Best Drainage Pots for Succulents [2023 Edition]

The selection of a flower pot or planter for succulents is often underestimated. The pot is an important aspect for the well-being and health of the plants. Today we explore the best drainage pots for succulents.

best drainage pots for succulents

Plants, especially indoors, are mainly decoration, which helps us to feel comfortable at home and to live in a beautiful environment. Therefore, choosing a suitable flower pot is almost as much fun as buying succulents. At the moment I like dark green pots and pots with a concrete look. I also find golden pots very nice, because they form a nice contrast to the green color of the plants and look classy.

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The Right Pot: Not an Easy Choice

But as much as I love to buy special, individual and unusual plant pots for my succulents, it is often difficult to find just the right one. Over the years, I have noticed a few things to consider when choosing a pot. Succulent beginners in particular often don’t think about it and then buy a flower pot that is not quite optimal for the plant.

The following factors can make a big difference in the well-being and prosperity of your succulents.

Best Drainage Pots for Succulents

If you’ve already read my posts about proper watering or maintenance, you will likely have heard many times that your pot needs a drainage hole. Sure, your succulents can survive in a pot without a drainage hole, but it makes your life so much more difficult. Keeping succulents healthy just becomes so much more difficult and time-consuming.

If you have fallen in love with a planter or have an absolutely favorite pot and they don’t have a drainage hole, that’s not the end. The good news is there is always a way. You can drill a hole in most pots with a hand drill.

I really like the concrete pots from EMSAYstudio. They are incredibly modern with clear shapes and metallic inserts that are a great contrast to the simple concrete.  I also love the round, unusual flower pots from AppyHut. I always use a mesh to cover the holes so that no soil falls out and the water can still flow off unhindered. Alternatively, you can use an old strainer.

What are the Best Pots for Succulents Made of?

After the drainage hole, the next question is what material the succulent pot should be made of. In the nursery, you usually get the succulent in a plastic pot. For aesthetic purposes, most people will then want to repot the plant into a more beautiful pot at home. There are many types of pots and planters made for succulents – those made of ceramic, plastic, wood, metal and glass.

What Container to Use for Succulents?

It mainly depends on where the succulents are.

Terracotta and Ceramic Pots

Terracotta and ceramics have the advantage of being quite breathable materials. Therefore, they are an asset for plants in locations where there is little airflow. Therefore, flower pots made of this material work very well for succulents, especially indoors.

succulents in terracotta pots
Terracotta pots for succulents

If the succulents on the terrace are exposed to blazing sun, a terracotta or ceramic pot is not ideal because they heat up. Most succulent genera can endure this. However, this causes the soil to dry out much faster. So, you have to remember to water the succulents more often. If the top layer of the soil is dry, you have to assume from the heat of the pot that the water has already evaporated even in deeper layers of the soil. So, the plant cannot survive very long and needs quick replenishment.

Another disadvantage of terracotta and ceramic pots is that they can be very heavy. Especially large and massive pots, when filled with soil and plant, can be so heavy that you can no longer move them. Since most succulents have to be overwintered indoors, you still have to be able to carry the pot inside.

Pots made from this material are also fragile. In any case, make sure that they are not in the way. Smaller pots should be out of the reach of small children and pets.

Plastic Pots

Plastic is a popular material for flower pots and plant containers. A big advantage is that plastic is not so fragile and also much lighter than ceramic. In addition, these pots are often cheap.

The disadvantage, however, is that the material is not breathable. Therefore, as with all other materials, it is much more difficult for the liquid to evaporate in a plastic pot.

succulents in plastic pots
Plastic pots for succulents

It is therefore particularly important with this material that the pot has a drainage hole and special cactus soil is used. Excess water can then drain off well and does not remain in the pot.

Plastic pots are available in every hardware store, departmental store, or in flower shop around the corner. So, you have a wide range of shapes, colors and styles. Often, however, plastic pots look a little cheap and they are not so fancy and individual. They may not do justice to your beautiful succulent plant. But there are also beautiful models here – if you search, you will find them.

Wood Planters

If you are looking for an unusual way to stage your succulents, a piece of wood or a branch are exciting options. I love the driftwood planter I made last summer. It is much more eye-catching than a classic flower pot.

In addition to the look, wood is a great material for succulents. The wood stays cool even in strong sunlight and heat. As a result, the water does not evaporate too quickly and the roots live in a pleasant environment.

succulents in wood planters
Wood planter for succulents

A problem with wood, however, is that it rots quickly. If you put the wood outside in an uncovered place, it regularly gets wet in the rain and stores water. This also keeps the soil moist for a long time and the plant is exposed to too much moisture. After a while, the wood will crumble and the risk of waterlogging increases with your succulent plant.

Therefore, you should put a wooden planter outside in a location protected from the rain or inside!

But there are not only rustic wooden planters that resemble a tree trunk but also modern, minimalist wooden planters. My favorite are the pots from WrenAndOliveLaserCo. The stylish pots by COZYNESTbyLilyMoon are also incredibly beautiful.

