While planting succulents seems like an easy thing to do, it does offer some challenges. This step-by-step photo tutorial will help make sure your succulent is happy in it’s new home.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click on the link and make a purchase. I only recommend products I’ve used and love unless stated otherwise.
I’m so glad you’re interested in learning how to properly pot succulents!
Before I get to the step by step, I first want to make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need. Check out this list on my post about essential supplies for planting succulents.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve chosen a that’s ideal for your succulents. Take a look at my tips for choosing pottery for succulents in this post.
Once you’ve read through those posts and gathered the supplies you need, you’re ready to start potting!
Now, I’m a very visual learner–so I’d much rather have someone show me how to do something rather try to follow step-by-step instructions. That’s why I’m going to show you, from start to finish, how I pot a newly purchased succulent. It’s super easy, but if you’ve got any questions, I’m here to help!
Remove Your Pot and Soil
The first step of successful succulent planting is to get rid of the nursery pot and remove as much soil as you can. Nurseries almost always plant their succulents in soil that’s way too rich and retains too much water. The more of this nursery soil you’re able to get rid of, the healthier your succulent’s roots will be. You may not be able to get all the soil off without damaging the roots, and that’s totally fine. Just get rid of as much as you can while being gentle on your succulent.
If you’re planting your succulent by itself (as I am here), you’ll want to leave the roots intact as much as possible. On the other hand, if you’re putting together an arrangement with several succulents, you might want to break off some of the roots. Getting rid of some roots won’t create any big problems–your succulent will survive just fine either way. And, if you’re lucky enough to have babies attached to your main plant, now is a good time to remove them if you’d like.
The succulent I’m using here is a “Gollum Jade“.
Place Mesh Over the Drainage Hole
Although a drainage hole is important for the healthy of your succulent, you don’t want your soil to fall out of it. Use some mesh tape to prevent the biggest chunks of soil from falling out. Mesh tape works well because it allows for water to flow out easily, but will still hold in most of the soil. You’ll probably get some “dust” falling out, but that’s normal. If you want, you can also use a mesh screen instead of the mesh tape.
Fill Your Pot Almost to the Top
Before you place your succulent in the pot you’ve chosen, fill it almost (but not quite) to the top with succulent soil. Leave a little bit of room at the top, so the roots will have a comfortable fit, and you’ll be able to add more soil later on.
Put in Your Succulent
Now it’s time to place your succulent in the pot! You can plant it–centered or off-center, whichever you’d like. Nestle some of the roots into the soil, so they’ll get as a bit of a head start on growth.
Fill the Pot All the Way to the Top
Now it’s time to fill up the pot. You want to leave just a tiny bit of room between the top of the soil and top of the pot. Make sure the leaves of the succulent sit completely above the soil, to prevent rotting.
If you’ve purchased soil from Bonsai Jack, you’ll have an awesome chopstick that’s great for poking your soil over and over, which will help remove any large pockets of air between the roots. This will help prevent your soil from sinking down after a few waterings.
Add a Top Dressing
To finish off your potted succulent, add a top dressing. This is why you left a little bit of room at the top of your pot (see, we’re thinking ahead here)! The top dressing can be something bright and fun or a simple gravel, like I used here. As you add your top dressing, press down on the soil to help the succulent stay in place.
Once your succulent is potted and the top dressing is in place, let it sit for one to two days before you water it. This resting period will give the roots time to heal before they start soaking up water, which helps prevent root rot.
And that’s all there is to it! Pretty simple, right?
The most common mistakes I see in potting are a) removing the soil from the roots, b) forgetting to add a top dressing, and c) watering too soon. Follow the steps above, and you’ll avoid these common problems, and get a great start on your healthy succulent garden!