Scrolling through Pinterest, I happened to see a pin featuring a topiary – it was a super cute Succulent Turtle! Unfortunately it was a dead-end pin, but it was so adorable that I felt like my garden really needed a turtle, I just wasn’t too sure about the succulents.
I’m probably one of the few people out there who hasn’t dived into the succulent craze. I’ve had access to them for decades through a local greenhouse and they just don’t do well for me. My yard is too shady so they get stretched and leggy. Then I either water them too much and they rot, or I water them too little and they shrivel up into succulent mummy’s.
But I can grow Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks) and Sedum. As a bonus, both are winter hardy here.
What I used to make my Succulent Turtle
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- 12″ wire hanging basket with coco liner
- 4 – 4″ clay pots
- Sphagnum moss
- A small roll of chicken wire
- Succulents. I used Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) for my turtle.
- Washers, wire and an old plastic pot (or a sheet of coir or landscape fabric big enough to cover the top of your wire basket)
- Snips to cut the wire.
Make the Topiary for a Succulent Turtle:
Measure a square of chicken wire slightly larger than the basket. Then filled the basket with soil and water. Cover with landscape fabric or coir to keep the soil in. Next you fold and attach your mesh to the rim of the basket, use wire to ‘sew’ it together if you need to.
Use wire and a washer to attach each pot to the chicken wire. The ‘legs’ are not placed equally around the pot. Two are more together at the front and two at the back, just like they would be on a real turtle.
For the head I rolled a piece of chicken wire into a tube and then formed it into a turtle head or at least something vaguely resembling a turtle head. The tail is a flattened cone shape.
I stuffed them both with sphagnum moss before attaching them to the ‘shell’ with wire. The head at the front of the basket (looking up so he isn’t a moping turtle), and the tail to the underside.
Plant Your Succulent Turtle!
Then I slashed the coir (which sounds easier than it was) and stuffed the plants in.
You could paint the clay ‘legs’ or even glue sphagnum to them if you prefer, but I decided to leave mine natural.
I’m kind of pleased with my succulent turtle, even if his ‘shell’ is still a little bare. By the end of July, the Dragon Wing Begonia will be all around him and he’s going to look so cute nestled in there.
If you prefer a more natural look, line the basket with sphagnum moss instead of the liner it came with.
See how cute his little tail is?
I believe I shall name him Fred. I can hardly wait to see how Fred’s shell grows. He’ll be amazing.