Face Pots

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

Face pots straddle the line between whimsy and kitsch. I photographed these while working on my last book, Succulent Container Gardens. Two made it into it.  So what do you think? Any of these that you would want in your own garden…or that you particularly like or dislike?

A hippo’s headress is Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ and graptopetalums.

String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) makes great hair.

As does this ornamental grass. I think the blue echeveria adds a certain something, don’t you?

This face pot has a bonnet of echeverias, sempervivums and sedums…

…as does the rest of the family.

He looks mad, but I love his red haworthia hat.

Her flapjack chapeau is very comme il faut.

This dog (lion?) looks tickled pink to wear a ‘Sunburst’ aeonium.

Have we crossed the line of good taste yet? Wait…

Isn’t this pot head planted with the wrong thing?

Another from the same collection.

And four more, plus a pair of snails.

If you have a face pot, do check its nose for cobwebs.

Here’s one that made it into the book. She’s wearing an Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ rosette.  Can you guess which other made the cut?

Are there any face pots in your own garden? What do you have growing in them?

My goal is to share the beauty of waterwise, easy-care succulents in gardens, containers and landscapes via blog postsnewsletterspublic speaking and workshopsphotosvideosmerchandise, and social media (Facebook and Pinterest). My books: Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardensand Succulents Simplified.  www.debraleebaldwin.com 

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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Cherry Lane August 4, 2010, 4:25 pm

No face pots here…but my grandmother had an extensive collection of head vases, of which I have one. I’ve never put anything in it, though.

Face vases? Hard to imagine, but I like the sounds of it. Debra

Lisa at Greenbow August 4, 2010, 4:26 pm

Yes, I have a lady’s head in my garden. I have planted several different things in it. The part that holds the soil is shallow, nothing has survived through winter in it. So I repot it annually. This year I have Angelina Sedum in it. It is pretty and is a nice contrast to the brown of the planter. It reminds me of the tresses on the Lady’s head. I wouldn’t mind having many of these planters. I like the lady with the flapjack chapeau and this second to the last one. You made me go out and check my lady’s nose. I didn’t what her to go around with any buggers, I mean cobwebs.

Hi, Lisa — I’m curious what it looks like. They all seem to be so different. Debra

healingmagichands August 4, 2010, 4:52 pm

No face pots here, but I do have a dragon in sneakers who has a cactus growing out of his belly. He looks very cool.

I’m picking the pot with the string of pearls for the other one that made it into the book. I like the one with the grass and echeveria also, very elegant.

Nope…the other one that made it into the book is the terracotta family. I didn’t shoot those you like until after the book came out. Debra

Elizabeth August 4, 2010, 7:29 pm

Okay, these totally scare me. I mean the human face ones. Yikes, they are beautiful, but they are kinda spooky to.

I so love the elephant planter though!

Thanks for sharing cause I really never thought much about Fave Pots till now. My flower garden needs one!

I think flowers would be a good choice, like a spring bonnet. Debra

Scott Parish August 4, 2010, 7:50 pm

The hippo and elephant pots are awesome. The human face pots….not so much, although I do like the last one.

Thanks for sharing, Debra!

Hi, Scott, interesting how everyone has a different reaction. Of the animal pots, I think I like the hippo best. But they’re not my favorites, maybe because I like the way the plants simulate hair, and don’t seem to have much reason to be growing out of an animal. Debra

Loree / danger garden August 4, 2010, 8:36 pm

Honestly these kind of scare me…

Hi, Loree — Hm. I wouldn’t want any that appear to be planted with brains, but it’s the ones that are excessively sweet that make me shudder. Debra

Megan August 4, 2010, 9:09 pm

Not a huge fan of the half faces, and the terracotta guy kind of creeps me out (not necessarily a bad thing). The others are fabulous! Wish I had some succulent haired heads in my garden.

Hi, Megan — I wish I had a fence so I could add a trio of sconce-like face pots at eye level. Debra

Susan August 5, 2010, 7:39 am

I love all of these. I looked all over for a face pot when I found a plant nicknamed “bad hair day” plant. Being a hairdresser I had to have it. A face pot is not that easy to come by so I made one with mosaics. Here’s a link if you are curious.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34637286@N08/3573059311/in/set-72157613199121165/

Hi, Susan — That’s so cute and clever! I hope more people give us links to their face pots. Debra

Darla August 5, 2010, 9:32 am

I love all of these !! I have been wanting a face container in my garden….

Hi, Darla — Let us know what you come up with ;+) Debra

Liz August 5, 2010, 11:31 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one who was a little frightened of these. Kinda pretty, but kinda creepy too.

Hi, Liz — I can think of some creepy things where gardening is concerned, but face pots? Maybe, but not these, LOL. Debra

cameron (Defining Your Home) August 5, 2010, 11:33 am

I love the human heads with their fancy hair-dos.

