Succulents are some of the most diverse plants on the market. They come in varying sizes, colors, shapes, and textures. Most succulents are also considered low-maintenance plants, making them an excellent option for those who need to be reminded about watering their greenery.
Different succulents can even be grown together in the same pot!
Choosing the best succulents to pair together can be a rewarding and lovely way to display your plant collection and let your creativity run free!
Combine colors, textures, and shapes to create a harmony of succulents that will bring smiles to your guests’ faces. Of course, you can also group them in separate pots to make an indoor jungle.
But what’s the best way to go about creating a succulent arrangement? How do you know what succulents can grow well together?
A few factors are essential to remember, but don’t worry; we explain all of this and more below in this pairing guide for succulent gardening.
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What Are Succulents, And What Makes Them Special?
Almost everyone has owned a succulent at some point in their life. They are often sold as small baby plants and passed on as gifts to friends and loved ones.
While most houseplants originate from tropical rainforests and must be watered frequently and abundantly, succulents differ.
If you’ve seen succulents in real life or in pictures, you have surely noticed the thickness of their leaves. Unlike most houseplants, succulents come from warm and dry environments, most originating from the deserts of Mexico and South Africa. These plants have acclimated to these arid environments using their thick, fleshy leaves for water storage, similar to cacti.
Their native habitat also comes with poor soils and bright sun exposure. Keeping this type of plant happy includes little watering, lots of sun, and dry environments. Due to their low watering needs, succulent care is often marketed as easy and great for beginners!
However, not all succulents are created equal. Certain varieties originate from a slightly more humid environment, or they may not be able to withstand direct sunlight like other varieties.
When choosing companion plants for your succulents, keeping these differences in mind is essential.
Why Create A Succulent Arrangement?
Pairing your succulent plants together is a great way to save space in your house or garden. People may want to pair their plants together for decorative purposes, but plant arrangements can also be practical.
Since the plants are all grouped or planted together, you can cut the time spent looking after your succulents in half.
Creating a succulent arrangement can be a lovely way to display your succulent collection. It will also make a lovely gift for friends and family, even if they don’t have green thumbs. \
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our article covering everything about DIY succulent kits.
Things To Consider When Pairing Succulents
When planning your arrangement, there are a couple of factors to remember, such as watering needs, light preferences, or the plant’s growth pattern. If you make the wrong combinations, you risk killing one of your beautiful plants!
Creating a beautiful and exciting arrangement will be easy when you know what each plant likes and what plants go together well. Even if you’ve never owned succulents and know nothing about plant arrangements, you can easily create your own succulent arrangement with our tips below.
Succulent Care Requirements
When growing different plants in one pot, you must know the plant’s individual care needs. Even though most succulents will have roughly the same water and light needs, there are some exceptions! For example, an Aloe Vera will need well-draining soil and much less water than a Christmas Cactus, and Haworthia can tolerate much more direct sunlight than a String of Hearts.
All of these different care needs can sound complicated, but the good news is that many different types of plants will have very similar requirements, making it easy to pick and choose varieties you love!
Give The Plants The Right Light Exposure
The majority of succulents will thrive when given bright light. Certain varieties, such as Portulacaria Afra or Echeveria, can tolerate some amounts of full sun. Others, like Mistletoe Cactus, will burn when placed in full sun long-term.
Succulents do not do well when grown in full shade, as most succulent plants will grow leggy and are at risk of overwatering when they don’t get sufficient light. Ideally, the easiest plants to grow should receive some direct sunlight in the morning and indirect light for the rest of the day.
If you plan on placing your arrangement outside, it will do best when given partial shade. Placing it in a semi-shaded location will ensure the plants receive plenty of bright light without risking the foliage getting burnt.
Consider Individual Watering Needs
Due to their thick leaves that store water, succulents often require little water. Certain succulents have thicker leaves than others, which means they will require less additional watering as they have more storage. Making sure you know each plant’s water requirement is the most important thing to ensure healthy plants!
