How to Group and Display Potted Succulents

In my new video, How to Group and Display Potted Succulents (9:48), I show you practical as well as aesthetic ways to display a container collection. Find the main points below.

But first, why even grow succulents in pots?

Art pot collection

Part of my own collection of succulents in art pots

Ten reasons to grow succulents in containers

  1. Who can resist a great pot? Personally, I collect art pots, Talavera, frogs...
  2. Pots are great for succulents that, in the garden, might get engulfed or trampled.
  3. Containers make it easier to observe and nurture prize plants.
  4. Cacti and small agaves are fascinating to look at when safely framed by pots.
  5. Pots make it possible to pick up and carry prized succulents.
  6. You can move plants that can't handle summer sun but need more sun in winter (like echeverias).
  7. If you change residences, you can take your collection with you.
  8. Pots make a balcony, rooftop, deck, patio or hardscape a garden.
  9. You can tend your collection without having to bend or kneel.
  10. Family and guests enjoy looking at them.

There are probably many more (please share yours in the Comments).

The Drawback

Pots multiply. Soon you're tucking containers everywhere. Plant parents---the nurturing kind (you know who)---tend to be more concerned about where succulents will thrive than where they'll look good. But it IS possible to achieve both. In my How to Group and Display Potted Succulents video, I present three main concepts to guide and inspire you.

#1: Go High

Pots on tree

If you're going to nail pots to a tree, don't use copper or anything that rusts. (I used stainless steel.) Pots by Marsha Rafter.

Vertical space is easy to overlook, but when floor space is limited, it's a great option for displaying potted plants.

Below: I love this idea by newsletter subscriber John Yeomans of Kent, England. To display his sempervivum collection, John added screws to a small stepladder's wooden steps. He kept the screws elevated so they secure the pots through their drain holes. "I can move the whole thing as a unit," John says.

Sempervivums on stepladder

#2: Group Like with Like

Repetition adds cohesion to an assortment and makes it more pleasing to the eye. In How to Group and Display Potted Succulents, I show you windowsill succulents, a poolside succulent garden, and many others.

Repetition in a pot grouping

Repetitions here include the type of succulent (mostly cacti), a limited palette of glazes, and---importantly---the topdressing.

#3: Create a Display

One secret to an effective display is to have larger, taller plants in the middle or in back, surrounded by medium-sized and lastly smallest pots.

Create a succulent container display

A grouping of colorful potted succulents serves as a focal point on Jim Gardner's patio.

 

ONLINE SUCCULENT SOURCES
Subscribers' #1 choice: Mountain Crest Gardens

ONLINE POTS: Amazon (affiliate)
ART POTTERS: Susan Aach

Mail order succulents

Where do YOU shop for succulents?

Find out what to do if the succulents you want aren’t available near you. See others’ favorite succulent sources, mail-order and walk-in, and share yours in the comments below. Please tell us your city or region, what you’ve purchased, and anything else that might be helpful.  

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Succulent Container Garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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Succulent Container Design Design ideas and must-dos for beautiful, easy-care potted succulents Here you’ll find info on succulent container design in articles and videos. Scroll down to see what interests you and meets your needs. Also enjoy and find inspiration in my gallery of 150+ floral-style arrangements! Succulent Container Gardens, How-To Discover My Online Design…

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Succulents in Containers Design ideas and must-dos for beautiful, easy-care potted succulents Want to create a lovely, low-maintenance, low-water succulent container garden? This page guides you to helpful info on this site and on my YouTube channel. A must-have to help you select and pair pots and plants—and keep them looking good—is my my bestselling book, Succulent…

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4 Comments

  1. Nelda on October 29, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Thanks! I’ve been seeing beautiful photos of succulents in pots where the pastel colors of the pots complement the succulent’s color. But I can’t seem to find any of these colorful pots that have drainage for succulents. Any suggestions for good pot sources?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 29, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Nelda — Pots sold by vendors at Cactus and Succulent Shows and Sales are tailor-made for pairing with succulents, at least in the style of “staging”—i.e. what’s likely to look good on the show table and impress judges. Many of those art pots are earth tones, but potters do use glazes in shades that work with (and more importantly, don’t upstage) succulents. As for other sources, for us San Diegans, Planter Paradise has the best selection and prices, but inventory changes continually: 1146 E. Chase Ave., El Cajon; 619/440-6563. I’d love to know what others might recommend.

  2. Joyce Mitchell on October 29, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Why grow succulents in pots? Not all of us live in temperate climates where we can have our succulents outdoors all year round! I live in Minnesota, and while there are a few succulents that can survive the winter in the ground, those aren’t the ones I’m interested in, so I can only leave mine out about five months of the year, at most. It would be great if you would offer more tips for those of us in that position. (There are a lot of us!) Also, for those of us who can’t make it to the cactus and succulent shows, it would be nice if you could offer some sources for finding good pots for succulents that can be ordered online.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Joyce — Thank you for your excellent comment and observations. Yes, many of you are beyond the banana belt where succulents grow outdoors year-round. The premise for my second book, “Succulent Container Gardens” was to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to grow and enjoy succulents, because containers are portable and can be moved when the weather turns too hot, cold or wet. Here on my site, start with my Wall Street Journal article, “Showy Succulents for Snowy Climates.” Also on my site are these pages and posts: Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates ; Overwintering Succulents; and How to Grow Succulents Indoors.

      As for “good pots for succulents” that can be ordered online, I’ve added links. You’re not the only one to point out the omission!

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