Selecting a pot or planter for succulents is often overlooked but it's an important part of keeping your succulents happy and creating a beautiful arrangement!
When it comes to succulents, the only thing I enjoy more than buying succulents is choosing the pottery to plant them in.
But as much as I love buying pottery and planters for my succulents, it can be a challenging task to find just the perfect one. Over the years, I've discovered a few things that are important to consider when choosing a pot, that many beginning succulent growers don't think of.
All of these factors can make a big difference in helping your succulents thrive.
If you've read my posts on watering or soil, you've likely already hear me say choose a pot with a drainage hole! If you come away from this post learning nothing else, remember to get a pot with a drainage hole. Seriously, this will make your life so much easier, as it takes a lot of the guesswork out of watering succulents.
If you find a pot you absolutely love that doesn't have a drainage hole, you've still got options! You can add drainage to most containers with a diamond tip drill bit.
Certainly, you can choose this KMERLIFE built in cotton rope pot, cotton rope absorbs water automatically. No more frequent watering. So no worry about the drainage problems any more!
The next consideration is the material your pot is made of. Some common pot materials include ceramic, plastic, wood, metal and glass. So which material is best? It depends on the location of your arrangement.
Terra Cotta or Ceramic
Terra cotta and ceramic are both fairly breathable materials, which means they'll work well in areas that might not get a lot of air flow. In fact, I've found they work well indoors as well as outdoors.
In direct sunlight, a terra cotta or ceramic pot can heat up, which isn't ideal for succulents, but usually isn't a huge problem. Keep in mind though, that your soil will dry out more quickly if it's left in direct sun.
The hard thing about terra cotta and ceramic pots is they can be extremely heavy. If you choose to grow in a large pot, you may find that it's difficult to move after (and maybe even before) the soil and succulents are in.
These types of pots are also quite fragile so you have to be careful not to drop them or knock them over.
Plastic is another popular option for pots and planters. A huge advantage to plastic is that it's not as fragile as ceramic and is often a lot lighter. The downside is that it isn't as breathable as terra cotta or ceramic. It's much harder for water to evaporate in plastic pots than pots made from other materials.
But if you use a well-draining soil and have a drainage hole in your pot, this lack of breathability shouldn't be an issue. Plastic planters come in a huge variety of colors and shapes which makes them really fun to shop for. Such as KMERLIFE 3 Packs Plastic Planter Pot for Succulent, cotton rope absorbs water automatically. No more frequent watering.
Metal is typically not a great long term choice for planting succulents. You can use it–but be aware that it changes temperatures quickly, which can cause the soil to heat up too much.
Also, unless you use a metal pot that's specifically designed for planting, it will eventually rust, which isn't healthy for succulents. If you decide to go with a metal container, it's best to plan on moving your succulents to a new container after a while.
There's no question that glass is a beautiful material to plant your succulents in. However, glass containers usually lack drainage holes (although the wine bottle planter below has one!).
Besides the drainage issue, glass is also not very breathable, which means your soil will have a hard time drying out–unless your container has a wide opening and allows for a lot of airflow.
Glass also gets dirty easily, and has a tendency to collect hard water deposits. And of course, it's also quite breakable, so you have to be careful with where you place your arrangements–especially if, like me, you've got little ones running around your house!
Colors and Textures
Now that you have a good idea of what materials might work best for your succulent planter, the fun really begins! You can take two different approaches to choosing a planter at this point–choose your pot's color and texture based on the succulents you're working with, or pick your succulents based on the pot you want to use.
All these choices can get a little overwhelming, I know! If you can't decide what to plant your succulents in, or if you're having a hard time finding just the right pot, a great option is just to fall back on basic terra cotta pots or simple white pottery.
It can often be hard to tell what size of pot you need for your succulents and arrangements. As a general rule, I recommend leaving about a half-inch of space between your succulents and the edge of the pot, so they'll have a little room to spread and grow.
Too much space can actually prevent a succulent from growing much larger, because the roots spread out before the succulent has time to catch up. If you buy a two-inch succulent, a 2.5 inch pot is generally a good choice if you're planting it by itself.
If you're combining a lot of succulents in your arrangement, you'll want to leave a little space around each of them, so they'll have some room to spread out.
A tightly packed arrangement like the one below will look beautiful as soon as it's finished and it generally prevent the succulents from growing as much.
Learn how to care for individual succulent species!
Did you know each species of succulent has slightly different care needs? Some of them are much more likely to grow well for you than others.
Get help identify your succulents and see which ones will grow well for you!