National Gardening Week

Succulents and Seashells project

Year-Round Interest in 5 Simple Steps 

National Gardening WeekAs it’s National Gardening Week I thought I would do something a little different in the garden.

Instead of the usual flowering basket I’m going to tackle this easy project from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book.

It only takes a few minutes but should give interest throughout the year.



Succulents & Seashells

Succulents are often grown as indoor house plants, but many varieties are perfectly hardy and do well outdoors – if given full sun and really sharp drainage. Striped and whorled seashells make perfect partners for these shapely rosettes.

Plant in spring. Succulents like these usually flower in June and July but their thick, fleshy leaves provide year-long interest. Creating a display like this will take one to two hours.


What you need


Selection of houseleeks (Sempervivum) and echeverias – read the plant labels carefully to check that the ones you choose are fully hardy. Sempervivum arachnoideum, S. tectorum and Echeveria elegans – and their numerous varieties and colour forms – are some to look for.


  • Large stone terracotta or ceramic container with drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Gritty compost, such as that sold for cacti.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Selection of seashells.
  • Fine gravel or grit for a topping.
  • Trowel.


1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage, then fill it nearly full with gritty compost.

2 Carefully tip the rosettes out of their pots – the leaves can break off easily, so handle very gently – and plant them in the compost, leaving room for the shells.

3 Top up the compost with the fine gravel or grit – allow for at least a 2.5cm (1in) layer. Then pile up the shells around and between the succulents.

4 Water moderately, then follow the plant label instructions for subsequent watering. Position the container in full sun and bring into a sheltered area during winter.


As an alternative to seashells, try pebbles or cobbles of various shapes, sizes and colours. These plants also do really well in rockeries or on the top of drystone walls.


It can take quite some time for a houseleek or echeveria to flower – and when it does, that rosette dies, but it is quickly replaced by new ones. The leaves of some varieties change colour in summer, turning from green or silvery grey to red or bronzed.


Deadhead flowers as they wither (they usually appear in summer). Remove any withered or damaged leaves.



Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful
book featuring simple projects, with
easy-to-follow instructions, to add
beauty to any garden.

You can order a copy for just £3.99.

Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas









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