Growing Large Outdoor Succulents: Best Tips and Ideas

Large outdoor succulents are a great choice that adds a unique and low-maintenance touch to your outdoor space. Not only do they bring a pop of color and texture to any garden or landscaping project, but they also require minimal watering and care.

In this article, we’ll provide tips and ideas for growing large outdoor succulents, including the best varieties for hot and dry climates, how to care for them in winter, and how to design a beautiful succulent garden.

We’ll also share advice for choosing the best containers, creating stunning arrangements, and incorporating succulents into your landscape. Sound good? Let’s do it!

Growing Large Outdoor Succulents: Tips and Ideas

Types of Large Outdoor Succulents

Large outdoor succulents come in a heap of different shapes and sizes. From towering cacti to sprawling agaves. Some of the most popular types include agave, aloe, sedum, echeveria, yucca, and haworthia, to name a few. Each type of succulent has its own unique appearance and growing requirements.

Pros and cons of different types

When choosing the right type of large outdoor succulent for your garden, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each. For example, some succulents may be more drought-tolerant and require less watering, while others may be more cold-resistant, making them suitable for harsher climates.

Some grow fast and require regular pruning, while others take longer to grow and don’t need as much maintenance. 

Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of some of the most common, more significant succulent types:


These beauties are known for their sharp, spiky leaves that form in a rosette shape. They can grow up to 6 feet tall and can sprawl quite wide. Some varieties can even produce a tall flowering stalk. 


✅ Dramatic and sculptural, adding a bold statement to any landscape
✅ Drought-tolerant
✅ Low-maintenance
✅ It can be used as a natural barrier or privacy screen


❌ Spiky leaves and sharp tips can cause damage to property or injury to passers-by
❌ Some species can grow quite large, which may not be suitable for smaller gardens


Aloe plants have thick, fleshy leaves that grow in a rosette shape. They have spikes along the edges. They also produce tall stalks which contain colorful, tube-shaped flowers.



✅ Cool plant to look at, often with a unique spiral pattern
✅ Easy to grow
✅ Low maintenance
✅ Some species have medicinal benefits for skincare and first-aid treatment


❌ Some species are susceptible to root rot, so they need a well-draining soil
❌ Leaves are prone to browning or yellowing if exposed to too much sun or cold temperatures
❌ They need protection from frost in colder climates


The Echeveria is rosette-shaped and has thick, fleshy leaves that come in a variety of colors and textures. They can be powdery or even hairy. They can grow up to 12 inches tall and wide and produce clusters of flowers on their tall stalks.



✅ Beautiful rosette-shaped foliage that comes in a ton of vibrant colors
✅ Suitable for container gardening
✅ Easy to propagate
✅ Tolerates mild frost and cold temperatures well


❌ Can be susceptible to mealybugs and other pests
❌ Some species can be quite small, which may not be suitable for larger gardens
❌ Requires well-draining soil
❌ Needs a moderate amount of sunlight


Sedum plants have thick, succulent leaves that grow in a range of colors and shapes, and they can trail or grow upright. Some varieties produce these beautiful clusters of small flowers in shades of pink, yellow, or white.

They are low-maintenance plants and look great in rock gardens or as ground cover.



✅ Drought-tolerant
✅ Low maintenance
✅ Comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, from low-growing groundcovers to tall border plants
✅ Flowers in late summer or fall, providing late-season interest


❌ Can be susceptible to root rot in poorly-draining soil
❌ Some species can be invasive and grow wild, taking over a garden if not managed properly.
❌ May require protection from frost in colder climates

Planting Large Outdoor Succulents

Growing large outdoor succulents requires careful planning and consideration of a few different factors. These include the planting area, soil type, and watering routine. Here are some tips to help you successfully plant and care for your large outdoor succulents:

Preparation of Planting Area

Choosing a location

Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Succulents generally require plenty of sunlight to grow properly. A lack of sun can cause the plant to stretch and become leggy or even fail to thrive altogether.

On the other hand, you should also avoid planting succulents in areas with too much direct sunlight, as this can lead to sunburn and other damage.

Preparation of Planting Area

Clear the area

Before planting, clear the area of any debris and weeds. This will help to prevent the plants from competing for nutrients and water. The competition will impact the growth of your succulents. Clearing also assists in the prevention of diseases or pests that may have been present in the soil or debris.

