How to Plant a Succulent Garden in an Ikea Cart

While photographing for my latest succulent ebook, I ordered quite a few plants from Waterwise Botanicals to use for photos. In the end, I had some that didn’t make it into pots so I need to find a way to get them planted so they didn’t die. There were quite a few, so I wanted to try something a little bigger than the cute potted arrangements I had made for the book. I also knew I was going to be teaching a class and would need a way to transport a bunch of arrangements easily. So, I came up with the idea to get this cute cart from Ikea and turn it into a succulent planter!

Creative Container Garden Idea Tutorial - Succulents and Sunshine

I know this idea isn’t 100% original  and other people have used this cart for plants, but I wanted to put my own twist on it. Honestly though, I had been wanting to buy one of these carts for a while so it was a good excuse :). I’ve included a step by step tutorial below so you can see what I did.

I will warn you that I made a big mistake that I didn’t realize until it was too late. To better show you how I planted this little succulent garden, I left one of the shelves off and figured I’d just put it back on when I was done. Due to the way the cart is assembled, this was a problem. You have to tighten a bolt on the inside of the shelf in order to attach it to the cart. If the shelf is full of dirt, that is nearly impossible. Fortunately my husband has quite a collection of tools and between the two of us working on it we were able to get it put together. But, the moral of the story is… if you decide to do your own succulent planter like this, assemble the cart completely before filling the shelf or shelves with plants!

Alright, now that you know what to avoid, let me show you what to do! I started by placing a small mesh on the bottom of the shelf. It is really nice that these shelves were mesh in the first place (great for drainage!!!) but I knew my soil mixture would fall through the holes and make a mess. I used window screening which had large enough holes to let water flow through, but small enough the soil didn’t. Then, I filled the shelf with soil. I actually used a different mixture this time, coconut coir and diatomaceous earth (Axis brand). I’ve heard good things about cocount coir so I thought I’d experiment and see how it worked. So far I like it, but only time will tell!

How to Make a Succulent Container Garden with an Ikea Cart - Succulents and Sunshine

After the shelf was filled with soil I placed sphagnum moss on top. It is much easier to work with when it’s wet, so be sure to wet it before placing it on. The reason I decided to use the moss was to prevent the soil from showing as much and to keep it in place better. I knew if I actually rolled the card around the soil would bounce a little bit and maybe fall out. Plus, the moss also gave it a nice finished look. After I had the moss laid on top I started planting! I’ve been trying to work on my container garden design skills lately so I tried to have some rhyme and reason to how I put this together. I started with a few larger plants and spaced those out somewhat evenly across the top of the planter. Then I started to fill in with other plants in contrasting colors and textures. If I used a plant on one side of the planter, I tried to place some of the same plant on the opposite side to give it some continuity. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! I was wishing I had some string of pearls that I could have draped over the side for a little more interest. As is, I liked that it was a little more unusual as you don’t see a lot of rectangular planters.

Rectangular planter filled with succulents - Succulents and Sunshine

Succulents in a rectangular planter - Succulents and Sunshine

Growing Succulents eBook info

After I had the cart assembled again, I placed a bunch of my other pots of succulents on the empty shelves below the container garden I had made. I love how colorful everything looked with the plants, the pots and the cart. It was such a fun project! Plus, I love that I can easily move my plants around so I can better provide them with the amount of sunlight, rain, or shade that they need!

Create a fun succulent container garden in an Ikea Cart! Succulents and Sunshine

Succulents in an Ikea Cart - Succulents and Sunshine

I would love to hear about any creative container garden ideas you’ve come up with! Feel free to share them with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest!

15 Responses to How to Plant a Succulent Garden in an Ikea Cart

  1. Really cool idea. Placing the smaller ones on the top shelf and working larger ones in the middle and bottom shelves was a real visual treat. Good job.

  2. Do you put anything underneath the last shelf to catch the water asit drained? i just bought one of these and am trying to root SEVERAL leafs/cuttings, eventually, I would LOVE to create a couple shelves of succulents with the window screen, but am wondering it creates a mess with water draining through. Thank you!

  3. Did you have a problem with the succulents on the bottom getting enough sunlight? It looks like those succulents were still in pots and not planted directly in the cart? I love this idea and I just wanted to see how you managed to keep all of the plants healthy!

    • The plants on the bottom have stretched out more since they weren’t getting quite as much light. I have the cart outside where it gets light from all directions. I don’t think it will do very well (in terms of staying compact) when I have to bring it in in the winter. It will also create a watering problem too… Still trying to figure that out.

Let us know what you think!

I'm Cassidy, a professional photographer turned succulent addict and the author and photographer here at Succulents and Sunshine. This is me with my wonderful husband and super cute baby!

Learn how to propagate succulents can from leaves and cuttings 300
Learn how to keep your indoor succulents alive and healthy! 300