There’s nothing cuter than a succulent!
…Except maybe a succulent in a teacup.
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Succulents are all the rage right now. And why shouldn’t they be? They come in lots of colors and varieties, you can plant them in almost anything, and they are so unbelievably cute. You can arrange them for your home as part of your decor or you can gift them. I’ve even used them as teacup party favors! Today, I’m going to share how to best plant succulents in a teacup. As well as how to care for them successfully, forevermore.
- What supplies do you need?
- Top 10, easy to care for, varieties of succulents
- Where to buy succulents
- Teacups or other unique planters
- What is cactus/succulent soil mix and why do you need it?
- Where to buy cactus soil
- How to plant succulents in a teacup or other vessel without a drainage hole
- How to care for succulents indoors
- When to water your succulents? How often? And how do you know?
- Best way to water your succulents
- Using teacups succulents as a party favors and other uses
- Other unique planters for succulents
First things first…you will need a few supplies
Some succulents, a teacup to plant them in, and some cactus or succulent soil.
There are literally hundreds of different succulent types in all sorts of colors and variations. And when you’re just starting out, it can seem truly overwhelming to see so many succulent plant varieties. But don’t worry, I’m going to give you just a few to focus on. After thorough research I’ve found these 10 varieties to be the easiest succulents for a newbie.
Easiest 10 Succulent Plant Names
- Aloe Vera – Aloe
- Graptopetalum – Ghost Plant / Mother of Pearl
- Sedum – Burro’s Tail Succulent / Jelly Bean / Pork and Beans Succulent
- Crassula Ovata – Jade Plant
- Kalanchoe Tormentosa – Panda Plant / Chocolate Soldier Plant / Cocoon Plant / Pussy Ears
- Sempervivum Tectorum – Sempervivum Hens and Chicks Succulent
- Haworthia – Zebra Succulent
- Echeveria – Echeveria Blue Fairy succulent / Echeveria Mexican Snowball Succulent
- Portulacaria – Elephant Bush
- Aeonium – Houseleek Plant
What’s really nice about all 10 of these, is that their care instructions are the same. And they’re all easy. So, you can start with a few of them and you’ll only have to remember one set of instructions: 1. well draining soil, 2. as close to full sun as you can get, and 3. very occasional watering. There’s a reason these are the popular succulents.
Conveniently, these 10 are also the most common types of succulents that you will find at a local store or in a bulk variety pack from any online distributer. The word is officially out. You’ll have the best luck starting out with one of the ones above. Once you’ve succeeded with these common succulents, you can go on to master all types of succulents and can pick out some of the more unique, pricey, or delicate ones out there. Like the senecio succulent types (string of pearls) or the lithos sp (living stone plant).
Where to buy succulents
The best places to buy them depends on when you need them and how many you need of them.
Do you have a few days to wait?
If you’re planning to use them for a party in the next few days to weeks or if you would just like to plant some in a teacup for your home, then I highly suggest ordering them online. The selection is better and the prices are better. Really the only downside is that you have to wait a few days for the shipping.
The best place I’ve found to buy them is honestly Amazon. There are lots of great purchase options there depending on how many you need. And their shipping times on succulents is much faster than with other retailers. These are my three favorite listings there currently:
If you don’t want to use Amazon, I’d check out Succulent Market. You can buy in bulk there and shipping is free over $65.00. Of the other online succulent companies, I like this one the best. There are also loads of other companies selling them online with various shipping rates and speeds and more are joining the market every day. If you want to look at all of the online options, you can check out this great article by Succulent Alley, where she breaks down all of the top online places to buy them.
Do you have a few months to wait? And do you need A LOT of succulents?
If you are planning to use teacup succulents as as party favor for a large event in the future, like as diy succulent wedding favors, then I highly suggest you propagate your own. You will save a boatload doing it this way, as you can buy one succulent and turn it into many in a matter of weeks. Take this succulent for example; it has 24 outer leaves and a tiny cluster of middle leaves.
You can get each of these 22 leaves and the one stem, with the tiny leaves, to propagate.
In 3-6 weeks you will have 23 new succulents from just this one purchase! For more information on how to do this, check out this article on how to grow succulents from leaves. They also have great information on how to plant propagated succulents. Note, that while you will see new succulent growth take shape in 3 weeks, they will not be fully rooted and ready for transplant until at least 6-8 weeks. This is why you should ONLY attempt this if you have 2 months or more before you need them.
Or, do you need some succulents NOW?
If, however, you need them right away, you can also buy succulent plants locally. Here’s where I’ve found them most readily near me:
Walmart usually has a decent selection and the cheapest price at, as low as, $2.00/ea. Hardware stores come in second in price, at, as low as, $4.00/ea. And surprisingly they came in second in selection too. I think because so many people expect they’d have the best ones, I’ve found they’re usually picked over. I would definitely suggest you call either of these stores before you leave home, to make sure they have them in stock.
