Why bother with flowers when you can have a fresh focal point that’s just as beautiful but lasts for years? If you haven’t already hopped on the succulent bandwagon, perhaps we can convince you with this roundup of six stunning and diverse succulent centerpieces.
Perfect as a display on an outdoor table or an accent on a sunny windowsill, these miniature gardens will be guaranteed conversation-starters at your next party. Best of all, they’re much easier to put together than they seem and require very little care to maintain.
Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design, original photo on Houzz
1. Simple and elegant. The designer of this Santa Barbara, California, backyard used a low wooden trough to hold a mix of succulents running down the center of a trestle table. The design is both simple and timeless — fitting well with the modern farmhouse-style dining set.
To re-create this look, choose a neutral-toned container, ideally with a narrow rectangular shape, and a subdued gray-green color palette for the succulents, such as pearly echeveria (Echeveria spp., USDA zones 9 to 11) and silver-coated cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum, zones 4 to 9), both pictured. The plants seen here would grow best in full sun to partial sun exposure.
Shades of Green Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz
2. Vibrant vignette. Bring a hit of color to your patio with a vivid combination of red, orange, gold and chartreuse succulents. For outdoor displays, choose succulents that deepen in color when exposed to sunlight, such as some varieties of echeveria and hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum).
This bright mix in a San Francisco Bay Area backyard includes orange ‘Sticks on Fire’ milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’, zones 10 to 11), lime green watch chain (Crassula muscosa, zones 9 to 11), orange-tipped hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum, zones 3 to 8) and gold ‘Angelina’ stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, zones 3 to 11). All succulents pictured thrive in full sun.
Hillary Thomas Design, original photo on Houzz
3. Architectural statement. For a real eye-catcher, choose a focal-point plant with height and an interesting form for your succulent centerpiece. This potted snake plant (Sansevieria bacularis) underplanted with succulents makes a graphic statement from across a room. Up close, one can appreciate the cast-stone vessel and pale stones nestled around the base of the plants.
When combining taller plants with succulents, be sure that they have the same light and water needs. The snake plant works well since it can tolerate very low water and variable light conditions.
Living Gardens Landscape Design, original photo on Houzz
4. Contemporary beachy. In this Southern California backyard, a trio of repeating succulent arrangements forms a laid-back yet contemporary centerpiece. The plantings include two types of echeveria (Echeveria glauca and E. glauca var. pumila) as well as Crassula ‘Blue Waves.’
Landscape designer Sacha McCrae offers a tip to re-create this lush look at home: “Fullness is key,” she says, “so we squeeze the plants in — no soil should be showing when you are finished.” She also recommends limited water and positioning the centerpiece out of direct, baking sunlight to help the tenderer succulents retain their pearly-gray color. This particular arrangement receives morning sun.
Loftus Design LLC, original photo on Houzz
5. Mermaid-inspired. Instead of using a ceramic container for this succulent centerpiece, designer Bridget Gasque used a giant faux clamshell to put together a beachy indoor arrangement. She planted a variety of succulents, including maroon-tipped echeveria and green-and-white-striped zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata, zones 9 to 11), and filled in the gaps with clumps of preserved moss.
While the succulents need only minimal water, the preserved reindeer moss will retain its soft texture with misting every few days. The succulents would grow best placed on a windowsill with bright indirect light.
Chango & Co, original photo on Houzz
6. Repetition. Sometimes the simplest centerpiece designs can be the most effective. In this Litchfield, Connecticut, backyard, a lineup of five knobby containers, each planted with a green aeonium (Aeonium sp., Zone 9), forms a charming tabletop display. One’s eye is drawn to the repeating form of the chunky containers and fleshy succulents — both of which have a strong tactile quality.
To recreate this look, position a trio or quintet of the same containers (perhaps varying the heights) planted with a single variety of succulent, such as rosette-forming aeonium, echeveria or tiny tree-like jade plants (Crassula ovata, zones 10 to 12). Aeonium, like the ones pictured, would grow best in filtered sunlight.