Are Clay Pots Good for Succulents? Here’s the Truth

Are Clay Pots Good for Succulents
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Are Clay Pots Good for Succulents

Are clay pots good for succulents? This is another question that I recently received from my beloved fellow succulent grower. Let me answer this question in this post.

A succulent is a kind of plant that has thick tissue that survives drought over a long period. They store water in their stems, leaves, and some store in both. Succulents were usually found in a desert, jungles, seaside, or the mountains. There was always confusion between a cactus and a succulent.

But to make it clear, cactus is a succulent but a succulent is not always a cactus. 

Now we need to know the process of taking care of these plants. One of the things that we need to consider is their pots.

This is one of the most challenging tasks, to choose the best pot. 

Are clay pots good for succulents? Is there any specific pot size for the succulent? What are things that I have to remember in taking care of the clay pots? How could make the most out of it? 

In this article, I am going to answer and discuss these questions and help you to have a healthy and beautiful succulent garden.

If you have grown succulents for years, you might probably notice that there are various types of the planter and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. 

In choosing what pot is best for your plant, especially the succulent, you have to consider its type, the size of the roots, the weather and their individual needs among others. If you have succeeded in doing so, you will soon grow succulents that live longer and greener.

In every garden, you could always find clay pots. Among synthetic materials, 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. It has its versatility that you could always work out in your plants like succulents. Clay pots, however, have their pros when you use it in planting succulents. Its weight, structure, appearance durability, insulation, water absorption and draining act perfectly with 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 tipping might cause danger for the succulents. 

Aside from the plants itself, seedling on clay pots also helps to avoid it to tip over by the strong wind. On the durability side of the clay pots, some might find it as the downside of the terracotta pots. Because it could easily be broken when mishandled or roughly dropped. But unlike the plastic pots that could become brittle over time, clay pots could stay for years long. 

In terms of insulation, clay pots are better than plastic or metal pots. It is much thicker than the others and has an insulating effect on the soil. For instance, if the succulents are exposed to extremely high or extremely low temperatures, they have a high tendency to survive compared to those planted in the plastic of metal pots. 

Clay pots will keep the succulents safe from any kind of damages caused by the environmental conditions. If you are dealing with young succulents, terracotta pots are perfect to use. Once it has a tiny root, you could now transfer it in a small clay pot. 

Terracotta pots also have an advantage due to its excellent draining system. It drains better and faster something that succulents need. Through its porous bottom, the roots and soil could easily be dried or moderately moisture. If you are a newbie gardener, using clay pots, for me is the safest way. This is because clay pots are forgiving.

The appearance of the clay pots is also an advantage among others. The color of orangey tan color matches the soft tone of the succulent plants. 

There are ways on how you should take care of your terracotta clay pots. Before planting 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. 

Identifying if a clay pot has a crack is easy. When you tap it with your fingernail and creates a dull thud, it must have a crack compare when you tap it and create a ringing sound. For stains on the clay pot, you could remove it through 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. While if you choose a smaller pot, however, you need to report soon. This is because when the succulent grows bigger, the small pot might not be able to hold the plant. 

It is indeed a challenge on how you are going to choose a planter for the succulent. There are two kinds of roots in succulents. 

In most cases, succulent plants were placed in a larger pot. Succulent may survive but it will not grow as it is ought to be. This is because large pots prohibit the roots to surround the clay pots. 

The perfect size of the clay pot also helps to have an exact amount of moisture within the soil.

A succulent must have a five to ten percent bigger size of pot than 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. 

On the other hand, most succulent like echeveria must be planted in a shallow planter. While Jovibarba heuffelii is ideally for deeper or bigger pots because of its extended tap root. Aside from the size, you should always make sure that the pots have a drainage hole. 

There are many types of Terracotta clay pots. The first one is the traditional terracotta pots (click here to see these pots 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, there are also cylindrical clay pots. This type of pot adds a modern touch to your garden while maintaining a classic look. The third one is squared shaped terracotta. This one boosts the appearance of the succulents. 

Another pot is the strawberry terracotta pots for succulents. If you love an old charm vibe of terracotta and still love to mix and match pots, this is the best one for you. It has an extra hole on its downside area 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 pots. It has a design of flowers and patterns that are aesthetically wonderful.

There is also a tall, thin-lipped or lipless planter pots. It is one of the top picks of the succulent collectors because of its modern sleek look. You could also add some variation to make succulents more lovely. 

Final Thoughts on Are clay pots good for succulents

Choosing the right pot for succulents may be influenced by 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 your succulents. 

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. Happy planting.

To learn more about succulent growing, feel free to read my Succulent Growing Guide.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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