If they don’t have them in stock or you’re not concerned with the cheapest price, you could check out local nurseries around you. I’ve found overall that most locally owned nurseries maintain a selection of succulents year round as they’re such popular plants. They also take great pride in their care for them, making sure they’re all very healthy when you buy them. The only downside is that you usually pay more per plant. And the prices will vary wildly depending on each individual store. But again, you could find all of this out ahead of time by simply placing a call first.
How to shop for succulents in person
I personally like to mix my colors and textures when I’m picking out several at once. Usually, I’ll get some echeveria types and some fuzzy succulent plants, (the kalanchoe torments ones) and some crassula ovata (Jade plant) varieties. Really, I think all of them look so great together.
While you’re shopping in person, pay attention to ones that look like this.
You see that little mini baby plant? That, my friend, is your reward for attention to detail. I’ve bought plants in the past with as many as 5 succulents in one pot. And remember the price you’re paying is for the whole pot, it doesn’t bother the store at all if you get a bonus with your purchase. These little guys below, were three and four for the price of one!
Next, you need your teacups or other shabby chic planters
For today, we will be planting in teacups. Mostly because they are my personal favorite and are so unbelievably adorable. But really, you could apply these same techniques to just about any planter. I like to get my teacups and other unique planters from my favorite thrift shop. Each of these used for my daughters’ birthday tea party came from Goodwill for $0.39 each. Can’t. Beat. That. Price.
Finally, you will need cactus soil: what’s the best soil for cactus or succulents?
Succulents love good drainage. This even applies to what soil they live in. Succulents do not do well in standard potting soil. Potting soil just doesn’t drain fast enough for them. Succulents are truly the premadonna’s of the indoor planting world. They instead prefer cactus soil.
Don’t readily have any cactus soil mix at your house? Me neither!
But good news…you can buy it online and have it in a matter of days. There are some great options sold right on Amazon all with free prime 2 day shipping. *Yeah Plants sells 2 quarts for $5.99 and *The Valley Garden sells 2 quarts for $4.99. But my personal favorite is made by “Hoffman”, you can get *10 quarts for $16.95. The price is comparable since you get so much more for your money and its just really great stuff! They even throw a cute pair of gardening gloves into the shipment.
I’m not alone in loving Hoffman’s, their reviews on Amazon are outstanding, with 4.8/5 stars over 942 people and 4.7/5 over 11,074 people, depending on which listing you look at. Another option out there is *Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil. Its a little pricier at $13.88/2 quarts. I haven’t personally tried this one yet, but people definitely rave about it as well. For the soil purchase, I would whole heartedly suggest you buy it online. I checked out my local walmart, hardware, and nursery stores this week and came up empty at every one. Not a good plan if you value your time.
If you don’t feel like buying cactus soil, another option is to make it. Just simply add 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts coarse sand, and 1 part perlite for succulents. You can see full details on how to diy cactus soil at Succulent Studios. After all, if you need the soil in less than 2 days, your only option may be diy succulent soil.
Now that you have all the supplies to make your dream teacup planter, its time to put it all together. Take just a minute to read my helpful care instructions before forging ahead with planting that bad boy.
How to plant succulents
If you weren’t born with a natural green thumb, then you’re in perfect company here… Keeping plants alive is not my forte. In the past I’ve even managed to kill Mint. And in case you don’t know, that is actually REALLY hard to do. This photo of a lavender plant I cared for serves to keep me humble….
But I love how cute these little succulents are, so this time, I was determined to be better prepared and I did thorough research.
What I found is that it’s actually remarkably easy to kill your new baby succulent. Especially if you don’t have proper knowledge of how to care for them. For starters, they need lots of light and exactly the right amount of water. And to top it all off, their roots are actually super fragile, so need you to exercise the upmost care when repotting them. But rest easy my friends, if I can keep them alive, then you can too! Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have the cutest little teacup succulent for years to come!
Ready your teacup planter pot
Most experienced gardeners will tell you that you need to use a pot with a good drainage hole to plant your new succulent. Pots with drainage holes obviously make the best succulent pots, but the problem is that all of the really cute planters (including our teacups) don’t come with a drainage hole. So, unless you want to get out some power tools and risk breaking your china in the process, you need a workaround. Well, have I got just the thing for you. You can now have your fine china and grow in it too!
How to plant succulents in pots without drainage holes
Your typical succulent blog will likely tell you that if you must use planters without holes, just simply put a few rocks or some gravel in the bottom, below your cactus soil. The theory is that if you over water it, the water will drain into the rocks. Trust me my friends…this is not a foolproof solution…especially in something as small as a teacup or other tiny succulent pots. And I have produced more than enough dead plants to prove it. For this plan to actually work, you’d have to guess the exact right amount of water to give the succulent each time. Yeah…I expect that will work a full zero times at my house. The rocks would save you if you accidentally overwatered by a little bit one time, but definitely not twice.
