How to Plant Succulents

Whether you're planting newly acquired succulents from Leaf & Clay, or repotting some of your current collection, follow the steps below to grow and maintain happy, healthy succulents.

Things to Consider Before Planting Succulents

The first and most important thing to consider before planting your succulents is the kind of soil they will be planted in.  Soil should be a well draining mixture of organic material, pumice or perlite, and sand. In general, a good succulent soil should contain equal parts organic material (peat moss or bark) and inorganic material (pumice or perlite), with no more than 10% sand.

The next consideration should be that of the container the succulents will be planted in. Of course, if your plants are going into the ground, this information does not apply.  Ideally, any container you decide to plant your succulents in should have a drainage hole, although it is not necessary.  We sell a variety of pots with and without a drainage hole.  A drainage hole is a small hole in the bottom of the pot that allows excess water to drain from the soil and out of the pot.  This opening also allows oxygen to circulate through the soil more freely, decreasing drying time and improving root health. 

Without a drainage hole, the soil will remain wet for much longer if you accidentally overwater, increasing the likelihood of rot and irreversible damage to your plant's root system.  If you are planting in a pot without a drainage hole, you'll simply need to be careful not to overwater.  When it comes to succulents and their health, excess water is public enemy #1.

succulent soil perlite peat moss sand
Photo: The appearance of a proper succulent soil mix
succulent pot drainage
Photo: A Leaf & Clay succulent pot with a drainage hole

Steps to Planting Succulents

You've got your well-draining container, appropriate succulent soil, and bare-root plants ready to go.  Let's get planting:

  1. Prepare your planter by filling it ¾ full with a commercial pre-mixed succulent soil, or your own 50/50 mixture. If you are moving your succulent to a larger planter, make sure the planter is about 2" wider than the diameter of the succulent.  This will give your succulent plenty of room to grow and stabilize.
  2. Take your succulent out of its current pot, and gently loosen the roots. You can "tickle" the roots from the bottom to loosen them up and knock off the soil. Think of this step as giving the roots a nice stretch. Spreading and lengthening them out will allow them to stabilize in a bigger pot and get used to their new soil. This is the perfect time to brush away any dead roots as well as pull off any dead leaves around the base of the plant. Be sure to brush away the old, excess dirt while you're doing this!
  3. Dig a shallow hole in the new soil, place your succulent in it, then cover the roots with more potting soil, tamping firmly to stabilize the plant. Be sure to add enough soil to reach the base of the plant, but don't cover any leaves or let the leaves rest on top of the soil! This will result in rotting leaves because they'll absorb too much moisture from the soil.
  4. Once the plant is stable, you can give your new potted succulent a personal touch by adding colored rocks, pebbles, or sand. If you do add something to the top, be sure that the material drains well so that water can get down into the soil below!  

**Please Note: It is important to avoid watering your freshly potted succulents for several days.  This delay causes the roots to spread out through the new soil in search of water, which ultimately stabilizes the plant.**

    succulent soil perlite peat moss sand
    Photo: A pot ready for planting, 3/4 full of succulent mix.
    bare root succulent
    Photo: A bare-root succulent.
    succulent soil perlite peat moss sand
    Photo: Tamping soil around the roots after planting.
    succulent pot drainage
    Photo: Add a white pebble top-dressing for a clean, finished look.

    The Next Steps

    Now that you've planted your succulents in their new container, it's time to learn about their water requirements so that they stay happy, healthy, and beautiful.

    Check out our Guide to Watering Succulents, or head back to The Ultimate Succulent Care Guide