I agree, I like them better than the animals, which strike me as a bit too cute. Debra

Vanessa @ domestic dame August 5, 2010, 2:38 pm

These are too funny… not sure I would want one though. There was a post a few days ago… I think on The Kitchn where someone made a house plant pot out of a babydoll head… interesting!!!

Hi, Vanessa — None of these are in my own garden, although I’d take the string-of-pearls. As for a baby-doll head? Eew! Debra

Michelle D August 5, 2010, 4:09 pm

I like some of the classical heads.
The half head container is interesting but that particular planting does nothing to enhance the pot.
The crazy humorous cartoon pots are too kitschy for my tastes.
I have about a half dozen “pot heads” in my garden.
All of them were made in my ceramic studio and have a somewhat Asian inspired look to them.
You can see one of them in this seasons special issue Container Gardening published by Fine Gardening magazine. page 92-93.
I receive about one to two requests a month for one.

Hi, Michelle — That’s right, you’ve done some wonderful face pots. Thanks for the heads-up about the Container Gardening issue. Debra

Houston Garden Girl August 6, 2010, 1:45 am

OMG! I’m so excited to find this post. I LOVE face pots! I call them heads. For example, hey DH, do you want to see the new head I bought today? They are not that easy to find. I have two, one with curly liriope and the other with iceplant.

Check out my Apollo head:
http://houstongardengirl.blogspot.com/2010/05/apollo.html

And a member of the Cranium family at Mike Shadrack’s garden: http://houstongardengirl.blogspot.com/2010/07/buffa10-rest-of-day-3.html

My favorites from your post are the first one, the one with the ornamental grass, the flapjack chapeau, and the snails.

You like the classical ones…and the snails. LOL. Hey, thanks for sharing the links—great fun! Debra

Christine B. August 6, 2010, 1:48 am

No face pots here. And by here I might mean the entire state. Not one sighting. The fiber optic grass in your photo makes great hair, doesn’t it?

Christine in Alaska

Hi, Christine — The grass one with the echeveria rosette belongs to a high-end landscape designer. I like the ones that look like chapeaux or hair. Debra

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings August 6, 2010, 8:36 am

I like number three a great deal, but I couldn’t tell you why. I don’t know if I did face pots or not.~~Dee

Hi, Dee — String of pearls is a lot of fun to design with. I’ve seen it used to suggest dripping water, too. Debra

Angie Loomis August 6, 2010, 4:34 pm

These are awesome! I love the idea of putting ornamental grasses and plants in these face pots to make the whole thing just come alive!

Thanks, Angie! I like their whimsical nature, and the way they reinterpret familiar plants. Debra

Cheryl in Austin August 8, 2010, 9:28 am

What fun! I’ve never seen so much variety, I love them all! I think the head with the grass is cut just perfect though…

Thanks, Cheryl. I like that one, too. ;+) Debra

Germi August 8, 2010, 3:42 pm

I had a face pot planted with ‘fluffy ruffles’ ivy – someone gave her to me and I was a little embarrassed, but I have to admit liking her and then being very sad when she broke.
I think if you don’t want your garden to veer into kitsch (and some people do!) then I’d restrain myself to one face, or cat, or hippo – strategically planted and placed. But I’m hardcore – I think the only ornaments a garden needs are colorful glazed pots and SUCCULENTS!!!
beautiful post – gorgeous photos – as usual, I SWOON!!!

Hi, Germi — I have that ivy! I never thought of using it in a face pot. What a great idea. Btw, in Succulent Container Gardens, I show Sempervivum arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek) used as curls for a classical-styled head. LOL about the swooning. Debra

Frederique August 8, 2010, 5:28 pm

I too love ‘bad hair day’ a sedge I bought from Forestfarm (Oregon). When the weather is damp it curls! And I LOVE face pots. I especially like the string of pearls. Have you tried Sedum ‘burro’s tail’- would mimic dread locks.

Hi, Frederique — Hm. I googled ‘Bad Hair Day’ and discovered it’s also called curly sedge. My hair curls when the weather is damp, too. Can’t imagine an ornamental grass that does, ha. Sedum ‘Burro’s Tail’ WOULD suggest dreadlocks, wouldn’t it? I’ve also seen it used as a real tail on a burro pot. Debra

Weeder1 August 9, 2010, 12:24 am

I love the human head ones but don’t care for the animal ones. Actually, the half heads (humanoid) aren’t too appealing either. My “guy” currently has Mexican feathergrass hair but I like the succulent choices so he may get a new “do”.

lu August 9, 2010, 11:39 pm

I love the “lower face” pots. I’ve never sen them before but they would make me smile every time I walked out the door!

I’m thinking of putting one in my entry. But it has to be just right. Let the hunt begin! (Always nice to have a reason to go shopping.) Debra

Jacqueline Schick August 12, 2010, 8:31 pm

The classic images have a Peter Max images effect for me. A very large one would be so cool in my woods. Maybe with ferns??

Hi, Jacqueline — I think ferns would be perfect! Debra