Succulent bowl brightens winter gloom

What I dislike most about winter is that all growth stops or slows to a crawl. It’s not like in the spring and summer when you’re guaranteed to discover something in the garden almost on a daily basis. Walking around in the garden just isn’t much fun at this time of year!

I could write about deciduous perennials that need to be cut back soon to make room for new growth. Or I could write about starting seeds to get a head start on the vegetable garden. But instead I’m going to show you a succulent bowl that brightens the gloomy days of winter with color and texture.

View of entire bowl

I put this bowl together last spring with small plants I bought for cheap at local nurseries and at IKEA. Succulents often look best when combined with other succulents. This is especially true for the not-so-flashy groundcover types, like sedums and intergeneric sedum hybrids. In a pot by themselves, they usually look less than impressive. But in combination with a few “thrillers,” like echeverias or other rosette-forming plants, they add a great deal of depth.

The “spillers” in this bowl are Sedum ‘Burrito’, easy to recognize by its small bluish green leaves packed together tightly on a what looks like rope, and Graptosedum ‘Bronze’ with its small brown leaves.

BACK: Graptosedum ‘Bronze’, Echeveria pulvinata ‘Ruby Blush’
MIDDLE: Sedum ‘Burrito’, Sedum nussbaumerianum
FRONT: x Graptoveria ‘Opalina’ is clearly the star

The “fillers” are Sedum nussbaumerianum, bright green in the photos below, and Echeveria pulvinata ‘Ruby Blush’, the medium green plant with fuzzy leaves.

LEFT: x Graptoveria ‘Opalina’
CENTER: Sedum nussbaumerianum and Echeveria pulvinata ‘Ruby Blush’
RIGHT: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’

And the “thrillers” are Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’ and especially x Graptoveria ‘Opalina’.

CENTER: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’
RIGHT: Sedum ‘Burrito’, Graptosedum ‘Bronze’
x Graptoveria ‘Opalina’

Even though this combination already looks good, it will look even better in the spring and summer when the spillers hang down even further, providing a visual counterweight to the size of the graptoveria. And when the plants are finally too large for this bowl, they’re easy to remove and repurpose in another planting. That’s the beauty of succulents!

P.S. This bowl has been outside on our front porch all winter. I covered it with a frost blanket when we dipped below freezing earlier in the week, but normally it sits there unprotected on our patio table.


  1. This pot is looking awesome! I love all those pretties! I am glad to see that your babies are doing well. I went in the gazebo this evening and to my dismay my aeonium sunburst that Cindy at the Succulent Perch sent me are dying. For sure 2 of the 3 will die. I don't know about the 3rd. I am ticked off!

    1. Candy, so sorry to hear about your 'Sunburst'. The temps in your gazebo are above freezing, right? I just checked my one and only 'Sunburst,' and it's OK. It's been outside all this time, covered with a frost blanket on really cold nights. All my other aeoniums are OK too. In general, I find them to be hardier than many people say.

  2. That's a great combination Gerhard, I agree it looks good already and will only get better! I've started planning on what sort of succulent planting I will do on some of our pots and I've been trawling the web lately for some inspiration. Good timing! :)

    1. Mark, are you a member of the Succulent Fanatics group on Facebook? If not, you should join. People post great photos all the time.

  3. Nice planting! I have to object to the knock on the sedums though -- a pot of overflowing sedum is a thing of beauty, even if it's a single variety. Pack it in (or let it spread) and you'll have something worth viewing.

    1. Alan, I shouldn't have dissed sedums. In fact, I have several pots with nothing but sedums in them. Will do a post later this spring.

  4. Hi Gerhard!! It`s me again everytime i came here is impossible to stay little...I take hours looking your pictures and reading your posts!!!

    Thanks for sharing so beautiful things



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