How to combine several plants in a pot?

Small flowers are beautiful when combined

One way to make better use of the space you have is by combining several plants in the same pot. This is something that can help make the place look more beautiful, while allowing you to grow more species, which you may like to know if you are a collector and / or just want to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the greatest number. possible from plants. But it is very important to choose the species well, otherwise they will end up having problems.

On the one hand, they will compete with each other for space and nutrients in a brutal way, until there are only those that grow faster and are, therefore, stronger; and on the other hand, if there are plants in the same container whose water, soil and / or fertilizer needs are different, the weakest ones will also end up falling. So if you want to be successful, write down the keys to combine several plants in a pot, planter … or any other container.

To make this article more comfortable to read, I have divided it into two sections: Plants and Pots. In the first we will focus on how to choose the plants correctly, while in the second we will talk about how the pots (or other containers) have to be so that the composition looks perfect. Let us begin:


How should the plants be used to make compositions? Roughlyit is very important that they meet these characteristics:

Its adult size is small

Succulent plants are well suited to compositions

Succulent plants adapt well to compositions

The bigger a plant, the more space it needs. Therefore, if in a composition we have, for example, a tree or a shrub type Yucca or Dracaena, together with plants such as geranium or cane of the Indies, it is most likely that the former ‘steal’ the nutrients from the plants. others, thus preventing them from growing normally.

To prevent things like this from happening, it is highly recommended to choose small or not very large plants, such as bulbous flowers, aromatic plants, or most succulents (succulents and cacti).

They have similar growing needs

Since I started blogging in 2013 until today, one of the most repeated queries is that of »I have a stick of water in kokedama and it is dying, what is wrong with it?». The words may vary, but the message is the same. And the measures to take, too: plant the water stick in a pot with soil that drains the water well and water it little. Why?

Because we are talking about a plant, whose scientific name is Fragrant Dracaenawhich is not only not suitable for kokedamas as it can reach a height of more than 6 meters, but you also have to know that it needs a soil that is capable of absorbing and filtering water quickly, otherwise its roots will rot. And this is just one example.

If we want our plant compositions to last for many years, it is essential to choose those that have similar needs. Therefore, we invite you to do them taking into account the following:

  • Sun, little water and mineral substrate (volcanic sand): succulent plants, such as Fenestraria, Argyroderma, Lithops, or even some cacti such as Rebutia, Mammillaria or Strawberry.
  • Sun, moderate watering and peat-based substrate (preferably mixed with perlite): bulbous (tulip, narcissus, hyacinth, …), or aromatic plants (Common thyme or thyme, mint spicata or peppermint, Rosemary officinalis or rosemary, …).
  • Sun, frequent waterings and peat-based substrate: With these conditions, you have to look for aquatic or semi-aquatic plants, such as the Alisma plantago-aquatic (plantago), Carex, iris sibiricathe Lobelia cardinalis.
  • Semi-shade / shade, moderate irrigations and peat-based substrate: practically any fern, such as the Nephrolepis, Pteris or the Asplenium (bird’s nest). Also flowering plants such as viola x writrockiana (thoughts) or Begonia.
  • Semi-shade / shade, moderate irrigations with water without lime and substrates for acidophilic plants: Rhododendron (and azaleas), Camellia, Gardenia, daphne smellsForsythia.

Don’t forget to transplant or prune them when necessary

Plants grow, some more than others. When making compositions, the ideal is to look for those that do not grow much, since they will be the ones that will have to be transplanted a few times throughout their life. Therefore, If you see that the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, they have occupied the entire container, or some begin to grow more quickly than others, do not hesitate to plant them in a larger container.

daphne smellsDaphne smells

Related article:

Transplant plants

On the other hand, depending on the plants you have chosen, you will have to prune them from time to time. Thus, those that produce numerous side shoots, such as peppermint, will have to be pruned after flowering to keep them ‘small’. If you have opted for succulent plants like haworthia, or others that tend to produce suckers, these can be separated / removed at any time.

Pots / Containers

Let’s now talk about the characteristics of the pots or containers where these plants will be, since there are different models and materials, and if we want them to look really good, we must stop and think a bit about it.

The size of the container must be adequate for the plants

Combine several plants in a pot

Combine several plants in one pot

Once you have decided which plants you are going to use to create your composition, keeping in mind the adult size they are going to have, you will be able to know if the container has to be rather large or rather small. For example, if you are going to grow a few bulbous plants, a small container will be a better choice than a large one; On the other hand, if you are going to plant bushy plants you will have to get either a large pot or a wide and deep planter.

How to know that this container is the most suitable? As well, Herbaceous, bulbous, and succulent plants generally have a shallow root system, so unlike shrubs, they won’t need to be especially deep. In fact, it is better to plant them in pots that are wider than they are deep. But if you have to plant bushy or large plants, do not hesitate to choose those pots that are more or less as wide as they are deep, or that have a greater depth.

The material must be resistant

As we well know, there are pots and planters made of different materials: plastic, clay, ceramic, masonry. Depending on where you are going to have the composition, one or the other will be more recommended:

  • Plastic: It is a very, very durable material, as well as lightweight. Its price is also interesting, so much so that we find good quality pots and planters at low prices. But if it is in the sun, and if it is an area with a high degree of insolation, over the years it deteriorates, although fortunately today plastic pots that have been treated to withstand those conditions are well obtained.
  • Clay: it is a material that can be very decorative, so it will look great outside. But you must be careful, because it does not resist falls. The price is higher than that of plastic.
  • Ceramics: like clay, it is very beautiful but very fragile. Besides, ceramic pots are usually small and without holes in the base.
  • Working: One option is to make your own pot or planter out of building materials. Thus, you can make it the size and shape you need, obtaining a durable container. Another advantage is that it can look great both on terraces, as well as in patios and gardens.

It must have holes in its base

The pots or containers where plants are grown must have holes in their base that will serve as a drain. Only if aquatic plants are grown, those that do not have these holes should be chosen. Why is this important? To prevent the roots from rotting. And it is that, by having constant contact with water, the plant literally drowns.

Therefore, in addition, it is not advisable to put a plate under them unless you are always going to remember to remove the water that is left after each irrigation.

Photos of plant compositions

If you need ideas, here are some images of beautiful compositions:

We hope it has been useful to you .

How to combine several plants in a pot?

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