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Closeup view of a succulent sedum plant with milky green leaves
Want a show-stopping container feature for a cramped space? I recently spotted this idea for a succulent topiary in Cottage Gardens: 76 Fresh Ideas for Outdoor Living, a special publication from the editors of Cottage Living magazine. A gorgeous topiary constructed of succulent plants is just one of the attractions in Heather Lenkin's stunning California garden.

You will need the following:
  • Wire tomato vine cage
  • Chicken wire
  • Small-gauge wire
  • Wire cutting tool
  • Sheet moss
  • Potting mix
  • Polymer crystals
  • A container for the base, made of something very sturdy. A concrete urn is an excellent choice.
  • About 25 succulent plants. Pick several different varieties to create a colorful, texturey contrast. Consider using, for example, a combination of kalanchoe, sedum or cacti.
  • Tweezers
  • Floral u-pins

  1. Wrap the outside of the wire cage with chicken wire, fastening the two together with pieces of small-gauge wire.
  2. Line the inside of the wire cage with sheet moss, again, fastening it to the cage with wire.
  3. Combine the potting mix and polymer crystals, moisten well, and fill the inside of the wire cage with this mixture.
  4. Fill the base container with potting soil and firmly insert the prepared wire frame into it.
  5. Carefully add the succulents to the outside of the frame until it's covered. Use the tweezers to tease the delicate succulent roots through the moss and into the potting soil. Secure with u-pins. Use moss to fill in empty spaces. Water thoroughly and mist regularly.

This topiary is ideal for a light-filled space, especially in any garden where space is limited. Water it regularly, and rotate the pot weekly for balanced growth. Don't put it in a super-hot spot, as it will dry out quickly, stressing the plants.

Hey, live in an apartment? Want something unique for your balcony container garden? This topiary is too perfect for small spaces!

Intrigued by the topiary concept? They're lots of fun at Christmas time, and remember, succulents are tough and beautiful plants for indoors or outdoors, and they look terrific in unusual containers. Anna even planted hers in an old bread pan!



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