Introduction: Tiny Desert Garden

About: I am a civil engineer with many hobbies.

Desert plants are very interesting and some of them have beautiful blossom. They don`t need everyday care, just some water and sunlight. If you have a sunny place in your home and not enough time to plant pretentious flowers or you travel often, the cactuses and succulents are perfect for you. Many of them grow slowly and you will enjoy them for a long time without additional care like replanting.

Step 1: What We Need

  • soil - standard soil for flowers (we need just a good drainage)
  • sand 1 - 2 mm
  • gravel 4 - 10 mm (or broken bricks)
  • charcoal 2 - 5 mm
  • perlite - optional
  • dry sphagnum moss
  • pot (with drainage holes) - I use small plants and a pot of large diameter and small height. If you want to use bigger plants you schould use a pot of an appropriate size.
  • Any kind of cactuses and succulents which you like (it will be good if you select plants that need same care, sunlight, water, soil, etc.).

Quantity depends on the size of the pot and size of the plants.

Step 2: Soil Preparation

The cactuses and the succulents are not very fastidious about soil, but they origin from the desert and they don`t like too much water, so we need very well-draining soil.

I use one part standard flower soil, one part sand and small quantity of charcoal. Optionally you can add small quantity of perlite. Charcoal absorbs chemicals in the soil, unpleasant odors and it helps for drainage.

Step 3: Composing and Planting

It is good to know where to put the different plants before planting. The best way for this is to arrange everything in an empty pot. You can put all plants which you want to use inside (together with their transport pots) and you have to estimate the size of the plants and their speed of growing. If a plant is bigger and needs more height you can make a small hill supported by something like stone wall to increase the soil layer depth.

When arrangement is ready, you remember the positions and remove everything out of the pot.

Now put a layer of gravel (around 1:10 of the pot height), after that put tiny layer of sphagnum moss (it helps to keep the soil from mixing into the gravel) and on top of the moss you can optionally add a very tiny layer of charcoal. After that, fill up the pot with the soil we mixed in Step 2 to the half.

It's planting time.

Now we remove the plants out of transport pots, check for very big roots, if necessary cut it small, remove some transport soil and put plants in ordered places. When all plants are on position fill the pot with soil and reserve around 5 mm for finishing.

Step 4: Finishing and Care.

The last finishing layer is the sand, so its looks like a real desert and preserves the cactus bottom from decaying.

You can use stones, small figures and all you can imagine for decoration. Don`t forget to water!

The cactuses and the succulents prefer sunny places and not much water (in winter you must water only if is extremely necessary). The plants need dry period/season (they origin from the desert) and when you start watering in spring some of them may be blooming. If they grow long and slim, you must reduce water, increase sunlight and use a cactus-fertilizer.

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