Many succulent plants growing in a birdbath
(Image credit: erperlstrom)

Growing your outdoor succulents in a birdbath planter is a great idea. It makes a nice outdoor display and can be located in an area with proper sun exposure. Birdbaths look best when heavily planted, in my opinion; however, you can certainly use your own taste and judgement about this. Always allow room for plants to grow.

Some say they’ve planted trailing succulents around the edges of the container so they can spill over the sides. Others have created a mound of soil in the middle of the top to add height. Some have planted to continue attracting birds. Give thought to your purpose before you work out a design. Consider it the same as any shallow dish for succulents.

How to Make a Succulent Birdbath Container

Bore extra drainage holes if needed, being careful not to crack the part you’re planting. If this part has already cracked, consider this as a drainage hole. Add a plastic liner if the dripping water is a problem.

Use a well-draining soil with amendments if needed to make your soil drain quickly and hold limited moisture. If needed, use sharp sand, extra pumice, grit, or perlite to amend cactus soil.

Using a birdbath as an outdoor planter is a functional idea -- in most cases it's a great place to grow succulents. If you experience winters with temperatures below freezing, plant succulents that can withstand the cold or make plans to move the planted part into a protected area for the colder months.

Birdbath Planter Ideas

Many birdbaths separate into two pieces. If you’re using one with a detachable top in which your succulents are planted, take advantage of using this part for succulents that need cold weather protection. Or plant succulents that are hardy to cold weather, like…

Plant your succulents into an attractive design inside the planted part. The best spot for a permanent display is in morning sun for a couple of hours, then afternoon shade or dappled sun for the rest of the day.

Add a layer of top dressing over the newly planted succulents for a more professional appearance. Keep in mind that a darker color of top dressing will attract sun, meaning you may have to cut back on your daily sun limit.

Birdbath Succulent Care

Depending on where the succulents were prior to planting this time will determine how much adjustment time they’ll need in the new location to avoid sunburn. Take all things into consideration. Once succulents are sunburned, they must grow out of it, which is time consuming.

Once adjusted to the new location, assume regular watering on a limited basis. With little direct sun, your plants won’t need to be watered as often. Too much water can instigate root rot, as can soil that does not drain properly for the plants.

Plant and care for your birdbath in the same way you would with a succulent dish garden. With the right lighting and care, it should last for several years.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.