How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted

how close together should succulents be planted
Picture of Succulents planted in pots

A question we get spammed with on the Succulent City Plant Lounge is just how close together should succulents be planted? 

Everyone seems to have their opinion. So pay attention, guys and gals. This article will be an informative one.

Simply put, there is no fixed answer. There is no pre-ordained one size fits all. It’s all up to individual preference.

What do you want the arrangement to look like a few months down the line? What is your intention with the succulents? Your final goal? Why does any of this even matter? 

The number of succulents in a pot and the space between them directly impact how fast (or slow) they grow. I see you shaking your head in disbelief back there, but this is time-tested wisdom put on blast!

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Planting Slow Growing Succulents -SC
Slow Growing Succulents: Reddit@u/stoneyshi

Planting Slow Growing Succulents 

Say you are giving the succulent as a birthday gift tonight; you spent time on its arrangement and finally got it right. You do not want it to change much, if at all. In this case, you can slow downtime by making it as packed as the pot can comfortably handle. Do not go overboard! 

This will slow the growth of the succulent to sloth-speed. Effectively remaining the same as when planted.

How To Make Your Succulents Grow Fast

On the other hand, the succulent is still a gift, but this time you’re shipping it to a relative halfway across the world, taking a few months to arrive. 

You can speed up time; by spreading out the arrangement, effectively allowing the succulents to grow faster and fill the available space. 

When your relative gets it a few months later, it will look as if the succulent was planted yesterday!

So we can speed up time? Or slow it down? 

Like in the movie Click?

Well, not precisely like Jim Carrey’s remote from Click, but sure, in a way, we kind of can. 

Cool right?

Each technique has its pros and cons, but botanical scientists suggest keeping at least ½ to 1½ inches between plants if you choose a multiple-succulent arrangement.

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Planting Multiple Succulents Together-SC
Multiple Succulents together: IG@gypsyspirit19

Planting Multiple Succulents Together

With many succulents out there up for grabs, planting multiple succulents together is quite the rage right now on social media.

As a succulent enthusiast, you must have come across multiple succulent arrangements on the Succulent City Pinterest or Instagram. A tiny pot with various succulent species jammed inside, forming a colourful, attractive, artsy little feature reminiscent of a rainbow sprinkled ice-cream cone!

If you’ve never seen such an arrangement, I’ve included a link here.

There are two ways to approach multiple-succulent arrangements, and Succulent City will guide you through the finer points of each one! 

If you want to learn more about succulents than your average hobbyist, check out our helpful guides, reviews, and collection of in-depth ebooks

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Tight Packed Multiple-Succulent Arrangement-SC
tight-packed succulents: IG@loving_to_houseplant

Tight Packed Multiple-Succulent Arrangement

The first approach to multiple-succulent arrangements is planting many individual succulents close together in one pot – a lovely, tight arrangement.

This method is perfect if you want them to remain the same size no matter how old they get (think Japanese Bonsai trees).

Planting individual succulents back-to-back leaves very little space for them to spread out. The plants sense this packed environment and automatically halt their growth speed. This approach gives them the ability to remain the same tiny size for an incredibly long time.


Advantages of A Tight-Knit Succulent Pot

Succulents are survivalists. Extremely hardy little guys. A tight-packed arrangement enhances this plant-and-forget nature of succulents. Slowing down their growth speed slows their metabolism as well. Meaning they won’t need as much watering or tending compared to other plants.

Unlike their spaced-out counterparts, tight-packed arrangements are considered to have a more rounded, finished look since the pot is already brimming with flowers. They also maintain their overall look – their shape – much longer than individually planted succulents.

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Disadvantages of A Tight Succulent Arrangement-SC

Disadvantages of A Tight Succulent Arrangement

It is harder to water a tight arrangement due to the succulents being back-to-back jam-packed, though by using a watering can with a long thin spout, you should be able to get in-between the individual plants.

