Easy DIY: Modern Succulent Planter Using Concrete

DIY Modern Succulent Planter Tutorial Using Concrete
credit: Maya Marin

Concrete certainly is having a moment. Who knew this humble construction site staple would become a featured element in interior design and home decor? Despite its recent ascension in status, concrete, in its raw state, is still cheap as hell. Which means that there's no reason for the DIY-inclined to pay luxury prices for stunning concrete pieces — like these modern succulent planters. If you've never mixed and set concrete before, this simple project is the perfect way to get acquainted with the process. However, once you realize just how easy it is to work with this versatile material, you'll find it hard to stop. Consider yourself warned!

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete mix or quick-setting cement (like Quikrete)

  • Empty plastic or paper food containers

    two for each planter, one larger than the other

  • Mixing tool (paint stir stick or wooden spoon)

  • Mixing container

  • Sandpaper or sanding sponge

  • Non-stick cooking spray

  • Small stones

  • Succulent plant or cutting(s)

  • Succulent potting mix

  • Optional: electric drill with masonry drill bit

Note: I wanted smallish planters, so for my outer containers, I chose a 16-ounce sour cream tub and a pint-sized dairy carton. For inner containers, I used plastic nutritional supplement bottles.

Materials for DIY Modern Succulent Planter Tutorial Using Concrete
credit: Maya Marin

Step 1: Coat Containers with Cooking Spray

Spray the inside of the larger container(s) with non-stick cooking spray. This will make it easy to remove the concrete from the mold once it's set.

Spraying inside of food container with non-stick cooking spray.,
credit: Maya Marin

Then, spray the outside of the smaller container(s). Set containers aside while you mix the concrete.

Spraying outside of containers with non-stick cooking spray.
credit: Maya Marin

Step 2: Mix Concrete

Pour water, a little at a time, into your dry concrete or cement. Mix in between each pour.

Adding water to concrete mix.
credit: Maya Marin

Continue adding water until you get a thick cake batter consistency. Make sure it's not too runny! Too much water will make your planter prone to cracking.

Mix concrete until you get cake batter consistency.
credit: Maya Marin

Step 3: Mold Concrete

Working quickly (especially if using quick-setting cement or concrete), fill your larger container(s) about 3/4 full with the concrete mix.

Mixing water into concrete until it's the consistency of cake batter.
credit: Maya Marin

Still working quickly, agitate the container by simultaneously tapping on the sides and shaking the container from side to side in order to release trapped air. If you don't mind having some bubbles in your finished planter (I like the texture that a few bubbles add), you needn't agitate too much. If you want a perfectly smooth, bubble-free surface, agitate the container until you no longer see bubbles rise to the top.

Agitating concrete in mold to release trapped air.
credit: Maya Marin

To finish molding, fill the smaller container with rocks (to weigh it down), then press it into the center of the concrete-filled container.

Filling smaller container with rocks for weight.
credit: Maya Marin

The sides will rise as you do so. Shake the container again to level out the surface, or leave the sides uneven (as I did) for an ever more raw, industrial look.

Press smaller container into larger container to mold concrete planters.
credit: Maya Marin

Step 4: Let Set

Let the concrete set, around 24 to 48 hours, depending on the type of concrete/cement mix you used as well as the size of your containers.

Let concrete set completely.
credit: Maya Marin

You'll know they're finished once they've completely turned a lighter shade.

Step 5: Remove From Mold and Sand Down

Remove the inner container.

Removing concrete planter from mold.
credit: Maya Marin

Carefully invert the container onto work surface. The planter should slip right out.

Removing concrete planter from mold.
credit: Maya Marin

Sand the surface until you achieve your desired smoothness. I left mine on the rough side!

Sanding concrete planter.
credit: Maya Marin

Step 6: Optional: Drill Drainage Hole

Succulents don't like sitting in pooled water, so it's important that your container have adequate drainage. If you have a power drill and masonry bit, drill one to three holes (depending on the size of your container) in the bottom of your planter. Once done, move on to step 8. If you don't have a drill and/or masonry bit, move on to step 7.

Removing concrete planter from mold.
credit: Maya Marin
Drilling drainage hole in concrete planter.
credit: Maya Marin

Step 7: Add Bottom Layer of Rocks

In lieu of drilling drainage holes, you can add a layer of rocks to the bottom of your planter which will create a reservoir for excess water beneath the soil.

Layer of rocks at bottom of planter
credit: Maya Marin

Step 8: Plant Succulents

Finally, add succulent potting mix to your container and plant your succulent plants or cuttings.

Succulent cuttings, rocks, soil.
credit: Maya Marin

Done!

DIY Modern Succulent Planter Tutorial Using Concrete
credit: Maya Marin
DIY Modern Succulent Planter Tutorial Using Concrete
credit: maya
DIY Modern Succulent Planter Tutorial Using Concrete
credit: Maya Marin