What’s the best pot for succulents? How about a recycled container?

by Lynn KirkJun 9, 2021

succulent garden


When it comes to succulent containers, let your creativity shine! [photo courtesy of Beth & Scott Burrell, Giving Tree Garden Designers] 

The best pot for succulents depends on your personality, your preferences, and your imagination! Keep in mind that your succulent garden can be more than a botanical decoration, a breath of fresh air, and a nod to nature. It’s also your palette for artistic expression and your opportunity to make a statement. So . . . let the creative recycling begin!

Rediscover, Renew, Repurpose

The best pot for succulents is most anything that holds soil -- including repurposed, recycled containers. There’s really no need for depth since succulent roots tend to be shallow, but extra width might be useful if some of your succulents are spreaders. Regardless, don’t forget the drainage holes. Search for a container that’s already got them or be ready to add them if needed, so there’s always adequate water drainage.

So where do you begin? First, scout around your house, including the attic, basement, and garage. What begs to be seen again? What can be easily re-purposed? Is anything a conversation piece? And, what’s ordinary that can be morphed into the extraordinary?

From the kitchen, salvage an old-fashioned metal colander that offers up lots of holes for drainage. Gather empty tea tins, an antique metal sifter, or canisters of old. From basement storage, how about a woven bike basket or a no-longer-used toddler wagon? Yes, check behind the shed for that partially broken, can-still-hold-succulent-soil urn. And better yet, reuse that forgotten bird fountain – especially if it has tiers! 

As your imagination grows, so do your options. Stack metal pails in a staggered vertical design. Pull out that vintage sink, galvanized washtub, or empty storage bins. Check out the forgotten camping gear, like a campfire lantern or coffeepot since even the dents add character. Don’t forget the abandoned birdcage, and yes, bring out that won’t-hold-water stone fountain.

The thrill of the hunt might take you to thrift shops and yard sales, too – especially if you enjoy gifting succulent gardens to family and friends. Look for containers that carry out a theme, complement your friend’s favorite color scheme, or bring back shared memories. Be a picker with an open mind, and invite your youngsters to help (after all, their imagination knows no limits). You’ll find the adage rings true: Another’s trash just might be your treasure!

Succulent Container Tips

  • Beware really dark metal containers since they absorb the heat of sunlight. They can literally bake their contents, which is not okay, even for the toughest succulents.
  • If your container has too many holes to hold the soil, insert a coffeepot filter as a partial stopgap.
  • When you clean your container, don’t use chemicals that might harm your plants. After the initial cleaning and succulent plantings, use a clean paintbrush to whiff off any soil residue on the container’s sides, base, and lip.
  • Display your newfound container in ways captivating as the succulents themselves. Stack them. Rotate them. Turn them on their side. And yes, show that broken edge!
  • Save and/or buy containers whenever you find them. That way you’ll always have an inventory on hand for your next special project or special occasion gift.

Good luck with your search. We look forward to seeing your pot-pleasers!