Ok, I admit it… I can’t – not garden! So I’ve been getting a little dirt on my hands and in my kitchen with a little indoor gardening, specifically Succulents. Succulents are great houseplants and they feed my need to garden in the winter. Which is why I thought you might be interested in learning How to Pot Up Succulents. Potting up succulents only takes a few common supplies and takes just a few minutes.
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What are succulents?
Succulents are a genus of plant that’s leaves are usually thick and rubbery, succulents have adapted to grow in hot, dry climates and can survive long periods of time with very little water.
Hardy Succulent Gardens
I live in a pretty harsh climate, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. My garden is home to hot, almost desert-like summers and cold, snowy winters; it’s not the most forgiving region for the average gardener.
Luckily, over the last few years my garden has started to maintain itself and in an effort to help it along, I’ve been planting more succulent gardens. Hardy succulents like hen and chick, stonecrop and ground cover sedums are great options for cold hardy succulent gardens.
Why are succulents so popular?
Succulents have been growing in popularity because of their easy-care nature, gorgeous colors and geometric shapes, all of which make them ideal for a contemporary style or urban garden. The endless options of pots for succulents make it easy to create unique succulent container gardens to suit any decor.
Fun Fact: because succulents can go weeks without water they are really great for mail order buying. I’ve ordered them online from Succuterra in Canada but I’ve even seen them on Amazon! If you or someone you love is crazy about succulents, see my Ultimate Gift Guide for Succulent Lovers!
If you are as succulent obsessed as I am, check out my Succulents and Cacti Pinterest board.
What you’ll need to Pot Up Succulents:
- A succulent of your choosing, either store-bought, “acquired” or propagated from your yard. I’ve chosen an Echeveria variety because it’s slow growing and won’t need repotting for a while.
- Planting medium of 50/50 potting mix & perlite – Cactus Soil is great and can be found online or in garden centers
- A pot of your choosing that is just slightly bigger than your existing plant
We never want our succulent roots to sit in mucky wet soil, so be sure to add a handful or two of perlite to the bottom of the pot, this will help ensure our succulent soil does not become anaerobic.
Ok, so the steps for potting up succulents is pretty straight-forward:
1: Toss a handful or two of perlite into the bottom of your pot
2: In a bucket, blend your 50/50 soil & perlite mix and fill your pot to 1 inch below the top of the pot
3: Carefully lift your succulent from the store-bought pot and loosen the root ball, if necessary
4: Create a hole in the center or your potting soil the size of your root ball
5: Gently but firmly place the root ball into the soil, ensuring that the plant is level and straight
6: Using gentle pressure, press the succulent into its new pot, ensuring that its roots are fully covered with soil and top the pot off with more perlite
7: Give you succulent a good watering and place it in a sunny spot. Do not water again until the soil has dried out completely, then water well and leave it alone
So, that’s it. Potting up and caring for succulents can be easy as long as you remember that these plants are hardy and independent. Really, succulents and succulent gardens are crazy easy to care for!
Let me know what you think, do you grow a succulent garden? What are your favourite varieties?
If you liked this article and want to learn more about growing and crafting with succulents see my Mini-Pumpkin Succulent Planters and my Hanging Succulent Garden articles and of course check out my Ultimate Gift Guide for Succulent Lovers!
Thanks for hanging out!
If you liked it, then you shoulda’ put a pin on it.
Hey Jana! You have inspired me to repot my succulent collection! I too can’t “Not garden” in February… query many of my hens and chick ( not the echiveria) have little mites/aphid type creatures starting to take up residence. Any suggestions on ridding these tiny pests from the tight foliage? Cheers!
It’s still too cold to hose them off so my second thought would be a solution of warm soapy water in a misting spray bottle. Maybe even add a drop or two of olive oil to the soapy spray, it will make the leaves too slippery for the bugs to settle back in.
Hope this helps!
Use a light spray of alcohol, common rubbing alcohol will get rid of the pests. Spray again within 24 hours if mites, their life cycle is 23 hours so 2nd spraying should do the trick.
