25 Colorful Succulent Container Plans That Can Take Heat and Drought

succulents in a tray
Photo: Lynn Karlin

Many of the same succulents that make good houseplants also will thrive in outdoor containers. Plus, these plants often can take more heat and drought than many annuals, perennials, or tropicals in pots. The following plant combinations complement each variety's colors, forms, and textures, and each arrangement groups together succulents with similar moisture and light requirements to make it easier to care for. You can get creative with the containers for these combos as long as the vessel has drainage holes.

01 of 25

Double Dish Succulent Garden

dish garden of succulents
Lynn Karlin

Serve a big helping of succulents with this double dish garden. The multiple-container system ensures excellent drainage because the inner pot sits on pebbles. The spreading shoots of pale sedum and pachyveria echo the stiff arching leaves of the variegated century plant. Artificial coral adds a decorative touch.

A. Pachyveria spp.—1

B. Pale sedum (Sedum sediforme)—2

C. Artificial coral

D. Variegated century plant (Agave americana 'Mediopicta')—1

E. Cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum)—1

F. Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae)—1

02 of 25

Sculpture on a Pedestal

Century plant in urn
Richard Felber

Play up the architectural qualities of succulents in simple displays. Place your potted garden on overturned pots to grab attention with bold plant forms. This succulent container garden planted in an urn rests on a square upside down black pot.

A. Dwarf century plant (Agave desmettiana)—1

B. Ice plant (Lampranthus deltoides)—3

C. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina')—3

03 of 25

Fiery Forces

Sedum and hen and chicks in metal container
David Speer

A trio of creeping sedum and two varieties of hen-and-chicks makes an attractive low-growing grouping in this triangular metal container. When the sedum blooms yellow, the combo glows with warmth. These succulents are hardy to Zone 4, so you could leave this container garden outdoors in most regions. All are spreading groundcovers that will eventually creep over the edges of the container. Test Garden Tip: Drill several holes in the bottom of containers to ensure good drainage for succulents.

A. Creeping sedum (Sedum sarmentosum)—1

B. Firebird hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Firebird')—1

C. Glowing Embers hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Glowing Embers')—1

04 of 25

Sleek Line Succulent

succulent container
Erica George Dines

What could be a simpler succulent container garden idea than growing a solitary multistemmed yucca in a sleek contemporary container? 'Golden Sword' yucca is aptly named for its variegated yellow-striped leaves with razor-sharp edges. Grow it out of traffic flow to avoid injury to guests but where it will receive at least 6 hours per day of direct sun.

A. Yucca filamentosa 'Golden Sword'—1

05 of 25

Urning their Keep

Urn with succulents hens chicks pigmyweeds
Ed Gohlich

Pink blooms of 'Brilliant' showy sedum echo the pinkish purple cast of 'Perle von Nurnberg' echeveria while string of beads tumbles over the edge of this succulent container garden plan. These plants fill the classic roles of thriller (showy sedum), filler (echeveria), and spiller (string of beads).

A. Brilliant showy sedum (Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant')—1

B. Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg'—4

C. String of beads (Senecio rowleyanus)—1

D. Echeveria shaviana—2

06 of 25

Plant Tray

succulents in a tray
Lynn Karlin

When creating a succulent container garden, it's important to think about the vessel you plant in. This attention-grabbing tray of unusual echeverias, kalanchoe, and silver squill derives its showiness from variegated leaves and sculptural foliage. Most of the plants are rosette formers, so a flat saucer provides just the right scale for a spectacular display.

A. Echeveria 'Mauna Loa'—1

B. Graptoveria acaulis—2

C. Echeveria lilacina—1

D. Silver squill (Ledebouria socialis)—1

E. Paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae)—1

07 of 25

Vintage Plant Container

succulents in metal plant stand
Edmund Barr

A salvaged metal plant stand creates the impression of the scales of justice when outfitted with trailing succulents. The Madagascar senecio is related to string of beads, and burro's tail is in the same family as groundcover sedums. If pieces break off, root them to start new plants.

A. Madagascar senecio (Senecio antandroi)—1

B. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum)—1

08 of 25

Echeveria Collection

trio of echeverias
Edward Gohlich

This trio of echeverias in a pair of mismatched terra-cotta pots creates a stunning centerpiece on this stone slab. The more than 100 echeveria species and cultivars from which to choose means it's easy to create unique tabletop groupings of these easy-care succulents. Clump size of these spreaders increases over time. If the plants become too crowded in the container, divide and replant them.

A. Echeveria 'Golden Glow'—1

B. Echeveria elegans—1

C. Echeveria prolifica—2

09 of 25

Concrete Garden Accessories

succulents in concrete containers
Edward Gohlich

Concrete serves as the unifying element in this collection of succulents. Each grows in its own pot, but by grouping them, a dramatic display results. The neutral grays and blacks of the containers allow the plants to star. A matching concrete sphere extends the theme.

