Planting A Simple Cacti Garden

Planting a simple catci garden www.abeautifulmess.comI'm enjoying the never ending process of adding more plants to our home. When I saw this wide, shallow circle vase I knew it would be the perfect home for a little cacti grouping! I love cacti because they never die. They're cute too, and come in a huge variety. So here's a quick tutorial on how I made this sweet mini garden. 

Planting a simple catci garden (supplies)Supplies Needed: A wide, shallow vase (mine is approximately 10 inches wide by 5 inches high), rocks, soil, cactus plants you love (you can mix in some succulents and aloe too if you like!) and a shovel. This project takes about 20 minutes to complete. 

Planting a simple catci garden Cacti and succulent plants rarely need to be watered. Most people say to water them once or twice a month or when the soil is completely dry. 

Planting a simple catci garden step 1Step 1: Add some rocks to the bottom of the vase. This will help with drainage when you water them. 

Planting a simple catci garden step 2Step 2: Add soil. I filled mine to about an inch from the top, but it wasn't densely packed so there was still plenty of room for plants. 

Planting a simple catci garden step 3Step 3: Plant a group of small plants in the soil. Be sure to space out any colorful cacti. 

Planting a simple catci garden step 4Step 4: Cover the top of the soil with a thin layer of rocks. It's just for looks! So cute… done! 

Planting a simple catci garden  Planting a simple catci garden  Planting a simple catci garden  What about you? Have you planted anything lately? I'd love to see a link to your project. xoxo. Elsie 

  • Just wondering if you could tell me where you found he glass planter. It’s SOOO nice!

  • so cute and lovely Cacti…i love it

  • These cactuses are really beautiful and give a positive energy

  • Most cacti have shallow roots and grow slowly, so choose a shallow container. You don’t need a deep pot or a very large one.

  • That’s is a great combination esp with the stones layers, anyway I’m looking into do something like what you have done but for a single bed room. Any suggestion? Please?

  • you inspired me! i am so proud of the terrarium i made…

  • I love it! Especially in the glass.


  • Planted some succulents and hung them into room. Painted some little terra cotta pots and color locked them. The whole thing turned out really cute. And I’m so happy with my little plants!!

  • Just wondering if you could tell me where you found he glass planter. It’s SOOO nice!

  • This is just so sweet, Elsie. I love the rocks and clear planter. I featured this idea in my 10 Fabulous Summer DIYs list today on my blog! You can come check it out and grab a button if you want!

  • Love the bright cacti. I planted a pot of very similar ones recently. Link to finished project below.!/2013/06/mini-garden.html

  • Super cute! My own cacti are in larger tumblers with colorful marbles in the bottom instead of rocks 🙂

  • lovelovelove!

    we also recently bought several cacti and have turned planting them into diys. like i did in todays post, for instance. 🙂

    i invited everyone to check it out here —>

    see you there!

  • I recently took my little cacti garden to be repotted (and add more cute cacti) and the man at the nursery gave me some wonderful advice as a few of the plants weren’t doing so well, thought I’d share here for all of you cacti lovers!

    He suggested that rather than water the pot 2x a month, you should MIST two times a month – I bought a little mister and my cacti have been looking much more healthy, and you don’t have to worry about drainage issues!

  • So colorful! You can´t find those pink beauties in my town, so I tried with some sea urchins I collected in my holidays (in Galicia, Spain). I think they gave my cacti planter a twist.

  • I completely agree, I love having plants inside. I am currently trying to decide between letting my jade plant grow into a giant monster, or trying to cultivate it into a bonsai tree. I can’t wait to fill my new room at uni with plants. This is such a lovely little cactus garden 🙂 may have to make one myself xx

  • aww this brings me such happy memories, especially the moon cacti! I had bought a bunch the last time I traveled, sadly they all died off, I read somewhere that their life span isn’t so much.

  • This is so cute! I think I will add this to my list of projects to do after I’ve finished my textiles work for uni and exhibition/job application preparation! Much more fun!

  • i had to laugh reading this because sadly, and i might be the only one, but my first round of cacti i lost (as in killed, and quickly) over half, black thumb! (; but round two is going really good so far, your cactus & succulent plantings were my inspiration!
    here they are in all their glory.. (; thanks for taking a peek! fun sharing planting pics!

    xo, tiffany

  • This is fantastic! It looks like the perfect Saturday afternoon project. I always worry about not having a hole in the bottom of a planter but I guess with cacti and the bottom layer of rocks, it wouldn’t matter so much. Thanks for the great article.

  • A lot of times I start thinking about something I would like to do and have a few ideas in my head and then I read a great example of how something can be done really well. I love this and thanks for all of the continued inspiration!


