Selecting the right pot for your succulent can be difficult, but we have broken it down for you below to help you make the best choice.
If you have done any research, you know that succulents are very low-maintenance plants. But they do require some specifics in care and planting, such as appropriate soil and watering. These primary care requirements relate to their planter size, as well, which can affect a succulent’s overall health.
Succulents have tender roots that can be damaged if the succulent has been planted in the wrong size pot. In general, many professional gardeners suggest that you use a pot that is 10% bigger in width and height than your succulent. This small added space allows your succulents to have room to grow while also keeping them safe from damage. Choosing a pot with proper drainage is essential, as well, to avoid overwatering and root rot.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to about picking the right container size for your succulent.
The Right Pot for Your Succulents
There are many different types of pot materials out there. With your succulent’s specific needs, some are better than others. Keep reading to learn which kind of pot you should consider for your plant.
Ceramic or Terracotta Pots
The best type of pot for your succulent is one made of ceramic or terracotta. Both of these types of pots are absorbent to extra water for your succulent, which will help eliminate the risk of root rot in your succulents. These types of pots are also porous, which allows your succulents to breathe. This breathability is ideal, especially for indoor plants where there might not be much air movement. The downside to these planters is that they are fragile and heavy and often more expensive. They can be sensitive to significant shifts in temperature, as well.
Plastic can also also be a suitable, less expensive option for succulents. These pots are more durable in cold weather than terracotta or ceramic pots. Keep in mind, though, that your soil will not dry out as quickly. This is because plastic does not wick away moisture in the same way that ceramic and terracotta pots do. If you choose a plastic pot, be sure to use well-draining soil and select a pot that has a drainage hole.
You can explore using metal or glass planters as well, but these tend to be less than ideal for succulents. Metal heats up when in the sun and can often rust after a while. If metal pots match the aesthetic you are looking for, be sure to get one designed for planting. Keep in mind, too, that temperature changes will affect how quickly the soil dries.
Wood pots can also be a unique option for your succulents. However, be aware that wooden pots can often rot if they are not appropriately treated with sealant. If you use a wooden pot for your succulents, consider adding a plastic liner inside the planter to avoid excess moisture.
Use a glass pot only if it has a drainage hole (which many do not). If you find one with proper drainage- go for it! Glass pots can be a beautiful addition to your space.
Pot Size for Succulents
Pot size matters to your succulent’s overall health and wellness. It matters because the size of your pot can affect your succulent’s growth rate, its ability to absorb water, and your succulent’s delicate roots.
The majority of succulents have two types of roots – hair roots and taproots.
- Hair roots are small. They grow near the soil’s surface and absorb moisture in the soil around them from rain or dew.
- Taproots are a succulent’s longer, deeper growing roots. These seek water from lower sources and store them.
If you choose a pot that is too small, your succulent’s roots will be constricted. This lack of space will affect proper growth. Containers that are too small also hold less soil. This ultimately means fewer necessary nutrients get absorbed by your succulent.
Pots that are too large, on the other hand, can retain too much moisture and cause your succulent roots to rot. They can also shock your succulents and cause improper growing patterns.
Best Pot Size
When deciding what size your succulent needs, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to have enough space for your succulents to grow, but not so much space that the soil retains extra moisture.
In general, most professional gardeners recommend that you choose a pot that is 10% larger than your succulent’s current width and height.
Avoid the urge to plant your succulents in a pot that is too large. Too much space can encourage rapid root growth and prevent the succulent from growing correctly.
Additionally, if you choose a pot that is too deep for your succulent, it can affect its ability to absorb light. When planting your succulent, the lowest leaves should rest just above the soil at the top of your pot.
It is best to implement the 10% rule of thumb to determine your succulent needs based on its current size. For example, if you have a succulent that is 5 inches wide, you should look for a 5.5-6 inches wide and tall pot.
If you have a healthy succulent in a proper pot, you should only need to repot it every two to three years.
Drainage in Succulent’s Pot
Because succulents can be prone to root rot, proper drainage is a necessary element that your succulent pot should include.
Proper drainage includes, of course, using well-draining soil. But it also means that – unless you are highly experienced with watering and caring for succulents – you should choose a pot with a good drainage hole.
Growing Succulent Cuttings
Be mindful when planting cuttings that you should use a more shallow container than the 10% rule recommended. Use a shallow container for cuttings to avoid the accumulation of too much moisture.
Growing Succulents Together
All of the tips above will apply when planting succulents together, as well.
You will need to estimate how much space each succulent will need to prevent crowding and allow room for growth. Consider the rate of growth of each succulent, as not all succulents grow at the same pace. This rate of growth will inform their needs for container space.
If you have already planted several succulents together, it is not an issue to remove and replant those growing faster, should you like.
You might also notice that the plants are close enough together to grow more slowly because there is not much space. This “overcrowding” can be used to prevent your succulents from outgrowing your current arrangement if that is what you prefer.
Signs That Your Succulent is in the Wrong Pot
If you have already planted succulents, there may be some signs that you should re-pot your plant.
Wilting of your succulent can be caused by improper watering habits- whether too much water or too little. Consider your watering habits. If your plant is in proper soil and you allow it to dry out in between waterings, the issue may be with the plant’s pot. Be sure that your pot is not too large for the size of your succulent, and double-check that it has good drainage holes.
Discoloration of your succulent leaves is caused when your plant has received too much water. This discoloration can include yellowing leaves or leaves with spots on them.
Again, if your plant’s soil and watering schedule aligns with what your plant needs, your pot may be the problem. You may need to consider repotting your plant in a pot with better drainage, one that is a different material or is the proper size.
Succulents grow slowly in general, so this can be a difficult issue to detect in your plant. But if you have noticed no growth in your plant, or if it is not blooming when you expect it will, this could indicate that your plant is unhappy in its pot.
Check the above elements to ensure that your plant is in the right pot for its size and needs.
Choosing the right pot for your succulent is an important decision, and it can be challenging to know what is best for your plant. Be sure that your pot is the proper size, has excellent drainage, and is the appropriate material for your succulent. Do this, and you will keep your succulent happy and thriving in its environment.
If you want to learn more about general succulent care, be sure to check out our detailed, expert guidance on caring for succulents.
Drop us any questions in the comments below! We look forward to hearing from you.