Keeping plants in pots is a great way to maximize space. Additionally, potted plants allow you to instantly add a dash of color to your garden or living space. If you are planning on keeping succulents in pots, here are a few varieties that grow large.
1. Agave Jaws
Agave is the perfect plant to grow in containers, especially if you have limited indoor space without adequate light.
And one agave variety that you should strongly consider keeping is the Agave Jaws (Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’).
This succulent can grow up to a height of four feet and spread out to up to six feet. The plant’s leaves are blue-green in color and have deeply-serrated edges which give it the appearance of a wide-open jaw with several teeth.
The plant prefers partial shade, especially in hotter climates. However, it can also tolerate the full sun.
If you are keeping the Agave Jaws with other plants, choose plants that have thinner leaves which will highlight this succulent’s unusual leaves.
2. Fox Tail Agave
The Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata) is one of the few agaves that are evergreen.
Growing up five feet high and eight feet wide, this plant got its moniker its flower stalk. Upon maturity, this succulent sends up an upward arching flower stalk which can grow up to 10 feet high.
The plant produces greenish-yellow flowers during summer. The flowers contain both seed pods and bulbils or plantlets. Unfortunately, the Fox Tail Agave does not flower often. Most specimens flower just once in their lifetime. Plus, it will take up to 10 years for this plant to bloom.
This agave is easy to care for, requiring full sun and minimal watering. Additionally, it is almost pest and disease-free.
3. Spider Aloe
The Spider Aloe ( Aloe x spinosissima) is a hybrid of two plants, Aloe humilis and Aloe arborescens.
The plant grows up to three feet in height and spreads up to four feet. It prefers the full sun and requires good ventilation. The Spider Aloe should be moderately watered, except during its dormancy when its water requirements go down.
Although the plant’s name suggests something scary, the spines that line the leaves are not sharp. In fact, the leaves are soft to the touch.
Unlike other succulents that flower late in their lifetimes, the Spider Aloe produces flowers even when it is still young. The aloe’s orange-red flowers emerge between fall and winter.
Like its cousin, the Aloe Vera, the Spider Aloe can be used for treating sunburn.
4. Silver Dollar Prickly Pear
The Silver Dollar Prickly Pear (Opuntia robusta) is a tree or shrub-like cactus that typically grows three to six feet but can sometimes grow as tall as 20 feet.
This cactus’s most appealing characteristic is its stems or pads which are often mistaken as specialized leaves. These pads are thick and can weigh as much as four pounds.
Some pads may or may not contain white spines that are one to two inches in length.
Come spring, the cactus produces yellow flowers that appear along the edges of the pod. The plant’s red fruits are suitable for use as animal feed.
The Silver Dollar is ideal for beginners because it is easy to care for and relatively disease-free. The plant can thrive in full to partial shade and can tolerate different types of soil as long as there is ample drainage.
5. Dinosaur Back Plant
The Dinosaur Back Plant (Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata), sometimes called Crested Blue Candle, Crested Blue Myrtle, or Crested Blue Flame, is an unusual-looking cactus that will surely draw the attention of your house guests.
This cactus’ thick branches spread out from the main trunk to form stems that crest and wave.
The plant requires at least six hours of sunlight although you can keep it indoors as long as you place it in an area that gets enough sunlight, like a south-facing window.
The Dinosaur Back Plant is classified as semi-hardy which means that it cannot survive sub-zero temperatures. As such, you should relocate it during winter when it enters dormancy.
6. Argentine Saguaro
The Argentine Saguaro (Trichocereus terscheckii) is a fast-growing cactus that is often seen as an alternative to the Saguaro Cactus which can be difficult to acquire.
Like the Saguaro Cactus, this plant grows tall and can reach a height of about 20 feet upon maturity.
Young specimens start with a single column. But as the plant grows, it develops numerous branches. The deep green-colored stems each contain ribs that can number anywhere between eight and 14.
The whole cactus is covered in golden spines that lengthen and grow deeper in color as the plant grows older.
Like most succulents, the cactus does not need too much water. The amazing thing about this cactus is that it will tell you when it needs a drink. Once dehydrated, the pleats on the plant shrivel. As the plant grows older, you can water it just once a month.
7. Bunny Ears
The Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys albata) looks as quirky as its name. This plant is a perennial favorite among new and old succulent collectors for its unique appearance and its minimal care requirements.
Originating from Mexico, the Bunny Ears cactus typically grows two to three feet tall and can spread four to five feet in the wild.
However, like most cacti, this plant is a slow grower and can be kept indoors for years.
Young specimens grow pads or “bunny ears” which start with a rosy red color. But as the plant matures, the pads take on a green color.
Unlike other cacti that have spines, the plant has aureoles. Aureoles are composed of wool and bristles that appear in some cacti upon reaching a specific height or age.