A. Kalanchoe 'Flapjacks'—1

B. Sedum 'Matrona'—2

C. Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos spp.)—1

D. Sticks on Fire euphorbia (Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire')—1

E. Canary Island aeonium (Aeonium canariensis)—1

10 of 25

Layered Garden

containers of succulents on entry steps
Edmund Barr 

Soften sun-baked entry steps with containers of succulents. Group several pots together to lead visitor's eyes up the staircase to the entry. Unify the collection by repeating a plant in each container. Echeveria fills that role here. Include some trailing types, such as burro's tail, which cascades down the edge of the step.

A. Zebra haworthia (Haworthia fasciata)—1

B. Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)—1

C. Echeveria elegans—2

D. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum)—1

11 of 25

Tabletop Succulent Garden

succulents in tabletop dish garden
Craig Anderson

A blue ceramic bowl holds a collection of small succulents, creating a tabletop centerpiece for the garden. A combination of rosette plant forms, an upright "pine" tree, and a sprawling succulent "vine" results in a pleasing succulent grouping that will last for several years with little care.

A. Miniature pine tree (Crassula tetragona)—1

B. Tiger jaws (Faucaria tigrina)—1

C. Paddle plant (Cotyledon macrantha)—1

D. Narrow-leaf haworthia (Haworthia angustifolia)—1

E. Ox tongue (Gasteria verrucosa)—1

F. Variegated creeping crassula (Crassula sarmentosa variegata)—1

12 of 25

Cluster of Containers

Echeverias and dyckia on tabletop
Richard Felber

For an easy-to-arrange grouping of low-maintenance succulents, arrange three containers of similar size on a table. Rosette forms, such as these echeverias and dyckia, are most effective when viewed from above, making them the perfect choice for display on a low occasional table.

A. Dyckia marnier-lapostolle—1

B. Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg'—1

C. Echeveria runyonii 'Topsy Turvy'—1

13 of 25

Creeping Container Plants

succulents with silvery blue foilage
Alison Miksch

Silvery blue foliage is a good indicator of plants that require little moisture to thrive. Plants in this shallow bowl echo the container's blue color. Stiff, grasslike stemless senecio and variegated Kamchatka sedum add vertical elements among the low-growing groundcovers.

A. Variegated Kamchatka sedum (Sedum kamtschaticum variegatum)—1

B. Jungle Fire hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum 'Jungle Fire')—1

C. Echeveria elegans—1

D. Sedum lydium—1

E. Stemless senecio (Senecio acaulis)—1

14 of 25

Succulent Mix

Bowl of grass and succulents
Edward Gohlich

This dish garden contains both familiar and unique succulents. Some, such as the silver jade and warty panda plant, are close relatives of the more common green jade and panda plant. Medicinal aloe is renowned for its ability to soothe burns. Black mondo grass is usually considered a groundcover rather than a succulent, but because it has low water needs, it works well in the mix.

A. Felt bush (Kalanchoe beharensis)—1

B. Harpoon daisy (Senecio cuneatus)—1

C. Moonstones (Pachyphytum oviferum)—1

D. Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens')—1

E. Silver dollar jade (Crassula arborescens)—1

F. Warty panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)—1

G. Medicinal aloe (Aloe vera)—1

15 of 25

Vintage Appeal

succulents moss planters outside table letters
Amy Haskell

Surround a large-leaf succulent with a ring of rosette-forming ones for a quick container fix. Mulch with dried sheet moss for a decorative touch. Keep the moss dry so that it doesn't cause the succulents to develop stem rot. This vintage pedestal and bowl provide the perfect backdrop to the plants.

A. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)—7

B. Echeveria shaviana 'Mexican Hens'—1

C. Paddle plant (Kalanchoe luciae)—1

D. Lola echeveria (Echeveria 'Lola')—6

16 of 25

Delightful Dozen

mix of succulents in wood crate
Amy Haskell

Display a mix of succulents still growing in their 4-inch nursery pots set in a vintage wood carrying case. Move the plants around to vary the look, or switch them out with different varieties to keep the combination fresh. A thin mulch of sphagnum moss disguises the nursery containers.

A. Coral aloe (Aloe striata)—1

B. Stemless senecio (Senecio acaulis)—1

C. Sedum furfuraceum—1

D. Echeveria 'Easter Bonnet'—1

E. Watch chain plant (Crassula lycopodioides)—1

F. Zanzibar aloe (Aloe zanzibarica)—1

G. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)—1

H. Two-row sedum (Sedum spurium)—1

I. Sedeveria (Sedeveria spp.)—1

J. Felt bush (Kalanchoe beharensis)—1

K. String of buttons (Crassula conjuncta)—1

L. String of beads (Senecio rowleyanus)—1

17 of 25

Rosette Succulents

Rosette succulents on metal grate
Marty Baldwin

This combination of rosette-forming succulents makes a simple but elegant statement. Washed river rocks act as decorative mulch that echoes the bluish gray leaves of the echeveria. The strong lines of the metal grill provide contrast with the rounded forms of the plants and the container.

A. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) — 1

B. Echeveria elegans — 1

C. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum marmoratum) — 1

D. Aeonium 'Kiwi' — 1

E. Hairy houseleek (Sempervivum ciliatum) — 1

18 of 25

Barrel of Sedums

Hardy sedums in whiskey barrel
Lynn Karlin

This collection of cold-hardy sedums flows out of a wooden barrel. Upright Autumn Joy sedum, which tops off the combination, will develop dusky pink blooms in late summer after the yellow flowers of Kamchatka sedum have faded. Newly planted tricolor sedum and white blooming cup flower will cover the sides of the barrel as the season progresses.

A. Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'—1

B. Russian stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum)—9

C. Tricolor two-row sedum (Sedum spurium 'Tricolor')—6

D. Cup flower (Nierembergia scoparia)—6

19 of 25

Mini Trough Garden

Tabletop succulent garden
Cameron Sadeghpour

This collection of succulents balances upright forms with ruffly rosettes and trailers in a lightweight concrete-look trough garden. Sculptural twigs and a bird figurine complete the habitat. Smooth river stones serve as the pot's feet.

A. Red jade (Crassula coccinea)—1

B. Echeveria shaviana—1

C. Chinese sedum (Sedum tetractinum)—1

D. Flower dust plant (Kalanchoe pumila)—1

E. Turkish rosularia (Rosularia muratdaghensis)—1

F. Crassula pellucida—1

20 of 25

Faux Bois Feeder

Faux bois succulent trough
Edward Gohlich

Create a concrete faux bois trough planter filled with trailing burro's tail and echeverias to make a colorful, drought-tolerant display for a hot, sunny site. The texture-rich foliage of the succulents enhances the rough bark appearance of the container.

A. Hens-and-chicks echeveria (Echeveria imbricata)—2

B. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum)—2

21 of 25

Two-Tiered Container Garden

Two-tiered container gardens of succulents
Laurie Black

Build a tiered planter to gain height and drama. In this container, a variegated century plant rises several inches above the level of the main matching pot. The small pot nestles in one corner of the large one, creating a riserlike effect. Large chunks of broken aquamarine glass fill gaps between the succulents.

A. Opal century plant (Agave americana 'Opal')—1

B. Pachyveria spp.—2

C. Echeveria shaviana 'Mexican Hens'—1

D. Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum)—1

E. Echeveria agavoides—1

F. Graptoveria 'Margaret Reppin'—1

G. Echeveria 'Afterglow'—1

H. Echeveria imbricata—2

I. Senecio mandraliscae—2

22 of 25

Rounded Flower Pots

sedums and echeverias in clay containers
Kim Cornelison

Circular clay containers create the perfect home for sedums and echeverias. The porous clay pot allows the plant's roots and soil to dry out quickly—this is key because succulents need well-drained soil to thrive. A soil mix specifically formulated for succulents is available to buy, however you can also make your own soil mixture to provide the essential drainage these plants need. An upright showy sedum anchors the large terra-cotta pot and is surrounded by clumps of echeveria. The trailing 'Angelina' sedum offers textural contrast and flows from a second, smaller container.

A. Showy stonecrop (Sedum spectabile)—1

B. Echeveria secunda—3

C. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina')—4

23 of 25

Collection of Succulents

Trailing flower dust plant kalanchoe
Lynn Karlin

A large timber post serves as an easy tabletop garden for a spectacular flower dust plant displaying its splendid pink blooms. Several containers of echeveria accompany this flowering kalanchoe. One pot mounts to the post by means of a plant hook. The others rest on board benches.

A. Flower dust plant (Kalanchoe pumila)—1

B. Echeveria imbricata—5

C. Echeveria secunda—3

24 of 25

Stone Trough Succulents

Succulent collection in stone trough
Kritsada Panichgul

A mix of upright, rosette, and trailing succulents fill this round stone trough to overflowing. Aeonium, showy sedum, and silver dollar jade draw your attention upward while sprawling sedums and variegated elephant bush trail over the edge of the container. Mounding Cuban Oregano, echeveria, and pachyveria do their best to fill in the gaps.

A. Tree aeonium (Aeonium arboreum)—1

B. Variegated showy sedum (Sedum spectabile)—1

C. Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus)—1

D. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.)—4

E. Echeveria runyonii 'Silver Spoons'—1

F. Sedum furfuraceum—3

G. Silver dollar jade (Crassula arborescens 'Blue Bird')—1

H. Variegated elephant bush (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata')—1

I. Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce'—1

J. Pachyveria spp.—1

25 of 25

Sunken Container Garden

Stone slab succulent table garden
Shawn Nielsen

A shallow metal tray resting on a stone slab makes an attractive base for this outdoor DIY decor project. Soil in the tray mounds for extra height to provide ample room for root growth. A bronze statue tucked among the succulents creates a whimsical focal point.

A. Giant echeveria (Echeveria gibbiflora)—1

B. Echeveria shaviana—1

C. Echeveria elegans—1

D. Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina')—1

E. Graptoveria spp.—1

F. Sedum spp.—1

G. Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.)—1

H. Echeveria runyonii—2

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