How Many Succulents Per Pot?

How Many Succulents Per Pot

That is one of the first questions many people ask before starting a succulent arrangement project.

There is no clear cut answer to this question. 

The actual number of plants that you can put together will depend on your specific goals for your arrangement, especially in terms of visual appeal.

Planting succulents together in a pot

When planting succulents together in an arrangement, there are two prevailing schools of thought that you can look into.

Tightly-packed arrangements

On one hand, you have people that advocate planting succulents in a tight arrangement, planting as many succulents they can reasonably pack in one container. 

There are a few advantages to this school of thought.

For one, you do not have to worry much about tending to your growing plants. When you fill your container with as many plants as you reasonably can, they will grow and spread at a slower pace.

Second, tighter succulent arrangements will hold their shape much longer. Plus, your succulent arrangement will have a more finished look which can be more visually appealing.

That finished look means that you can give your arrangements as gifts anytime you want.

But along with these advantages come a few downsides.

One problem that you will likely encounter is the difficulty in watering the succulents in your arrangement. 

Because the succulents are planted closely together, you may have a difficult time reaching each plant.

The best workaround here is to use a watering spout with a thin and long neck.

When one or more plants in the arrangement grow too big, you might find it difficult to trim the excess growth on these succulents. It is also possible for the plants to become root-bound.

Although it is possible to remove plants from an existing arrangement, you will have to go through the hassle of removing the other plants as well so you can gain access to one or more of the bigger plants.

Spread-out arrangements

On the other hand, some people prefer giving ample space for their plants in an arrangement.

The chief advantage of this philosophy is you are giving your plants enough room to grow and spread out. 

If you compare the plants grown in tightly-packed arrangements and those that are in spread-out arrangements, you will notice that the rate of growth is faster in the latter.

Maintenance is less of an issue in spread-out arrangements. Due to the extra space available, you can water the plants without encountering hassles.

If you need to prune one or more plants, you will have enough room to maneuver around.

But before you use this approach for your succulent arrangement, you should also be aware of its downsides.

First, your arrangement may look incomplete because of the extra space. Your plants will eventually fill that space up. But be aware that many succulents are notorious for being slow growers.

You can counter that disadvantage by filling the available space with large decorative rocks. Others prefer to put a top dressing on their arrangements to complete the look of their projects.

Eventually, you can remove the rocks as your plants begin to fill up space on the container.

The extra space in the container may also cause the plants to grow slower, especially at the beginning. Because of the availability of space, succulents tend to expend their energy toward extending their roots instead of growth.

A matter of choice

The number of plants that you can put in a succulent arrangement boils down to your preferences and goals.

If you have the time to wait, you can spread-out your arrangement and allow your succulents to slowly fill up the available space.

On the other hand, if you are planning to give your arrangements or if you just want to have one that looks complete, you should strongly consider planting as many succulents as you reasonably can.

Consider the pros and cons of each option before settling for an approach.

Succulent arrangement tips

But no matter what approach you take in designing your succulent arrangement, the following tips will allow you to take better care of your succulents and prevent a few problems along the way.

Sit plants above the pot’s rim

First, make sure that you fill your container with as much potting mix as you can. The potting mix should reach the rim of the pot you are using.

Otherwise, water will pool inside the pot, leaving your plants more vulnerable to rot.

When filling up the pot with soil, fill it partially before placing your succulents inside. This will help you see if you need to add more soil to prop up your succulents.

Combine thoughtfully

Do not put succulents in your arrangements randomly.

To generate visual interest and appeal, you need to establish a hierarchy. You can achieve that by mixing and matching the heights of the plants that you put in the container.

You can complete the look of your arrangement by adding trailing plants that spill over the container when they grow.

In terms of color, there are three approaches that you can consider: monochromatic, complementary, and analogous.

A monochromatic arrangement uses succulents that essentially have the same color. A complementary approach to color uses plants with colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. Finally, in an analogous approach, the colors used are placed next to one another on the color wheel.

Consider the plants’ needs

Finally, it is a good idea to use succulents that have the same light and water needs. This will prevent one or more plants from succumbing to problems while the rest thrive.

For example, avoid placing succulents that go dormant in the summer with those that go dormant during the winter.

Look beyond the number

Beyond the number of plants that you want to put inside a container, you should take into account your and your plants’ needs. You can put as many or as few as you want as long as you satisfy your design goals as well as your plants’ requirements for growth and development.

Image: / Nadtochiy

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