Choosing a suitable garden bed or container

Consider using raised beds or containers for better drainage and soil quality. Raised beds allow you to control the quality of the soil and ensure good drainage. You can build quality soil from the ground up and ensure that any excess water can drain out. They can also help to elevate the plants and make them more visible in the garden.

Additionally, containers can be moved around as needed to ensure that the plants are getting the right amount of sun and protection from any weather extremities. When selecting containers, make sure that they have good drainage holes to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot.

Best Soil Type for Large Outdoor Succulents

Large outdoor succulents thrive best in well-draining soil with a sandy or gravelly texture. These coarse materials allow water to flow through easily and help prevent moisture buildup around the roots.

Consider using materials such as coarse sand, perlite, or pumice to improve drainage and aeration. These materials help to create air pockets in the soil, allowing the roots to breathe and preventing waterlogging.

Best Soil Type for Large Outdoor Succulents

Adding organic matter, such as compost or coco coir, can also help to improve soil structure and water retention. However, it is important to be cautious not to use too many of these materials, as they can cause the soil to become too heavy and retain too much moisture.

Avoid using heavy, clay-like soils as these types of soils will suffocate the roots, prevent drainage, and cause water to accumulate around the roots, leading to rot.

Additionally, it’s important to note that regular garden soil is not ideal for succulents. They usually tend to be too heavy and contain too much organic matter.

Instead, opt for a well-draining soil mix that is specifically formulated for cacti and succulents, or create your mix using a combination of sand, perlite, pumice, and/or other materials that promote good drainage.

Watering and Fertilizing Guidelines

Appropriate watering is one of the fundamentals of keeping your succulents happy and healthy. Get this process wrong, and you can cause some serious problems.

Fertilization is a little less important but still worth trying to master to be able to maximize the growth of your succulents. Let’s have a look at some practices that help these types of plants.

Watering and Fertilizing Guidelines

Watering Techniques

Large outdoor succulents are known for their ability to withstand drought conditions. They prefer infrequent, deep watering rather than frequent light watering. When watering your succulents, it’s important to make sure that the soil is completely dry to the touch before watering again.

They can usually go several weeks without water, so naturally, overwatering is a common cause of plant failure.

Watering once a week or less is generally sufficient, but this can vary depending on the specific plant species and weather conditions. When watering your large outdoor succulents, it’s extremely important to avoid getting water on the leaves or stems to prevent rot or fungal diseases.

Watering the plant from the base or using a drip irrigation system is the best way to ensure that the water reaches all the way down to the roots without getting on the leaves or stems.

Fertilizing Techniques

Succulents don’t really need a huge amount of help from a supplementary food source. Therefore, it’s best to fertilize sparingly with a balanced, low-nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and summer months.

Over-fertilizing can cause the plant to grow too quickly and become weak, which can make it more susceptible to damage from pests, disease, and weather conditions.

Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully and avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves or stems. This can cause them to burn and leave them damaged.

Lastly, some large outdoor succulent species, such as cacti, don’t need to be fertilized at all and can actually be harmed by it. So always do your research on each specific plant before administering any type of supplementary plant food. 

Extra Tips for Planting Large Outdoor Succulents

  • Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of your succulent.
  • Gently loosen the roots from the soil. 
  • Remove any damaged or dead leaves with a sterilized pair of scissors or gardening shears.
  • Place the succulent in the hole and backfill it with soil, pressing the soil firmly around the base of the plant to secure it.
  • Water thoroughly, taking care not to wet the foliage or stem

Care and Maintenance

Large outdoor succulents require proper care and maintenance to thrive. Let’s have a look at some tips on how to make sure that they are getting th treatment they need to be happy and healthy in the long run:

Protection from Extreme Weather

Large outdoor succulents are generally hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. However, extreme weather conditions such as frost or heatwaves can damage or even kill them.

Different types of large outdoor succulents have varying temperature tolerances. Here are some general temperature tolerances for some of the more common, popular large outdoor succulent plants:

Protection from Extreme Weather
  • Agave: can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.7°C) and as high as 100°F (37.8°C)
  • Aloe: can tolerate temperatures as low as 40°F (4.4°C) and as high as 100°F (37.8°C)
  • Echeveria: can tolerate temperatures as low as 30°F (-1.1°C) and as high as 100°F (37.8°C)
  • Sedum: can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F (-34.4°C) and as high as 90°F (32.2°C)

Protecting your large outdoor succulents from extreme weather conditions doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider covering your plants with frost cloth or shade cloth during extreme temperatures.

