How To Grow Succulents And Create A Stunning Container Garden

Try our helpful tips for creating and maintaining a gorgeous container garden with these drought-resistant beauties—indoors and out.

You don’t have to live in the desert to appreciate and grow potted succulents. Although cacti and other prickly botanicals may be the first plants that come to mind when someone mentions succulents, there are many more varieties that come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. And the best part—succulents are drought resistant and easy to grow in containers, so even those who don’t have the greenest of thumbs have good luck with growing succulents.

What Are Succulents?

Composition of variety of succulents (Echeveria Red Taurus, Haworthia fasciata, Sansevieria cylindrica) in ceramic white flower pot on the windowsill.

Succulents are a group of plants that store water in their leaves, although some, like cacti, store water only in their stem and have no leaves or very small leaves.

Succulents have plump leaves that can be clustered together like cabbages or rosettes, spiked or broad-leaved and be found in colors ranging from silver-gray, to orange, pink, blue-green, and even brown. Currently, there are 7,474 named species in the Encyclopedia of Succulents.

The most widely known and loved succulents are jade, agave, aloe vera, cactus, kalanchoe, sedum, hen and chicks, yucca, and even your prized Thanksgiving cactus or Christmas cactus. Once you explore all the other beautiful species on the market today, you’ll want to create a fresh new twist on your grandmother’s potted succulents.

Planting a Succulents Container Garden

The smaller varieties are ideal for creating an attractive centerpiece for your patio table. Since these plants require little watering, you can get creative in your choice of planter, as holes in the bottom are not required. Plant one in a conch shell, china teacup, or a combination of succulents in vintage milk glass containers, or a narrow, rustic, dough bowl. Fill a terracotta strawberry pot or a concrete planter with mini succulents and display it on your terrace. Get creative!


You’ll need a wide bowl or container, succulent plants, potting mix, sand, gravel, and aquarium gravel.

  1. Fill your container three-quarters full with a fast-draining, special soil mix for succulents, or prepare your own by mixing a ratio of 75% potting soil with 25% builders’ sand or perlite. Cover with a layer of gravel. Using both hands mix all together and moisten with water.
  2. If the container is large enough for multiple plants, remove the largest plant from its nursery pot first. To do so, turn it upside down in your hand, and give the bottom of the pot a pat to release the plant. Place it in the soil, off center. Repeat the planting process with other succulents, clustering similar colors or shapes together. Fill gaps with smaller plants to add interest to your dish garden.
  3. Cover the soil mix with a layer of aquarium gravel.
  4. Place container garden where it will receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Succulent Plant Care

Succulents and air plants enjoy a sunny window sill!

Water lightly. Succulents should never be standing in water or the roots will be prone to rot. Allow soil mixture to dry between waterings. Like the native desert where succulents originated, they are able to handle cool night temperatures, ideally between 50° to 55°F, although they may thrive in low nighttime temperatures of 40°F. Optimal daytime temperatures for succulents to thrive are between 70°F and 85°F.

Tips for Growing (or Wintering) Succulents Indoors

Houseplant - Flowerpot

The best varieties for growing indoors are those with green leaves, such as jade or aloe plants. For best results, place potted succulents near a sunny window, preferably south-facing, or beneath a skylight. Do not overwater, and allow the soil to dry between waterings.

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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Shawnee L. Papincak

transplant w gloves ! I love grow em, best 2 water from the bottom. they love water even though they live in dry places !


So most of the succulents I own, have spines.. what is the best way for transplanting these beauties without getting the spines in my fingers?

Jessica Smith

Hey I use leather flower bed gloves??????


Cut or prune??
Sure, and then put the cutting in the dirt, and you have a new plant!!

Ron Gettler

We took an idea from my brother, who may have gotten the idea off of Pinttest, and we use my iold work boots as very cute planters. Simply cut holes in different parts of the boots and use them as planters. Living in Florida, the plants prosper year-round outside.

Jessica Smith

Me kids done a pair of their dad’s old leather slip on shoes that way. .super cute too! ???♥️?

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