What Size Pot for Succulents?

Succulents are growing in popularity and it’s easy to see why; they’re resilient, low maintenance, and good-looking. Taking care of them might be challenging for newbies, though. This begs the question, “What size pot for succulents should I use?”

The pot should fit your succulent just right. Leaving half an inch between your succulent and the edge of the pot grants you an appropriately-sized pot. The rule of thumb is that the pot should be 10% larger than your plant in width and depth. Succulents don’t need deep soil, so they’ll do just fine in shallow pots.

In this article, we’ll explain how to choose the ideal pot size for your succulent alongside which aspects to consider when choosing the pot.

What Is the Ideal Pot Size for Succulents?

Succulent planted in a pot

The short answer is the pot should be 10% wider and 10% deeper than the plant. For example, you’ll need a 4.5-inch pot for a 4-inch succulent. You should leave this half-inch between your succulent and the edge of the pot to leave room for it to grow.

You’d think leaving more space is good for your plant to grow, but it’s not. Leaving too much space for your succulent won’t help it grow because the roots will spread out at a rate much faster than the plant itself. The succulent won’t be able to catch up with growth.

Standard pot sizes for succulents are 2, 3, and 4 inches. These sizes are relatively compact and convenient for smaller plants with low growth rates, especially when you keep them indoors. Slow growers like Panda Plants, Sempervivums, and Gasterias would thrive in such a setting.

On the other hand, if you have bigger succulents like Century Plant, Agave, Cactus, or Jade, you’ll need to transfer them into larger pots.

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Why Pot Size Matters for Succulents

Size matters when it comes to succulent pots because you need to give room for your plant to grow while maintaining a proper amount of moisture. Too much soil might cause root rot, and too little might disrupt growth.

A succulent pot with the proper size is one with a reasonable amount of soil that allows roots to grow, recoil, and hit the edges of the pot. Eventually, the succulent itself sprouts into growth.

What happens if your pot is too big or too small? What about shallow vs deep pots? That’s what we’ll answer below.

Big Pots for Succulents

You might be tempted to go down the easy route of planting your succulents in a large pot to give them space for growth. Well, this isn’t usually the smartest choice.

Succulent roots grow until they reach the end of the pot. Then, when there’s no more room for vertical growth, the plant itself starts to grow. This happens in the active growing phase of the plant.

The problem with succulent pots that are too big is that they might introduce plant damage due to extra moisture. A succulent placed in a pot that’s too big for its size means that the roots will reside in plenty of soil. That much soil will hold onto moisture, which might be too much for the small plant.

In this case, you should ensure your pot has proper drainage so that you get rid of extra moisture. Too much moisture can damage your plant, so you should be careful and try to stick to the 10% size rule we mentioned earlier.

Small Pots for Succulents

Succulents in a small pots

A small pot that barely fits your succulent might look cute, but it will damage your plant. Smaller pots equal less soil, meaning there’s a big chance your succulent won’t get enough nutrients.

The little space is also constricting when it comes to the plant’s growth because there’s no room for the roots to grow.

You want to avoid root binding, which happens when you place a well-rooted plant in a small pot leaving not enough soil so roots take over the soil and start to press against the edges of the pot.

In simple terms, a root-bound succulent is a plant that has overgrown its pot. You can identify it from the straw-looking roots if you were to pull the plant out of the pot.

The outgrowth means that the succulent roots won’t be able to absorb nutrients anymore and will eventually stop growing. Repotting is a must in this case.

Deep Pots for Succulents

Similar to the problem of the big or wide pot, if the pot is too deep for your succulent, the roots might have a vast space to grow that they might not be able to fill.

Most succulents don’t have deep roots and will perform better in shallow pots. Yet, a few types of succulents with extensive tap roots like Jovibarba Heuffelii, for example, will do well in a relatively deep pot.

If your plant’s lower leaves look rotten, then the soil is probably too deep for them, or the leaves aren’t getting enough light.

Apart from such exceptions, a shallow pot is a way to go when it comes to succulents.

Read more: What Does Root Rot Look Like in Succulents?

Shallow Pots for Succulents

A shallow pot is any container that’s lower than 6 inches. Such pots are ideal for cuttings. 

Optimal placement is where the succulent’s lower leaves just sit atop the pot rim. This way, these lower leaves get enough sunlight, the roots are well seated in the soil, and the whole thing looks beautiful, as well.

You should water your succulents more frequently if you’re using a shallow pot because the soil dries out faster. This doesn’t mean you should have drainage holes, though. Drainage is a must in all types of planters.

Planting Multiple Succulents in a Pot

Multiple colorful succulents planted together

In case you want to plant multiple succulents in one pot, you need to consider the spacing between them, in addition to the 10% size rule.

In addition to having a pot that’s 10% larger than the total size of your succulents, we recommend leaving 0.5 to 1 inch between the plants to leave room for them to grow.

While tightly packed arrangements look appealing, they might cause problems later in your succulents’ active growing phase. Also, this arrangement will slow down your plants’ growth, so you can leave them for a while, but you should know that you’ll probably need to move them to another pot later.

When placing multiple succulents in one pot, you should consider their arrangement. Tight arrangements are tricky when it comes to how you water them.

You need to ensure that you allow for proper airflow, as well. Ancient wisdom had it right when the standard was using terracotta clay pots for this reason specifically; they’re porous and hence allow for proper airflow.

If you notice that one of the succulents is overgrowing the pot or dominating its neighbor plant, you can repot it in a wider pot. Overgrowing is more likely to happen during spring and summer when succulents thrive.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right pot for your succulents can be challenging in the beginning but you’ll get the hang of it when you plant your first succulent. Remember, you need to leave 10% of extra space for succulents in depth and width to grow properly in the pot.

Too small pots can be limiting for growth and too large pots might lead to root rot. No situation is irreversible, though. If you feel like your succulents aren’t thriving in the pot for the reasons we mentioned earlier, you can always repot them!