How To Make Timmy the Topiary Turtle

How To Make Timmy the Topiary Turtle

Succulent turtles are a unique project that you can make with your succulents! It’s really fun and the finished product is adorable.

How to Make a Succulent Turtle
You will need:
Wire hanging basket with Coir liner

   Scrolling through Pinterest, I happened to see a pin featuring a topiary – it was a super cute Succulent Turtle! Unfortunately it was a dead-end pin, but it was so adorable that I felt like my garden really needed a turtle. So I figured out how to make one.

What I used to make my Succulent Turtle
Materials to Make A Topiary Turtle
Most items are available at the dollar store during the gardening season or you can purchase them from Amazon. Please note, these are affiliate links.

12″ wire hanging basket with coco liner
4 – 4″ clay pots
Sphagnum moss
A small roll of chicken wire
Succulents. I used Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) for my turtle.
Washers, wire and an old plastic pot (or a sheet of coir or landscape fabric big enough to cover the top of your wire basket)
Snips to cut the wire.
Hens & Chicks for winter hardy arrangements or assorted succulents if winter hardiness is not a concern for you. Here is a link for a blue & green assortment and another one for a green assortment. Within the US, these links will take you to live plants offered by Shop Succulents through Amazon. Outside of the US, you might get other sellers that I have not vetted.

Within the US there is a company called Simply Succulents. I highly recommend you check them out. They have some very cool topiary forms and plant collections.

Make the Topiary for a Succulent Turtle:

Measure a square of chicken wire slightly larger than the basket. Then fill the basket with soil and water and cover the belly with landscape fabric or coir to keep the soil in. Next you fold and attach your mesh to the rim of the basket, using florist wire to ‘sew’ it together.

Use wire and a washer to attach each pot to the chicken wire belly. The ‘legs’ are not placed equally around the pot. Two are more together at the front and two at the back, just like they would be on a real turtle.

For the head I rolled a piece of chicken wire into a tube and shaped it into a turtle head. The tail is a flattened cone shape.

I stuffed them both with sphagnum moss before attaching them to the ‘shell’ with florist wire. The head at the front of the basket (looking up so he isn’t a moping turtle), and the tail to the underside.

Plant Your Succulent Turtle!

Then I slashed the coir (which sounds easier than it was) and stuffed the plants in.

You could paint the clay ‘legs’ or even glue sphagnum to them if you prefer, but I decided to leave mine natural.

I’m kind of pleased with my succulent turtle, even if his ‘shell’ is still a little bare. By the end of July, the Dragon Wing Begonia will be all around him and he’s going to look so cute nestled in there.

If you prefer a more natural look, line the basket with sphagnum moss instead of the liner it came with.