How To Plant Potted Succulents

What kind of soil is ideal for succulent plants?

Succulents need a soil that drains effectively because they don’t like to sit in wet soil for very long. The best soil for succulents enables quick water and air exchange in the plant’s root system. I prefer to use a mixture of perlite and cactus potting mix. Perlite is used for increased aeration and drainage. I often use a potting mix to perlite ratio of 1:1 or 2:1. I use an eyeball method rather than precise measurements. For improved drainage, you can also include coarse sand in the mixture (1:1:1 solution of potting mix, perlite and coarse sand). Your soil should be as porous as possible to let all the extra moisture to drain out, depending on how humid your area is.

You can, indeed. In fact, I used a typical all-purpose potting mix when I planted my very first succulent container garden because I had no idea any better. The plants are still flourishing now and have been in the same container for at least seven years as of the time I am writing this. That’s because other factors, including watering practices and sunlight, affect how well your plants do in general.

However, giving your succulents the best potting mix from the start will increase the likelihood that they will survive and thrive.

It is better to amend the soil with drainage when using ordinary potting soil for succulents. Pumice or perlite should be added to the mixture in a 2:1 potting mix to perlite ratio.

Yes. Succulents can be grown in pots without holes, though it is not recommended. Simply put, you need to water your succulents more carefully because there won’t be anyplace for the surplus water to escape, making your plants more prone to root rot. The succulents I have in pots without drain holes are growing and performing well. I also prefer to submerge all of my succulents more often than I overwater them.

If you anticipate a lot of rain, keep in mind to relocate the plant to a shaded area so it doesn’t drown in the water that collects in the pot. When this occurs, empty the pot’s extra water and let the plant dry off. To avoid rot, don’t water again until everything is absolutely dry.

Giving succulents a healthy drink of water and then leaving them alone until the soil feels dry is the general rule when watering succulents. Before you give the plant another drink, the top inch of the soil must feel dry. For the record, I live in a dry area and water my outside succulent plants around every 14 days in the fall and winter and once every 7–10 days in the summer. When it rains a lot in the winter in my location, I completely stop watering. You don’t need to water as frequently if your plants are indoors or if you live in a humid environment.

Visit my post on “How to Grow Succulents in Pots Without Drainage Holes” to learn more about how to keep your succulents alive in pots without drainage holes.

Yes is the reply once more. Succulents have innate survival mechanisms that enable them to endure severe environments for extended periods of time. This is due to the fact that they thrive in environments where the majority of other plants cannot. Succulents will eventually look for moisture and send out air roots if they are planted in merely rocks without any soil or moss.

Succulents are able to survive in this state indefinitely. To allow some of the water to be absorbed by the plant and prevent it from entirely drying out, mist the plants on occasion, aiming towards the base or the roots. No matter how well you take care of the plant, eventually it will look for a better environment to flourish in. Just take the plant out of the rock and place it in some appropriate potting soil.

How To Plant a Succulent Container Garden:

Check to verify if the plants will fit in the pot before you start planting. This also helps you decide which plants will look better next to which or how the plants will blend together in the pot. Before you begin planting, you begin to mentally picture where each plant will go in the pot.

  • Suitable potting mix should be added to the pot (see above for suggestions).
  • Plants should be taken out of their nursery pots.
  • Take part of the plant’s dirt out. Simply mix up the old dirt a little to release the root ball; you don’t need to remove everything.
  • Work your way down the pot starting at the back. Start by placing the taller plants toward the rear.
  • Plant the sides and center after that, and finally the front. Potting soil should be used to fill in any gaps and should be compacted around the plants to keep them in place.
  • Topsoil. To give it a more polished and finished appearance, you might add topsoil. When I noticed that adding topsoil was keeping the soil too wet and preventing it from drying up quickly, I stopped using it. I also like to keep tabs on how my plants are doing, and without the topsoil it is simpler to see plainly. You can decide for yourself which option is best for you because it’s a personal decision.
  • Until the plant is completely dry, give it a good watering. Some individuals choose to hold off on watering their newly potted succulents for a few days. Some folks immediately water the plants. Depending on the condition of the plants, I personally do both. Some plants are extremely damp when they are first bought because they might have been overwatered in their previous environment. In that scenario, I hold off on watering for a few days. I immediately water the plants if they are dry. Use your judgment.

Ideally, you should leave a small space (maybe an inch or two) between each succulent to allow for growth and expansion. However, you don’t want the plants to be sitting in too much soil or with too much space between them. This may result in issues like the soil becoming excessively wet. The pot can hold more moisture the more soil it has. Therefore, you should take care to avoid using a pot that is too big for the plants you have.

On the other hand, if that is the appearance you are looking for, you can completely fill the pot and not leave an inch of gap in between the succulents. When succulents are packed closely together in a container, they will survive. Although the plants can stay in that configuration for a longer period of time, they won’t expand and grow as much when they are densely packed.

Personally, I prefer to give my plants room in the pot so they may develop and thrive on their own. I enjoy watching my offspring develop and proliferate on their own. But some folks prefer the compact appearance. It truly gives it a lovely, polished appearance. You can place your succulents close together or a few inches apart and they will be OK as long as they are not sitting in too much soil.

