You have to consider several things before you plant succulents in a nice arrangement, many plants in one pot. First things first, you should know that succulents can grow in small pots for a long period of time, because their rooting system is relatively small and they do not need much space for their roots (in contrast to many other plant families).
Succulents usually grow in at least four inches’ deep pot with a drainage hole in it. In my experience, you can plant succulents very close to one another, as long as you have a good size of the pot. You can plant multiple succulents in a single pot. But what about the space between the succulents? If you plant the succulents closely together, they will slowly grow and they will maintain their original arrangement, which is at the end of the day the main reason why you planted them this way :).
However, it is a bit hassle to water them once they grow in such an arrangement. Wanting to give someone an unforgettable gift, however, or sell your succulents with some nice profit, such an arrangement is perfect. Succulents are slow growers in general, but you can plant them with a little more space between each plant, just to make it easier when watering the plants.
Roots dry better in better airflow–remember it when arranging your succulents in a single pot
It is pivotal to prevent root rot in succulents. If there is an extra space between the plants, the aeration is better, roots to not intermingle, and it is easier to prevent root rot, no. 1 cause of issues in succulent plants . However, if you put too much space between the succulents in a single pot, they will focus more on producing roots rather than on getting larger…
So, how many succulents can you place in a nice arrangement in a single pot? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, as you already know. As a rule of a thumb though, I recommend that you maintain at least ½” to 1” between the plants to allow them to breathe and get enough nutrients from the soil. This means that the bigger the pot, the more succulents you can plant in it! Let’s have a look at some more variables and questions you need to keep on your mind.
Large pot is not the best one for succulent arrangement
It is important to consider the pot size for your succulents. A large pot is not your best choice, simply because succulents have shallow root system. And if you plant it into a deep and non-breathable pot there is a high tendency that your plant will eventually rot.
But if you want to use a deep pot I have a workaround for you. First, to avoid moisture use of soil which has good drainage. The best choice is perlite and coarse sand which have a high draining medium percentage. Second, you should place your pot into the gravel in order to improve the drainage. Lastly, repot the succulents when they grow bigger after two years.
On the other hand, there are some types of succulents that have a strong root system like Haworthia. This type of succulent has a high tolerance of excess moisture and can grow beautifully in a deep and non-breathable pot.
It is also important for a pot to have a drainage hole. The primary function is to control and eliminate the water inside the pot. The hole must be at least ½ inch for smaller pots and up to an inch for a larger pot. To be honest it doesn’t harm to have a bigger hole in this case.
How to combine succulents in an arrangement
Before planting succulents in one pot, you should also consider whether or not the varieties you are working with can grow together closely. Let me explain a few things you should consider.
The key is to choose succulents that have similar needs. Doing this will ensure the harmony and desired appearance of the entire arrangement. Let me give you an example. A winter grower Crassula (Jade plant) and a Graptosedum California Sunset (a summer grower) is not your combo. Basically, you can’t plant these two in the same pot because they don’t have similar needs. When you want to combine different succulents in the same pot, you must always consider their watering, growing season, lighting, and soil that they need.
If you want to combine some winter dormant succulents, Agave, Echeveria, and Sempervium is the best choice. On the other hand, when it comes to summer dormant succulents, you may choose Aeonium, Aloe, Graptopetalum, and Kalanchoe.
It is not just about combining and arranging the succulents, but it is also important to consider their height and color, to make sure you end up with a desired harmonic result in your pot. Most importantly, your arrangement must-have a thriller, filler, and spiller. Tall succulents are the thriller ones which make the entire projection outstanding. Shorter succulents as a filler around the thriller. Finally, a spiller trailing succulents may put around the pot to make it simple and beautiful. But this is just an example, and the design is all up to you. Let your creativity do some wonders. This is your choice, your house, your garden. You can do whatever you want when it comes to arrangements and looks.
Colors should complement each other
Planting a succulent is indeed a therapeutic hobby, and when you are arranging the plants, you are slowly turning into an artist, because you are already imagining what will be the theme of your arrangement once the succulents grow bigger.
I suggest you to consider the colors and how different colors will complement each other to form a better picture. It can be monochromatic or colorful, it depends on what combination you are doing, and the goal you try to achieve. Monochromatic, analogous or complementary are the 3 main ways to combine colors in a plant arrangement.
For monochromatic arrangement, you put together succulents with the same colors but a different shade. For analogous, you are going to form a color wheel by grouping the colors sitting next to each other such as orange, yellow and green. Lastly, complementary arrangement is the one when you are going to position each of the opposite colors on the color wheel such as red and green…
Best pot for your succulent arrangement
- Terra Cotta or Ceramic. Terra cotta and ceramic is a breathable type of material. It works well in some surroundings which may not get enough of airflow and this kind of material also works both outdoors and indoors. But if you keep it directly on the sun, it will heat up which is not ideal for the succulents. This kind of material is heavy and if you choose to plant a succulent in a large terra cotta or ceramic pot, you will have a very hard time moving it after. Another thing is that you must very careful not to drop it, because ceramic is fragile and it will quickly break.
- Plastic. If you don’t want a heavy pot, plastic material is the best for you. This material is lighter than ceramics and terra cotta, which is its advantage. But just like any other material, it has its downside because plastic material isn’t breathable. Hence, the water will not evaporate as fast as in terra cotta and ceramic pots. However, its downside is not a problem if you have well-draining soil and your plastic pot has a draining hole. You can also buy different variety of plastic pots with different colors and designs which can help with your beautiful succulent arrangements.
- Wood. If you want a unique pot go for a wood pot, this is not usual but wood is great for the succulent when it is hot outside, because it carries water which cools the succulents. Wood is not advisable though when you are planting in an environment with less airflow and less sunlight, because wood material can easily rot and then it will keep your soil wet for a longer period of time. However, you can still use wood as long as you know how to place your succulents properly.
- Metal. If you want your succulents to live longer, the metal material isn’t a good choice. But if you want to use it, you should be aware that the metal properties can change the temperature quickly which in the end will be the reason for too much heat of the soil. However, if you ever use a metal pot or designed for planting, you should also consider the possibilities that it will eventually turn rusty which is not healthy for succulents.
- Glass. If you want your succulents to look elegant and beautiful, the glass material is one of the best choices. But it has some problems–it lacks drainage hole, which is the reason why I do not use glass pots for my succulents. What’s more, just like the ceramics and terra cotta, glass is fragile so if you are planning to move your succulents around, you should be careful. It also gets dirty easily, and you’ll have to clean it regularly…
To sum it up, you have many choices when it comes to the pot for your succulent arrangement. Each one has some pluses and some minuses. Consider your situation, your design goals, as well as the succulents you want to plant in the pot, and decide accordingly.
Related: How to Plant Succulents in Glass Containers?
I personally don’t combine many plants in one pot, because I always try to give my succulents enough space for aeration and nutrients. But in reality there is no general rule as to how many succulents you should plant in a pot. As a grower, you can experiment with different number of plants, pots, colors, and arrangements. At the end of the day they is to enjoy your growing :).
To learn more about succulents, check complete guide on succulent growing. Thank you!