Potted patio where succulents rule

Shaded by a big live oak, our back patio stays relatively cool, even on hot days. That shade also makes it a good spot for a variety of potted plants, especially succulents that prefer bright shade in our blistering climate.

Agave parryi var. truncata is one of my favorite small agaves, with those striking black spines and round blue leaves. It cozies up in a galvanized tub with a Texas tuberose (Manfreda maculosa) and Artemisia stelleriana ‘Quicksilver’.

Another blue beauty, but much bigger, is my new whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), which replaced Moby after he bloomed last year. Skirted by silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea), it’s a cool, silvery vision of agave loveliness.

‘Macho Mocha’ mangave and datura grow in the lower level, adding some green along with a glass gazing ball.

For fun — a Tentacle Wall. Wiggly-legged pots from Tentacle Arts hold wavy-armed Xerographica tillandsias spring through fall; in winter they live indoors. Metal octopuses add a few more tentacles to the mix.

Steps leading up the back door host a colorful array of pots containing purple oxalis along with more succulents.

And of course the cinderblock succulent wall is here too. (Here’s how I made it, including how I kept the soil from falling out of the holes — everyone asks!)

So how about you? Are you into potted plants on your patio?

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16 Responses

  1. l. peterson says:

    of course everything looks wonderful, but i particularly love that ‘quicksilver’ artemisia (never have seen in san antonio), and OH, those tiny flamingos! thanks for the morning giggle!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Linda, thanks for appreciating my, um, off-the-wall collection and often silly taste in garden art. Those tiny flamingos have been roaming around the garden this summer. —Pam

  2. Alison says:

    I don’t have any pots on my patio, but I do have quite a lot on my front and back porches, which get overwintered inside the greenhouse. Nice to see Moby II thriving. Two of the three Moby babies that you sent are still alive!

  3. Mercy yes I have potted plants on the patio. I even have some succulents. :) Your collection of octopus and succulents are wonderful.

  4. Kris P says:

    With all the blue and turquoise color, you patio looks cool, even if your temperatures aren’t, Pam. I have potted plants everywhere, including both my patio areas. Refurbishing my succulent containers is one of the few planting exercises I allow myself during the summer months.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I enjoy refreshing my succulent pots in spring. Some succulents make it through the winter, and some don’t. But it takes so little to get them going again with the addition of a few fast-growing plants. —Pam

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    I have potted plants everywhere but don’t have the amazing style and flair that you do. Your garden is an inspiration and the tentacle wall is a favorite! The turquoise color matching with your pool visually cools the heat of summer. Love it!

  6. Nell says:

    The cinder block succulent wall is looking *fabulous*.

    Plants in containers here are few, because I can’t seem to intuit their needs as I do with plants in the ground. Just a stalwart nutmeg-scented Pelargonium — the one with round fuzzy leaves.

  7. Angela says:

    I’ve been avoiding container gardening here in Albuquerque because the roots just get baked unless they are watered twice a day. Using succulents in containers makes perfect sense! Thanks for the tip.


    • Pam/Digging says:

      Succulents are perfect for pots. Just be sure to give them bright shade or just a bit of morning sun, not afternoon or all-day sun. Unless you’re talking about sun lovers like agaves or yuccas of course! —Pam

  8. The color scheme of your patio simply adds to the coolness! It looks cool and refreshing in shades of blue, green, and aqua.

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