Succulents grow year round in Southern California and the Southwest. They can also thrive indoors throughout the country and only require a bit of water and proper drainage to grow. We’re not the greatest gardeners, so low maintenance succulents are perfect for our home. We’ve got plenty of terra cotta planters and have made some out of brick, but we are now seeking a more modern looking solution in the form of cement planters.
We’ve admired the large scale cement planters we’ve seen at restaurants and chic office spaces, but they are too heavy and big for our needs. Succulents don’t need much soil, so we decided to make our planters using 1/2 gallon milk carton and a take out container from our local Thai restaurant.
This is a DIY project that anyone can do (our 4 year old helped us), and the only tools and materials you need are four containers (one for the outside mold and one for the inside), a small bag of Quikrete Ready-To-Use Concrete Mix, bucket, mixing stick, trowel, and cooking spray.
Start by thoroughly cleaning your molds and letting them completely dry. We cut the top off the milk carton and only used the bottom half.
Next, open the 40 lb. bag of Quikrete Ready-To-Use Concrete Mix and only pour 1/2 of it (20 lbs.) into your bucket. Add 1 1/2 pints of water mix thoroughly. It doesn’t take much stirring to get it to the proper consistency for use. You want it to look and feel like thick oatmeal. If needed add another 1/2 pint of water to the mix.
Then spray the inside of your container and pour in the Quikrete. Don’t overfill as you will need room for the mix to expand when you take the next step of inserting the inner mold. Place rocks in the inner mold or a heavy object on top of the mold to keep it from floating up.
Allow these molds to dry for at least 24 hours, then remove the the cementer planters from the molds. They should slide out easily from the plastic, but if they don’t give them a hard tap and the planter should release from the mold. If you use a cardboard carton, you can simply tear the carton away from the planter.
After removing the planters from the form and molds, it’s important to properly cure the concrete. You can seal it with an acrylic sealer or wrap it in wet burlap to prevent moisture loss for a few days. The planters will fully cure in 5 to 7 days, and once they are ready, just add soil and your succulents.
To water, just use a spray bottle and liberally spray the succulents once a week. This keeps the soil moist and the plant moist, but you won’t worry about standing water.
These planters look great outdoors as a center piece for patio tables and can also be used indoors in window sills and around the home. If you want to get really fancy, you can paint your planters for an even more customized look.