Succulents For Beginners – Part 2
The Right Pottery and Soil for Succulents
Choose the Right Pot
The right pot and the right plant can make a great marriage. The essential feature the pot must have is a drainage hole. While some experienced succulents growers have success without a drainage hole, it’s not the best option for succulents.
Succulents thrive in well-drained soil and do not like to sit in water. Using a pot with a drainage hole will allow water to flow out of the pot quickly and help the succulent roots to dry easily, giving the plants a better chance to thrive.
Avoid the terrarium trap. Glass terrariums can be beautiful, but rarely have a drainage hole. Succulents can survive in such a container, but save that project until you are a more experienced succulent grower.
Where to Buy
Selecting the Right Soil
Succulents flourish in well-drained soil. That is why a drainage hole is so important. Likewise, using the wrong soil can kill a succulent. In fact, I have killed more succulents using ordinary potting soil than anything else. As I’ve said before, succulent roots don’t like to sit in water–they will rot.
The Perfect Succulent Soil Recipe
As a general rule, you want to plant succulents in a well-drained soil that has relatively large particles, about ¼” or 6mm. The best soil I’ve used for succulents combines equal parts pine bark fines, crushed granite and turface. Most of these ingredients can be found at Home Depot or Lowes, or at a local nursery.
If you’d like to purchase soil pre-mixed and ready-to-go, you can order your soil at Bonsai Jack. While I used to make the soil mix myself, I not get it exclusively from Bonsai Jack as it is great quality and convenient.
If the above recommendations don’t work out for you, as an alternative you can purchase pumice, or a course grain sand (as opposed to fine grain beach sand).
Succulents simply have different soil requirements than most plants. The large particle size is essential for succulent success.
A Word About Roots
The reason succulents prefer well-drained soil with large particles is because it allows for airflow around their roots. Water is able to drain through the soil and dry out quickly. The roots are able to get the moisture they need without becoming waterlogged.
Each of the recommended components for the gritty succulent soil mix above absorbs water easily, so they will store just enough water for the roots to get what they need before the soil dries out.
A little about me…
My name is Cassidy Tuttle and I’m a professional photographer turned succulent addict. I teach wonderful people, like yourself, how to grow succulents through this course, my book — Idiot’s Guides: Succulents, and on my website — Succulents and Sunshine.
My adventure with succulents started with three small plants on a window sill of my basement apartment. Within a year I had propagated them and purchased more, totaling over 100 plants!
It’s been a fun adventure since then as I’ve drowned, burned, frozen, and starved my collection of succulents. In this course I teach you how to avoid all those mistakes I made or help you recover from them.
While I’ve killed plenty of succulents in the past few years, I’ve also kept hundreds alive and thriving, and I know you can do the same!