January 03, 2018 7 min read

If you’re anything like us, you probably spend a handful of hours a week scrolling through sites like Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram, so you’ve probably seen the hundreds of succulent garden centerpieces, and container gardens filled with an array of beautiful succulents.



Some artists are even selling these beauties for hundreds of dollars on Etsy!

Don’t get me wrong, they are amazingly intricate and incredibly detailed.

But guess what, they aren’t hard to #DIY and you CAN make one of these babes yourself to save a few bucks.

Read on for a full tutorial to learn how to plant your own succulent garden masterpiece and afterward, get the scoop on caring and maintaining your succulent sanctuary.  

What you’ll need:

  • A container with a drainage hole
  • Succulent plants - enough to fill your container 
  • Quick-draining soil mix
  • Accessories (moss, bark, stones, pebbles, rocks, glass pebbles or gravel) optional*

Choose a Container 

It’s typically best to plant small hens and chicks or other rosette-forming succulents in concrete, resin, ceramic, plastic, wood or terra-cotta pots.

Concrete or cement provides an appropriate setting for ornamental succulents like sedum, echeveria, and sempervivum.

Keep in mind that glazed or sealed pots will not have the water-absorbing and aerating properties as terra-cotta and unsealed concrete, and they’re less likely to have problems in winter if left outside.

Last but not least, we recommend closing a pot or container that drains as most succulents don’t like living in wet soil. Chose a container that has a slot or two for drainage to prevent overwatering, rot, and/ or disease. Also, if you’re just starting out…with succulents, a drainage hole will make a huge difference! (Trust us).

When choosing a container, also be sure to select one that is tall enough to hold your plant’s root ball and also gives some room for the plant to grow. A happy plant will grow strong roots and might even give you babies! Selecting a container that is too large for your plant(s) can actually stunt growth! However, if you’re going for an arrangement, it’s totally fine to put several smaller planter into a larger container.

Select Similar Succulents

Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of which container might work best for your succulent planter, the real fun begins! There are hundreds, if not thousands of succulent plants to choose from. 

When choosing your plants, be aware that many have varying light and care requirements. When selecting succulents for your container garden, be sure to check the plant tag for specifics and make sure that plants in the same pot have the similar needs.

You can take two different approaches at this point:

  1. Choose your pot’s color and texture based on the succulents you’re working with
  2. Pick your succulents based on the pot you want to use 

This is a fun project, but can sometimes become tricky when the different plants have varying sun and water requirements.

Purchase the (RIGHT) Soil Mix

What kind of soil should I plant my succulents in? 

Succulents love well-draining soil. Use a quick-draining soil blend that’s well-drained and not overly rich. The standard mix consists of one-half organic matter and one-half grit (crushed rock or sand). You can find cacti and succulent mixes already bagged at your local hardware store or nursery. 

In the dryer summer months, if your soil dries too quickly or isn’t retaining water long enough, you can mix your cactus soil with a bit of regular potting soil to increase the water retention.

Design Your Succulent Arrangement

Designing your succulent garden in your chosen container requires attention to a few details.

First, with your plants still in their nursery pots, place your plants into the container to get a general idea of the container design and where you think they should go. Don’t be afraid to move the plants around until you are satisfied with the arrangement. It’s a lot easier to do this while they are still in their pots to protect the fragile root systems then after the fact.

Once you’re happy with the arrangement use the steps below to plant your succulents in their new container.

Plant with Precision

To achieve a well-balanced landscape follow these 4 easy steps to safely transplant your succulents into their new container: 

  • Determine Drainage

If your container has a drain hole or several, decide if the hole is adequately sized or if you need to cover the drain hole with a piece of broken pottery or a bit of metal screen (to prevent drainage holes from becoming blocked and soil from being flushed out).
If you’re planting succulent in containers without drainage holes, such as teacups, mason jars and tin cans, either layer the bottom of the container with pebbles or add sand to the soil to help with drainage issues.
  • Fill Container With Soil Mix

Fill the pot up about 2/3 full with the soil mixture and make a hole deep enough for your succulent to be planted. The plant should sit about 1cm above where the roots begin.
  • Transfer & Plant

