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. 

Creative Wild West Cactus Dish Garden

Creative Wild West Cactus Dish Garden

Cactus dish garden has a Wild West theme that can live in a warm, partly shaded site.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

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

Step 1: Put Gravel in the Container

Spread Gravel and Cactus Potting Mix in Seed Tray

Spread Gravel and Cactus Potting Mix in Seed Tray

Gravel and then potting mix is added to a shallow dish in making a cactus garden dish.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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 of cactus potting mix, and make holes for the plants. Cover your cacti with clear plastic bottles or containers to keep them warm.

Step 2: Take Cacti Out of Old Containers

Plant Cactus Garden Wearing Protective Gloves

Plant Cactus Garden Wearing Protective Gloves

Place cactus in their new garden dish carefully, wearing gloves if necessary to protect hands from stickers.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Step 3: Plant Cactus

Use Spoon to Tap Down Each Cactus Plant in Garden

Use Spoon to Tap Down Each Cactus Plant in Garden

Press the newly planted cactus down using the back of a spoon. Transplant the rest of the dish with the remaining cactus plants.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Step 4: Water Plants

Lightly Mist Soil of Cactus Dish Garden

Lightly Mist Soil of Cactus Dish Garden

Lightly mist the soil of the cactus dish garden with lukewarm water. Repeat in a few days.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Step 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. 

Keep Reading

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.

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

How to Plant a Container Water Garden

Add a water feature in a pot for your small garden.

How to Plant an Herb Container Garden

Herbs have been grown all over the world for centuries for their flavor and healthful benefits. Learn how to plant an herb container garden.

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.

How to Water Container Gardens

Learn the basics of watering container gardens—including simple tips for making it less of a chore.

How to Plant a Colorful Container Garden

Learn how to add a few potted plants and flowers to your outdoor space with these guidelines.

Cultivating Cacti and Succulent Plants

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