The Pottery Post Blog

Succulent Watering Tips!

Have you ever purchased a beautiful potted succulent at the neighborhood garden center then take it home and kill it before you can even get it transplanted?  Well we have.  Watering succulents can be the trickiest part of growing and maintaining them.

Everyone struggles with this issue even the most educated gardener. So, here are a few tips to help you master your own issues.  And, the next time you visit your garden center looking for a new potted succulent you will know that you now have the tips to keep your plants happy.

Let's start with a few obvious issues.  Always use a garden container with drain holes. Succulents don't like sitting in standing water.  Next make sure you have well draining soil.  Succulents don't like to sit in wet soil for very long.  Having well draining soil in your planter with a drain hole is critical.  Don't use a spray bottle when watering. Succulents like to be soaked not sprayed.  Water in between your plants then on top of them.

When you soak the soil only, this tell the succulents to drink up because a drought is coming.  Once you water don't do it again until the soil is completely dry. This takes a few days.  As a general rule if you are using the correct soil mix is to water every 4 days or so.  If you live in a arid climate like Arizona, then you will water more often than a humid climate like Oregon.  Just look at the roots and see if they are too wet they will rot and die. If too dry they will stop growing.
Hopefully you know have some great tips to help when growing and maintaining your  potted succulents.  Just keep your eyes on the way the plants look and try your best to make the right adjustments.  It may not always work but you are on your way to having a better chance of success.
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succulents potted watering soil tips home and garden planters pots containers flowerpots gardening

Post Last Updated: 12/8/2016 4:09:15 PM 

How to Grow a Potted Cactus

You would think that growing a potted cactus is super simple. We mean like how hard can it be, right?  Stick a cactus in some soil and all done.  Well unfortunately that is not the case. Even though potted cactus is rather easy to grow and virtually maintenance free, you still need to know a few things to make sure you have success.

Several hours of sunlight each day and well draining soil are vital for a cactus to thrive.  There are several varieties available to grow indoors potted which can add beauty to any windowsill with a lot of work.

Select the planter.  Shallow and wide is best since they have short roots.  We like garden bowls and bulb pans.  Make sure the pot has drain holes. Cactus don't like sitting in standing water.  If your pot doesn't have a drain hole then they need to be drilled.
Purchase potting soil for cactus or succulents. They have gravel or sand in them to help with draining and nitrogen and phosphorus for indoor growing.

The best varieties for indoor planted cactus are Prickly Pear, Rose Pincushion, Euphorbia dn Rebuita.

Place the cactus in the pot semi filled with soil.  Wrap it with paper towel or wear garden gloves. Once placed then fill the remainder of the pot with soil.  Place a layer of gravel or sand on top and around the base of the cactus.


Put the planter in a sunny warm location like a window where it can get 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.  Water as needed around once a month.  Fertilize once or twice a year using houseplant food for cactus.

Not to difficult.  Remember DO NOT OVER WATER.  And, there you go!

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Post Last Updated: 12/8/2016 4:13:40 PM 

Great Projects With Succulents

There are so many kinds of succulents available now days and you can easily find yourself standing there at the garden center staring at them and not sure what to do. Here are a few suggestions we saw in Sunset Magazine that should help.

Living Cactus:  Start with a neutral colored garden planter and fill with cactus soil. Plant baby barrel cactus and thimble cactus in a off center arrangements and top with dark gravel.  The gravel protects the roots and soil but also adds a consistent look and decorative touch.

Succulents in a recycled vase.  Mounds of tiny succulents can be packed into a 3" tiny re-purposed container to create a wonderful look.  Fill the pot with moss and pack them in.  Use glass, plastic, ceramic, clay or pretty much any type of mini planter you desire to achieve this look.
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succulents potted planters pots cactus home and garden containers gardening indoor pots plants

Post Last Updated: 12/14/2016 12:51:59 PM 

The Right Pot For Succulents


Of course, the correct place to start is by choosing a container with drain holes.  If you find a flowerpot that you can't live without then you will have to drill holes because succulents hate standing or pooling water in the bottom of the planter.  It's hard not to get emotional when choosing that special pot to plant in.  Here are a few tips. Terracotta is breathable and is very healthy for any root system.  Ceramic is water poof and comes in great colors and styles.

