Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Step-by-Step Tips for Planting Succulents/Cacti in Your Groovy Vintage Planters


I have a planter addiction, and I'm not ashamed. I'm slowly adding succulents and houseplants back into my apartment. Plants are natural air purifiers and greenery is clinically proven to the good for the soul; it's science! Succulents are different from your typical houseplant (tropicals) and require different care and planting methods. Here are my recommendations for filling your planters with beautiful succulents and cacti:


1. Drainage: Most vintage planters don't have holes at the bottom for drainage, so add a layer for gravel to the base, 1-2 inches tall.

2. Soil Mix: Succulents and cacti need well-draining soil, buy a cacti/succulent mix or add sand to the potting soil, it should comprise 1/4 of the mixture. I like to cover mine with gravel with aesthetic reasons, but it also helps the soil retain moisture between waterings.

3. Watering and Care: Give your succulents a good drink after your transplant them and once a week thereafter. They will thrive on a very sunny windowsill. They love sun and heat, but will live in a defused light setting.

4. Have Fun: I like to add something extra to make a pleasing succulent diorama. Especially dinosaurs and robots, of course!

Tip: I take the planters I want to fill with me to the garden center so I can choose plants that look right and more importantly, that'll fit! Also, herbs are a bad choice unless you vintage planter is huge and well-draining.


Succulents are an excellent choice for vintgae planters because they don't need a lot of space, you can fill up a planter to make a pleasing still-life, and they grow slowly. They won't be outgrowing the planter anytime soon! Very small tropical plants  also do well in vintage planters and indoors, but they will outgrow the small planters sooner. (BTW, Still adding my planters to Etsy but e-mail me if you're interested in buying some. I have a huge collection and I'm selling them like crazy lately!)

What do you do with your vintage planters? Plant them up, display them, use 'em for organizing supplies? I tried using them for supplies but like them best at their intended purpose. Love me some plants.
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21 comments:

  1. Good idea to take a planter with you to buy plants! And what is it with cats and boxes??

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    1. Yuko has to get in each one sees. :D

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  2. I'm off to buy succulents! Great idea about taking the planter with you!
    Your snow white kitty is a beauty!

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  3. Every time I visit my Nanna I take clipping of succulents from her garden, I have quiet a few now. It's not hard to get more off shoots happening all the time. I've been considering doing something with the succulents too. I actually have a few vintage squeak toys that have lots their squeak. I'm considering doing something like I've seen your in the past with toy dinosaurs. If not plant succulents cut holes in them for use as a pen holder or similar???

    Questions how would be looking at packaging the planters with succulents to selling on Etsy and not have it all end up a mess once shipped?

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    1. I'd say it would be impossible to ship them without them being messed up, not to mention all of the customs issues that can come up for mailing live plants. For general transport though, you can attach wire to the bottom of whatever you have decorating the pot so you "stick it" deep into the soil and keep it from moving around.

      I've been doing clippings of herbs lately, need to do succulents too!

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  4. I went through a succulent phase last summer. I bought tons of them and made terrariums (open ones) and filled lots of vintage planters. Then one day I brought in a Papaya to make The Little Dude some baby food. Well I didn't see them, but it had gnats on it and those gnats got all up in my freakin plants. It was a terrible massacre that resulted in my having to get rid of all but one of them. Not only did they ruin the plants, they are gross and annoying! I miss my vegetation. I might try it again this summer.

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    1. That's heartbreaking! Good luck trying again in the summer, vegetation is worth it. I have to take breaks too after insect or weather massacres. I've lost a whole crop once to insect swarms and another time to flooding.

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  5. SELL THEM. I can't grow anything in a container even a big one.

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    1. They don't sell for me in my Southern Crossing booth anymore. With plants or without. I've staged them with beguiling photos of how to plants them, in fun collections, they are just not interesting to buyers here.

      I may try some art markets and boutiques though, I LOVE planting them up!

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  6. Lovely! Vintage planters are always so fun!

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  7. Van, I think of you every time I see a planter. I try, but I don't do very well with plants.

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    1. It's definitely a learning process. For beginner's it's easy to start with one-three plants and learn not to kill those before working your way up ;)

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  8. I am a planter FREAK! I use them to hold everything...except plants.

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    1. Haha, I tried that but prefer them for plants. They weren't working well as art supply storage for me.

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  9. That's funny, Van. I just transferred a few house plants and cacti into my newly thrifted planters. I love finding planters, love it! I even found an ornamental garden stick the other day... very exciting. I love gardening and I love thrifting...so combining the two is pretty magical.

    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

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  10. I'm inspired to buy succulents now after reading this! I've actually been wanting to plant some for awhile so I'll add that to my projects for this summer...and hopefully, they'll survive!

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  11. A friend gave me a good tip about planting succulents in planters like this... put a coffee filter in between the gravel in the bottom and the potting medium. It'll prevent the soil from settling into the gravel, and the plant will drain better.

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    1. Haven't heard of this, gotta try it. Thanks for the tip!

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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