Plant a Potted Succulent Garden

Succulents: the quirky little plants that come in unique shapes, sizes and colors that can flourish with the least of care. Because of their minimal needs and hearty nature, succulents make a great plant for novice gardeners and avid gardeners alike. It’s no surprise these peculiar plants have become more popular in recent years. 

Succulents are nearly self-sufficient, but it’s important to set your plants up for success, so they’ll be happy and healthy for years to come. 


Native Environment

In nature, most succulent varieties grow in arid grasslands and deserts, where temperatures are high and rainfall is scarce.  However, these hearty plants have adapted to survive in these environments. With shallow roots they are able to grow in little to no soil and their leaves and stems are thick and fleshy, to store excess water. Overall, succulents are tough little plants!

 
 

Prepare the Soil

Succulents should be planted in well-draining soil.  Choose a potting mix that is specific for cacti and succulents, or make your own by mixing three fourths regular potting mix with one forth gravel. After filling your container with soil, moisten well with water.

Food for Thought

Give your succulents a boost by adding fertilizer to the soil. You can use a plant food that’s made for vegetables, as succulent nutritional needs are similar.  Clean Water Grow Tomato & Veggie Food is a great choice because it provides balanced nutrition and calcium. GROW is also slow release, apply once a year in the spring and GROW will continue to feed your succulents throughout their growing season.

 
 

Ready to Plant

Now that your soils ready, it’s time to start planting! Remove succulents from their store containers and arrange to your liking. The soil should be damp enough that you don’t need to water after planting. Avoid watering the plants again until the soil has completely dried, which can take up to a week. 

Final Touches

Get creative! You can add a top layer of gravel around your planted succulents to make them really stand out. For example, use brightly colored aquarium gravel for the top layer to give your succulent garden additional pop.

 
 

When to Water

Because succulents thrive in dry environments, they need very little water. Too much water can lead to root rot.  A good rule of thumb is to water your succulents once a week.  However, water needs can vary with temperature, the container and humidity.  Keep an eye on the warning signs of under or over watering.

If your succulents’ leaves yellow or become transparent or puffy, especially the leaves towards the bottom, then it’s probably suffering from too much water. Your plant can be salvaged by not watering until the soil is completely dry, cutting back on your watering schedule and trading some of the damp soil for dryer soil.  If all else fails, cut off the healthy part of the succulent and replant. 

If your succulent is looking shriveled and brittle, then it’s likely in need of water. Gradually increase your watering schedule and be sure to completely soak the soil.

Location, Location, Location

Now that your succulent garden is planted, it’s time to choose the best spot for them.  Succulents need about 3-4 hours of direct sunlight or 5-8 hours of indirect sunlight. Succulents that get too much sun can burn and plants without enough light may distort their shape as they grow in the direction of the nearest light source.  If your succulents show stress from too much or too little light, gradually move them to a different location. 

With your succulent garden complete, it's ready to be displayed! 

Eli Bonilla