KOTUS Rising

Meditation with a succulent mandala

succulent mandala with Elizabeth Mulhane

Meditation with a succulent mandala is a wonderful opportunity to learn meditation if you are new to it, for expand on your existing practice. This this blog we will discuss what a mandala is; what a succulent is; and how to combine the two by creating a succulent mandala.

What is a succulent?

A succulent is a type of plant that is known for its thick, fleshy leaves and stems. These plants are adapted to arid environments and are able to store water in their leaves and stems, making them drought-resistant. Succulents come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colours, and are often grown as houseplants or used in landscaping. The beautiful shapes of succulents are also sometimes geometric in nature. Additionally, many have a spirals representative of the Fibonacci sequence, or the golden ratio. 

This eye-catching patterns within the varieties of succulents is engaging and interesting to look at for both its aesthetic qualities and mathematic principles. This also makes the plant a wonderful foci for an open-eyes meditation. Moreover, due to their beauty there is also a growing number of hobbyists that have embraced collecting succulents. Some popular types of succulents include aloe vera, jade plant, snake plant and echeveria. 

These plants are relatively easy to care for and can make great additions to any home or garden. Moreover, to propagate (make more of) this plant, one only needs to remove a leave and wait for the tiny new flower to appear at the end of the leave. 

What is a mandala?

A mandala is a geometric design that represents the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism. The word “mandala” comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, and means “circle.” Traditionally, mandalas are intricate circular patterns that are often symmetrical and feature repeating shapes and colours. They are used as a tool for meditation and spiritual growth, and are thought to represent the universe, the self, and the connection between the two. Mandalas can be found in many forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, and even temporary sand paintings created by Tibetan Buddhist monks. 

Due to the geometric design within the artwork the mandala can help to bring the mind to a peaceful sense of being. For this reason, they are also used in therapy as a tool for relaxation and stress reduction. Overall, the creation of the mandala is a meditative experience. Additionally, after completion of the design it becomes a foci for meditation. 

What is a succulent mandala?

A succulent mandala is a type of geometric artwork that incorporates both succulent plants, and/or the leaves of the succulent. Creating a succulent mandala is also meant to be a meditative experience. The focus of the meditation can vary. There is many ways to meditation. For example, the individual may decide to still focus on the self, the universe and the connection between the two. Or, the meditation focus may be on the self, nature and the connection between the two. Moreover, a meditation may focus simply on sending thoughts and emotions of love and care to our earth, or just to the self. Or, the focus may be on one of the four foundations of mindfulness. 

As mentioned, mandala geometric patterns bring a sense of calm, or peacefulness. And for this reason they make wonderful tools for meditation. Research has also constantly found that working with, and looking at nature also brings a strong sense of wellbeing. So, when we combine the creative experience of designing geometric patterns with succulents – we are creating a succulent mandala. 

Creating the succulent mandala is as simple as taking the various types of succulent plants and arranging them in a circular pattern. These beautiful and intricate designs are best created on a soil service so the plants can continue to grow. Your choice of plants might be based on unique colours, textures and shapes. Additionally, your choice may also be made from how you ‘feel’ about any particular type of succulent. 

Caring for your Succulent

After creation we need to care for the succulent mandala. This involves watering, feeding and removing spent leaves when necessary. If we have used leaves as our design we will also be watching for those leaves to develop little baby succulents. Along with the growth of the succulents, this ability for the succulent to propagate from a leave also changes the look of the design over time. And this also creates an ideal foci for ongoing meditations. 

As new succulents emerge they create new shapes within the artwork. The resulting artwork can be both visually stunning and calming. Succulent mandalas are easy to create. This makes them ideal for children to create. Additionally, as a kindy or school project it makes a wonderful learning experience into the world of mandala, meditation, and responsibility, or caring for nature/and living things. Moreover, once the new plants are large enough you can be repot them. Which also become a wonderful gift project for a loved one. For example, being a popular choice for home decor, they will certainly make for a great mothers day gift idea. 

What you need to create a succulent mandala?

Creating a succulent mandala is a fun and creative activity that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves plants and art. To create a succulent mandala, you will need a few things. First, you will need a circular surface to work on, such as a round large plate. You might find a cheap plate at the local op shop. Or, you might like to purchase a plastic plant base from the local shop. 

You will also need various types of succulent plants, which you can find at your local nursery or garden center. Additionally, Facebook Market place always has succulents for sale from hobbyists at very cheap prices. Choose a variety of colours, textures, and sizes to make your mandala more interesting. The amount you will need with depend on whether you are working with whole plants, just leaves, or a combination of both. You may also need to consider how many you will be creating. Is it just for you, or for the class?

Use quality soil

Next, you will need some potting soil and a small shovel or spoon, and/or pointy instrument (like a pencil) to help you plant the succulents. However, it is important to use the right kind of soil. So make sure you purchase soil created for succulents. This soil will be specially formulated to create the perfect environment for the succulents. Succulents need well draining soil. This special mixes usually also come with slow release fertiliser mixed in. 

If you are using leaves as your mandala design and wanting a high rate of prorogation for the children in the group to create gifts you may want to use a rooting hormone. Using rooting hormones really do give you a much higher success rate. You can purchase a rooting hormone from your local nursery. Or, you can use natural rooting hormones, such as honey, aloe vera, or banana. You simply paint it onto the inner end of the leaf, or dip the leaf in.

How to begin – with mindfulness.

Once you have all your ingredient, start by finding your breath. Just breath deeply in and out. Confirm within yourself that this is going to be a meditative experience. In the create process you will simply be focusing on present moment awareness. Notice where your eyes travel and what you eye is connecting with. Bring your awareness to what you can smell. Bring your attention to how everything feels as you use your fingers to manipulate the creation. And check within to notice how you are feelings. Also notice what thoughts are arising and what conscious states are you experiences. Each time you feel you have wondered off just return to your breathing to find yourself in the present moment once more. 

How to begin your creation.

Start by filling the circular surface with soil. Make sure to create at least 2 centimetres of depth for roots to take hold when they emerge (within a couple of weeks). Take a moment to look at the size of your plate to think about your design. You might like to use a pencil and paper at this point to draw what it might look like. Do you only want to use circular shapes? Will it be a spiral? Will it include other geometric shapes, such as squares of triangles?

If you decide to only use a spiral design, begin placing the succulents in a spiral pattern starting from the center and working your way outwards. You can use different types of succulents, or succulent leaves to create different sections of the mandala, or you can use one type of succulent for a more uniform look. Feel free to experiment, even if it means re-doing the design until it’s right for you. 

Finally, you can add some finishing touches to your succulent mandala, such as small rocks or pebbles, to add texture and interest. You can also use a spray bottle to mist the succulents, which will help keep them hydrated and looking healthy. With a little bit of creativity and patience, you can create a beautiful and unique succulent mandala that will be a beautiful addition to any home or garden.

List of things you will need.


Succulent soil 

Seasol for liquid fertiliser (weekly)

A plastic spray bottle for watering and fertilising

A plate or flat plastic plant base container

Possible printed out mandala deigns for inspiration

Pencil and paper to create designs you like 

Brought to you by Elizabeth Mulhane

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