The best way to water your succulents is by allowing the soil to get dry before watering again. Never water the soil if it remains wet! It’s also vital to plant your succulents into a pot that has drainage holes! This allows excess water to drain out from the pot, which helps to prevent common issues such as root rot.
It’s possible to grow plants together if they have different watering needs. An easy way to do this is by using a water bottle with a narrow opening to water the soil partly while keeping another part of the soil dry.
Use The Right Potting Soil
All succulents grow best when planted in a succulent or cactus-specific soil mixture. Drought-loving and moisture-loving alike thrive only in well-draining soil. These mixes can be bought in stores or made by adding amendments like coarse perlite, bark, sand, gravel, or pumice to a standard potting mix.
The most important factor for succulents is that the soil needs good drainage and airflow. A well-draining soil will help prevent it from remaining wet for a long time and protect the succulent plants against overwatering and root rot.
Height And Growth Pattern
Combining different types of succulents with unique growth patterns can help to create an eye-catching, unique look. Pairing vining plants, like the String of Turtles, with a bushy Ripple Jade (Crassula arborescens Undulatifolia) or a tall growing plant like Mother of Millions is a great way to create an interesting look for your plant collection.
Remember that if you combine different plants into the same pot, you will need to leave room for them to grow! As they grow bigger and bigger, so will their root system. They might struggle if there is too little room for the plants to grow correctly. Use a pot that is big enough for your choice of succulents!
Certain plants, such as the Burro’s Tail or Kangaroo Palm, have unique and exciting growth patterns and leaf shapes. Look for plants that catch your eye, and play around with shapes and sizes until you find a setup you like!
One of our favorite parts about succulents is that they come in every color of the rainbow! Of course, there are traditional green succulents, but they also come in deep blue, purple, or orange. You can create endless unique, and beautiful succulent arrangements with many different shades of plants!
A great way to play with color is by combining complementary colors. Complementary means the colors are on opposite sides of the color wheel. Purple is on the opposite side of yellow. So a purple-colored plant like Echeveria Neon Breaker would pair wonderfully with Adolph Sedumii (or sedum adolphii). Another color-combining method is using analogous colors. These colors will be sitting next to each other on the color wheel, for example, pink, purple, and blue!
Some succulents are dormant during the winter months, including Echeveria, Euphorbia, and Lithops. Summer dormant succulents include Kalanchoe and Sedum. Being dormant means that the succulent is not actively growing for the year. During this time, it may appear dead.
If you want your succulent arrangement to thrive, choose plants that grow at the same time of year. Otherwise, you risk drowning the dormant plants while watering the plants that are in their growing season!
Certain succulents can even produce blooms if given the right conditions. For example, Echeveria can produce a beautiful, tall flower in late summer! Depending on the type of Echeveria, these blooms can come in various vibrant colors, which can help add special features to your arrangement. Other flowering succulents include Kangaroo Paw, Easter Cactus, and Kalanchoe.
Potted Exotics Pro Tip: Looking for a super unique succulent to grow? The Mermaids Tail Succulent is unique in that it goes dormant during the summer months and actively grows during the winter! A great choice for those looking to pair succulents with other winter-active plants.
Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers
When it comes to planting arrangements, you will always find three essential components that make a group of plants interesting. These are thrillers, spillers, and fillers.
- Thrillers are the big and bold plants that create the focal point of your arrangement. These should have intriguing shapes, colors, and textures to draw attention. Adding an exceptional thriller to your arrangement will help it to stand out!
- Fillers are mainly there to complement your thriller. These plants are often smaller and rounded and are meant to fill space.
- Spillers are small plants scattered to fill any remaining space in the arrangement. Spillers help to create a harmonious design.
