I have a good few small succulents that are growing well. They were initially planted in small seashells, then moved to small planter pots and now I’d like to have them merged to save space and have them visually nicer.

This is how I’ve planted them now. A thin layer of pebbles at the bottom, then succulent soil, and then the plants as you can see (I’m usually careful with watering and I only spray enough water into the soil to avoid the leaves):

succulent dish garden

succulent dish garden view from top

In addition to the online suggestions, a friend –agricultural engineer– is suggesting that there’s too much space in the soil and since plants start with expanding the roots before working on the leaves/flowers, I should add more plants to make it tight and snug for the roots.

Ok, that makes sense but then there are articles like this one that suggest they shouldn’t be planted tightly or they’ll be growing slowly. So two opposing suggestions and I’m not sure which one to follow.

I have some other succulents that are doing well as they are but I wonder if I should repot any of them and/or add any more to this dish.



Succulent in a seashell

More succulents in seashells

A few more succulents in seashells Any tips would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


If you want flowers, I would say the important factor is getting the plants into an annual rhythm with a dormant period.

It is easier to keep a moderate sized plant dormant for 3 to 6 months each the year than a small plant. If the plant is big enough, the brutal (but perfectly natural) method of "don't water it at all for 3 months in winter" works fine. A small plant with a tiny root system, growing in a sea shell, would probably not survive that.

The other issue is that the plants in your dish will probably reach quite different sizes as they continue to develop. You can't easily have a two-inch-tall plant sharing the same container as a two-foot-tall one. Some succulents produce flower spikes several times taller than the plant itself.

In the end, it's your choice. You could keep the collection in that dish for several years, growing slowly. Or you could put them in individual pots, with the size of each pot in proportion to the size of the plant as it grows, and let each one do its own thing at its own pace.

  • So I guess you're vouching more for keeping them each in a separate pot? Imagine once the little ones in the shells grow bigger, how many pots would I have?! :D Also do you have any comments on the third picture? Shall I cut it or keep it?
    – Neeku
    May 27, 2020 at 17:11

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