  • Beside the fact that I just love to work in my yard in general, I love to plant big pots with a variety of beautiful flowers. The best part of this is that when I tend my granddaughters, Makena and Marli,they love to help me water them–so fun! I need to try cactus in a planter pot on the hot south side of my yard. Fun idea, thanks! Here’s just one of my flower pots.
    You’ll also notice one of your cute app designs around the picture of my granddaughters! Love it!

  • Amazing idea 🙂 I will definitely try this out.

    I really like your blog, its full of inspiration 🙂


  • I absolutely love this!! And since it seems I can’t keep a plant alive, this is going to be my weekend project. Love you guys!!

  • This is super pretty! 🙂 I kind of want one. I especially like the red cactus. 😛

  • Beautiful and low maintenance. Don’t you just love succulents? I do!

    Here is what I have been working on…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Lovely! I’ve been meaning to expand my tiny fire escape and succulent haven. This could be just the ticket. 🙂

  • This is so much simpler than I thought it would be – I’m definitely going to have to give this a try!

  • I love planting too, and one of the essential things my Mum taught me (and is told by gardeners) is to WATER the flowers/plants immediately after you’ve transferred them to their new home!

    You’re not done when you’ve set them in the new soil, they need water so their roots can get a proper grip on the dirt and get nutrients!

    Cheers and happy planting,

  • This is so pretty!! I love the red and pink cactus included in it!

  • Hi Elsie! I have a question, do you remember the name of the largest succulent used in your garden? Its the one with the long, flat leaves. I have one that is very special to me, its from a plant that my great grandmother used to have, but I have not been able to figure out what it is called. Thanks so much!

  • I absolutely love this. Reminds me of my great grandpa. He always had these in the house 🙂

  • This is GORGEOUS! I think I’m going to try it, despite my TOTAL lack of a green thumb. If you can’t keep cacti alive, there may be a bigger issue at play, right??? Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  • This is great! I have a small succulent garden I started a while back and I’ve been wanting to add a few more cactus to it for awhile – I have officially been inspired. I love your clear vase, too!

  • looove this! I potted tiny succulents in coffee cups for my mom/mil for mother’s day, now i need to start my own little garden!

  • Um, I didn´t really plant anything. But I got some plants for the balcony in the beginning of May (

  • My cactus planting is a little more nerdy 🙂 Love yours!

  • Ahhh, i really love this, i am lacking plants and colour in my house (as i always seem to kill everything, im not very green fingered) but i think even i can mange this. So pretty too.
    Thanks xx

  • Awe, this is beautiful! I love the colourful blobs on the tops of those cacti, makes me want to colour some, hehe.

    I made a Hobbit-inspired terrarium about a month ago, it was so much fun and having a theme really made it easy, it practically planted itself!!
    I wanna make another now, with bloby-colourful cacti!

    Thanks for the inspiration, as always 🙂

  • This looks so beautiful. I’m not one for plants but cacti seem so simple to take care of, I might need to buy some 🙂

    xo Julia

  • Love it! How pleased I am when you “give” me small projects to do on my weekends 🙂

  • Cacti is a good plant for someone like me. All plants I have ever planted seems to die or not grow at all. So this is a lovely idea. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • This is so cute. We don’t usually put plants indoor here. It’s a tropical country so we don’t have to worry about winter and such. No need for green houses. Our garden is full of lots of flowers and fruit trees. But this idea is so cute! I want one for my room! 🙂

  • I don’t have green fingers, but I guess cactus should survive. haha. This cacti garden is so pretty, I will try it when I can!

    Fang Ting

  • Your cactus are so cute and they are flowering

    xo Janaki R.

  • How fun! We recently tried our hand with succulents without knowing too much about them prior. We still have one surviving, but will have to try out your tutorial. It turned out beautifully! You can check out ours here:

  • Loooove this! And I’ve been drooling over cacti lately, too… Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    I just bought first indoor plants and I’m pretty sure they’re already dying… But I made them some pretty crochet white & neon pot covers that will stick around for a while!

    xx Monica
    mon makes things

  • I’m living in my friend’s sunroom while I have an internship this summer, and three of my walls are entirely made up of windows. Sooooo, I have hanging plants everywhere! It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m living in a glass room overflowing with green and sunshine. 🙂


  • I love succulents! I created a mini garden in a pot a few months ago, and recently bought some more to make another one. Just like you, I love them because they are sturdy and low maintenance.

    Here’s the post:

  • LOVE these SO much. Ahhh…just went cacti/succulent shopping yesterday and had to limit myself!

  • Considering that I am not really into cacti, I love this idea!

  • Too cute. I currently don’t have any indoor plants at home, but after watching you and Elise Blaha Cripe in action….l’m feeling really inspired. Just need to find some indoor cat friendly varieties and get started !

  • So cute!! I will definitely have to give this one a try. I’ve been dying to make those hanging planters you posted a few weeks ago as well. I just wish I had a yard.. *sighs* to loft living.. ahha.

