Potted Succulent Plants: How To Care For Succulents In Containers

Potted Succulent Plants
container succulents
(Image credit: ollegN)

In many areas, you’ll want to grow your outdoor succulents in pots. For instance, container grown succulents can be easily out of rainy areas if a huge rainstorm is expected. Growing succulents in pots also makes sense if you want to bring them indoors for winter. When bringing them back out in spring, it is simple to move these potted succulent plants into varying degrees of sunlight as you acclimate them to the outside. Succulents are well suited to the confines of a potted environment, even unusual containers, provided that adequate care is given.

How to Care for Succulents in Containers

When you’re growing succulents in pots, they will need to be watered more often than those growing in the ground. However, since these plants need little watering in the first place, container gardening with succulents is a good choice, especially for those who tend to forget to water. Grow potted succulent plants in fast draining soil. Pots with good drainage holes, preferably large holes or more than one, are the best choice for container gardening with succulents. Breathable terracotta or clay containers don’t hold as much water as do glass or ceramic pots. Succulent roots can rot quickly if they remain wet for any extended time, so grow them in a soil mixture that allows the water to move on out of the pot. Shallow containers for potted succulent plants drain more quickly. Careful watering of container grown succulents will vary from season to season. Almost no water is needed when plants are inside during winter. When they move outside in spring and growth starts, however, watering needs can become weekly. During the heat of summer, provide afternoon shade for those that might sunburn and water more often, if needed. Succulents growing in containers need less water as temperatures cool in autumn. Always make sure the soil is dry before watering these plants.

Additional Care for Container Gardening with Succulents

Research the potted succulent plants you grow before planting if you know their names. Many will likely be of the Crassula genus. Try to pot succulents with similar light requirements together and provide the recommended lighting. Most succulents need at least six hours of sun per day, which is full sun. Almost all prefer morning sun to be included in those hours. Some succulents need bright light, but not full sun. Some require partial shade, so please research before you put a succulent plant outside in full sun. These plants stretch out if they’re not getting enough light. Fertilize succulent plants lightly. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer or a weak compost tea. Most experienced succulent growers say you should only fertilize once in the spring season. While pests are rare on succulent plants, most can be treated with 70% alcohol. Spray or use a swab on the delicate leaves. Repeat the process until you no longer see the offending pest. If the succulents begin to grow too big for their container, it may be time to divide and repot.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.