How to Make a Succulent Window Box

Learn how to make the cutest (and most space-efficient) plant window boxes from the new book .

Thanks to their shallow root systems, succulents are a great match for small spaces. You can grow your plants close together without having to worry about unhealthy crowding.

There's also an incredible spectrum of textures for you to play with, from the velvet touch of the panda plant to the clustered jelly beans of the stonecrop. Embrace the variety!

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Tips & Tools:

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Indoors
  • Light: High medium
  • Window: West- or south-facing
  • Soil: Two parts cactus mix, one part pumice
  • Topping: Polished pebbles
  • Water: Approximately every three to six weeks
  • Feed: 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted to one-fourth strength every month during spring, summer, and fall
    how to build a succulent window box
    Ryan Benoit

    Choose your succulent varieties:

    • A. Portulacaria afra (elephant food)
    • B. Rosularia chrysantha
    • C. Graptoveria 'Opalina'
    • D. Crassula perforata (baby necklace)
    • E. Sedum rubrotinctum (jelly bean plant)
    • F. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (paddle plant)
    • G. Aloe 'Black Beauty'
    • H. Echeveria 'Tippy'
    • I. Anacampseros telephiastrum variegata 'Sunrise'
    • J. Kalanchoe tomentosa (panda plant)
    • K. Sedum morganianum (burro's tail)
    • L. Sedum pachyphyllum (stonecrop)
    • M. Sedum nussbaumerianum (coppertone stonecrop)
      image
      Ryan Benoit

      Instructions:

      1. Make sure your box has good drainage. If not, drill drain holes along the bottom of the box. Insert a screen cut to the size of the box's bottom to prevent soil from escaping or clogging the holes.

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      how to build a succulent window box
      Ryan Benoit

      2. Mix the soil and add a healthy 3- to 4-inch layer to the bottom of the box. If your box is more shallow, just be sure your soil depth is at least 2½ inches—the bare minimum.

      Be sweet to your succulents: Steer clear of low-light and water-heavy situations—both surefire ways to kill your succulents. When you notice the first inch of soil has dried, wait a week or two, then water your box. The less sun your plants get, the less water they will need. When you do water, thoroughly drench the soil until water drips into your collection trays below.

      3. Remove the plants from their containers and loosen the soil around the roots, breaking up any root-bound bundles. Arrange the plants on top of the soil.

      how to build a succulent window box
      Ryan Benoit

      4. Fill in the box with additional soil until the entire surface is level, and the base of the plants are about one inch below the top of the planter. Feel free to gently adjust plants until their bases line up across a smooth soil bed.

      5. Top-dress the soil with polished pebbles for a smooth, modern feel.

      how to build a succulent window box
      Ryan Benoit

      For more ways to build the window boxes of your dreams, check out the book by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit.

      Ryan Benoit

      Reprinted from How to Window Box. Copyright © 2018 by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. Photographs by Ryan Benoit. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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