    Alex from

  • I love my cacti and succulents. They’re simple to look after and they’re cute to look at! xx

  • Wow, I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!
    By the way, there’s a giveaway going on at my blog:
    It’s open till June 25th.

  • Just got some succulents and cacti and I love them so!

  • How cute. I saw cactus garden in a small town few weeks ago and I love it. Lovely arrangement you have, with those red colors pop out. It would be nice garden choice for people that travel occasionally.

  • this would be great for my office!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Your plants are actually super adorable! Hopefully I’ll find some time to start a project like this over the summer.

  • Oh I just adore this, the colors and setup are just lovely! I’ve always wanted to grow cacti, I grew up in the desert and they always remind me of my childhood. I’ve always loved how people can plant and grow their own food so I decided to take a shot at growing some of my own plants this year, hopefully it turns out all good! I’ll admit, I had way more fun decorating the pots. It was the perfect excuse to actually sit down and do something crafty. ^_^

  • Man, I’ve been wanting a little cactus garden so badly!

    Jillian –

  • Gorgeous. My place gets very little light, but my money tree and spider plant are thriving!

  • I love this, and have been wanting to buy some cacti and/or succulents for house plants. Where did you find yours?

  • I went to the nursery last week for some more succulents. The guy helping me out told me that the cacti with the colorful tops aren’t natural! Isn’t that crazy? They are two cacti fused together for sale. They are gorgeous nonetheless. I have a few in my succulent and cacti planter. You can see it here:

    By the way, love your project 🙂

  • I made a little succulent garden a few months ago! 🙂

  • absolutely love the look of that cactus plant. the colorful ones make it even more interesting! thanks for sharing the how to cannot wait to have a house of my own and do this exact project! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @

  • It looks fab – I’m curious as to how much it cost to make? I saw a nice succulent planter in Lowes the other day but it was over $20 and I thought to myself “I should be able to make that cheaper”…..but that’s as far as I went ha 🙂

    So I haven’t been doing too much planting but I did just post today about these great DIY photo canvas I made


  • Wow, those pink, red and orange cacti are just stunning!

  • This is so cute. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now. I personally love the look of those glass spheres but they’re just so expensive and this look equally as beautiful.

    Thanks for the easy tutorial!

  • Beautiful! I really want a mini garden of succulents, too. Thanks for the tutorial!
    Kelly (

  • Cooking, beauty, craft, fashion and now gardening! Is there anything you guys are not good at? Still love your Blog though xxx

  • This looks great! As hayfever/allergy sufferers, we’re not too hot on flowers but have a house full of cactus plants – this is definitely next on our list!

    Lemonade Lifestyle xx

  • so pretty!!!! Love it!


  • I love this! Such a simple and clean look with a pop of color, and I love the layering of rocks and soil, so fun! I planted some cacti in a simple wood plant box that sits in our bay window – I’m in love.

  • what a cute post. I love it. very helpful.. seems easy enough, but ive never done it. I think I will now! And I have two little boys.. they will love helping with this project. Everytime we go to buy new flowers for our outside pots.. (we do not have green thumbs, so it is frequently) they want cactus’s… can’t wait to see their faces when i tell them thats what we are going for.

  • Love your arrangement! I recently got gifted a massive rose vase that requires way too many flowers to look awesome so I turned it into a fern terrarium.

    A cacti version is on my must do DIY list…now to find the right vase. XS

  • Love the way this looks in a glass bowl,
    I inherited a small cacti garden from a previous housemate who left me and went and got married, the plants have been looking a little poorly recently and judging from this I think they need to be in a bigger container and watered less
    I’ll have to look out for a nice big glass container

  • It’s actually a common misconception that gravel at the bottom of the bottom helps with drainage. It does the opposite, keeping the finer soil water logged… not that it can drain properly anyway since there aren’t any holes in that glass container. Gravel at the top is good, though.

    Just FYI.

  • love this, but it kinda looks like a cake, right!

    Check out my blog tomorrow to meet my family of plants haha 🙂
    I even give them names… Strange? Still trying to figure that out! haha


  • This is great! I was thinking about it today. How would it look like if I’d plant few plants in one vase…it would be perfect! It will be on my blog when I do it!

    Your vase looks great!

  • I love how this looks like a little cacti parfait 😉


  • You most definitely can kill cacti. Too much sun, not enough, too much water, not enough. They are hardy, but still picky. I keep my succulents and cacti in separate containers, as they often require different care.

    Also, containers without drainage won’t work outside, where they may get rained on and could drown the plants and ruin the tidy planting.

  • I love this! I just bought my first house plant a couple weekends ago and it hasn’t died yet, thankfully!

