Find Out How to Choose the Right Succulent Pot (Easy Guide with Tips)

Growing plants is a rewarding job, making you feel like a wizard with magical hands.

To have beautiful plants means nothing if you do not know how to plant or arrange them correctly.

Investment in lovely and quality pots will provide you with a pleasant atmosphere or a spot for taking great photos.

Even though it can be pretty overpriced, the right pot can make a difference in the succulent look, making it more attractive and eye-catchy.

But how to choose the right pot for your succulent?

Many people struggle to choose the right pot for their new succulents or the one that needs repotting. But believe me, it is not as hard as it looks.

In this article, you have a chance to read about what types of pots you can use to make your garden more attractive. Moreover, you will learn why choosing the right potting size is one of the key points for healthy growth.

choosing the right pot for your succulents

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

What do you need to plant succulents?

As a beginner choosing a suitable container or preparing a well-draining soil mixture might look hard and demanding. Yet, to make it easier for you, I am taking you slow in all the steps.

In this article, I am teaching you how to start your planting career and choose the right pot for your succulents.

If you are a first-time reader, remember to read the older articles where I explain more about planting succulents the right way.

How to pick the right pot for your succulents? 

To pick the right pot for your plant, it is important to find out more about the type of plant you are buying.

Knowing the plant’s name will help you find the necessary information for growing your succulent plants later.

choosing the right pot for your succulents

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Related: 25 Beautiful Flowering Succulents To Grow Indoors (With Pictures)

I have to admit, in the beginning, same as you, I did not have a clue that the succulent planters could have so much influence on succulent growth.

Over time I learned that size, material, thickness, and drainage holes are important for growing plants in your garden.

Let me walk you through the steps in detail and teach you how to pick the right pot for your succulent and cacti plants.

Rule number one – Drainage and drainage holes

Remember, drainage holes are your best friends. Poor drainage can make your plant struggle more often or even not grow.

There are situations when adding more water than necessary leads to death. This problem occurs due to not having well soil drainage and overwatering. 

In the previous articles, you had a chance to read more about potting soil preparation and proper drainage.

From there, you learn that having drainage holes and soil with excellent drainage help to prevent excess moisture and improve root growth.

To ensure good drainage of the soil mixture, always add components such as zeolite, pumice, perlite, vermiculite, leca balls, etc.

Drainage holes

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Rule number two – Potting size

The golden rule: Never put your plant in a bigger container than needed. It will not grow faster.

When the pot is much bigger than the requested size, the root will become much more powerful, and the plant will lose its capacity to grow. This will make the top of the plant suffer and look unhappy.

To make it easier for you to choose the right pot, you need to know how your plant tends to grow.

If your chosen type of plant grows wide, but the roots are short, you should look for shallow pots that let the roots stay in the upper part.

Some examples of succulent plants growing this way are Haworthia, Echeveria, Ceropegia, etc.

Correct pot size

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Despite space-loving plants, some species like Aloe, some cacti plants, or Crassulas grow both ways, wide in the soil and height.

Therefore, these plants need to enable pots with enough space and depth..

Tips for choosing the right pot for your succulents

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Related: Best Ways to Propagate New Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings

Rule three – Choose the right material for the succulent pots

The way you water, the frequency of watering, and the location of your plant depend on the potting material.

Why is the material so important to mention? Even when buying clothes, we know that some materials are not summer/winter friendly, and we choose regarding our needs.

It is the same with plants and their planters. All the materials have different characteristics that affect your plant care routine.

Below you can find more details about the materials of common planters.

Plastic pots

Easiest to find, cheapest and great for beginners. A plastic pot is easy to maintain because it does not absorb the water, and you can easily adjust and be sure about the watering.

Most of the time, they have drainage holes and can be used inside pots in ceramic ones without holes.

Depending on the thickness of the plastic and the color, they can dry the soil faster or slower, but it is easy to maintain watering because of the weight difference when they have or need water.

Plastic pots

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Stone or Terracotta pots

Terracotta: Using a terracotta pot or any unglazed ceramic pot is an excellent choice for people who tend to overwater or plants that don’t like watering.

The pot is not protected and water resistant when you put the water in. However, part of the water will absorb, so your plant will not take the whole amount.

For the plants that grow fast and like some more water, try to avoid this material.

Stone: Same as ceramics, it absorbs water but differs in the drying period. This can be tricky because the next watering, you can never be sure how much water to add since there is some left from before. Therefore, I recommend you avoid stone planters, at least at the beginning, until you learn your plant needs.

Terracotta pots

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Glazed ceramic pots or basic clay pots

Clay pots are an excellent choice for beginners, and I love them. They are similar to terra cotta pots, with a slight difference in the material.

Clay is a raw, more breathable material but easily destroyable because it is not protected with a waterproof coating. Clay pots allow you to be creative and draw something on them or paint them as you like. You can protect them afterward at your home and extend their period of life.

