Cedar Driftwood Planter

DIY driftwood planter with succulents planted in it

Re-purpose from nature to make this beautiful and completely unique cedar “driftwood” planter, using a Cedar tree trunk instead of actual driftwood.

I have a lot of woods behind my house and am fortunate that there are trails I can walk on. On my walks, I kept seeing trunks of cedar trees that had been cut down at some point because they were dying or dead and they had rotted from the ground and were easy to pick right up. I thought they were beautiful and unique looking and they reminded me of driftwood. I don’t have easy access to driftwood so I thought I would take advantage of the cedar tree trunks and use them as “driftwood planters”. The only drawback to these is that cedar is an incredibly hard wood, so carving out deeper divots for planting the succulents was a little challenging. I’m actually writing this intro nine months after I made the cedar driftwood planter and about half of the succulents are still alive. I think someone with a green thumb could keep them all going for quite some time. I’m not lucky enough to have a green thumb, but I’m making it a big goal to learn.

If you want to check out other unique planter projects, then check out the Outdoor Decor section.

 Difficulty level- Moderate


  • Cedar tree trunk
  • Succulents
  • E6000 glue
  • Moss
  • Chalk or pastels
  • Eye dropper

DIY Cedar Driftwood Planter Supplies


  • Safety glasses
  • Bench vise clamp
  • Hand drill
  • Forstner bit – ½”,
  • Dremel high speed cutting bit #115

Craftsman drill press

drill bit with tape as flag stop

Cedar Driftwood Planter Tutorial Steps

Step 1 | Prep The Driftwood

Cedar Tree Trunk

Choose a piece of tree trunk that has broken off from a dead tree. I have quite a few of these around my house. I looked for one that was visually interesting and had some natural grooves. If you can’t find one that is already separated from the Cedar, then you may need to use a chain saw to cut it off from a fallen tree.

Next rinse the dirt off the trunk. I did this in the winter, so I just rinsed it in the bathtub and the spot dried it off. The trunk likely has insects in it, so the way to kill them is with heat. First turn on your oven to 250 degrees, then put the trunk on a tray in case more dirt comes off. Let it bake for about 2 hours. Please keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t burning, I set a timer for every 20-30 minutes to check on it. Finally, after a couple of hours, remove it and let cool down.

Cedar driftwood planter with succulents

Step 2 | Determine The Locations For The Succulents:

Using the pastel or chalk stick, mark out the areas you want to place the succulents.

Step 3 | Drill Shallow Divots (if necessary):

You may be able to skip this step, depending on how deep the natural grooves are in your trunk. They don’t need to be very deep, even a ½ can be enough.

First clamp the cedar trunk. If you have a bench vise clamp put the trunk in there to secure it for drilling. I didn’t have one and used sliding clamps instead. You can try other vise grips, but a bench vise clamp will be easiest.

Next, use the hand drill to carve out some holes. I went deeper because some of the plants I wanted to use had longer stems or roots. You can drill at various angles, but be very careful not to drill at angles wider than 45 degrees or the drill could slip. Caution: this can be dangerous, be very careful not to let a piece of your trunk break off while drilling.

Step 4 | Drill Deeper Grooves Into The Trunk If You Need Them:

DIY | Dremel on cedar tree trunk

Use the Dremel cutter to hollow it out a little more and clean up any undercuts.

Step 5 | Prep the Moss:

Soak the moss in water since dry moss is very brittle and difficult to manipulate. You only need it moist so that you can work with it. Wring out the moss after soaking.

Step 6 | Prep The Succulents For Planting In The Cedar Driftwood Planter:

Carefully remove the succulents from the containers, then shake off the soil and trim back some of the roots. You don’t want them to be longer than your nooks are deep. In some cases you may have little to no root. In that case, you can secure the succulent by pressing some moss on top of the stem.

Step 7 | Adhere The Plants To The Driftwood:

DIY | Glue for succulents

Apply some glue to the areas you are planting. You can also just dip the moss in some of the glue and stick it on the trunk. If some of your grooves are fairly deep, you can use soil instead of gluing moss. The glue is waterproof and will adhere to the wet moss nicely.

Step 8 | Anchor The Roots With Water Into The Cedar Driftwood Planter:

If the roots are a little dry, you may need to help anchor those as well. Use an eye dropper for this.

Continue working your way around the cedar trunk until you have your plants looking the way you want them. I advise holding off a few days before watering so your plants can get used to their new fancy home!

Tutorial | Driftwood Planter with Cedar
DIY Cedar Tree Succulent Planter