These materials can help to protect plants from extreme heat or cold. They act as a barrier of insulation as well as provide some shade and protection from the sun’s rays. Potted succulents can be brought indoors during extreme weather conditions.

If you’re planting your succulents somewhere where they’re exposed to rain, make sure that they have well-draining soil and also some good drainage points in their containers, especially in low-lying areas where water can accumulate.

Soils that are consistently waterlogged will rot the roots out, which can cause the plant to die. By taking these steps, you can help your large outdoor succulents thrive even in extreme weather conditions.

Pests and Diseases

There are a handful of damaging pests and diseases that can affect large outdoor succulents. Some of the more common pests that attack these types of plants include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects.

Diseases such as root rot and fungal infections can also affect the plants. Let’s have a look at some of them, along with their symptoms and prevention measures.

Pests and Diseases


  • Mealybugs: They look like white cottony spots. They cause stunted growth and yellowing of leaves and can also secrete a sticky substance on leaves. These little buggers can be kept at bay by pruning affected leaves, washing them with soapy water, and using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Spider mites: These pests cause the yellowing of leaves and the appearance of webbing. Prevention measures include spraying with water to dislodge them and then using insecticidal soap or neem oil. Ensuring proper humidity levels will also give them less of a reason to hang around. 
  • Scale insects: These annoying small bugs form hard or waxy shells on leaves and stem. They cause stunted growth and yellowing of leaves and eventually lead to the death of the plant. Prevention measures include pruning affected leaves, using insecticidal soap or neem oil, and introducing natural predators such as ladybugs.


  • Root rot: As we have mentioned countless times, root rot occurs due to overwatering and poor drainage (usually a combination of both), causing the roots to become soggy and die. Symptoms include wilted leaves, blackened roots and a foul odor coming from the soil. Root rot can be prevented by ensuring proper drainage, avoiding overwatering, and removing affected roots as a part of routine maintenance.
  • Fungal infections: They can cause soft or mushy spots on leaves and stems and cause the plant to wilt or die. Prevention measures include ensuring adequate drainage, adequate spacing, keeping the stems and leaves dry, avoiding overwatering, and removing affected leaves or stems. 

By regularly inspecting your plants for pests and diseases, taking prompt action when necessary, and ensuring proper growing conditions, you can help keep your large outdoor succulents healthy and thriving.

Pruning and Propagation

Pruning and propagation is another important practice in the fight to help maintain the health and appearance of your large outdoor succulents. Here are some tips on how to prune and propagate your plants:

Pruning and Propagation
  • Prune dead or damaged leaves or stems to encourage new growth. Leaving them there won’t allow the plant to focus on new growth
  • Propagate your succulents by taking stem cuttings and allowing them to root in moist but well-draining soil
  • Wait for the cuttings to callus over before planting them to prevent rotting
  • Plant the cuttings into a well prepared bed with adequate drainage 
  • Water frequently but with smaller amounts of water to ensure they are getting enough water but not so much that it causes issues to the root system. This can be checked by completing a simple finger check test.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when caring for large outdoor succulents:

  • Overwatering: We have talked about this a lot, but only because it is extremely important for these types of plants. Succulents are drought-tolerant and do not require frequent watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems. So give them only what they need but no more. Let them dry out completely before administering any more. 
  • Planting in poor drainage: Planting succulents where the soil is heavy and compact is just a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, having them growing somewhere that doesn’t allow the water to run away from the roots further amplifies the issue. We cannot stress enough how much they rely on their moisture source, skimming past their roots fast enough to absorb but then drain away again. Any excess moisture will effectively bathe the roots and rot them out. 
  • Using the wrong type of soil: Again, heavy, compact soils hold moisture which suffocates roots and denies them vital oxygen. Succulents require a fast-draining soil mix that allows water to drain quickly. Choose sandy, gravel type materials to allow the water to flow. 

Designing with Large Outdoor Succulents

Succulents are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are also great for adding texture and visual interest to any outdoor space. Here are some cool “out of the box” ideas for designing large outdoor succulents:

How to create an outdoor succulent garden design?

