Pairing succulents with a teal pot (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Pick the Perfect Succulent for Your Pot

If you have a special pot that needs pairing with the perfect succulent, take the pot with you to the nursery or have it on hand when shopping online. Plant-pot pairings are like picking throw pillows for your sofa. You have to see them together to know if they work.

Aloe 'Swordfish' in a Pat Roach pot

Aloe 'Swordfish' in a Pat Roach pot. 

Friend and potter Pat Roach recently drove south from Los Angeles to pair five of her pots with succulents at Oasis Water Efficient Gardens, a specialty nursery in Escondido, CA. Oasis is owned by Altman Plants, which sells online and via garden centers nationwide. The large inventory changes often, and I usually notice one or two cultivars I haven't seen before (like Aloe 'Swordfish' above).

Kalanchoes 'Chocolate Soldier' and 'Teddy Bear' in a Pat Roach pot

Kalanchoes 'Chocolate Soldier' and 'Teddy Bear' in a Pat Roach pot

Pat uses a potter's wheel rather than hand-molding clay, so her pots have traditional rounded shapes. She favors glazes that create a speckled, two-tone finish: charcoal gray and blue, rusty brown and teal, greenish gold and orange---to name a few. She also may emboss the clay with patterns.

She and I were keen to observe the magic that happens when you walk down an aisle of succulents carrying an empty pot. Typically, plenty of plants look OK, some are definite no's, and one or more are Wow's. We took a video of the process so you can see it too.

After we selected succulents for the pots, I planted them---that's on the video, too, with design and planting tips. Also in the video, you'll see my all-purpose topdressing, what to do when a plant consists of floppy cuttings, how to hold a succulent with spines, and more. Enjoy!

DLB planting a myrtillocactus

Crested Myrtillocactus geometrizans repeats the pot's wavy texture. 

Related info on this site

Succulent Container Garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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  1. Janie on February 10, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Thank you for these useful tips. I love how you not only match the colors of the pots, but also the texture. Love your video – beautiful pots & beautiful succulents.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on February 10, 2020 at 8:34 am

      Hi Janie — Thank you! It’s so much fun, and all you need to remember are a few basic design principles.

  2. Holly on August 13, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I tryed to repot my hens and chicks. But they are lifting up out of the soil.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 14, 2020 at 8:31 am

      Gently wiggle them apart and replant as individual plants, not clumps.

  3. Sprouting Indoors on August 23, 2020 at 7:50 am

    I love how the Aloe swordfish looks in that pot, it really brings out the colors!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 23, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Thanks, Jenn! Pairings like that are why I like one-of-a-kind, artist-designed pots!

  4. Karen Hayes on November 26, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Where can I purchase Pat Roach’s pots?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on November 28, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      I’ll ask her to get in touch with you. Thanks, Karen.

  5. Emily J McGowan on June 12, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Pot size: How deep and wide should the soil be for a succulent with roots that grow downward?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 12, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      All roots grow downward. Small succulents (juvenile forms of large ones and those that stay small like graptopetalums) are happy in a pot that’s 6 to 12 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches in diameter.

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