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How to Pot Succulent Plants

By Barbara Raskauskas ; Updated September 21, 2017

Succulents are plants that can retain moisture, allowing them to survive for weeks without water, even months if they are outdoors where they can absorb moisture from dew. All cacti are succulents along with any plants whose leaves, stems or root system allow them to retain water, like aloe. There are a few factors to keep in mind when potting or transplanting succulent plants.

Partially fill a pot with cactus or succulent potting mix. If you don't have cactus mix, mix regular potting soil and perlite (3/4 of regular potting soil and 1/4 perlite). Place the succulent in the pot and add potting soil to fill out the pot. Tap the bottom of the pot on your palm or a hard surface to settle the soil.

Place the pot on the saucer. If the bottom of the pot does not have “feet” to raise the pot up at least a least 1/4 inch, add pot shards or stone to the saucer. The pot needs to completely drain and never remain standing in the water.

Water a new succulent lightly, but wait one day before lightly watering transplants. Place the pot in a sunny location where it receives about three hours of sun each day. Gradually work a new succulent planting to a sunny location; place it in indirect light first (off to the side of a window), or filtered light (through a sheer curtain). Each week, give the plant a little more sunlight.

Check the soil in a few days to see if it is dry. If a plant moisture meter is used, look for "Dry" at a number 3 on the gauge. Slowly add water and stop as soon as you see the first trickle coming through the bottom of the pot. Continue that watering process, letting the soil almost completely dry out before watering again.


Things You Will Need

  • Cactus or succulent mix potting soil
  • Pot with drainage holes
  • Pot saucer


  • Check the drainage holes on the pot. Large holes allow for good water flow; on the other hand, potting soil can get through the holes. For holes larger that the diameter of dime, place something over the holes to prevent the dirt from escaping. Do a dry run before adding the plant by placing broken pieces of clay pots or large stones on the base of the pot. Fill the pot with soil and then lift up the pot to see if any soil escaped. If soil escapes, add more shards or stones.
  • Wear thick gloves when working with prickly succulents.

About the Author


Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.