We have all admired a beautiful arrangement of succulents in a garden center, in an online photo or in a store. But they can be so expensive to buy. So how about creating your own succulent arrangement at home? What succulents can be planted together? And which combinations should you avoid?
Well, it might not be as difficult as you think. Here are some tips to get you started. Plus, some succulent combinations we know are winners.
Great Succulent Combinations – Different Succulents That Go Together Well
There are many different types of succulents that can be successfully planted together, including:
- Aloe, Aeonium, Graptopetalum, and Kalanchoe: these summer dormant plants pair well together
- Agave, Echeveria and Sempervivum: all are sun-loving plants that are dormant in winter
- Mixed Echeveria types
- Sempervivum and Sedum – purple or black sempervivum with green sedum (such as Burro’s Tail)
What Should You Consider When Planting Succulents Together?
There are two main things to consider when looking at pairing different succulent plants:
- care needs (water, light, temperature, soil and growing season)
- look (color, size, texture, height, spread/width)
For care needs, you need to look at succulents with similar requirements. Naturally, the plants will be close together, experiencing the exact same conditions. So you need plants with very similar light, water, temperature and soil needs.
It is also important to look at pairing plants that have similar growing seasons. You don’t want, for example, a plant that is dormant in summer and therefore doesn’t want much water in summer, next to a plant that grows in summer and needs plenty of water at that time.
In terms of the look, well that’s where you can let your imagination and creative juices run wild. You can have similar colors, complementary colors, or a whole rainbow if you want. You can play with tall plants, small plants, and different heights. It’s really up to you.
Care Needs Of Succulents Planted Together
As mentioned above, you need to combine succulents with similar care needs:
- Growing Season
You don’t want to combine succulents that need a lot of water with those that barely need any water. Most succulents are fairly drought tolerant, but as a general rule of thumb, the leaf thickness of the plant will show you whether your succulent needs watering more regularly than other succulents.
Thick leaves and stems show that the succulent is able to store quite a bit of water. Succulents with thin leaves are less able to store water and need watering more often.
When combining succulents in an arrangement, try to select plants with similar leaf thicknesses.
Some succulents need bright sun in the morning and some shade during the afternoon. Others just want partial shade. Most will do well with bright, indirect sunlight. Checking the light requirements of different succulents will help you find compatible ones. If you are considering combining succulents of different heights, consider that a tall succulent can have a negative impact on a neighboring shorter succulent by creating shade and blocking sunlight. In this instance, simply rotating the pot so the taller plant is further from the window may solve the problem.
If your succulent arrangement is housed indoors, you will likely have a smaller range of temperature and most succulents will be just fine. If you are planning on placing your plants outside, you will need to consider plants which can thrive in hotter temperatures or are cold-hardy, depending on your climate.
Most succulents will grow well in a well-draining succulent-specific soil. You should only need to worry about the soil if you are considering a plant with very specific soil requirements. If possible, use a pot with drainage holes and only water when the soil is completely dry.
Combining plants with similar growing seasons is probably one of the most important considerations when creating a multiple succulent arrangement. Winter-dormant plants will require very little, if any, water during winter and frequent watering during spring and summer. Summer-dormant plants will want the exact opposite.
Winter dormant succulents (summer growing)
Summer dormant succulents (winter growing)
Decorative Look Of Succulent Arrangements
The appearance of your succulent arrangement is totally up to you, providing you are combining plants of similar care needs. It can be influenced by both personal preference and the decor of your home.
Here are some things you may wish to bear in mind when planning your arrangments:
- Color – do you want plants with complementary colors – a green plant next to a purple plant, for example. Or plants with very similar colors. Or a variety that just looks good to you? Call upon some Color Wheel Theory for inspiration!
- Shape – there is a classic ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ combination that is popular for succulent arrangements. The thriller is a tall plant, such as Snake Plant (Sansevieria). The filler is often a rosette plant, like an echeveria, sempervivum or aloe. And the spiller is trailing plant – think String of Pearls or Burrito’s Tail (or other senecios or sedums). Or you may just prefer plants of similar heights.
- Texture – again, this is down to personal preference, but you may consider that a succulent, such as an aloe with thick, upright leaves, might look out of place next to the delicate foliage of other plants. Or you might like the contrast of Haworthia and Aloe plants with interesting spots and stripes, or a spiky cactus, against the smooth leaves of sedum.
- Size and Width – again, a personal choice of tall, thin, wide, small to suit your container and your favorite plants
What Type Of Container Or Pot Is Best For A Succulent Arrangement
Many of the beautiful succulent arrangements you see for sale are planted in stylish containers such as glass terrariums or unusually shaped pots. While these may be pretty, it’s important to remember that succulents are shallow-rooted plants that need excellent drainage to thrive.
If you can select a container with drainage holes, you will find controlling the water needs of your succulent arrangement much easier. And, as always, you must use well-draining soil.
How Close Together Should You Plant Succulents?
If you’re wondering how close together to plant your succulents, there is no definitive answer. The ideal spacing for a multiple succulent arrangement will depend on factors such as the size and shape of the plants and the maturity of the plants. Are the plants young and expected to grow more? Or mature and already at full size?
It’s also important not to crowd your plants too close together as this can reduce air circulation around the roots and may lead to problems with pests or fungal diseases.
Generally speaking, it’s best to space your succulents at least 1/2″ – 1 1/2″ (1 – 4 cm) apart to allow them enough room to spread out over time as they grow. The tighter together you plant your succulents, the slower they will grow, and you will maintain the original shape of your arrangement for longer. However, if you start with small, young plants and you want them to fill out, plant them further apart and wait for them to spread and grow into your perfect multiple succulent arrangement.
Plant your first succulent in the center of the pot and then add each succulent individually, making sure you pat the soil firmly around each plant and fill in the spaces between the plants well with soil. Also, try to plant your succulents at least 1″ (2.5cm) from the edges of the container.
Ultimately, the best way to determine how close together you should plant your succulents is by assessing the size and growth rate of each species.
Once you have a good idea of how large and fast-growing your plants are likely to become, you can adjust your spacing accordingly based on what will work best for your arrangement.
Figuring out what succulents can be planted together might end up being simpler than you imagine. Sure, there are plenty of things to consider and criteria to focus on. However, there are many succulent combinations that work very well.
It does take a bit of a trial and error to narrow down the exact option that you will like the most. Yet we think that experimenting and trying out a variety of different succulent combinations can be fun. Check out the ideas listed above; you are bound to like the results!
Gallery Of Inspiring Succulent Arrangements
Here are some winning succulent pairings that work well in a succulent arrangement or garden. Some succulent garden recipes!