The older the succulent, the bigger their leaves get, making access to some of the smaller guys for pruning tricky with the larger succulent’s leaves getting in the way.

Re-potting, a tight arrangement, makes for an exasperating task thanks to all the individual succulents’ intertwined and knotted roots. 

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Spaced-Out Multiple-Succulent Arrangement-SC
Succulents spaced out: IG@the_kakching_plantsman

See our collaboration with here!

Spaced-Out Multiple-Succulent Arrangement

The second approach to planting multiple supplements in one pot is to space out each succulent comfortably. 

Utilize this method when you want your succulents to get bigger, spread out, and fill out the pot.

When you leave space between your succulents, they sense it and instinctively enter turbo mode – growing faster to fill the empty region. The more room you give, the quicker they grow, the bigger they get, and the more they spread out. 

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Pros Of Spaced-Out Succulents-SC

Pros Of Spaced-Out Succulents

The more space you leave between individual plants, the more air flows unencumbered between the soil particles. Increased airflow translates to a faster and more efficient drainage system. 

Drainage is essential and shouldn’t be overlooked. Succulents are highly susceptible to root-rot from stagnant water, so the faster the drainage, the better.  

Learn more about Root-Rot in this Succulent City article:  What is Root Rot & How Do you Fix It? 

Cons Of Spaced-Out Succulents

Leave too much space between succulents – especially in a deep planter – and this will prompt them to focus on growing their roots instead of thor shoots.

Spread-out arrangements take time to fill the space between individual succulents giving your account a sort of unfinished look.

How Close Together Should Succulents Be Planted-Choosing Your Multiple-Succulent Arrangement-SC
Multiple Succulent Arrangement: IG@sorinasgarden

Choosing Your Multiple-Succulent Arrangement

Succulent arrangements are intensely personal little beauties. 

Only you know the reason for a particular arrangement and the inspiration behind it. 

Because of this, the answer to “how close together should succulents be planted?” is however close, or far, you want it to be. 

Just remember to keep it within the ½ to 1 ½ inch ballpark recommended by botanical scientists. 🙂

Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use?

Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use

If you’ve been taking care of succulents for a while, you’ve probably heard that fertilizer nutrients can burn your succulents. Sounds pretty scary, right? Nobody wants to burn their beloved succulent collection, so using a fertilizer can seem a little intimidating!

But don’t worry! Fertilizer is completely safe to use on your succulents as long as you apply it properly. Today, we’re going to teach you the right way to apply fertilizer to your succulents so that you don’t damage them. We’ll even give you a few natural alternatives to chemical fertilizer just in case you don’t feel comfortable using chemicals on your plant babies. 

Let’s jump right into the post and get your succulents growing with fertilizer! 


Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use
Use it Correctly @queenplantarina

Chemical Fertilizer 

If you’ve heard that fertilizers can burn and damage succulents, we’re sad to report that the rumors are true. Chemical fertilizers can damage your succulents if you use the wrong kind or apply them the wrong way. If you follow our tips, though, you won’t have to worry about damaging your succulents! 

The best kind of chemical fertilizer to use on your succulents is a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer like this one. Stay away from fertilizers that have high amounts of nitrogen or release slowly—they’re bad for your succulents and can damage them! 

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To prepare your fertilizer, get out a big watering can and fill it with a gallon of water. Then add your plant food. Don’t follow the instructions on the back of the package—if you put in that much plant food, your fertilizer will be too strong and burn your succulents, which is definitely not what you want! Dilute the fertilizer to half strength instead by adding half the amount the box instructs you to. So if your box of plant food says to mix a whole tablespoon into a gallon of water, you should only use a half tablespoon.

Then take your diluted fertilizer and water your succulents plants as normal. Try to avoid splashing fertilizer on the leaves, though, as they’re the most easily burned part of your succulents. 

Since succulents plants don’t need much fertilizer, you only need to fertilize your plants a few times during their active season to grow, which is usually in the summer. Even fertilizing your plants just once or twice a year will give them the nutrients they need to keep sprouting nice and grow healthy!

Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use
Fertilizer for Your Succulents @queenplantarina

Manure or Compost Tea 

Compost and manure teas are more natural alternatives to chemical fertilizers. They won’t burn your succulents, and in our experience, they do a pretty good job of providing them with nutrients! They’re a great way to fertilize your plants if you like to use natural, organic products rather than chemical ones. 

You’re probably wondering how you’re going to get your hands on compost or manure when you live in the city. Well, that part is surprisingly easy! Manure and compost tea bags are readily available for purchase on Amazon. That site really does have everything, doesn’t it?

Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure 4-2-3, 5 Pounds
Sustane Compost Tea Bags
Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure 4-2-3, 5 Pounds
Sustane Compost Tea Bags

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Amazon

Did you know that this article is sponsored by Amazon Prime! Amazon is offering our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership. Click here to get your free trial started and enjoy that free 2-day shipping!

To brew your manure or compost tea, grab one of your tea bags and put it in the bottom of a big, five-gallon bucket. Fill up the bucket with anywhere from one to five gallons of water depending on how strong or weak you want your fertilizer to be. We like to make ours on the weaker side because succulents don’t need super strong fertilizers. 

After you’ve filled it up with water, put the lid back on the bucket and leave it outside for two or three days to steep. Once the tea is done steeping, take the teabag out and use the tea to water your succulents just like you normally would. You can water your succulents with this fertilizer as often as once a month during their active season to grow.

There you have it! That’s how you use compost and manure tea. 

If you can’t get over the ick factor of watering your succulents with manure, don’t worry! There are other natural fertilizer options for you, like brewed coffee.

Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use
Natural Pesticide @drsherikeffer

Brewed Coffee 

If you’re a little grossed out by manure tea or worried that it will stink up your house, then try out brewed coffee instead! Coffee grounds have lots of essential nutrients that your succulents need, like nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium. By brewing them, you’ll make the nutrients in the coffee grounds easier for your plants to soak up and utilize!

So to make this type of fertilizer, brew a cup of coffee and dilute it with water. You should use equal amounts of coffee and water for the best results. Once you’ve diluted your coffee, use it to water your succulents just like you usually would. You can brew up this fertilizer and use it on your succulents a few times during their active season for growth. Be sure to also check out “Are Coffee Grounds Good for Succulents?” for more info on using ground coffee.


Worm Castings 

Worm castings are another natural fertilizer option, but like manure tea, they’re a little gross! Worm castings are essentially worm droppings. You can mix them in with the soil and they’ll provide a host of beneficial micronutrients to your plants, including potassium, iron, copper, and zinc. They can even help repel pests like aphids and mealybugs that might want to feed on your outdoor succulents

Worm castings are best for outdoor succulents. If you use them on plants that live indoors, they break down too slowly and act as a slow-release fertilizer, which isn’t good for your plant. Plus, using worm castings indoors can get a little messy! 

But luckily, there is a worm castings product that you can use on indoor succulents. It’s called vermicompost tea. It’s essentially the worm castings version of manure tea. It comes in a handy spray bottle, so it doesn’t leave a mess! 

Vermicompost tea is easy to apply to your indoor or outdoor succulents during their active season for growth—just spray it right onto the soil and they’ll soak it right up! You can even spray it directly on their leaves because it’s all-natural, or use it as a treatment for mealybugs. 

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Is Succulent Fertilizer Safe to Use
Worm Casting @queenplantarina

Phew, that’s a lot of different fertilizer options! They’re all great, so if you need help narrowing things down and picking just one, leave us a comment down below or head over to the Succulent City Plant Lounge to get some advice. It’s a great community of succulent lovers who are always willing to answer questions and swap gardening tips! 

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “Essential Tools for Planting the Best Succulents” or even “The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent”  today! 

Happy Planting! ?