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

Yee-haw! A basic planter becomes bold when you fill it with a tiny desert landscape studded with angular cacti. Add tiny plastic cowboys and Native Americans for a touch of whimsy.

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

DK - Ready Set Grow!, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

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