Be careful in handling the aureoles. They may look soft but these can still prick your fingers.
8. African Milk Tree
The African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona) goes about different names, including Friendship Cactus and Cathedral Cactus.
But despite these names, this plant is neither a cactus nor a tree. It is a succulent.
The plant looks exotic but is surprisingly easy to care for. In fact, it is considered to be a fast-growing succulent with a minimal amount of requirements.
The succulent has three-sided stalks. The stalks and cactus-like branches are all lined up with spines. The plant has small leaves that grow on the branches and stalks.
This plant grows tall, easily reaching a height of up to eight feet. The combination of tall height and a relatively sparse root system makes the plant top-heavy with a tendency to tip over.
You can use stakes for support or simply cut off the top part of the plant to keep it from falling over.
9. Variegated Snake Plant
If you are close to giving up on keeping plants, do not. Not just yet.
The Variegated Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is near indestructible, perfect for people who may not have been blessed with a green thumb.
The succulent originally comes from China where it is kept due to the belief that it has been blessed by the gods with several of their virtues.
The plant has been subjected to numerous studies, including institutions like NASA. The plant is well-known for its air purifying ability.
Depending on the variety, the succulent can grow anywhere between six inches to eight feet.
The Snake Plant prefers indirect light but is known to survive little to no light conditions.
Choosing a pot
Most succulents share the same needs: adequate sunlight, correct watering, and proper drainage. If you meet these needs, most of your work is done.
But if there is one thing many succulent owners miss out on, including those with some experience, is the importance of choosing the right containers for their plants.
Choosing a pot for your succulent is not exactly rocket science. However, there are a few important things that you need to consider. After all, the right pot does not only add more appeal to your plant. More importantly, the correct succulent container contributes to proper drainage.
Here are a few considerations that you need to take into account when buying pots for your succulents.
When it comes to succulent pots, bigger is not necessarily better. If you use a pot that is too big for your succulent, you can end up doing a disservice to your plant.
As a rule of thumb, there should be a half-inch clearance between the base of your succulent and the edge of the pot. This will give your succulent enough room for growth.
Go a little bigger than that and you will stunt the growth of your succulent. When a pot is big for your plant, it will spend most of its energy spreading out its roots instead of spending the same amount of energy growing taller and bigger.
On the other hand, if you are making a succulent arrangement with multiple plants in a single container, the rule of thumb to follow is to give each plant half an inch to one-inch distance from one another.
A tightly packed arrangement may look amazing over the short term. However, over the long term, planting your succulents too close to one another does not leave them enough room to grow and spread out.
Containers for succulents come in an array of styles, designs, and materials. And one part of the fun in keeping succulents is choosing aesthetically-pleasing containers for your plants.
But aesthetics should not take primacy over function. When looking at containers for succulents, consider the pros and cons of each material.
You almost cannot go wrong with a ceramic pot for your succulents. Ceramic pots are breathable and facilitate airflow. Plus, these pots work well both indoors and outdoors.
However, ceramic pots are heavier, especially once you fill these up with soil. That is one issue you will need to consider if you are considering keeping succulent varieties that need to be moved outdoors or indoors with the changing of the seasons.
Finally, take note that ceramic pots are fairly easy to break or crack.
Over the last few years, plastic pots have emerged as a popular option for succulent owners. And there are a few reasons why.
For one, plastic pots are considerably more durable than ceramic pots. Plus, plastic is a lighter material, making moving pots around easier.
However, be aware that water evaporates slower in plastic pots. But that drawback can be easily overcome by using the right potting mix.
Succulents placed in glass containers undoubtedly look stunning.
But be aware that most glass containers do not have drainage holes. Additionally, glass is not breathable. This means that you have to pay more attention to watering your succulents.
Also, apart from being fragile, glass can get dirty easily.
Although metal planters look quirky, you should not consider these as a long term option for your plants.
Metal can get hot or cold fast, depending on the prevailing temperature. Furthermore, unless you are using a container that is treated to prevent rust, your plant’s long term health may be compromised. To put it succinctly, rust is bad for your succulents.
Wood is an unusual container for succulents. But somehow, it just works.
Apart from the aesthetic appeal, wood allows succulents to remain cool, especially during hot days. Plus, soil retains more water when placed in a wooden container.
However, both of these can be a drawback if you place your succulent in an area that has low light and poor airflow. The wood can contribute to rotting.
Finally, wood is not a good long term option because it will eventually break down due to exposure to water.
3. Drainage holes
If there is just one thing that you should look for in a pot, that would be the presence of drainage holes.
Drainage is not just a matter of using the right potting mix. Drainage holes contribute greatly in wicking away excess moisture from the soil, helping prevent the succulent roots from sitting on water for an extended time.
If you are planning on using a pot without drainage holes or if you are recycling another material into a succulent pot, you can add drainage by boring a hole on these using a drill bit.