How To Arrange Succulents?

How To Arrange Succulents?

Succulents add aesthetic beauty to homes and gardens. They are also popular with interior designers to add character to a room, patio or office. Plant growers follow certain techniques to produce eye-catching succulent arrangements. In this article, you can get to know more about the basics of  succulent arrangement.

How to arrange succulents

Succulent growers note that there are guidelines for arranging succulents. They claim to follow this formula: thriller, filler, spiller. This is not some kind of magic spell; each word represents a certain kind of succulent. 

  • Thriller – This is a succulent that is large, spikey, tall and different from the other succulents in the arrangement. It is the first thing people notice when they see the arrangement. 
  • Filler – These are the succulents that make up most of the arrangement. These plants should complement the thriller succulents, but should still provide visual interest through either color or texture. You can get creative and mix and match varieties. 
  • Spiller – These succulents hang over the pot’s edge. Trailing succulents like String of Hearts, String of Bananas and String of Pearls are perfect choices as a spiller. The Sedum Burrito variety is also ideal as a spiller, because it trails as it grows older.

Spiller succulents can become an important factor in the longevity of the arrangement and should cover the edge of the pot. 

Other tips on how to arrange succulents

Here are some other tips on arranging succulents:

1. Consider the colors and textures of the succulents. 

Succulents come in an array of colors and while most are green, some are red, orange, yellow, purple or blue.  Plant experts note that when creating a monochromatic arrangement with only one main color, such as green, you should use various textures and shapes.

For a multi-colored arrangement, it is ideal to have groupings with analogous colors or those that are next to each other on the color wheel. For instance, combine green, blue and purple succulents, or opt for orange, yellow and green. 

Whatever your preferences, be as creative as you can and you’ll be surprised at the eye-catching outcome. 

2. Consider the light requirements. 

Succulents come in various varieties, and also have varying light requirements. Some plants, like the Sansevierias, do not like full sun but prefer low lighting, while others, like the Sedum nussbaumerianum, prefer full sun as this brings out the plant’s intense color and compact shape.

In creating a succulent arrangement, make sure to combine succulents with the same lighting requirements. 

3. Consider the leaf thickness and watering needs. 

Generally, most succulents can get by with minimal water, especially during cold weather.  Most varieties only need to be watered once a week or less in the winter season or if you live in a country with a  cold climate. You should also consider the leaf thickness of the plants in your arrangement.

The thicker the leaves, the more tolerant they could be when exposed to dry conditions or high temperatures.

Aside from those mentioned above, other things you should consider when arranging succulents could include the following:

  • Choice of container or pot

The container or pot that you use for your arrangement should have drainage holes for excess water to flow smoothly, to avoid root drowning or root rot. You should also consider the material of your container or pot. 

These are the common types of container or pot materials:

  • Terracotta and ceramic – These are great for both indoor and outdoor arrangements. However, they are fragile and prone to breakage.
  • Plastic –  It is lightweight and not prone to breakage, but is not breathable and water could get trapped inside it.
  • Wood – This adds a special appeal, especially for outdoor succulent arrangements. However, it can rot after a certain time and it could split over time if it cannot tolerate the amount of water or moisture. 
  • Metal – Succulent arrangements also look appealing when placed in metal pots. However, metal can rust after some time, and the temperature could change quickly and cause the soil to heat up. 
  • Glass – This provides elegance to your succulent arrangements and allows you to view the roots as you water the plants. This makes it easier to provide the right amount of water. However, it can get dirty easily and tends to collect hard water deposits. Extreme care should also be practiced in handling glass containers since they are breakable.
  • Size of the container or pot

According to succulent growers, the general rule is to leave a half-inch of space between the plants and the container’s rim. This will allow the plants more room to grow. However, make sure to only allow just enough space, since too much could also hinder the growth. 

For two-inch succulents, it is ideal to use a 2.5 inch container or pot. Leave just a tiny space around each plant if you are combining them in a single arrangement. See to it that the plants are not too cramped so they can grow well. 

Make sure that your succulent arrangements are given just enough water so that they will grow and last for years. Fertilize them, especially during the growing season, for them to absorb the right nutrients. 


A succulent arrangement allows you to flaunt your collection in a creative and eye-catching way. In arranging your succulents, always follow the ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ formula discussed above. Most importantly, take into consideration the water and light requirements, as well as the color and texture of the succulents that you intend to combine and arrange.

Image: / kynny