Poly Resin is lightweight but not breathable so not such a good idea sometimes and concrete is heavy and not breathable so watch out.  Remember when it comes to choosing the right size of planter for your succulents a general rule is a 2" succulent works in a 2"
pot.  If you are going to group them together make sure they have room to grow.  They look nice all bunched together but that doesn't give them any room to grow so beware.
Fill top of pot mostly full with soil.  Make sure the leaves of the succulent sit above the soil to prevent rotting.  Top off the soil with small rocks or glass beads. Press down into the soil so the succulents stay in place.  This is the time to have fun and be creative.  Use colored marbles, nuts in the shell, beads, or plastic colorful gems.
Once planted leave the pot alone for 2 days with no water. This gives the roots time to heal. Good luck and keep us posted.

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succulents pots planters pottery cacti how to pot succulent plants and materials home and garden pottery

Post Last Updated: 12/14/2016 2:19:53 PM 

Planting a mini cacti garden.

We love easy and fun projects to do with garden planters and here is another one that involves Cacti....
Planting a bowl of cacti may take a bit of care and patience, but it is worth the effort since children love cacti.  Once planted, the cacti ask nothing more than benevolent neglect and they look stunning!

Start with a 10" terracotta clay low bowl of some shape and style.  Since cacti has very small root systems you don't need anything deep.  We love the natural clay look that clay pottery gives to the cacti but any dish glazed or not will work equally well.
Fill the bowl with cactus compost to within 2" of the rim.  Prepare a thickly folded strip of newspaper to help handle the cacti.  Before planting, decide on your arrangement of the plants by standing them in their pots inside the bowl.


Ease the plants from their pots, surround them with a newspaper collar and lift into place.  Handle more ferocious plants carefully, and leave the really prickly ones till last or you will stab yourself on them as you are planting the rest.
Fill in around the plants with extra compost if needed.  Add a finishing rock to the top and place the planter in good light.  Water sparingly.  If you have small children be sure to place the potted cacti in a safe area.  You can always substitute succulents instead; they require the same treatment and are thorn free.
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Post Last Updated: 12/20/2016 2:04:50 PM 

Containers That Thrive On Neglect

Believe it or not, there are potted plants that like it hot and dry and need very little water.  These types of plants mainly consist of succulents and cacti that love full, hot sun and a little bit of water.  When you travel considerably these are the plants to pot and have around your home and garden.  They won't stress you out or worry you when you leave them for a few days.....

Cacti, succulents, aloes and sotols are amazing when it comes to tolerance of human forgetfulness or hot baking sites.    They tend to thrive where other potted plants fail.  Using many of these in your garden ahead will provide year round beauty with little attention.  Drought adapted plants also have strikingly different forms, color and textures which add uniqueness to your garden or patio area.  What's really neat is that they conserve water resources and time when it comes to watering them during the summer months.

You can use glazed as well as terracotta when it comes to the best types of containers.  The main thing to consider when using these types of plant materials is trying to match the pot size to the plants root mass.  By minimizing the container it keeps the soil mass smaller which helps it to dry out quickly once watered.  These types of plants like a compact area where water is scarce, so don't worry about confining the roots.  You will know by looking at the size and health of your plant if it is time to re-pot in a larger container.

Even though these potted plants like it dry, they need to be watered and fertilized periodically.  You must however give them a dry spell between watering's.  That time can last for days or even weeks, with no harm done to the plants.  When you do water them be thorough.  Most pots like a liquid fertilizer at half strength about once a month during the growing season.  You can mix in slow release fertilizer in an established container.

