Scroungers – Fun With Succulents & Other Backyard Projects

© 2024 CTC Productions Pty Limited. All rights reserved. The material presented on this website, may not be reproduced or distributed, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of CTC Productions.

Cacti and other succulents are water-storing plants, so they are ideal for busy people who don’t have much time to spend in the garden watering. Succulents have a number of features, or modifications, which enable them to survive in deserts, on rocks and in the branches of trees. These include: fleshy stems and leaves for water storage spines, thorns and hairs to reduce transpiration light coloured, reflective surfaces to reflect heat.

Succulents are easy to grow. They like well-drained soils and a position in sun or part shade. They need to be watered when actively growing (usually spring for cacti and winter for succulents from Africa and Mediterranean areas). They do not need much fertiliser (but apply a slow release fertiliser in spring). In gardens they are often grown as border or rockery plants. Most species come from the warmer parts of the world, but succulents such as sedums and sempervivums do well in cold climates. In humid areas or after prolonged rain, succulents may develop fungal diseases and leaf spots.
Succulents can also be grown in pots. Large succulents (such as agaves or bromeliads) grow well as single plants in a large pot but smaller ground hugging succulents can be mass planted in shallow containers using a gravelly or free draining potting mix (look for mixes specifically designed for succulents).

Succulents can also be used for easy, fun projects. We used succulents in 2 different ways – these are not only fun for the kids but make interesting talking points around your house:

  1. In-Tray: We found an old succulent growing in the garden, broke off bits of it & poked it into potting mix that we’d placed in an in-tray made of fine mesh.  This mesh created a perfectly drained container for a succulent garden. We then spread some gravel that was lying around on top of this. Use the mesh top as a guide to layout your plants in a regular pattern.In tray – $9.95 (from $2 Shop)
  2. Old Boot: We also squashed potting mix into an old boot and planted succulents in the boot as well.  Tip:  You can add the potting mix via a newspaper funnel to keep the shoes clean. Old Boot – free

We previously recycled some old shoes for similar projects – see photos above & details below:

Recycle those old shoes!

Don spray-painted some old shoes in a range of bright colours. When the shoes were dry, he drilled holes in the soles for drainage, added some free-draining potting mix and then planted a succulent in each. The succulents Don used included echeverias, sedums and sempervivums. Finally, the succulent shoes were displayed on a rack near the back door to create an eye-catching garden feature.

Availability:  Succulents are sold at general nurseries – usually around $6-$7 for a 7cm pot.


Isabella who was helping Don found a colander that was perfect for planting.  Plastic colanders come in a good range of colours so choose a mix of different to add even more style to your potted garden.
Line the colours with a porous material – old Chux wipes are fine.  This is to help prevent potting mix leading out of the base.

Partially fill with soil and plant your favourite herbs, chillies or flowers.  Don and Isabella planted white balsam, chives and parsley.

Top up with potting mix and water well.

Colanders are around $2.50


  1. Don got hold of a purple pot for $2.50 (from $2 shop) & planted a new Salvia (Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ as well as a new succulent – Sedum ‘Purple Blob’
  2. Plastic buckets are great for larger plants To hold the soil, line the bucket with flyscreen (broken flyscreen from an old door is fine). Cut a circle for the base, and a rectangular piece as tall as the bucket sides to fit around the walls.  Along the long side snip up to half way at regular intervals so the screen will overlap itself and fit the shape well.

Fill with potting mix and plant with flowering shrubs colour coordinated to the bucket colour.


Create a romantic corner in the garden with tea lights elevated on dowel in a variety of heights for interest.

Take tea light to hardware shop to get the dowel that fits best.  Attach the tea lights with liquid nails.

Tea lights with indented bottom are $2.50 each and dowels $14.95