Thanks for the tip Wanda. I’ll have to try that out.
Oh forgot to say that the mites will spread to other plants so if possible, quarantine the affected ones.
I agree! They can be such a pain.
SO smart to use perlite to top it off! I had been buying rocks…but perlite is just as pretty and I already have a huge bag! I’ll be using these tips immediately 🙂 Thanks so much for the great ideas, as always! Cheers, Mary Jane
Thanks Mary Jane,
The Pearlite can get ucky after a season, but I just top up with fresh stuff, it just takes a second.
I was motivated to get replanting the little succulents I had neglected all winter. Thanks for the advice and inspiration to get our fingers in a little dirt. So rewarding.
That’s great Geri! Best of luck with your planting.
If you put the white stones on top of the soil, how to you know when it is dry? how often to you water? and how much water you put the fist time: 1 cup? thanks
I test the soil moisture with my finger, I water my succulents once every three to four weeks and I add about a cup or two of water depending on the pot size. The one pictured above is about 4 cups of soil, so I would add a cup of water.
Succulents are very hardy and many of them need a little stress to show their best colours.
They are more likely to suffer from too much water than from not enough. Just be sure to check the soil moisture with your finger, if it feels damp at all, don’t add any more water. 🙂
Thanks for your question & take care.
Thanks for this info Jana. I live in NC mountains, but we go to FL Jan-Mar. A local told me she just leaves all her succulents out on her deck all winter and they do fine. My neighbor has succulents out in her yard and they survive the winter just fine. But I’m not brave enough to leave mine in pots on the deck. What do you think?
Thanks for the comment.
Many succulents are cold hardy. I have an outdoor succulent garden here in Canada, everything survives the winter no problem.
The catch is that, some succulents are not hardy to the cold, so you do have cause to worry. Do you know what varieties you have?
Here is a link to a article on Cold Hardy Succulents
Mountain Crest Gardens sells Succulents online, they are out of Northern California. If you can’t remember the varieties you can try cross referencing them on Mountain Crest’s website, they note the hardiness zone for each species.
I hope this helps, feel free to send me a picture of your sedums, maybe I can help identify them.
Best of luck 🙂
Thanks Jana. This is great info. I will ck the photos to identify my succulents and see if any are cold hardy. I may take you up on your offer to help me identify any I can’t find. Thanks. You’ve inspired me to try more succulents.
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[…] How to Pot Up Succulents […]
[…] On your table or work surface, gently un-pot your succulents so you can see what you are working with. Are they root bound? Is there any damage on the plants? Do they need a drink before planting? More on potting up succulents here. […]
I disagree with the no drain hole. Clay pots are best suited for succulents and always use gritty fast draining soil. Never use a saucer to hold the water it will fit the roots. I have joined 4 groups all on succulents and this is one they all the professionals recommend. 😕
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve had great success with both types of pots, I do agree that they do best in clay pots. I live in a cold climate so most of my tender succulents stay inside all year, I don’t want the pot staining my window sill so I use pots without holes for those ones.
But all in all, to avoid confusion I’ve removed that bit of text for my post.
Thanks for reaching out and sharing your experience, it helps grow the community and strengthen everyone’s knowledge base; that’s why I love gardening & gardeners 🙂
Take care Joan,
Hi Jana, last week I got a new Hoya Indian Rope and I was thrilled with how healthy and thriving it was. I then potted it up, using Bonsai Jack cactus soil with some perlite and pumice added in, gave it a light watering and put it under my grow lights. Within one day, it started to lose it’s deep green color and leaves shriveled. What the heck have I done wrong?? This has upset me so much.. I feel like a murderer!
Oh No Adrian!!
Sorry to hear your Hoya is having some trouble. Has it recovered or did you have to replace it?
Sometimes plants go through transplant shock, this might have been the problem. Another issue could be spider mites, which often come home with nursery plants.
One last resort solution is to make a cutting and try to clone that plant. Hoya grow well from cutting put in a jar of water, thats how I got mine.
Hope everything ended up alright 🤞