One of the most easy to find groups of drought adapted plants is succulents.  They store water in their leaves unlike cacti that has no leaves and hold their water in their stems.  All cacti grow well in plant containers so don't hesitate to experiment and give them a try.  We think you will really love this way of container gardening.
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Post Last Updated: 12/29/2016 8:56:51 AM 

Cactuses in Containers

Cactus and succulents are appealing, dramatic plants, best shown off in containers.  Collecting them can be addictive - many a sizable garden has been inspired by the purchase of just one whimsical looking cacti.  With rare exceptions, every cactus is a succulent.  Cacti are distinguished from other succulents by areoles or well defined areas on the plant's surface from which sprout tuffs of spines, bristles or hairs.  Cactus flowers always bloom from these areas also.

Planting Tips:  You can buy a special soil mix for potted cacti at garden nurseries and center.  Or you can make your own.  Just combine one part leaf mold, one part peat moss soil mix and two parts river sand or fine gravel.

Pot Tips:  Cacti will thrive in almost any style and type of garden planter.  There is where you can become creative and choose round bowls for combinations of cacti and succulents.  Choose colorful containers to add some brightness to the basic green of most cacti.  Go with deep or shallow pottery because these types of plants have very short root systems.  Make sure if you go with ceramic or poly resin that you don't over water.
When planting make sure and wear garden gloves to protect your hands.  You can wrap folded newsprint around the plant so that you don't come in contact with the spines.

Plant suggestions & care:  These types of plants are easy to grow and don't take much care.  It's best to soak soil completely each time you water and then let it dry almost out completely before the next watering.  Fertilize monthly during the growing season.  Potted Cacti love direct sunlight so make sure they get some especially during the winter months.  Once a year check to see if you need to re-pot into a larger container.

Here are a few of the favorite type to pot:
Aconium - Agave - Aloe - Crassula argentea - Kalanchoe
Opuntia - Schlumbergera - Sempervivum tectorum.
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Post Last Updated: 12/29/2016 10:01:39 AM 

Cactus & Succulents In Garden Pots

Cactuses and succulents are great to work with for many reasons.  They are especially easy for the "gardener" who doesn't have a lot of time and knowledge of gardening.  They are relatively easy to take care of and since they grow slowly, you don't have to re-pot them frequently, you can leave them unattended for extended lengths of time and don't have to be exact when selecting a location to place them.


Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems and roots.  That is why they look bloated, soft and squishy.  They can adapt to the arid desert landscape or the polar opposite - a beach climate.  You can find them at mountain cabins and residential front yards.  Of course the most recognized succulent is the "hen & chick" and they are adorable to grow.  Especially in a Arizona Pottery Chicken pot.

Cacti are a type of succulent but unfortunately for small children, pets and some adults, they have sharp spikes.  It is best to put them in a location where people are not likely to come in contact with them.  They are unusual in shape and size but interesting to look at.  Here in Arizona the cacti is sacred.


Both types mentioned above really only require some direct sun year round and should be protected come winter time.  If you can move them indoors and place them in a sunny window - all the better.  If they are to large to move, try placing the large plant on a pot caddy and move it to a sunny patio area when necessary.


The best types of pots to use are terracotta.   Because of the breatheability of clay it really keeps the roots from standing water.  A shallow container is also acceptable because the root systems are very shallow.  Try selecting a size  and style that compliments the succulents.  Don't place small cacti in a large container in anticipation of growth.  They will look silly and dwarfed.  These grow slowly!  Don't forget to think out side the box when selecting a container.  We love to use pocket pots and place a different type of succulent in each pocket.  This look is great!


Fertilize once a month, select soil meant for this type of plant material and don't forget to water them.  Just because they don't need to be watered every day doesn't mean you can just forget about them.

Thats it!

Post Last Updated: 1/5/2017 10:01:10 AM 

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