How to Make a Cactus Dish Garden

Want to know how to plan and plant an impressive cactus dish garden? Luckily for you, we have some tips to help you get started!

Whether you want a small, sophisticated grouping of cacti or a large, eccentric bowl embellished with a huge array of succulents, there is an abundance of ideas to choose from, including a variety of tricks you can follow to make your own dynamic display.

Which cacti to use?

There are various different types of succulents and cacti to choose from, all of which look great when placed side by side. Each has its own unique character with a wide range of structures, shapes, textures, and hues, all of which can help you to create a miniature desert landscape.

If you’re unsure which species to consider, enquire at your local garden centre or turn to an online florist for advice – that way you’ll be able to find out which plants grow best together.

Where to buy cacti

Whether you take a trip to your local garden centre, nursery, or wish to shop online, buying an assortment of cacti is extremely easy in this day and age. This is partly to do with the fact succulents have become so popular, especially when it comes to interior design.

In fact, the creative possibilities are endless and those with even just a little imagination can create an impressive cactus dish garden. Your only restriction is to opt for plants that require the same growing conditions, as this is an important point to consider if you wish to grow them together.

Choosing Your Plants

Succulents boast geometrical form and unique beauty, and despite all of them varying in size and hue, they somehow seem to complement each other when planted together in the same dish.

The likes of Echeveria elegans is a great starter cactus, especially for those wishing to create their first cactus dish, as it’s an easy-to-grow plant that requires minimal care. It boasts a beautiful rosette form complete with lengthy spikes and bell-shaped blooms, which appear in the summer months.

How to style your cacti dish

The green or blue-green hue of cacti provides a common complementary feature and one that can be used to tie an array of succulents together. Repeating similar shapes is a great idea, particularly if you wish to create continuity.

Echeveria fimbriata (a great option for this) features an upright, rosette form of brandishing leaves that often turn a shade of purplish-green. You can expect it to bloom in late summer, bringing with it a stunning display of red and orange flowers.

Pick wisely

Choose plants that complement each other from a colour perspective, but also opt for plants that are able to grow together. Those that share the same demands for water, light, and temperature are great options, as one won’t struggle when placed in a shady or sunny spot.

This is one way to be sure that they’re compatible. One plant that does well with the majority of succulents is the prickly pear cactus. This particular cactus boasts flat, fleshy pads that grow on top of each other, with many people thinking they resemble bunny ears.

They’re also one of the largest cactus genus, Opuntia. One thing to bear in mind is to handle the prickly pear with caution, as its barbed spines can be extremely sharp.

Vessels and dishes

As well as selecting an array of cacti to create your cactus dish garden, you may also wish to select a pretty vessel. Dishes in bright colours embellished with patterns are sure to create a statement centerpiece, while plain dishes and monotone hues are more suited to those who enjoy the contemporary style.

You may even wish to create more than one cactus dish garden using various vessels in complementing hues, shapes, and sizes.

Planting your cactus dish garden

As well as housing cactus gardens indoors, you may also wish to plant your cactus garden in the ground outdoors. Here the same principle applies, as the soil must have great drainage in order for your cactus garden to thrive and flourish.

You may also need to add items to the soil before planting your selection of succulents, even though you don’t necessarily need to create a large amount of cactus potting soil.

Stones and cacti

If you would like to create a zen cactus garden, you can’t go wrong with mixing both plants and stones. Opt for sizeable flat rocks, as these are sure to make a nice base for your cacti pots. You can then use smaller stones in between the pots to create an ambient-style Japanese garden.

If you want to get particularly creative, try experimenting with various hues, choosing different styles of pots and rocks. Mixing and matching them can create an eclectic mix that is guaranteed to add vibrancy to your home.

Glass balls

As well as stones and pebbles, glass balls and marbles will also add interest to your cactus dish garden. Decorative, colourful glass balls are popular with those who are into their interior design.

There are various styles, shapes, and colours to choose from meaning there is something to suit all, giving you a great deal of room to experiment. This allows you to create numerous colour combinations that complement the various cacti hues you have.

Cacti are plants that are low maintenance and don’t require a great deal of care, while they also look great all year round. In addition, they won’t cost you a huge sum, which makes them a great option for those on a budget.

In addition, their juicy green rich hues will add an injection of colour to any room in the household, including adding a little greenery to your office desk, a bathroom, your bedroom, living room, hallway, or even a garden.

All in all, you can create an incredible cactus garden of any size or style, although placing several smaller species together in a dish can have the desired effect!


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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