But even then, succulents are native to the desert. They are designed to withstand tremendous draught, followed by rare, but severe rainfall. The appropriate way to water them is to thoroughly douse them on rare occasion. But it is important that when you water them that you allow all of the water to drain through their soil and out of a drainage hole. You shouldn’t leave any extra water even near the soil.
So, alas, how do you do this in a planter without drainage holes?
….The truth is, you don’t. You instead create a floater pot. Don’t worry this takes only minutes and requires supplies you already own and have right in your kitchen. A simple foil cast creates the ideal shaped floater pot for any container!
Simply press the foil into your teacup (or other planter) and then fold all of the excess back in on itself.
Once you have shaped the foil into the shape of your teacup, take it out and gently flatten the bottom (so that it will rest just a bit above the bottom of the planter when set inside. Then poke a few holes in the bottom of the foil with a toothpick and viola, instant floater pot!
If you are planting a succulent garden in a larger vessel, I would recommend heavy duty foil but if you’re simply planting one or two in a teacup, your standard foil will be perfectly adequate.
Another alternative would be to look around your house for a recycled container that you could cut down to fit. For some teacups a plastic fruit or yogurt cup works great. I’ve also had success using a recycled keurig pod in a little pitcher before. If you go this route there are lots of possibilities, but it might take you a little bit of searching to find the right one. For this succulent garden tea set, foam cups worked perfectly:
If you love planting in unusual containers, check out my related article where I plant in an old nightstand and upcycled basket:
How to plant succulents
Now that you’ve prepped your container, fill it with your cactus soil and its time for you to repot your little cutie. Use kid gloves here my friends! Succulents have very delicate roots and they struggle a bit with repotting. Make sure you dig out a little hole for them first, then set them in it and fill back in around the roots gently.
Indoor Succulent Care
Where to keep succulents
Finally, its time to decide on your new, freshly potted, friend’s home! Succulents that live outdoors thrive with 6 hours of indirect sunlight. That being said, in your home, they need more! Find the brightest spot in your house, or at least in the brightest room in your house, for your new baby to live. On the windowsill of your most full sun window works perfectly.
How to tell if succulent needs water
About once every 7-10 days, thoroughly water your succulent. You will know that it’s time to water when all of the to soil feels dry. To check this, use a toothpick. Press it straight down into the soil. Exercise some caution not to do this right on top of the roots. Press the toothpick down until about half of it is submerged in the soil and then pull it back out. If the toothpick is dry, then it is time to water again. However, if it feels damp at all, wait a few days and check again.
How much water do succulents need and how to water them properly
When its time to water your baby, start by pulling the whole floater pot out of the teacup and bringing it to your sink. Then, gently pour a light stream of room temperature water over the cactus soil until it runs out of the holes in the bottom. Be careful to avoid getting water on the leaves. If your succulent is of a waxy variety then this is especially important. Finally, allow the container to drain thoroughly in your sink for a few minutes before returning it to its teacup home.
Best uses for your succulents in teacups
Succulent Party Favors
Like i said before, teacup succulents make great and inexpensive tea party favors. They would be so cute as bridal shower tea party favors, succulent plant wedding favors, or baby shower succulent favors. You can plant all the favors ahead of time yourself, if you have the time and the patience. Or, you can do what I did and
create a “plant your own succulent in teacup” station
This was a huge hit at our kids tea party themed birthday party. After all, they were turning 1 and 3, so the amount of actual kids in attendance was not super high. These worked so well as diy party favors for kids. And, as for the adults in attendance, they loved it too. It definitely ranks high among the most creative party favor ideas for adults that I’ve seen. And, if you find yourself with left over teacups and succulents when the party is done, go ahead and plant them to use as gifts for succulent lovers.
Succulent Gift Ideas
They make for an adorable succulent thank you gift, small birthday present, or really any succulent plant gifts. You can even make beautiful succulent garden gifts if you use a larger container and multiple succulents. And if you like them too much to give away, then you can use them all around your home as living decor.
Succulent Decorating Ideas
The more creative you get with your planting vessel, the more unique and custom your finished succulent decor will be. I’ve found that sometimes things I already own make the best planters for succulents.
Other Unique Planters for Succulents
BONUS TIP: putting YOUR OWN TEA TAGS on YOUR FINISHED TEACUP SUCCULENTS ADDS THE PERFECT PERSONALized touch. GET MY FREE printable TEA TAGs here:
I can’t wait to see how all of your little potted friends turn out. Be sure to share your photo on instagram. Don’t forget to use #DDLteatime, so we can all admire your work!