With a front and a rear, this configuration works particularly well for pots that are meant to be viewed from one side. These containers are typically put outside next to other pots or against a wall or fence.

The rear would look fantastic with tall plants or plants that grow even higher. Avoid having towering plants block the sun from reaching the smaller, shorter plants. A quick and simple solution is to just pull the plant out and repot it somewhere else, as I did with mine, if you make a mistake and discover later that the plant you planted directly in the center of the planter can grow incredibly tall and block the smaller plants.

My plants here in “Revamping an Overgrown Succulent Fairy Garden” experienced this. Some of my plants began to etiolate or stretch because I had plants that grew to be very tall and huge.

Tall plants can be positioned in the center of your container if it is not against a wall and can be seen from all sides because they won’t be obstructing any of the other plants.

Generally, if they don’t become too big, you want to put your main plant or plants in the middle. Place them in the back if they become tall. The plants in the middle should be a good medium size—not too little, not too tall. For your container garden to have a focal point, you want these plants to have appealing, intriguing, or uncommon appearances. It is entirely up to you to decide which plant you believe should be the focal point.

You don’t want your plants to stretch to get more sunshine, as was previously indicated. Smaller or shorter plants will thrive in the front where the sun can hit them and there won’t be any plants blocking them to prevent this from happening.

If your plants hang, trail, or cascade down the pot as they grow, placing them on the pot’s front or sides will allow them to do their thing and flow out of the pot as they expand as they should.

When describing what kinds of plants to put in container gardens, these three terms are frequently employed. These three elements should be present in the pot, although they are not necessary. In a nutshell, thrillers are plants that heighten the scene by growing tall. The plants that take up the majority of your pot are called fillers. Small and medium-sized plants like these are what fill your planter. Plants known as “spillers” dangle or trail and appear best from the front or sides.

Prepare the plants you intend to utilize and your pot. Test-fit the plants in the pot to check how they fit and seem.

Beginning at the top, work your way down. Taller plants should be placed toward the back of the pot.

Place smaller plants in front and mid-sized plants in the center. Plants that trail or hang should be placed on the pot’s front or sides.

The plants in this container garden are:

Elephant bushes and miniature pine trees, Portulacaria afra and Crassula tétragona, respectively, grow tall, thus they were put in the back.

In the middle of the pot is a Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’ (Gollum Jade Plant). This medium-sized plant gives the arrangement interest and drama.

Oscularia pendunculata and Graptosedum ‘Francesco Baldi’ are the plants on the left. These two plants will later look fantastic cascading down the side of the pot because their stems have a tendency to grow long and lanky.

Anacampseros Rufescensa, a low-growing succulent with lovely rainbow-colored leaves, is the plant on the right. This enhances the arrangement’s attractiveness and color pop.

Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor,’ a low-growing succulent with fuzzy leaves, is the plant in the front. looks fantastic from the front and gives the arrangement a unique texture.

You now have it. These are the fundamental factors you must take into account when establishing a succulent container garden. You may benefit from these container gardens for many years to come with just a little work.

How deeply should succulents be planted?

You can add additives to up to three-fourths of your succulent plant soil. Pumice has been used alone in some tests with successful outcomes, however this is in the Philippines, where regular watering is required. Those of us who live in less ideal climates might need to try new things.

Along with coconut coir, pumice, perlite, and Turface, coarse sand is frequently employed (a volcanic product sold as a soil conditioner). For this project, use Turface, and purchase the medium-sized stones. For outdoor succulent beds, expanded shale is used to improve the soil.

Additionally, pumice is a component of the intriguing product Dry Stall Horse Bedding. Some people use this directly into the ground when making a bed for a succulent garden. This product should not be confused with another one named Stall Dry.

Although river rock is occasionally added to the soil, it is more frequently used as a top dressing or decorative element in your garden beds. As an amendment or mulch, horticultural grit or a variant is utilized, just as aquarium gravel.

Consider the layout and have a plan when setting up a succulent garden bed, but be flexible once you start planting. While some sources advise preparing the soil three inches (8 cm) deep, others advise doing so at least six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) down. When adding outdoor succulent soil to your bed, the deeper, the better.

Create hills and slopes where you can plant various specimens. Elevated planting not only provides your garden bed a unique aspect, but it also elevates the roots of your cacti and succulents even more.

Succulents can be planted directly into the ground.

Succulents can be planted in pots, the ground, or a combination of the two if you want them to flourish outside. Make careful to provide your succulents six to eight inches of soil designed for succulents when planting them in the ground.

This will give the roots enough of room to spread out and grow without being constrained by dampness. Make holes for the succulents after spreading the soil, then plant them there and cover the holes with earth.

The succulents should then be lightly watered to help them stay in place. If you want your succulents to stretch out and become larger, keep in mind that they will expand; therefore, avoid planting them too closely together. Direct-planted succulents and succulents in bowls or pots work well together to create levels and offer another element to your garden.

Your outdoor oasis is waiting for you now that you understand how to plant a succulent! Succulents are not only easy to plant, but also easy to maintain, whether you want to grow a single succulent or a rich garden. If you’re interested in finding out more, look at our comprehensive guide on caring for succulents!