi Teal hosts regular workshops for customers. Past projects have included a “Don’t Bug Me” pot with mosquito-repelling plants and a sweet-smelling “Aroma Pot” full of herbs and fragrant flowers.

No matter what you create, it’s how you take care of the plant that counts. All plants, from succulents to soybeans, require healthy soil, sunlight and water to thrive. Many farmers today use precision technologies that allow them to treat each seed like a potted plant, giving crops just the right amount of nutrients, fertilizers and pesticides to help them reach their full potential.

What’s the best way to keep your succulent garden in shape? Heidi recommends watering it every two to three weeks.

To learn more about gardening, head over to our Q+A with South Dakota farming and gardening couple Vonda and Ken Schulte.

What You’ll Need

  • A variety of succulent plants
  • Cacti and succulent potting mix
  • Small river rocks or pea gravel
  • Flower pot, terrarium dish or creative container of choice
  • Decorations (optional)


  1. First, prepare your container. Succulents dislike standing water, so your container should have drainage holes drilled or built in. If your container does not have holes, a layer of stones can be placed in the bottom of the container to create drainage.
  2. Fill your container with the potting mix, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Be sure to use a potting mix specifically labelled for cacti and succulents.
  3. Plant your succulents, firmly but gently building soil around the base.
  4. Cover the soil space around the plants with stones or pea gravel. This prevents moisture build-up, which can lead to powdery mildew and rot.
  5. Decorate your garden if desired, and water every two to three weeks or when soil is dry. Be sure to bring your garden inside for winter.


Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.