The Best Succulents to Pair Together for No-Hassle Growing
Aeonium, Kalanchoe, and Aloe Vera
If you want to create a full, bushy arrangement of succulents, play around with these three varieties. These plants come in various shades, making it easy to create a color scheme that brings you joy! All these plants like bright sunlight and thrive in arid climates.
In this arrangement, you can create a balanced look by using tall and sturdy Kalanchoes, rounded Aeoniums, and smaller varieties of Aloe Vera. A great addition is that most Kalanchoe varieties bloom in early spring and last through late spring or summer, giving your arrangement an authentic touch of life with red, orange, or white flowers!
Different Echeveria Varieties
This one is for people that love to play with color, size, and height. Echeveria is a popular houseplant and exists in nearly every hue. They are often found as low-growing succulents but can vary in height significantly. Playing around with different sizes and shapes of Echeveria will result in a stunning arrangement that will surely draw attention!
However, if you want to create an arrangement with a uniform prototype of succulents, using Echeveria can also be a great option! Remember that Echeveria is dormant in the winter season, so they are best used as indoor succulents!
Haworthia, String of Pearls, and Jade Plant
If you want to create a truly interesting visual, it’s a good idea to combine succulents with different shapes, colors, and heights. You can create a stunning and impressive plant arrangement by choosing shorter succulents like Haworthia, bushy plants like Jade, and vining succulents with small leaves like String of Pearls.
All these plants have similar care requirements, making them a pleasant set of plants for beginner growers. As a rule of thumb, water the plants when their leaves get wrinkly and provide them with bright, indirect light.
Creative Ways To Display Your Succulent Arrangements
Succulent Rock Gardens
If you plan on growing your succulent arrangement outdoors, consider adding it to a rock garden. Rock gardens are lovely for succulents, as they provide good drainage!
A bonus is that you get a beautiful garden display that takes little effort to maintain and adds vibrant colors and unique textures to your garden area. We particularly love to add succulents to rock gardens with ornamental grasses, as it provides a wide range of contrast of various heights and varying colors.
Our favorite colorful succulents include Graptosedum ‘California Sunsets’ and Aeonium Mardi Gras.
Ensure to use hardy succulents if you are growing them outdoors. Some of the easiest hardy plants to grow outdoors are Stonecrop Sedums and Agaves. Please research your USDA hardiness zone to ensure your succulents survive your winters.
Succulent Hanging Planter
Hanging planters may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to succulents, but many succulent varieties climb or trail! Beautiful plants like Donkey’s Tail (Sedum Morganianum) or Crassula Sarmentosa ‘Comet’ can grow long vines in different colors and heights.
Plant your succulents in a terra cotta pot with a drainage hole for the best results. This will help prevent your succulents from rotting! If you choose to hang your plants indoors, remember that they won’t need as much water as when growing your succulents outside!
Succulent Wall Hanging Planters
Whether you create an arrangement in one pot or pair succulents that live in their little pots, consider hanging your plant collection on your walls! Wall-hanging planters are a great way to cover empty space and bring greenery and color into otherwise dull environments.
Trailing succulent varieties will look stunning in wall planters, but don’t shy away from using more compact plants like Moonstone Succulents or Desert Rose. Ensure that your wall planter has good drainage and is hanging where your succulents can get plenty of sunlight!
Succulent Care FAQ
Can You Mix Succulents with Other Plants?
Yes, succulents are great companions for a variety of plants and gardens. The most important thing to consider is how the growing conditions pair with other plants.
Since most succulents are hardy and drought-resistant, you should consider planting them near plants that don’t need much water. Ornamental grasses pair exceptionally well with most succulent varieties, as they are not typically “thirsty” plants.
How Many Succulents Can You Plant Together?
As many as you want! You just need to allow enough room for growth and provide enough space, so they do not need to compete for water or nutrients.
Can Cacti and Succulents Be Planted Together?
Yes. Almost all types of cacti pair well with succulents. However, be mindful when planting cacti and succulent varieties together that are not considered “typical,” as some of the rarer varieties will have different care needs.