Art in a pot

Create a "painting" with succulents

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  • Order in the court ― The artist arranges ‘Buddha’s Temple’, a Crassula hybrid, in multiple rows to form a tight square. Her sister Molly looks on.

    Succlents artist

    Steven Gunther

    Click to Enlarge

Caring for succulents

Provide good drainage. Succulents insist on it to grow their best. Use a light, fast-draining cactus mix made for these plants. If your container retains moisture (glazed pots do, for example), you may want to mix in additional pumice―up to one-half of the total blend.

Withhold fertilizer. Since you don't want to encourage your carefully placed plants to rapidly outgrow their precise form, don't feed them. Go light on the water too―once a week is plenty.

Remove flowers. Succulents lose their neat shapes when they bloom. To prevent this, nip off flower buds as they develop.

Prepare to renovate. The plantings shown here will hold their shape for at least a year. After that you'll probably need to root-prune and replant. Or start over with new young plants, using the smallest size you can find; Arree Thongthiraj works mainly with 2-inch succulents.

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