Creating displays with succulents

Perfect for the patio in summer, ideal for the conservatory, or just a sunny windowsill - at any time of year - succulents are also among the best plants for creating easy and stylish displays.


Sculptural, symmetrical, abstract, exquisite, absurd: how might one describe the wonderful plants known as succulents. Found throughout the world where water is scarce, these are plants to cherish.

Succulents lend themselves to creative, long-lasting arrangements that require low-maintenance. Well-chosen containers that enhance the colour and appearance of the plants are essential to show them at their best. Here we show you three displays that use a variety of succulents for you to try at home.


Crown Jewels

There's something almost jewel-like about this arrangement of grey-green and pink rosettes of echeveria and the jade necklace-like Crassula rupestris subs. marnieriana. Set in a weathered copper sieve it make an elegant table decoration for house or garden. 

1 Crassula rupestris subsp. marnieriana Red-tipped leaves are tightly stacked along the stem. Hardiness: RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.

2 Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ Wide, tight rosettes of flat, grey-green leaves. RHS H2, USDA 9a-11.

3 Echeveria agavoides ‘Taurus’ Striking pink rosettes. Will tolerate some shade. RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.

4 Echeveria colorata Beautiful, red-tipped rosettes. Pink flowers in summer. RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.







Form and texture

This collection of succulents in an old enamel bowl, demonstrates the diversity of form and texture of these wonderful plants. When combining succulents consider both how the forms and textures will work together, and for best results try to combine plants that need the same watering regime. 

7 Echeveria ‘Phyllis Collis’ In full sun leaves change in colour from blue-grey to pink. RHS H2, USDA 10a-11.

8 Euphorbia trigona f. rubra Striking and easy to care for. USDA 9b-11.

9 Aeonium arboreum Pink-edged green rosettes on corky stems. RHS H1C, USDA 10a-11.

10 Sedum treleasei Thick and fleshy leaves that are a pale blue-green. RHS H2, USDA 10a-11.

11 Haworthia pumila Pointed, dark-green leaves with white warts. RHS H2, USDA 10a-11.

12 Aloe mitriformis Thick, short leaves acquire reddish tint in dry conditions. RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.

13 Echeveria nodulosa ‘Painted Beauty’ Pretty pink flowers above striking striped rosettes. USDA 10a-11.


Comes in threes

Succulents of the same colouring but with differing sizes of rosette and habit can make a subtle but interesting composition. These three blue-leaf succulents tone beautifully with the glaze of the container to form a simple and striking piece of living sculpture.

1 Echeveria pulvinata ‘Frosty’ All parts are densely covered with silvery white hairs. RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.

2 Echeveria ‘Lola’ Striking looking pale lilac rosettes. RHS H2, USDA 9b-11.

3 x Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ Hybrid of Graptopetalum paraguayense and Echeveria gibbiflora. USDA 9b-11.









Words Andy McIndoe

Photographs Dianna Jazwinski

You can these and lots more ideas on which succulents to grow in the fulll feature in the Plant Issue 2016 of Gardens Illustrated (242). 









Textile vegetables
previous feature Article
10 of the best gardens to visit for planting inspiration
next feature Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here