When designing your outdoor succulent garden, start by selecting a focal point. This may include a large pot or a centerpiece featuring a large succulent.

To create visual interest and texture, use a mix of different types of succulents. Grouping similar succulents together will create a cohesive look.

How to create an outdoor succulent garden design

You could border with some larger, more plainly colored varieties, then fill in with some smaller, colored types. Vary the size and shape of pots and containers as well to add a bit of extra dimension. You can even try to incorporate decorative rocks, gravel, or sand to add further texture and color to your design. 

Best outdoor succulent containers

When choosing containers for your outdoor succulent garden, there are several options to consider. Terracotta pots are a popular choice because they are porous and allow really good drainage. Ceramic and concrete pots are also great options, as they can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Wooden planters add a nice, natural touch to your garden design. They are also highly customizable and can fit a range of styles in outdoor spaces. It’s important to consider both functionality and aesthetics when selecting containers for your large outdoor succulents.

Outdoor succulent landscaping ideas

Large outdoor succulents are an excellent choice for creating a low-maintenance and water-efficient garden. By combining succulents with other drought-resistant plants, you can create a colorful and easy-to-care-for landscape.

Outdoor succulent landscaping ideas

Furthermore, using a variety of different succulents can even help to create unique features such as a “living wall” or a “succulent carpet”. Have a bit of a play around with colors, shapes, sizes and arrangements to help achieve a beautiful and sustainable outdoor space that requires minimal upkeep.

Large outdoor succulent arrangements for landscaping

  • Use large succulent plants as a focal point in your landscape design, then work around them 
  • Combine different types of succulents with other plants and flowers to create a diverse and visually interesting landscape. Make sure that each species requires similar growing conditions
  • Use succulent arrangements to create borders or edging around your garden and fill in the gaps with some extra pops of color and character. 

Creating outdoor succulent wall art and centerpiece ideas

  • Use a variety of succulent types to create a unique wall hanging or centerpiece. These can be added to a trellis of “wire wall.”
  • Incorporate natural elements such as driftwood or rocks to add texture and interest. We’ve even had great success with ferns!
  • Use a mix of hanging and potted succulents to create depth and interest in your design. Design is always a case of thinking “outside the box”, so don’t be scared to give new thoughts a go.

Tips for choosing the right type of large outdoor succulent for your garden

To choose the right type of large outdoor succulent for your garden, it’s important to consider the specific conditions of your space. These include the amount of sunlight they may require, their ideal type of soil, and even the climate.

Research the different types of succulents and their requirements, and choose one that is well-suited for your garden’s specific conditions. Some succulents just won’t work in some spaces, whereas others may surprise you!

Also, consider the size and growth rate of the plant, as well as its aesthetic qualities, to ensure it fits well with your overall garden design.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which succulents grow the biggest?

Some of the largest growing succulents include the tree-like Agave americana and the Yucca rostrata, which can grow up to 30 feet tall. Other large succulents include the Aloe dichotomy and the Euphorbia ingens, which can reach heights of up to 20 feet.

What is a tall fast growing succulent?

Aloe ferox is a tall, fast-growing succulent that can reach up to 10 feet in height and grows at a rate of up to 2 feet per year under ideal conditions. Its robust growth rate and striking red flowers make it a popular choice for large outdoor landscapes.

Do succulents grow bigger in bigger pots?

Succulents tend to grow bigger when placed in bigger pots as they provide more space for root growth and moisture retention. However, excessively large pots may hold too much moisture without anywhere to drain and lead to root rot. It’s important to choose a pot size that’s appropriate for the size of the plant.


Throughout the article, we’ve discussed the benefits of growing large outdoor succulents, including popular types, tips for planting and caring for them, and designing with them in outdoor spaces. Additionally, we’ve covered all of the common mistakes to avoid when growing these plants. If you’re new to growing succulents, don’t be intimidated.

Large outdoor succulents are an excellent choice for beginners, and their low-maintenance nature means that they’re perfect for those who only have a little time to dedicate to gardening.

We encourage you to try growing some large outdoor succulents today and enjoy the beauty they bring to your outdoor space! We hope that this guide has been helpful. You can read about similar topics here on our website. Check back again soon for more.

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