Are Clay and Terracotta Pots Good for Succulents? My Personal Experience is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Succulents store water in their stems, leaves, and some store water in both parts of their body. we can find these versatile plants in a desert, jungle, seaside, or the mountains. People often confuse cacti with succulents. To make it clear, cactus is a succulent but a succulent is not always a cactus. And maybe I confused you even more with this description :). Anyway, back to the clay pot.

When deciding about the right pot for your plants, you likely have many questions on your mind. Is clay the right material? Is there any specific pot size for the succulent? Do I need to remember something important when having succulents in pots from clay? In this article, I am going to answer all these questions, and help you with your beautiful succulent garden.


Each planter has some advantages and disadvantages

I learned that a perfect pot does not exist. Each pot and each material has some advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right pot for your succulent, you have to consider the material, the size of the roots, the weather, and also the specific need of the succulent. But I do not want to over-complicate things.

In every garden, you can find clay pots. From all materials used for potting plants, pottery is the first ever created by humans. It comes with different sizes and variations. It also has a variety of uses. It fits as a decoration inside the house or office tables.  Clay pots are good for succulents. Relative light weight, structure, appearance, durability, insulation, water absorption and natural drainage are all favorable for the succulents. 

Compare to the plastic pots, clay pots are heavier, it may seem bad but it is good for the sake of the succulents. Because succulents tend to be heavy on top and I saw it many times that a plastic pot could not hold the plant and it fell over. Aside from the plants itself, seedling on clay pots also helps to avoid it to tip over by strong winds–now with global warming so common in many places of the world.


Clay pots are fragile–their biggest minus

Show me one gardener who has never broken a clay pot. You know, we carry plants around, or we do some other work in the house or garden and by accident hit the pot. Once a clay pot falls to the ground, it will break. That’s a disadvantage when we compare it to plastic or wooden pots. It is something you should consider when deciding whether or not to opt for clay.

In terms of insulation, clay pots are better than plastic or metal pots. Much thicker than the others, it helps in many instances. For example, if the succulents are exposed to extremely high or extremely low temperatures, they have a higher tendency to survive when compared to plants in pots from plastic or metal. Simply because the insulation protects the roots better.


Excellent draining system pf terracotta pots

Terracotta pots drain better and faster, which is something a succulent needs. Through its porous bottom, the roots and soil could easily be dried. If you are a newbie gardener, go with clay pots. They will forgive you some of your early mistakes–such as over-watering your plants, a mistake a plastic pot may not forgive you…

The appearance of the clay pots is also an advantage when we compare them to other materials. The color of orange matches the soft tones of the succulent plants. There are ways on how you should take care of your terracotta and clay pots. Before planting a succulent in a clay pot, make sure that you wash it with water thoroughly to remove the substance that may harm the plants. Since they cannot stand any frost, you should empty it during winter and store it in a place like in the basement. 


Easy to spot a crack in a clay pot

Identifying if a clay pot has a crack is easy. When you tap it with your fingernail and it creates a dull thud, there is certainly a crack, because normally it will create a ringing sound. When it comes to stains on the clay pot, you can remove it with warm water, a detergent, or a brush.

Another important thing to consider is the size of the pot. If you choose a huge pot it might rot the root of the succulent because the soil will not dry out easily. One the other hand in a small pot you will often have to change it after a year or so. This is because when the succulent grows bigger, the small pot may not be able to hold the plant (and it will fall over).

The perfect size of the clay pot actually helps with the appropriate level of moisture in the soil. A succulent should have a five to ten percent bigger size of pot than the size of the actual plant. For example, a rosette type that is usually around three inches should be placed in a clay pot that is around 3.5 to four inches in diameter. 


My favorite terracotta pot & more

There are many types of Terracotta clay pots. The first one is the traditional terracotta pot (click here to see it on Amazon). You could choose a variety of sizes to have an adorable look and adding some design by painting them

Aside from the traditional clay pots, you will find also cylindrical clay pots. This type of a pot adds a modern touch to your garden while maintaining a classic look. The third one is a squared shaped terracotta. This one boosts the appearance of the succulents. 

Another pot is the strawberry terracotta pot. If you love an old charm vibe of terracotta and still love to mix and match pots, this is the best choice for you. It has an extra hole that is ideal for some succulent like sedum, echeveria, and the string of pearls. The fifth variation of a clay pot is the embellished terracotta succulent pot. It has a design of flowers and patterns that are aesthetically wonderful. 


Final thoughts

Choosing the right pot for succulents depends on many factors. But for me, based on my experience, clay pots are good for succulents. But of course, it may or may not work for all of your plants.

The climate and internal design of the environment where the succulents will be placed may affect the choice. It is your job as a succulent grower to figure out what is best for your plants while considering the aesthetic value it delivers. I hope this helps, and if you are still not sure, check my complete succulent growing guide. Thank you!