How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants.
Cowboys and Indians Container Garden

Cowboys and Indians Container Garden

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow!, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Lawns

Because they store water in their fleshy leaves, stems or roots, succulents, like cacti, can survive in harsh conditions such as deserts, scrublands and mountains. This project takes one hour to complete.

Materials Needed:

  • several small cactus and succulent plants
  • large flower container
  • cactus potting mix
  • garden gloves
  • tongs
  • plastic cowboys and Native Americans

1. Put gravel in the container.

Sprinkle a thin layer of gravel into a seed tray. Most cacti have shallow roots, since they store water in their stems. Add 1–2 in (2–5 cm) of cactus potting mix, and make holes for the plants. Cover your cacti with clear plastic bottles or containers to keep them warm.

Give Your Cacti a Good Home

Give Your Cacti a Good Home

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Take the cacti out of their old containers.

Beginning with the largest cactus, ease each plant gently out of its old container. Wear gloves and use tongs or wrap the cactus in newspaper, paper towels, or light cardboard.

Carefully Plant Cactus Garden

Carefully Plant Cactus Garden

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Plant the cactus.

Place the first cactus into its hole. Use the back of a spoon to press the soil down around its base. Transplant the rest of the plants in the same way.

Spoon Tap Cactus Plants In a Garden

Spoon Tap Cactus Plants In a Garden

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

4. Water the plants.

Mist the soil or sprinkle it lightly with lukewarm water. Repeat after the potting mix has looked very dry for a few days.

5. Add details.

Add details to give your landscape some Wild West flair. Create a track using sand or gravel, for example, and add model cowboys and Native Americans. Place the arrangement in a warm, partly shaded site.

Next Up

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants. 

Create an Indoor Desert Garden

Fashion a miniature desert scene with a container garden of cacti and sand mulch.

Kitchen-Inspired Container Gardening for Small Spaces

You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a green patio. All you need are the right tools, info and a little creativity.  Sponsor content courtesy of Fiskars

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

Cultivating Cacti and Succulent Plants

Learn how to keep your cacti healthy and beautiful with these tips.

Container Gardening in the Spring

This elegant spring show builds up from the alternating white and blue hyacinths to the blue grape hyacinths (Muscari ), hidden in their grasslike leaves, and up to the beautiful Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai').

How to Plant a Poppy Container Garden

Learn how to plant a container garden for various types of poppies with this step-by-step gardening guide.

A Modern Container Garden for the Patio

In this contemporary display, the slim vase-shaped container balances the tall spiky cabbage palm and drooping ferny foliage, while pineapple-like flowers lend an exotic touch.

How to Grow Flowering Vines in Containers

Many compact climbers, such as jasmine and some clematis, are well suited to living in pots. All they need is a good-sized container, suitable support and regular watering and feeding.

Prickly Pear Cactus

This staple of the desert is a versatile gift of nature, but handle with care.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.