Succulent Garden diy | DESERT ROSE Beauty!

This stunning succulent garden diy is not only unique, but it incorporates the beautiful Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)! We will go through what use for layering container pots that makes the look unique. How to make a succulent display to create a natural look using organic materials.

The succulent display will feature the Desert Rose and we will go over care tips; soil, watering, lighting requirements and the beautiful flowers.

succulent garden diy

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This Stunning Succulent diy has so much meaning to me! When my mother lived in Puerto Rico, she had the most beautiful Desert Rose and I was always amazed by it. The plant had almost developed a personality and it was as though they cared for each other so much that the beautiful plant would just gift her the most incredible flowers and continued growth. Everyone knew about that beautiful plant!

My mother had taken babies from it and given them to family and friends to continue her life. When she moved to live with us on the Mainland, she left the plant behind. She gifted her big baby to my lucky brother who proudly showed it to me on a Facetime call a couple of weeks ago. Take a look at how beautiful it is right now!!!!

desert rose

Come this week and Mom gave me a baby Desert Rose to start my own! So I have to share with you a beautiful DIY to make with me. If you can get a hold of one of these beauties, bring it home. You will not be disappointed!


On a previous post I wrote about the types of pots to use that are best for succulents Take a look if you want to go over the basic care of succulents, pots, soil, watering and lighting for succulents.

Try to use the same type of pots when it comes to shape. When you use a circular shape or square or very rustic organic, use the same type for the layered look on the top. This will help the arrangement look as one whole element instead of two pieces.

succulent garden outdoor


You don’t have to use only rustic materials, but the way you compose the arrangement will make it look natural. Layer your succulents, I like to use stones that are contrasting with the pot; for example, if the pot is black, I use white stone or a lighter sand color to make it look more modern. You can also look at color contrast or complementing hues, such a different hues of green, blue, etc…

It is about the balance of the rustic with the added modern touches that makes the diy look natural. If everything is rustic, it begins to look decorated and not natural, as though it has always been there.

One of the things I love to do, that I think has worked well, is to use modern shapes for your pots, but find an interesting and subtle texture to them. This won’t take away from the most important part, the plants themselves!

For more decorating tips on creating a cozy home, check out my post ‘5 EASY STEPS TO CREATE A COZY HOME’.


Adenium comes in any colors; white, red, pink and many varieties of flower colors. The look is one of a bonsai, with the thicker stems,  twisted base, also known as the caudex, at the bottom.

desert Rose succulent

Pots for the Desert Rose

One of the most beautiful things about the desert rose is its thick bottom which makes the plant look like a bonsai. In order to develop this and continue developing it when repoting, it is important you use a pot that is wider than deeper.

Soil to use for Desert Rose Succulent Garden Diy

The desert rose will require a sandy soil, like a succulent soil or 50% soil and 50% perlite. You can just use a bag of succulent soil and this will work. I add some cinnamon or charcoal, Osmocote and epsom salt and mix it in.

The cinnamon prevents and kills fungus, preventing rot. Osmocote is a great slow release fertilizer and epsom salt provides magnesium to aid in giving the plants a great start. You can replace epsom salt with bone meal if you have it.

diy succulent planter ideas

Watering the Succulents

For a desert rose you are looking at once a week or twice if it is too hot. This will vary depending on the zone you are in. They like humidity, a very dry zone may not make the best environment for this type of plant.

Follow the same rules as you do for a succulent; water when the plant is dry completely and needs water badly. Then water thoroughly until it runs out from the bottom hole. You want to wait between waterings for the soil to dry again for any succulent garden diy.

It is hard not to water your plant and baby it, but you have to trust me and leave it alone so that the plant won’t rot. Trust me! My mother loves ‘anything’ that involves water! I have to watch her like a hawk. LOL!

Sunlight Requirements for Succulents

The desert rose loves the sun, think of it as a succulent. In order for it to flower it will require at least 6 hours of sunlight. If you do not have 6 hours, invest in a grow light and this can help with flowering.

Fertilizer Requirement for Desert Rose

Most important is to stick to an organic succulent fertilizer. When repoting add some bone meal for developing the roots stronger or the Epsom salt.

A balanced fertilizer will be needed more in the summer than in the winter months. They bloom in the summer and the fertilizer will feed them to provide more flowers.

Have you read my postHOW TO MAKE A SUCCULENT GARDEN DIY’. It will go over some of my other succulents and more about these beautiful plants.


succulent diy kit
  • Succulent Soil.
  • Large cobble stones.
  • Large Stone.
  • White Pebbles.
  • Compost (use very little, maybe 5%).
  • Charcoal (use charcoal to absorb nutrition and prevent root rot) (use only 5%). If you don’t have any, add cinnamon.
  • Perlite and Vermiculite if it is not in your soil mixture.
  • Larger Pot with a bottom hole.
  • Small Pot with a bottom hole.
  • Decoration Quartz.
  • Decorative White Pebbles.
  • Succulents of your choice.
  • Desert Rose Plant.
  • Watering Can.
  • Succulent Fertilizer or Osmocote, slow release.
  • Bone Meal ( is a good source of mineral to encourage growth) or Epsom Salt (Epson salt has sulfur)


Important Extra Information:

