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Should Succulents Be Planted in the Ground or in Pots?

Should Succulents Be Planted in the Ground or in Pots?
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Some plants are more suitable for outdoor gardens and landscaping (thus purchasing wholesale) than others, but what about succulents? If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s better to plant your succulents in containers or in the ground, you’re not alone. More than a few gardeners have considered which option will encourage their succulents to thrive.

Unfortunately, there is no single correct answer. Whether you should plant your succulents in pots or in the ground will depend on a few different factors including your climate, the soil your succulents will be planted in, and the amount of shade or sun needed by each type of plant. Once you understand how each of these factors will affect your succulents, you can make an informed decision about where to plant your succulents.

Succulents planted in containers can easily be moved if the weather or light conditions change.


The biggest impact on your decision whether to plant your succulents in the ground or in a container is the climate you live in. If you live in an area where you get a lot of rain, or particularly harsh winters, you may be better off planting your succulents in containers. On the other hand, if you live somewhere warm and dry, you may have the option of planting your succulents wherever you please.

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If you do live somewhere with more moisture or where frigid temperatures are common, you may still be able to have outdoor succulents, but you’ll have to choose wisely. There are a few species of succulents and cacti that can withstand winter temperatures and wetter weather, but you’ll need to do your research to make sure you’re choosing the right plants.

Succulents such as Sempervivum and Sedum can withstand winter temperatures but will not be able to survive long periods in standing water. If your area receives a significant amount of rainfall, you may need to make changes to your garden to accommodate the excess water with adequate drainage.

Succulent lovers who live in extremely hot, dry climates will also need to choose their plants wisely and make any necessary changes to their care. Most cacti will do well in areas with full sun, even in high temperatures, but some succulents will not survive such conditions. Desert succulents such as Agave and some Aloe can survive extremely hot temperatures, but do your research before planting any succulents outdoors.

High temperatures will cause the moisture in the soil to evaporate more quickly, so you may need to water your plants more frequently during the summer. You should still only water your succulents when the soil is dry, but you may find yourself watering them more often than you do in cooler weather.

If you choose your succulents according to your climate, you may be able to successfully grow them in the ground in gardens or landscaping. However, if you have a passion for exotic succulents with more specific needs, container gardening may be your best option. Succulents planted in containers can easily be moved indoors during seasons of extreme temperatures. If rainfall is an issue, they can easily be covered or moved to dry them out or prevent them from getting too wet in the first place.


All succulents and cacti need adequate drainage in order to prevent them from developing root rot. No matter where you plant your succulents, you’ll need to make sure they are planted in the right kind of soil and that excess water has a way out.

Obviously, succulents in containers have the advantage as far as soil. When you put a succulent in a container, you can choose an appropriate type of soil and a container with a drainage hole. Of course, drainage holes aren’t exactly necessary, but they are recommended.

Succulents and cacti planted in the ground must rely on type of soil they’re planted in to drain excess water away. If you live in a warm, dry climate, your soil may already be appropriate for growing succulents and cacti. If not, you may need to make changes to your garden or landscaping areas before planting succulents.

Sun and Shade

Different types of succulents have different needs as far as the amount of sunlight they require. Some do well in bright shade, while others need full sun in order to look their best. If your outdoor garden has particularly sunny or shady areas, you’ll need to choose your plants accordingly.

As with climate needs, if you’re willing to plan your outdoor garden according to the amount of sun each area receives, you’ll be more successful in growing your succulents outdoors. Careful research and planning will enable you to plant each succulent in an area that will give them the optimum amount of sun for that species.

One of the benefits of planting succulents in containers is that they can be moved from sun to shade as needed. As with planting your succulents outdoors, if you can find the perfect place in your yard or garden for each plant, that’s obviously ideal, but if you find that spot to be less than ideal you can always move the plant to a better location. This is especially helpful if you begin to notice signs of sunburn. If your succulents are planted in the ground, it can be a bit more difficult to rescue them from sunburn.

Whenever you buy a new succulent, be sure to do your research on its preferences for sun, soil, and temperature. This will help you make the best decision on where to plant it. If you’re unsure whether your plants will do well planted in the ground, you can always plant them in a pot until you’re more confident that they’ll survive outdoors. If you have any doubts, you can always move them indoors or to a more suitable location.

Many gardeners choose to create a succulent wonderland in their outdoor spaces by planting their succulents both in the ground and in containers. Succulents planted in the ground are chosen according to their specific needs while those planted in containers can be moved and rotated as needed. This also creates the opportunity to use more vertical space, which can be helpful once you’ve come to terms with your wholesale succulent shopping habit. 

So, while there’s no definite answer on whether succulents should be planted in the ground or in pots, make sure you know what each of your plants needs to make an informed decision about where to plant them. Use your best judgement and your creativity to create the succulent garden of your dreams.

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