    I’ve been looking around for succulents everywhere, and recently found that they sell a TON at my local farmer’s market.

    I’m definitely going to be doing this! I love the natural splash of color.

  • I just love your cactus garden. I have one too only I use pebbles it looks so summery!

  • I did a little succulent grouping when I made this mason jar planter:

    I also adding a hanging succulent in my kitchen, after I spray painted an old bowl gold and made a macrame hanger:

    I love succulents!

  • Lovely idea ! I’ll keep that in mind since I probably won’t be able to get more than a blacony in my next home…

    Check out my new outfit post :

  • I always fear about getting pricked!

  • This is so pretty! I might do something similar! Thank you for the idea!

  • Absolutely love this! So crazy that you posted this because I literally posted a DIY Terrarium like… 4 days ago. always looking for more variations, because I plan on filling my Dorm with cacti and succulents. Love yours!

    Juliette Laura

  • AAH!!! I can never get enough of succulents. They are so beautiful — especially when put together and mixed with different styles.

    I absolutely love the cacti and succulents you chose. That is THE perfect case for them!!

    Gorgeous pictures, as always!

  • I am always planting things around here! Erin laughs because I am always bringing home new succulents. Moving is going to be a pain once our lease is up!
    Leah Faye
    e plus l

  • My house is really shaded in the summer, so I’ve been trying to find indoor plants that can handle the shade! In the spring I had a ton of mint inside, and it smelled amazing. I had to put it outside last week though, because the lack of sunlight was making it look a bit pitiful.

    Love the combination of cacti you chose; the colors are perfect! Super cute.

  • I planted my own little succulent “garden” in a large tin bucket (drilled holes in the bottom for drainage). It makes me so happy to see every day when I walk out my front door. 🙂 Here are a couple photos of it:

  • I love love loooove anything plant/nature related, I’m gonna have to do this sometime! ♥

  • This is a super cute cacti arrangement! I love it and look forward to doing my own one soon 🙂

    I haven’t planted anything lately but have been itching to do some! I just haven’t had the chance due to wedding planning!!

    Lulu xx

  • This inspires me to do some planting! So pretty!!


  • Yes, LOVE plants indoors!! Almost as we adore A Beautiful Mess!

    • I love your cactus arrangement can you let me where you got the planter

  • Really cute, and seriously easy! 🙂 Can’t help but wonder what a stripe of mint paint around the middle of the vase would look! Rosie x

  • This is great, I live in the land of cacti, AKA Tucson AZ, and my plants always die because of the heat. Little baby cacti are the perfect solution.

  • Hi Elise! I noticed that you have a lot of succulents inside… do you periodically take them outside to get sun? I got some succulents for my room and accidentally killed one 🙁

  • Very cute. I’m moving house next month and am in desperate need of some inspiration xx

  • I love cacti, they are just so easy to look after. I still have one from when I was 8, and its still on my kitchen window.
    I am so tempted to do something like this, the colours are just so bright, it looks beautiful. And the vase is perfect, I’m definitely going to be looking out for one of those 🙂

  • This is awesome and those are plants I could have, since I always forget to water them.

  • These are such a good idea for someone like me who only seems to kill plants! x

  • Hello,
    I have recently bought 4 cute succulents and a glass holder for them to make a terrarium, but I was doing some research, and I heard cacti and succulents normally succumb to disease very easily when put in places where drainage is not done easily. I understand the rocks would act as a drainage, but I feel the moisture would build up and cause bacteria and mold to grow. Have you ever had a problem with that? If not I may go ahead and just do what you have done!

  • i love cactus gardens. my step dad is from phoenix and has always had cacti, including tons of little mini-gardens at his home. i copied that when i moved in to my own home and have a small backyard section dedicated to the little guys. it really helps that they’re so easy to keep alive!

  • Here’s a little makeshift garden I did on my balcony this year. Sometimes not having a yard in the spring and summer is hard to deal with- so I decided to make my balcony as welcoming as possible. I’ve been enjoying breezy summer nights out on the balcony in the company of my colourful plants!

  • This is gorgeous.
    I’m searching for ideas for my summer patio garden (I’m planting herbs, lettuce and tomatoes and then this is a cute addition that can come indoors for the winter!

    I have project brain!

  • I love the outcome of this and the little pops of color. Cacti are so pretty, despite being so prickly.


  • We’ve been slowly bringing green into our house since the wedding – but my favorite thing we’ve planted is our garden. it’s by no means anything to brag about. Just some basics – tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peas & a pepper plant. But honestly? Nothing has said “you’re a wife, you’re an adult” like our little garden. Weird, I know. I can’t wait till my green tomatoes start to turn red. Yum!

  • I’ve been wanting to do something similar for some time now, but am still looking for the perfect pot to put them in! So cute with the stones too! Hadn’t thought of that! Thanks!

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