You’re here because you wanna know if succulents like small pots.
SPOILER ALERT... They Do.
BUT only if you make some adjustments and accommodations.
In this way succulents are very much like us humans.
Give you a big house, studio apartment or shared dorm room, and you’ll manage and figure it out. What you bring with you to your new living quarters will vary based on the room you have.
Sometimes you will find you can bring everything (usually the IDEAL situation). Other times you’ll have to start posting that IKEA dresser / desk / queen size bed on both LETGO and OFFERUP apps (I recommend both to expedite the selling of things - but enough about that...).
Same with succulents - Give them a big container with ALL the space, the smallest pot imaginable or pack them in like sardines in an arrangement and… THEY’LL ADJUST and thrive.
It’s all gravy baby.
There are certain tasks you should complete before aggressively stuffing them in small pots - we’ll cover that first. You should also know how small pots will affect their growth, so we’ll tear through that topic. Lastly, we will cover just how fast succulents will grow in a small pot - you’ll find the results vary by growth type and species.
Shall we just dive right into it???
Perfect, let’s go!
How to Prepare Succulents for Small Pots
Suppose you’re taking your favorite succulent from another pot, arrangement or garden. As you pull it out you notice this plant has a whole established root system.
Succulents have these shallow but elaborate root systems built for drinking in dry areas. It’s quite impressive.
You’re determined to fit this plant into the cute small pot you got as a gift from Aunt Mary.
You eyeball it and quickly realize: It’s gonna be a tight squeeze.
How are you going to do this????
No problemo - here’s whatchya do to prep the plant for their new tiny home:
- Shake off as much of the soil as you can
- Try adding the whole plant to the small pot
- If it doesn’t fit - rip off SOME (not all) of the roots
- Test, rip, and repeat if necessary
Just remove enough of the roots to comfortably fit into the new pot with soil. You can use your hands, some pruners or even scissors to remove roots.
Historically speaking, succulent roots love soil and need it to thrive. So make sure you can fit the plant and soil into the pot.
Will a small pot affect a succulent’s growth?
The answer is YES. But if you’re interested in learning why, please continue:
Aunt Mary’s small pot will dramatically affect the succulent’s growth.
If you have to remove roots to fit it into the new pot - think of this as a restart button for your plants.
Like in an old-school computer or Super Nintendo video game: Your progress was saved but the ammo you had before you restarted is likely gone. It’s up to you to find that ammo again.
An even better example is like the antiquated practice of foot binding (which I think is banned now). Give your feet some tiny shoes your whole developed life and they will adjust.
The roots will sense and notice their roots have no place to go. When it realizes this, the plant will naturally halt growth as a result.
How Fast Will a Succulent Grow in a Small Pot
The quick answer is not fast, with a few exceptions…
At the end of the day it depends on the species and growth pattern.
At the nursery I have witnessed vertical growing, sprawling / hanging, and rosette succulents in 2 inch pots.
Here are my findings:
Like the Crassula Miniature Pine Tree, will continue to grow. Because of the vertical growth pattern, the plant is not affected by small pots. It does, however, get to a point where it can’t stand up straight in their nursery pots.
Sprawling - Hanging Growers
These succulent will usually spill over the sides a bit, making for great images you’ll sometimes see on our social media channels. The String of Tears is a great example of one that will likely continue to grow and hang over the sides.
These are the most likely to be affected by Aunt Mary’s small pot.
I have noticed these mayyyybe get a 1 inch growth around the nursery pot before they stop growing. Sometimes a bit larger.
When the rosettes start to look like a muffin-top (you know what I’m talking about, right?!?!) it is probably time to move them into something bigger. :)
When it’s Time to Move to a Bigger Pot
You can usually tell when a succulent needs a new home.
Tell-tale Sign: The roots are growing out of the drainage hole. Beyond just being a sign that it’s time for a new home, you run the risk of root rot. In most cases, roots will block water drainage. This keeps soil wet and causes succulents to be waterlogged.