Carefully remove the succulent from the plant’s nursery container, and “tickle” its roots to stimulate them. A small bit of soil from the previous container can be left on. Plant the succulent in the hole and put the soil around the plant. Use a narrow trowel or spoon to fill around the succulents with soil mix. Pat down somewhat firmly. Make sure that the soil level in the pot is no higher than the level of the soil in the plant’s nursery container. Most succulents have shallow roots, so be sure you don’t plant them too deeply. Burying part of the stem often allows rot to set in. Repeat with remaining succulents.
PRO TIP:Give Succulents ROOM to allow for new growth!
If you’re combining a lot of succulents in your arrangement, make sure to leave a little space around each of them, so they’ll have some room to spread out. Although a tightly packed arrangement may look wonderful as soon as it’s complete, it’ll generally prevent the succulents from growing and will eventually start to appear “overgrown” as the succulents try to stretch or spread.
  • Top It Off & Accessorize!

What else can you plant with your succulents? After planting, add a top layer of gravel or crushed stone to provide a finished, desert-like look that also helps keep the base of the plant dry. Feel free to add any decorative details at this point — seashells, crystals, miniature dry steer heads, broken glass, and so on.

Go ahead and create your own unique little world inside your container or planter garden!

Caring for your succulent container garden is easy. They will be happiest in the sun with very minimal watering and maintenance, you should enjoy your masterpiece for many months to come!

Follow these simple tips to care for and maintain your succulent sanctuary:

H2O: When & how much should I water my succulents?

Succulents aren't cactus, and they do require consistent moisture. We’ve found that watering about once a week during the hotter, spring and summer months of the year for us here in California works great. During the cooler “winter” months, we’ll typically water about once every week and a half to two weeks. The key indicator that your succulents need water is to check with your finger and touch the soil to feel the moisture level of it. Making sure the soil is totally dry in between waterings will prevent your succulents from becoming overwatered. 

When watering, water the SOIL, not the succulent itself. Watering the actual leaves of the succulent can cause rot, in addition to leaving unsightly markings. 

It is also crucial to keep in mind if your plater or pot has drainage holes or not when watering. For plants with drainage holes, you can give these a good soak in a sink or bathtub so that the water runs out of the bottom of the pot. For plants without drainage holes, instead of soaking, give them more of a "sip" and remember to only water the soil. 


In terms of location, succulent container gardens fair well just about anywhere that is accessible to sunlight - but more on that in a bit. First, we want to discuss elevating your container gardens about an inch above the surface you plan to place them. Leaving space under the container helps them drain properly and encourages air circulation. It also helps prevent water stains if they are placed on decks or patios. To elevate your plate, you can use plain or decorative pot “feet,” small stands, or wood trivets. You can also try bricks, pieces of wood, or even other flowerpots. 

To sun or not to sun? That is the question. The answer is that succulents thrive incredibly well hot, dry climates and plenty of sunlight. Although many varieties will go dormant in the winter and require less sunlight, most succulents like at least a half day to a full day of sunlight depending on what type of plant(s) you have chosen. 

Maintaining a warm temperature in the area where your succulent garden is located is also important. Succulents like about 70-80 degrees in summer months and 50-60 in winter months.

Weeding, Clearing, & Fertilizing

Every few months, check your succulent and remove the dead petals/leaves on the underside of the plant.

If weeds grow, pull them out. If you don’t like weeding at all, invest in some rocks, pebbles, gravel or sand to put on the topsoil to prevent weeds from growing. Doing this helps keep the plant’s vital energies directed into producing new leaves instead of wasting nutrients in the dying ones. 

Depending on the succulent plant, fertilize during the growing season with a diluted liquid fertilizer.

The good news is that there’s really no “wrong way” to create your own succulent garden. As long as they have similar light and watering needs and are planted with well-draining soil, you’ll have a beautiful conversation piece that you made yourself (you just need to remember to water them every week or so!)  

We hope that you find creativity and inspiration with this project and that you follow our tips to arrange and combine your own succulent garden. 

If you’re looking for a stylish concrete planter for your planting needs, be sure to check out our assortment of cool concrete planters that are a perfect way to start your succulent garden.

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