How To: Arrange Succulents

We were so taken with the lovely succulent arrangements featured in our recent entertaining story with Nicole Richie, that we had to know how to replicate them for ourselves. Fortunately, we have a direct line to the mastermind behind the creations: Stephen Block, owner of LA's incomparable interior plant design showroom Inner Gardens. Block talked us through the finer points of arranging below, and also tipped us off to the secret to shiny leaves (who knew?). 02
tout-edit-01 CHOOSE THE VESSEL: Use low pots for the arrangements, to ensure your guests will be able to see across the table. Simple cement planters will complement succulents and ensure they won't be upstaged by their container. Cement Planter, price upon request, Inner Gardens
tout-edit-120x120 MIX YOUR SUCCULENTS: Select a variety of succulents for the planter, varying scale, texture, and color. Plan to spotlight three varieties in one planter. Succulents, price upon request, Inner Gardens
dh-how-to-arrange-succulents-market-09 ADD A LINING: Line the planter with 20ml plastic waterbed lining and secure it to the interior side of the vessel with floral tape. If you can't find waterbed lining, use multiple layers of trash bags, or anything that will ensure your planter won't leak onto the furniture you place it on. Oasis Double Faced Tape, $8, Michaels Floral Supply
dh-how-to-arrange-succulents-market-04 LAYER GRAVEL: Lay down a substantial layer of gravel on the bottom of the planter (about 1-inch deep), which will ensure proper drainage for the soil. The most common mistake that plant-owners make is over-watering, so this layer of gravel below the soil is key. Red Polished Pebbles (40 lb. bag), $20, Home Depot
dh-how-to-arrange-succulents-market-02 PLANT THE SOIL: After you've set down the layer of gravel, fill the planter with moist soil, about three-quarters of the way. It's crucial that the soil is moist, because if it is dry when the succulents are planted, it will pull any moisture out of their roots. To ensure the right level of moisture, you can spray the soil with a water bottle as you plant. Brooklyn Blend Potting Soil, $7, West Elm
dh-how-to-arrange-succulents-market-03 ADD THE PLANTS: When taking the plants out of their plastic containers, break up the root mass, and even tear some roots, in order to encourage them to branch out in the new soil. Plant the succulents one a time, covering the roots with additional soil and packing tightly. Give a light watering at the end of your planting. Joseph Bentley Hand Trowel, $15, Williams-Sonoma
dh-how-to-arrange-succulents-market-04 THE FINISHING TOUCH: Ever noticed how some succulents arrangements are shiny? This is from using a spray leaf shine, which when used on succulents (indoors only) can reveal more vibrant colors. Miracle Grow Leaf Shine, $4, Hardware Online Store
01 For Nicole Richie's dinner party, Block planted Hens and Chicks succulents from Inner Gardens as well as Hindu Rope Plants--to cascade over the side of the planter. (When this plant flowers it smells like chocolate--bonus!) For care, Block recommends watering once a week and keeping your arrangements out of direct sunlight, as they do best in indirect sun.
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Hindu Rope Plants, price upon request Hens and Chicks, price upon request Hens and Chicks, price upon request
header Photographs: Jose Leon, Justin Coit