Succulent fountains are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons: homeowners can’t keep up with constant filling if their water feature doesn’t automatically fill, mosquitoes are a problem in fountains where the water doesn’t circulate enough, and then there are the pumps and filters that need frequent fiddling.
Filling a fountain or other water feature with succulents is an easy alternative. And we are seeing more and more of these funky focal points out and about.
A colorful mix of all kinds of succuelnts provide a pretty focal point in a dry landscape.
It might be noted that many of us feed the birds with seeds and nectars and fruit. And while backyard birds appreciate the food, what they find difficult to find are fresh supplies of water.
Fancy fountains with deep bowls don’t work for most birds since songbirds can’t swim and the bowls are often too deep to wade in.
Better for birds is a shallow dish that a bird can stand in, or if perched on the rim, won’t pose a danger.
For deep water features not designed for birds, succulents can provide a splashing or spilling water-like feel to your focal point.
Be aware that water features are not designed to drain. If you’re careful enough with the set-up, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Fill the bottom of the bowl with at least 2-inches of gravel. That way, excess water can get below the soil layer and you won’t drown your plants.
Use a fast-draining potting soil to fill the bowl. Cactus mixes are an excellent pick because they contain plenty of sand and fewer forest products to provide succulents a good home.
Don’t overwater. Succulents store water in their leaves. Water once or twice a month at most.
Be sure to place your succulent fountain before you fill it with plants. Good choices are slightly shady situations if you can manage it. While cactus can take all the sun you can provide, succulents appreciate a few hours of relief in the hottest part of the day.
This plant rule for container gardens applies: Pick a thriller, a filler and a spiller.
Thrillers are plants that provide whiz bang color or shapes. They are the tallest plant and the focal point of the pot. Consider black aeoniums, euphorbia “Sticks on Fire”, agave and aloes.
Fillers are smaller plants that spread and fill in the middle of the pot. You’ll find the most to choose from in this category from Hens and Chicks, to sedums and echeverias galore. Go wild.
Spillers fall over the sides of the container and provide that cascade that simulates a water feature. Look for Donkey tails, senecios and sedum “Angelina.”