Ceramic pots, especially glazed ones, are an excellent choice for someone that forgets to water frequently. The material does not absorb the water, and the whole amount stays available for the plant.

When you go for ceramic as a material, keep in mind that drainage is important for the proper growth of your plant. Otherwise, root rot might damage your succulents.

Glazed ceramic pots

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Related: How to Water Succulents? (Short & Effective Instructions)

On the other hand, Unglazed ceramic pots have better drainage characteristics but can be damaged easily. The unglazed clay pots are great for succulents that can thrive better in completely dry soil, such as lithops and most mesembs plants. Cacti species as well do great in here.

The only thing I do not love about unglazed ceramic is that it is more expensive than clay and can be easily destroyed after a short period because of watering and temperature changes.

Wood, metal, and glass containers

The three materials we will discuss now are the ones you should avoid for succulent potting. However, since they do not ensure excellent properties, I do not count them as the best choice regarding succulent growth.

Wood as pot material – I like the way wooden planters look. It gives a specific combination with a chosen plant type and can do a great job because it is a breathable material that keeps succulents wet and cold during summer.

Unfortunately, it breaks over time and can retain water, which is not great if the environment is not hot and has excellent airflow.

Wood as pot material

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Metal containers – Not a common choice for a succulent planter. Still, if you choose to use one, be informed that metal as a material can change temperature quickly. Because of this, your plants may suffer when it is too high or low.

Another thing that bothers me is the material sensitivity making it rust after some time. Since it is not my personal choice, I would kindly suggest you stay away from this potting material.

Glass pots – Glas as potting material can be tricky, even for advanced succulent keepers. I know that in many stores, you may find decorated plants in glass containers but pay attention that they are usually planted in a bunch of rocks instead of water. This is because the soil itself can not breathe in the glass container.

Using stones for long periods can damage the plant roots, and your plant will be damaged looking for food, and minerals are usually taken from the soil.

Glass pot - choosing the right pot for your succulents

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Other interesting materials

Plaster pots resemble stone pots with a difference in weight and water porosity. If the plaster is not covered with a waterproof coating it can be very quickly damaged by water. Anyhow, if you like to try doing your pots, this material gives you an opportunity for cheap and creative hobbies.

The papercrete technique is a new, economical and eco-friendly way of creating pots by combining mashed paper with concrete. The material can be easily modified, impregnated, and colored, giving you lovely planters.

Papercrete techniqu

Photo Credit: Sanja Stevanovic

How to create a perfect plant corner?

Creating the perfect coffee spot is accessible by creating pots you like. 

If you can not find a succulent planter you love, create one using a paintbrush. Terracotta pots and clay pots are great opportunities for you to create what fits your needs.

If you have multiple succulents, arrange them in a shallow pot and create colorful mini gardens as a succulent lover.

Choose colorful fiberglass and resin containers for some of your plants.

Growing succulents in direct sunlight will help you avoid root rot and elongation.

Create plant corner

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

Large pots are great for succulent plants that grow wide and large.

Do not forget to make drainage holes if there are none if you want to avoid excess water. Also, pot size matters; it is better to keep the same container for your succulent plants if you do not have a better choice than to put them in the wrong size.

Plastic pots are a great choice for beginners. If you find them boring, try to glue some interesting shapes or elements that will make them look nicer.

create a perfect plant corner

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

FAQ for you

Here is some additional information that can help you improve your knowledge. 

Do all succulents need full sun?

In general, succulents love full sun, but during the summer, long exposure to full sun can also be harmful.

Succulents thrive best in east/ south-east areas with full sun, but also some of them may thrive well in spots that will lower direct sunlight affection.

Whenever you are buying a new plant, read all the necessary information for taking care of it.

Do all succulents need full sun?

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

When should I repot my succulents?

Depending on the succulent, you might need to repot when the plant requests it. The best season for reporting is summer, but if the plant has an urgent need, you do not have to wait to change the soil.

Some of the situations when replanting is recommended are: roots growing outside of the container, plant outgrowing the pot size, pest infection has occurred, the plant is elongated, or the root is damaged, there is no drainage hole, and the plant is dying from overwatering. 

choosing the right pot for your succulents

Photo Credit: Silvana Koleva

How tall should a succulent pot be?

There is no specific rule to apply to all succulents. When choosing container size, you should always follow your plant growth.

When the plant grows more high, you should give a deeper pot so that roots can access the food. If the plant is a wide grower or the roots are closer to the surface, a deep pot is not the best choice since the water will stay away from the root and accumulate, making your plant root rot after some time. 

How often should the succulent plant be watered?

Succulents are known as water collectors. They do keep the water in their structure, giving them security for longer periods without watering.

When you want to water your plant, always check if the soil is still wet from the previous watering. If not, it is time to water your plant.

Another sign is the leaves. If they are shrunk or not fresh as expected, you should give your plant water therapy.

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Silvana Koleva

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