Desert Dreams DIY

Desert Dreams DIY
Desert Dreams DIY

Succulents + sand = a very dreamy desert planter


Giant, towering cacti. Brilliant walls of red rock. The embrace of a warm breeze…

I think we can all agree that deserts are downright dreamy. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of popping down to Joshua Tree for the weekend. That’s why we’re showing you how to bring the desert into your home with our Desert Dreams planter! For this arrangement you’ll want to use succulents that thrive in bright light and on very little water, like hardy Haworthias and cacti. Let’s get started:



Succulents + Cacti
Planter with a drainage hole
River Rocks
Cactus Soil
Sand (some for mixing into your cactus soil and some for topping off your planter)
Tongs or gloves (for handling cacti)




  1. Lay down a layer of river rocks across the bottom of your pot.
  2. Mix sand into your cactus soil to enhance the drainage. These are desert plants, after all! 1 part sand to 2 parts cactus soil will do the trick! (Save some of your sand for later.)
  3. Fill your planter nearly to the top with cactus soil.
  4. Nestle in your succulents and cacti. Be sure to use tongs or a thick glove when handling prickly cacti. Pro Tip: If you want to allow room for growth, space your plants about 2 inches apart.
  5. Fill in cactus soil where needed to ensure all the roots are covered, and there is an even layer across the whole pot. Pat down the soil for a flat surface.
  6. Add a thin layer of sand (enough to cover the soil) across the top to complete this desert aesthetic!



Since there’s a layer of sand over your soil, you won’t be able to poke your finger in to see how dry it is. Luckily, there’s a few other ways you can test to see if you’re due for another watering. First, give your plants a squeeze. If they’re feeling at all rubbery or bend easily, it’s time for a good soak. (Please don’t do this with your cacti, we can’t be held responsible for a bunch of prickly spines in your fingers.) Weight is another way to determine whether your soil has dried out. Pick it up right before watering, and again after watering. Notice the difference. When you pick it up and it’s as light, as the first time, you’ll know it’s time to water!

If this all sounds far too complicated, a good soak every 4 weeks ought to do the trick. Just make sure your pot has good drainage, and you should be set.



And there you have it! Desert dreams achieved! We can’t wait to see your planter. Tag @sucstu in a picture of your #DesertDreamsDIY on instagram for a chance to be featured! Happy planting, lovelies! 

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