  1. Note that you should buy your desert rose in the Spring, not when it is cold and is being ship in cold weather.
  2. Do not repot your desert rose on a much bigger pot than the plant. Go only no more than 2″ larger than the width of the trunk. They do not like to be in large pots, it is critical for the health of the plant.
  3. Like any succulent or plant, repot quickly, do not leave it laying around for extended periods with the roots exposed to air.
  4. I do not recommend using cococoir, but this is up to you. I have found that cococoir varies and I have begun to step away from it because I find it hard to use consistently. This is a personal preference, feel free to do as you feel most comfortable. The important thing is that your garden and enjoy the process!
  5. Leave a space between the top of the soil and the ridge of the pot of 1/2″ in order to water thoroughly each time and not be concern about the water running out of the pot.
  6. Adjust slowly your plant to the sunlight, provide some protection as your start and slowly add daily more direct sunlight time.
  7. If the Desert Rose trunk or branch has any type of cut, be aware to wear gloves. The sap can be toxic to humans, kids and pets. If you get any of the sap on your hands, make sure to immediately wash your hands.


How to harvest calendula seeds

If you love air plants, check out my post10+ AIR PLANT CARE TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT!’. READ HERE!


A. Select Pots

Use a wider and larger plant pot for the bottom arrangement but a shallow and smaller pot for the top. I will be going with round shapes to emphasize the round shape of the desert rose trunk.

B. Add Larger Stones at Bottom of Large Pot

Make sure that you are selecting a pot with a hole on the bottom. Add the stones to prevent the soil clogging the hole.

succulent diy ideas

C. Mix and Add Soil

To the succulent soil add compost, bone meal or a little epsom salt, also Osmocote or wait until later and add liquid fertilizer when you finish the succulent arrangement.

See above on list of materials if you do not have succulent soil. I like to add charcoal or cinnamon to my soil to prevent fungus. This is not required, but it does help prevent diseases. Mix all of it well. Make sure the soil is damp, not wet.

Unique succulent planter ideas

D. Select and Dividing Succulents Plants.

After you prepare the soil, begin potting your succulents. Try selecting different heights, textures and some draping varieties. Also, vary the color to highlight the edge. This part is for you to select and use your favorite ones. Have fun with it and explore!

One of the best things about succulents is that you will find you have multiple plants in one small pot. You should remove the old soil as much as you can by gently rubbing the plant between the palms of your hands until it falls off or you can dip it in water if you are concerned about causing damage to the roots. Do not try to pick the soil off because you can take the roots. After the soil is removed, then go ahead and split the plants if you have more than one. BONUS!

succulent planter ide

E. Begin Placing your Succulents.

Place your succulent on the perimeter at a little angle facing out. Very little, but you want the plants to face out so they create a beautiful edge as they grow and cover the perimeter of the pot.

succulent garden ideas for small spaces

F. Make a Hole in the Center and Place Stone.

Make a large hole in the center of the pot and compress the soil so it will hold the weigh of the stone. It is easier to use your fist to do this. Place the stone and add soil around it to keep it in place.

G. Work on Top Layer!

Add small stones to the bottom layer around all the succulents to finish the look. I like using a paint brush to clean the stones and give it a finish look.

Did you know I have a Pinterest Board with Succulent and Air Plant information? Take a look and save it for future reference!

G. Work on Top Layer!

Add cobblestones to balance the pot on an angle. You can use a hot glue gun, but I prefer to have access to the pot to check on my desert rose. The stones work very well and you can add more of the ground cover around the cobblestone to hold it in place.

Make sure your pot has a hole to drain, if not, drill one. I drilled mine at an angle to the water will drain easier.

H. Place the Desert Rose on the Pot

The Desert Rose plant should be placed facing straight up, even though the pot is on an angle. The first thing is to add small stones on the bottom for drainage, before adding soil and then the Desert Rose. Make sure you bury up to where the roots start, not deeper.

Add crushed stones, I added a sand look on the top to blend it more with the desert rose trunk color.

succulent diy

Do you want to learn more about decorating a table? Have you seen my post on HOW TO CREATE A STUNNING TABLESCAPE – AS A DESIGNER’!


Now the hardest thing is to baby the succulents and give it time to grow and develop. The plants will fill up your pot edges beautifully and become a work of art! Remember that you will soon have flowers that are a dream!

Another one of my loves is moss! Check out my blog postENTRANCE TABLE IDEAS USING A DOUGH BOWL! | DIY’.

I am so excited about this one, that it may go outside part of the time so I can enjoy it!

Your Cocoon Awaits You,

Stay Creative!


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  1. Melba, I am in awe each time I read one of your posts! Your photos are stunning and your wealth of knowledge and love of gardening and planting is awe inspiring.

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! Writing each post brings me so much joy. Very happy that you enjoy them and grateful.

    1. Thank you Kim! I ordered the most beautiful desert rose that will be here in a few weeks. I am beyond excited!

  2. The Desert Rose that your brother has is gorgeous! Great tutorial Melba! I enjoyed this post so much and I wanted you to know that this post will be featured on Tuesday Turn About Link Party this week! Pinned to our Tuesday Turn About Pinterest board.😊 Thanks for sharing your tips/project/makeover and I hope to see you at the party this week! 😊

    1. Thank you so much Cindy for the amazing support! So happy you enjoyed the tutorial, this was such a fun one for me.

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