How to Make A Succulent Turtle Topiary

Succulent Turtle Topiary

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. So I figured out how to make one.

What I used to make my Succulent Turtle

Materials to Make A Topiary Turtle

Materials:

Most items are available at the dollar store during the gardening season or you can purchase them from Amazon. Please note, these are affiliate links. This simply means if you purchase an item through one of my links, this website earns a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  • 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 fill the basket with soil and water and cover the belly with landscape fabric or coir to keep the soil in. Next you fold and attach your mesh to the rim of the basket, using florist wire to ‘sew’ it together.

Use wire and a washer to attach each pot to the chicken wire belly. 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 shaped it into a turtle head. The tail is a flattened cone shape.

I stuffed them both with sphagnum moss before attaching them to the ‘shell’ with florist 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.

You might also enjoy my Tomato cage Mannequin or my Mini Turtle.

See how easy it is to make this turtle succulent planter for your garden!If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends! For more just like it follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter or sign up for regular updates by email.

If you have ever thought about starting a garden or craft blog of your own see how easy it is >>here<<.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

More Great Ideas!

Author: The Shade Gardener

Hi there! I'm Vanessa, the Shade Gardener. I live in a tiny little house in Ontario with my 2 grown boys, 2 dogs and a cat, where I do my best to grow plants in a heavily shaded yard and soil like cement. I am passionate about my family, my pets, MCM furniture and cheese. When I'm not in the garden I do a bit of crafting and sewing. Sometimes I build topiary animals from chicken wire for fun.

28 thoughts on “How to Make A Succulent Turtle Topiary”

  1. Alana Patrick says:

    I love turtles so had to make this. Thanks so much for the video! Cutting the coir is definitely easier said than done so I’d suggest lining the basket with moss instead. Is there anything you’d suggest as an alternative to sphagnum moss to fill the head and tail?

    1. I agree on the coir – I switched to moss after the first one! I hadn’t thought of any alternatives for filling the head & tail since moss works fine but if you come up with something better I’d love to hear about it.

  2. What to do to keep turtle over winter? It gets way below zero here near Canadian border NY.

    1. Temperatures where I’m at fall below zero as well. My best suggestions are to stick with sempervivums and sedums that are hardy in your area and if possible, over winter in a barn or garage. Alternatively, nothing says you must use succulents to plant your turtles shell. There are many other low-growing plants that would look just as nice. Creeping Thyme or English Ivy are just a couple that come to mind.

  3. I want to start this but places around me only have mature succulents. Is that okay to use to?

    1. It should still work as long as you can fit the roots into the spaces of the basket. For hens and chicks, I have found it easier to break clusters up and let them grow a bit of root before planting them in the turtle – it give a nicer finished look.

  4. I’m so glad the reverse photo look up works on Google. I followed a link and didn’t find instructions but a too subtle reference and nearly hidden link to your site, and waaaay too many photos for a “brief description” and obvious link. I don’t like websites like that that mislead people.

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Well I’m glad you found us! I hope you enjoy my topiary and planters.

  5. Not sure how you attached legs to.body
    Could.only see you putting wire through hole.in.bottom of pot..then what?

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Hi Judy, I’m so happy you asked! I attach the legs by looping a piece of wire to the turtle body and then running both ends up into the clay pot. From there, I use a washer to anchor the wire in the pot and twist it down tightly to secure the pot to the turtle. Usually they’re still a little bit wobbly when the turtle is being moved around, but since the turtle sits on top of them it seems to work.

  6. This is adorable. I followed links from our group on Facebook. I’m not a crafty person, but I am a gardener so coming up with these ideas is not my forte, but I’ll bet I can execute the project. 🙂

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      I’m not all that crafty myself and it was surprisingly easy to put together this topiary.

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you so much! I’ve done two versions – one using the coir liner supplied with the basket and another using sphagnum moss to line the basket and keep the soil in place. The sphagnum is easier for inserting the plants.

      I suspect I’ll have to get my boys help me make a video of the process this spring so then I’ll have three of them.

  7. Lianne Alvarez says:

    Often I run into photos of something wonderful that lead nowhere. I pin them anyway, thinking I’ll, one day, figure them out. However, life gets in the way, and It doesn’t happen. So, thank you for taking the time to figure out and create this adorable project.
    My daughter-in-law is a big fan of turtles, and they’re remodeling the back yard. I think she needs one of these!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      It really is a simple project – keeping it going was a bit of a challenge. Squirrels were pulling some of the succulents out before they could root in.

  8. “Fred” is gorgeous!
    Loved and pinned. I must make this!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you so much! He’s a fun guy to have around.

  9. I adore Fred. I want a Tommy. Next week I hit the stores. Yea!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you. I spend a lot of time admiring Fred, I kind of like him too.

  10. Wow I love this! My 11 year old adores turtles so now I have to make this. She will love helping me make it also. Thank you for sharing this great project. Pinning it to share!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you so much! This topiary was so much fun to make – I hope you enjoy it too!

    2. Snap my 11 year old was bought 2 for her 10th birthday. They are fab creatures. Defo gona try this 🙂

      1. The Shade Gardener says:

        They really do look cute in the garden.

  11. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this!! Shared on my Facebook page and pinned. I need a family of sea turtles to go with the wall art I hung in the backyard. This is brilliant! I hope I have the energy to make them after I’m done with the backyard makeover! LOL

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you so much for sharing! I love how this project turned out, but it would be interesting to see one planted by someone better with succulents than I am. I bet you could make some super cool turtles with some of the less hardy ones!

      1. This project is seriously on my want to do list Vanessa, I have the perfect spot for it too 🙂 Wanted to let you know Mosser Lee left a note on my Facebook post when I shared this & said you made it with their products. If you post this project on their Facebook page you have chance to win $50. Wanted to let you know so you’d have the chance at the $50…It could buy lots more turtle supplies! LOL.. Good luck!

        1. The Shade Gardener says:

          Thank you! I’ll check out the contest. This turtle only took about an hour or two to make – he’s a pretty quick project.

Comments are closed.