Sunday, April 1, 2012

New plants and pots

This weekend I finally got around to putting some of my recent plant purchases into pots I’ve been collecting. As pricey as some plants can be, nice pots are invariably even more expensive, so I always keep an eye out for interesting containers in garage sales or thrift stores.

For plants that like sharp drainage (virtually all succulents and cacti) I usually use regular terra cotta pots because they allow water to evaporate and have a rustic look I find pleasing. Recently I’ve been buying chocolate-colored terra cotta pots (left) instead of the regular orange-pink ones. They’re a little more expensive but they don’t stand out quite as much.

The pot on the right is a rustic ribbed pot (thick and surprisingly heavy). I found it at Tuesday Morning, a company that sells closeout items from major retailers are a steep discount. I like it for strappy plants, like the Agave chrysoglossa you’ll see further down.

Sometimes I do splurge and buy a handmade artist pot, which I invariably save for a special plant.

Irregular bowl (7x7x4”) made by Steve Pate
Mark Muradian pot (9x7x7”), one of my favorite purchases this year
Mark Muradian is a potter and succulent collector from Fresno who has given two talks at the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society since I joined last November. He sells his pots at shows throughout California.

These two pots are very special. They’re still unused because I haven’t found the perfect plants for them yet.

Here are the plant-and-pot combinations I threw together this weekend.

Agave chrysoglossa in ribbed pot from Tuesday morning
Agave chrysoglossa surrounded by (clockwise from bottom left) Agave celsii, Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’, Agave ‘Blue Flame’
Agave × leopoldii ‘Hammer Time’ in cholocate terra cotta pot
Agave × leopoldii ‘Hammer Time’, purchased at the SF Flower & Garden Show
Ferocactus crysacanthus in a pot made by Steve Pate
Ferocactus crysacanthus
Agave cactus (Leuchtenbergia principis) in a beautiful terra cotta pot from Italy.
Notice the purple edges on the cactus.
I love the swirl pattern in this pot, originally a garage sale find
Elephant foot (Dioscorea elephantipes) in a pot I found at Capital Nursery for only $2.95!
Split rock plant (Pleiospilos nelii) in another pot by Steve Pate
Split rock plant (Pleiospilos nelii)
Karoo rose (Lapidaria margaretae) in a small pot by Mark Muradian
In its native habitat, karoo rose (Lapidaria margaretae) grows in the quartz plains of Namibia and South Africa
Baby toes (Fenestraria ropalophylla), another intriguing South African succulent with transparent leaf windows that allow light to hit the photosynthetic tissue inside
The pot was $0.50 on clearance at Lowe’s.
It was originally an overpot so I had to drill a few holes for drainage.
The largest potting project this weekend involved putting this jade plant from
UC Botanical Garden in a ribbed pot from Home Depot.
The off-yellow pot and the yellowish leaves of the jade plant form a wonderful contrast to the blue of the Senecio mandraliscae on the left, the Yucca rostrata in the back and the Echeveria subsessilis 'Azure Blue' in the foreground

Just this afternoon I found these goodies at the SPCA thrift store in town. They will make interesting succulent containers. I’m particularly excited about the glass container; I finally have what I need to try my hand at a terrarium!

Thrift store finds that cost me all of $3.56


  1. Great selection of pots! I wouldn't mind them all myself :) I think terracotta pots are so versatile and complements succulents well, and being porous gives extra drainage.

    The copper bowl is a fab find, you can get really creative planting that one up!

    1. Thanks! Drainage is super important. Having said that, I'm about to make a terrarium with that glass container I got yesterday. It will have no drainage so adding just the right amount of water when needed will be a learning moment for me.

  2. I prefer terra cotta plants mostly. They are attractive and let the plants breathe as well as have excellent drainage. I really like your ribbed selection...beautiful!

    1. I always prefer terra cotta and other ceramics over plastic. Metal pots look nice but they're expensive and get too hot, cooking the roots.

      I saw these Ecoforms pots at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show a few weeks ago and I'm willing to try them if I ever find any locally.

  3. Beautiful pots! I love shopping at thrift stores for my containers. Craigslist has had some good ones lately too, up here near Seattle.

  4. A nice selection of pots, and beautiful succulent plantings as well. Working at a wholesale nursery I have no shortage of plastic pots, but other then getting a plant from point a-b I loathe them. Terracotta is the only way to go, it's like framing a piece of art, well worth the trouble and investment. Your artist pots are incredible.