Succulents are stunning plants that finally seem to be getting all the attention they deserve.
From the Pencil Cactus to the popular Agave, they can light up the corner of any space whether indoor or outdoor.
But as stunning as they are, the containers they are placed in are as important as the plant itself.
In fact, the wrong type (and style) of succulent container can ruin even the most well-planned arrangement.
But at the same time, a boring, nondescript pot can make even the most elegant cactus look like an awkward, gangly plant.
And most importantly, plant containers are a crucial element of decor. Their personality can add the right touch of sophistication, edginess, or even formality to an otherwise mundane space.
With so much banking on them, leaving their selection to a last-minute, an “off the shelf" decision is almost criminal.
Pro tip: Succulent containers are a great way to let your brand colors shine through.
Here's a simple 3 step process to creating quick, easy, and colorful succulent containers.
1. Select a succulent container and a color theme
The shape of the pot or container lends half the personality to the finished product. So be intentional while selecting containers.
- the container size the plant roots needs
- ample draining holes (essential to avoid root rot in succulents)
- the material finish (matte, glossy, smooth, textured finish)
- the shape that will look best in the actual space
- how the overall pot fits within your theme or aesthetic
A simple rule of thumb to follow is, the more overgrown and wayward the succulent, the curvier the pot can be. And the taller the succulent, the deeper the container needs to be, for maintaining both physical and visual balance.
Remember, if you're going to be planting multiple succulents together in one pot to create a mini-desert-in-a-box… Then opt for an urn-like succulent container with a large mouth.
And even if you have just one plant, be sure to choose a pot that allows for some breathing room around the succulent.
When it comes to the base color, you can choose to:
- Match the container with the succulent color
- Create a contrast against the succulent color
- Stick to neutral, minimal tones and let the container shape shine
- Use colors from your brand or interior theme
No matter what option you choose, be sure to follow the same logic for the rest of the succulent pots in that room or space.
This way, a common thread will tie all the succulent pots together in your space, giving it a designer collection aesthetic.
Pro tip: Remember to fill in the patterns with restraint. Unless you are going for an extremely tropical, maximalist aesthetic, hold yourself back with the ornamentation.
Succulents by themselves are incredibly ornate and decorative plants. So this container should complement and support the succulents, not fight them for visual attention.
2. Plant the succulents in the container
Once your container is all painted and ready, it's time to pot those succulents.
Now it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that potting and arranging succulents is an art.
But that doesn't mean you can't do it with the right guidance.
So follow these simple steps to pot your succulent flawlessly.
Fill your succulent container with pea gravel until it is 1/4th full. And remember to rinse your pea gravel before pouring it in, since the store-bought version will be fairly dirty and might have infestations.
If your container doesn't have a drain hole, add a thin layer of charcoal powder on top of these pebbles.
Pour a few inches of cactus potting mix into the container, leaving enough height for the succulent roots to fit in.
Remove the succulents from their temporary plastic pots, and loosen the soil until the roots are exposed. Now, be gentle with the leaves while handling them, as they are crucial for the plant's health.
If you are planting a single succulent in a container, then simply place the succulent in the new container. Then add some more soil until the roots are fully covered and the plant is settled in.
But, if you are planting multiple succulents (or an arrangement of succulents)…
Step 5 (ALTERNATE):
Then pick and arrange your combinations of 3-10 succulents of varying heights.
Remember, the ideal arrangement has one key focus plant (called thriller), surrounded by an assortment of other succulents. They need to be balanced visually in terms of color, leaf patterns, and heights.
And leave a gap of at least 1-2" between each succulent to allow space for growth and sunlight.
Once arranged, fill in the soil to cover the base and roots of these succulents. Pat, it down once, and they're all potted.
3. Put a bow on it
(No, we don't mean it literally.)
With the crucial potting taken care of, we can move on to the final decor elements.
Potted succulents look great with a decorative layer on top of the regular soil. You can use more colorful or single-colored pea gravel on it for a classic finish.
For larger containers and cactii, you can use small pebbles and smooth round stones as the top layer.
Now water the succulents thoroughly to get them started in their new home.
BONUS TIPS: Maintenance tips for potted succulents.
Succulent watering requirements:
Succulents are desert plants and don't need to be watered very often.
(Usually, once a week is good enough, but it varies depending on the plant and the season.)
A good rule of thumb to follow is to water the succulents only when the entire soil has dried out. And even then, water them using a syringe for better control over water quantity.
Succulent sunlight requirements:
There isn't a blanket rule for this, but some succulents love the sunlight, and some don't do very well with bright, direct light.
So read up about the specific sunlight requirements for each succulent type, and place them accordingly.
Also, keep their lighting requirements in mind while placing them together in an arrangement. It's best for succulents with similar lighting needs to be placed together.