How to Pot Succulents

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Learn the secret to succulent succulents! This post will show you how to pot succulents.

One of my favorite things to do is peruse thrift stores.

We have this gigantic Goodwill near us and I always find the cutest little items there. It’s so hard to resist picking up something new when I’m there!

On a recent Goodwill hunt, I picked up this lovely little brass bowl. I decided to turn it into a DIY succulent planter.

How to Create a DIY Succulent Planter

Ideas for Vessels for your Succulents

Mini Jade Planter in bowl with green shovel

Let me first say that you can pretty much use any vessel for a succulent planter. If you have a bowl or teacup or concrete vessel or even a little planter box – those all work really well for succulents.

Succulents have shallow root systems – they only really need a depth of about 2 inches to be happy. It’s especially true if you have a drainage hole in your vessel. If you can manage to drill one in – do it – it will be much better for your succulents.


Because succulents hate prolonged moist soil and sitting in water. If you can have that excess water drain out of it, your succulent will be so happy.


I have another method for you if you can’t manage a drainage hole. This is the method I used because I didn’t want to drill a hole in my pretty little brass bowl.

The Secret to Thriving Succulents ….

The Secret? Good Drainage!

But how do you get that when you don’t have drainage holes in your planter?

Answer: You sprinkle in a few additions to your planter that really help with good drainage.

Here’s how you do it.

Materials Needed For your Planter

How to Pot Succulents

Let’s get planting, shall we?

Step 1 : Pour in a layer of landscape rocks

Starting with your clean vessel, the first step is creating a layer of landscape rocks or pebbles. This will help with drainage.

Step 2 : Put Down a Layer of Charcoal

If you don’t have a drainage hole and you really want your succulents to thrive, this horticultural charcoal is magical.

You can put down a thin layer of this on top of your rocks. The charcoal assists with drainage, adds nutrients to plant roots, conditions the soil and absorbs excess moisture. Your succulents will love you!

Step 3 : Sprinkle in your Cactus/Succulent Soil

On top of the rocks and charcoal will go a layer of cactus soil. Remember, the more shallow your vessel – the less each of these items you will need. You want to make sure to leave room for your succulent to go in! 🙂

Step 4 : Plant your Succulent

Remove your succulent from the planter it came in and gently massage the roots and shake off loose excess soil. Be careful not to damage the roots here. Create a small dip in your planter for your succulent to go in.

If you are planting more than one succulent, plant the larger and taller succulents in the middle. The trailing and smaller sized succulents can go around the sides if you have room.

Step 5 : Layer more Cactus Soil on Top and Around your Succulent

Add more soil around base of succulent

To give your succulent a nice, cozy home, place more soil around your succulent after it’s planted and gently press down. This will help to stabilize the plant so it’s not flimsy and falling over. Ensure the roots are covered.

Step 6 : Layer some Landscape Rocks on Top

Add more rocks on top of soil around succulent

To give your succulent planter a nice finished look, layer some more landscape rocks on the top.

I used black pebbles here but white would also give it a nice look.

How pretty is this!?

How to Water Succulents for Success

Simply put – don’t water them too much!

Succulents like a nice drink every now and again but then you should let the soil dry out completely.

I water my succulents every other week or so. It may take a bit of experimentation on your part.

Remember, it’s best to underwater rather than over water – succulents do better when they are dry.

Mini Jade Succulent Planter in a low bowl

If you live in a very hot and humid climate, you may need to water them a bit more. Here in the PNW – they are perfectly happy with the less is more approach to watering. The charcoal, pebbles and specialty succulent soil will really help with soaking in that excess water for you if you don’t have a drainage hole. If this is the case, you just want to be extra mindful of that.

Your very own succulent planter in a brass bowl

If you find that you poured too much water in there and it’s just sitting like a puddle, carefully place your hand over your container and drain it out. You may need to relayer and smooth out the soil and rock layers. Be careful not to mess with the roots.

But draining out excess water is much much better than having your succulent sit in a puddle of water. That will surely kill it. Don’t forget – the pebbles and charcoal will really help with your drainage too.

That’s it!

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial for a DIY succulent planter. Remember that thrift stores are a great place to pick up little vessels for your succulents.

Don’t fret if you don’t have a drainage hole or can’t put one in, just follow these steps and baby your little succulent baby until they are happy.

And as long as you have enough light – you can place them where you want! I keep one near my kitchen sink, one on my kitchen shelves, one in the bathroom and one on my mantel. Oh yes, and I have one next to my TV. 🙂

They are perfect for adding that touch of green.

Brass Bowl Succulent Planter

More Planter and Gardening Ideas

Working with larger succulents or want a larger planter? Just follow these same steps but use more materials. Your layers will be larger than if you were planting in a small, shallow vessel.

All these materials can be picked up on Amazon, your local garden nurseries and home improvement stores.

Let me know if you have any succulent tips, planter ideas or questions in the comments!

xo Karen

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