Have you wondered how to plant succulents, so they prosper? Do they scare you a little? No need to worry; planting succulents is not rocket science but is a little different than some other plants you may have. Many succulents variations can live together in one pot, or you can keep them all in their own space. Get them planted in their happy spot and these beauties will be a lovely addition to your home or yard.
Setting the foundation is the key to a robust and healthy succulent. Plant it in your yard or container with the right sun and materials to help it thrive. They are unique, hardy, and drought-resistant, yet, they do need a few specific things to start off. To plant succulents you should use a different type of soil from for your regular garden or flower bed. You can also use rocks, but there is a secret to making rocks work. And last but not least make sure the water drains well wherever they call home.
Let’s discuss how to plant succulents more in detail so you can start your plant off right and they will grow happy and strong. They can be great additions with abundant beauty that will last for years. Check out all the information below to help you determine which planting option is best for you.
What you need to plant your Succulent
You don’t need too many things to get going, but it is helpful to gather it all together before you do. Here are some things you will need to have ready to get started planting:
- Your succulents
- The containers or the location in the yard you want to plant them
- The material you will plant it in
- Gloves if you want to keep your hands clean
Have you picked out and brought home your favorite succulents from the nursery? If not, you will know what to get after reading this. Once you have your plants in hand, remove them from the soil they were in at the nursery and dust off as much of that soil as possible to start fresh. Do not worry about getting all the dirt off and do not wash them clean. Nursery soil is usually too dense and retains too much moisture. Now you are ready to plant your succulent so it can flourish in your home or garden.
Ok, time to pick your spot. Where do you like to enjoy your plants? They are not picky about the type of container or you can put them in the ground. No matter where you plant them, good drainage is crucial so pick a spot where the water drains well. To read about why drainage is so important, check out our article on how to water your succulents.
Soil for your succulents
The best soil for your succulents is a potting mixture formulated for succulents or cacti. They have ingredients particularly for these plants. No need to look at all the other ones you see in the nursery because that may overwhelm you. Yet, if you are a do-it-yourself gardener and like to create your own formula, go for it.
This is a fun way to increase your knowledge and connection to your plants. Plus, it is easy to do. One mixture that your plant will like is one part Perlite, two parts coarse sand, and three parts peat moss. Perlite helps with drainage and aeration. The type of sand is not as important as long as it is not fine because that will hold water longer. Peat moss provides nutrients and also dries out quick. This helps your succulent stay healthy. You can find all of these ingredients in your local nursery or online.
You may be asking whether you need soil at all since you often see these plants rooted in rock or colorful accent material. You may also see decorative material around the plant when it is outside in the ground. Well, under that pretty rock or decoration is well-drained soil. These plants are drought resistant, but they do need nutrients.
Related: How to care for succulents
Planting your succulents in rock
It is not recommended to plant succulents in rock without soil because they will not survive long term. However, there are ways to make it look like your plant is growing straight out of the rocks. You may see these unique plants in eye-catching stones or jars of pebbles. This makes it look like the plant is growing out of those rocks alone, but that is not the case. Succulents cannot survive planted solely in stones. Yet, if you want to use these for a special occasion and don’t have time to spend time planting them all, you can put them in stones. They will live through your event without adding soil. Although to live longer and grow larger, your plant needs nutrients.
If you like the rock only look and want to show off your creativity, there are ways to hide the soil when you plant. One way is using a larger rock with a deep enough crevice to put soil in. Then you can place your plant in this soil and angle the stone so no one can see the soil. This gives the illusion of the plant growing directly from the rock. This is best for smaller plants as their roots do not grow as deep.
You can create the look of the plant sitting only in decorative pebble. The easiest way is to start in a plastic pot that fits into a larger glass jar or terrarium. Place your rocks on the bottom of the glass jar and put the pot inside. Then stack more pebbles around the pot until the pot you can’t see the pot anymore. If you don’t have a glass container big enough to fit your plant and small pot, there is another option. You can spend a little more time placing your rock on the bottom. Then building up the sides putting your soil in the middle as you go. It can also help to put a cloth lining inside your rocks so the soil doesn’t fall through. You need larger and smaller rocks so the soil does not spill through the rocks. This creates an appealing look.
Place your succulent in its foundation
Planting is the foundation of your succulent’s life. If you are putting your plant in the ground, pick a place that has mostly sun but some shade. They are drought resistant and like the sun, but their leaves can also burn if they are not able to cool down. Don’t overthink it, though. These are hardy and will let you know if they need to move before it is too late.
Once you pick your outside spot, use at least 6 inches of your succulent specific soil either in a hole or on top of the soil in your yard. Place your plant in the soil so it just covers the roots. Avoid covering any of the leaves so they do not rot.
When planting in a container, it is helpful but not required to have a drainage hole in the bottom. Fill the pot about ¾ full with the soil. Some like to line the bottom with charcoal as well. Now place your plant wherever you want, centered or to the side. You can even add multiple variations in one pot. Some gardeners like to put small ones on the edge with a larger one in the middle. Once you have your plants arranged as you like, add more soil to cover the roots but do not pack it down. Again, do not cover any of the leaves. Rotting succulents are not healthy.
In both locations, you can add decorative rock or material on top as long as it will allow the water to drain well. You may lightly pat this top material just to keep the succulent in place.
Now that you have your plant in its home, you can read all about how to care for succulents by clicking here. This will keep your plant healthy and happy for many years.
Succulents are an excellent addition to your plant family. You do need to take care when planting them to establish that firm foundation for root growth and a healthy plant. Pick a location in the ground or container where there is a lot of sun but not so much that the new plant can get scorched.
Use succulent or cacti specific soil because it is formulated for water drainage, which then helps this plant really flourish. You can use rocks for a pretty finished look, but succulents cannot survive more than a few weeks in rocks alone. They need the soil to get the nutrients to grow. So, hiding the soil inside or under the pebbles is a nice trick to enhance the look of your potted plant.
Now you are ready to plant your succulent and establish a solid foundation as the first step. Use this as your guide and share it with your fellow gardeners so their plants will also thrive.