Metal Pots

Metal is usually not a good choice for long-term succulent planting. When putting succulents in a metal pot, keep in mind that the temperature of the pot can change quickly. When the sun is shining, the pot will heat up considerably and pass this heat on to the soil and roots of the plant. This can damage them and dry them out.

succulents in metal pots
Metal pots for succulents

If you use a metal pot that is not specifically designed for plants, it can rust through the rain or the irrigation water. This is far from healthy for succulents and can cause them to die.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend keeping succulents in a metal pot for a long time. Do you have a beautiful, antique metal pot at home that you absolutely want to use? Then I would simply put the succulent plant with the plastic pot in it.

Glass Planters

Glass is indisputably a wonderful material for planting your succulents. The only problem with glass jars: the drainage hole is usually missing. You then need to learn how to plant in pots without drainage holes.

Another disadvantage of a glass pot is that they are not particularly breathable. This will make it difficult for the soil to dry unless your container has a large opening through which lots of air can pass.

In addition, glass gets dirty quickly and you can see that too. The most obvious disadvantage, of course, is that glass breaks quickly. So, if you’re using a glass planter, keep it safe from pets and young children. Because glass not only breaks, but shatters when it falls. The fragments are sharp-edged and life-threatening for small creatures.

If that’s not an issue for you, you can easily use a glass planter.

What Colors and Textures Make Succulents Shine?

When you have chosen a material, the most beautiful part comes. What color and style should the pot have for your succulents? Two approaches are particularly suitable for this:

  • Choose a pot that matches the color and style of your succulent plant
  • Choose a succulent plant that matches the color and style of your pot

Putting Together Harmonious Arrangements

succulent arrangement

You can hardly go wrong with single-colored pots. If you want to use a pretty colorful, eye-catching pot, either an arrangement that picks up on the colors or simple, single-colored succulents works best. If both the pot and the succulents are randomly thrown together, the arrangement can quickly appear restless and inconsistent. If you place several pots together in one place, these should of course also be consistent in terms of style and colors. Pinterest is a very good source of inspiration here.

Copper-colored pots are very elegant. Above all, they make the dark green of plants such as jade or aloes shine. For example, you can arrange the same succulent side by side in the same pot. This does not look a tad bit boring, but very stylish.

I also like a lot of small succulents in simple pots. Each individual succulent plant is so beautiful and the different shapes and colors of the plants make the arrangement so special.

If you are overwhelmed by all the choices, you can simply buy a few plain gray and white flower pots or simple terracotta pots. With it, you can arrange any succulent plant, no matter which type, perfectly. The simplicity of the pot draws focus to the plant.

succulent arrangement

To help, I put together a list of some of my favorite ceramics on Etsy, all of which work well with succulents and I like them. Maybe there is something for you too!

How Big Should Succulent Pots Be?

Many people often think that it is best to choose a container much larger than the plant, so that it has enough room to grow, but that is not true.

For one thing, most succulents don’t develop a large root system, and therefore don’t need to be potted too deep. In fact, a container that is too deep can even be harmful because it takes longer for the water to evaporate and the roots can spend a long time with excess moisture, which can lead to rot.

So, to avoid rotting in a very deep pot, we recommend keeping the previous point in mind and making sure that your container has drainage holes. It is also important to use a porous substrate that drains very well.

On the other hand, a very large pot, with free space, can prevent the succulent from growing. In cases like this, the roots tend to grow larger than the succulent itself.

We recommend that you always use containers and pots of a size according to the plant. If you are planting a succulent on its own, use a pot with an extra 1 to 2 inches left on the sides, and at least 4 inches deep. This will give you a bit of room to grow and won’t be affected by too much extra space.

If you are planting multiple succulents in the same container, leave 1 inch or 2 between each plant. They love to be in groups and grow very well this way, especially when they are succulent babies.

What Size Does a Pot Need for an Arrangement?

If you plant several succulents together in a pot, I would recommend placing the plants a few centimeters apart. So, you give the succulents the freedom they need to spread and grow.

Of course, you can also plant the succulents close together. This looks nice and succulents can do this. However, they will then no longer continue to grow. When watering, you have to make sure that all plants are supplied with water, otherwise individual succulents will dry up.

how big should succulent pots be

Now You Will Definitely Find the Right Pot

Now that you know what’s the best drainage pots for succulents, it’s up to you to choose a pot. Here is a brief summary:

  • Your pot should have a drainage hole. (If not, read how to drill holes in pots here)
  • Which material is best suited mainly depends on the external circumstances such as location, temperature and air circulation.
  • If you want the plant to grow, your pot should only be about half a centimeter larger than your succulent plant.

Whether at Etsy, Amazon or in a flower shop around the corner – the selection of pots for succulents is large. Just see what you like and fit your interior.

Once you’ve found the right container, you can start potting. Just have a look at my article about the right way to pot succulents (read it here). It contains step-by-step instructions that you can hardly go wrong with.

Have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do succulents need drainage holes?

To begin, we have to be clear that our succulents and cacti do not die directly from the pot they are in.

Many times, we receive messages where they tell us that the plant “died because the pot has no drainage”, or that “the pot without a hole is useless, because it cannot drain.”

The truth is that our little plants do not die or weaken directly because of that, but because of the care that we ourselves give to the plants, in that particular pot.

Generally, the problem is due to the amount of water we apply and the level of humidity in the pot.

Remember that our succulents do not tolerate excess humidity, therefore, it is ideal to have them in pots made of porous material, such as our ceramic ones.

You can have cacti and succulents in pots with or without drainage. The challenge is in how you take care of them and water them, so as not to drown them and maintain the substrate accordingly.