Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Our succulent/cacti dish or bowl gardens

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Jan 25, 2018 6:01 AM CST
I made this little dish garden. Some rescued Aloes that I rooted, Peperomia ferreyrae and some little Sedum (I think). Also there is some Crassula muscosa there. Top dressing, that I only added all around the edges, is crushed colored glass.
How do you top dress your succulent/cacti dish gardens? Show off your creations!

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In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
[Last edited by Faridat - Jan 25, 2018 6:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
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plantmanager
Jan 25, 2018 11:20 AM CST
Very pretty little dish gardens! I don't have any to share. All of mine are single plants. In the past I did make dish gardens, but they either died because the care wasn't perfect for all the individual plants, or they grew too fast and had to be pruned or transplanted all the time. Good luck with yours!
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Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Jan 25, 2018 12:55 PM CST
Love your little dish garden @Faridat! Lovey dubby I haven't used much top dressing for fear of not knowing when to water them.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 25, 2018 2:41 PM CST

Moderator

This Mammillaria is dressed with large construction gravel. Can't see too much because the plant is starting to fill the bowl. But it started out as a tiny thing with maybe 3 or 4 heads so the setup has worked out nicely. Day-long sun the whole way.

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This hairy Echeveria is dressed with chunky white pumice, which by this point is mostly covered up by the plant. The pumice does go all the way to the main stem at the center though.

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Just for fun, here's the overhead view. The flowers are on their way and they are most excellent (and quite photogenic). Smiling

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[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 25, 2018 2:42 PM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Jan 25, 2018 3:04 PM CST
Thank you Karen! Thank you Frenchy! That's why I left most of the soil uncovered, I don't have the confidence yet to cover it all, sometime maybe. Thank you for sharing Baja! I love them, love the ideas and especially the second one, what a subtle and nice combination with the glazed green bowl! Lovey dubby
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Jan 25, 2018 3:26 PM CST
Sometimes it's about getting a "look" that can be dictated by the container and sets off the plant colors; thus the use of black shiny rocks.
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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Jan 25, 2018 3:28 PM CST
Oh, indeed! Beautiful combination @webesemps! Are the small ones sempervivums?
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 25, 2018 4:14 PM CST
All sempervivums. Smiling
Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Jan 25, 2018 9:22 PM CST
webesemps said:All sempervivums. Smiling


LOVE them! (note to self to get some!) Big Grin

In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 25, 2018 10:30 PM CST
Definitely, Faridat! Come join us on the Semp forum! You will become addicted to them very quickly! I think it only took a few days of me reading the forum and drooling over the semps.
https://garden.org/forums/view...
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Dog Lover Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tomato Heads Hostas
Tropicals Annuals Foliage Fan Aroids Cactus and Succulents Sempervivums
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Frenchy21
Jan 25, 2018 11:21 PM CST
Me too. Lovey dubby I'm waiting for warmer weather to order some more. I'm thinking of making a pseudo rock garden if possible.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 25, 2018 11:48 PM CST
Here's a potted attempt I made long ago of very simple rock garden.
(Sorry to bring up such an old project which has since been dismantled but I had good fun planting it.)
Thumb of 2018-01-26/webesemps/49a702

[Last edited by webesemps - Jan 31, 2018 10:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener Dog Lover Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tomato Heads Hostas
Tropicals Annuals Foliage Fan Aroids Cactus and Succulents Sempervivums
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Frenchy21
Jan 26, 2018 12:40 AM CST
Very pretty Bev. Smiling
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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UrbanWild
Jan 26, 2018 9:24 AM CST
I've been watching some YouTube videos and poking around here and on other online sources. I was particularly interested in top dressing to possibly solve some issues I had last year with my first succulents. Then it struck me that aquarium gravel comes in more natural colors (my interest) as well as the neons. It comes already clean and ready to use.

Has anyone used it? Is the size appropriate for medium to smaller plants? Thoughts?
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2018 10:45 AM CST

Moderator

You can use aquarium gravel. I have done so. I used to use a lot of the so-called cinder rock (small size lava rock) that my local pet store had in their aquarium department. The advantage there was the rock is light and porous, so the water evaporating from the soil can travel through it no problem.

With regular non-porous aquarium gravel you have to be much more careful about not laying down too thick a layer, so as to avoid entombing the plant in a compartment that water cannot easily leave. When in doubt you can use an unglazed clay pot and then the thickness of the rock layer on top is not so important because water can leave the soil though the sides (walls) of the container as well as the top. See for example my cactus plant growing in a clay bowl with lots of big chunky rock on top. The rock is not a problem because there's so much surface area around the sides for the water to exit.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 26, 2018 10:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 26, 2018 10:47 AM CST
I have gone to the big pet supply stores and looked at their aquarium gravel and they have a good enough selection. By that I mean that the gravel/rocks they offer are varied in color and size. One can choose rock size according to scale of the container/plants that have been planted. I think the "natural colored" rocks are more popular and tend to run out faster. Some pet stores are chains so if rock not available in one store, one can run across town and check the other store. The bags of rock basically come in two sizes, just enough for container plantings.

I had wanted to dress a raised bed of succulents so had to buy 20-25 bags of rock and still run out for more; this was expensive so I scooped the rocks up to take with me when I moved. But this is what one has to do if you want that rock that has been cleaned and has that shiny/vivid colors
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2018 12:27 PM CST

Moderator

That resonates with my experience. Smiling

Once you get interested in dressing up succulents, almost inevitably you start paying much more attention to rock. I have scoured all the places I can think of looking for just the right gravel to use for top dressing. I also made a batch of gravel from native rock up the hill. As a result I have a collection of maybe 20 or more different kinds, all washed and ready to use.

The irony is that I use one type of rock for top dressing on over 95% of my succulents (chunky pumice). Smiling That's because they're in the middle of a long process of growing up and being repotted a few times before they reach final size. But it sure is nice to have choices for something special. This is the rock I picked up a week ago... very nice porous black lava rock with just the right amount of glassy glint in the sun. Big Grin

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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Jan 26, 2018 1:11 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:... But it sure is nice to have choices for something special. This is the rock I picked up a week ago... very nice porous black lava rock with just the right amount of glassy glint in the sun.


I agree yes, one shouldn't settle for something less when it comes to showing off a handsome specimen after all the hard work of nurturing. And to find that kind of "just right" dressing that you can come back to time and time again is just great luck!

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2018 1:45 PM CST

Moderator

Not to wander too far off topic, here are some top dressing choices I made for my patio plants... some of which evidently need to be topped off because the birds are always knocking the rock away.

Various sizes and shades of red (always popular)
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The chunky white pumice has its place
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Brown and pink and gray and mixed

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The rock at the center is crumbly granite from the central desert where this cactus grows naturally, for maximum geoharmony. Smiling

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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Jan 26, 2018 2:34 PM CST
I will @plantmanager, Karen, thank you for the invitation!
@Baja, oh I love the black lava you have there, would look gorgeous for sure with the awesome plants of yours! To tell you the truth, I LOVE all of the above options! Lovey dubby
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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