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Maybe a stupid question, but does anyone else have trouble growing things in tiny pots? I don't know if it's just a coincidence, or the kinds of plants I've tried... but it seems like I can get things to grow in pots with a 4" diameter just fine... but everything I've tried in my smallest pot (with a 3" diameter and a little under 2.5" depth) has failed to thrive. The things I've put in it have come from little 2" starters.

Do pots this small just not work, even for little succulents? It's such a cute little ceramic pot with a drainage hole, I'd hate to give up on it...

Maybe a stupid question, but does anyone else have trouble growing things in tiny pots? I don't know if it's just a coincidence, or the kinds of plants I've tried... but it seems like I can get things to grow in pots with a 4" diameter just fine... but everything I've tried in my smallest pot (with a 3" diameter and a little under 2.5" depth) has failed to thrive. The things I've put in it have come from little 2" starters. Do pots this small just not work, even for little succulents? It's such a cute little ceramic pot with a drainage hole, I'd hate to give up on it...

17 comments

[–] jelliknight 2 points (+2|-0)

Small pots will always dry out quicker and be more sensitive to changes in temperature. I don't really do cute indoor gardening, so even when I'm starting seeds I've found the best way is to put them in the biggest selfwatering pot I can find and then separate them when I transplant them. When you're buying those mini pots from a nursery, they've all been kept in carefully controlled envrionments. They're just easier to sell when they're already in little individual pots.

You don't necessarily have to give up on your little pot, maybe look for something a bit hardier or look for ways to keep it more consistent with moisture and temp

[–] girl_undone 3 points (+3|-0)

I have some succulents in small and itty bitty pots (one is less than a cubic inch). They tolerate anything, I think because they don't mind being dry.

Potted plants rely on their potting media staying moist long enough. The smaller the pot, older the potting media, or more root-bound the plant, the less water it holds and the more frequently it needs water.

[–] calming-tea 2 points (+2|-0)

Loool at the title, first of all

Second, I have no idea what you are talking about with inches. Buut, yes size does matter. My usual problem is the opposite, I try to take something too big and it doesn't fit (ok srsly tho, with succulents the soil gets too wet and doesn't dry fast enough, which then kills the plant)

Replanting is also not too easy anyway, but you have to do it sometime.

Adding on the importance of potting mix - and maybe if it's too coarse, it doesn't do well in a very small pot (fyi, I am picturing the tiniest of pots because inches are truly meaningless for me, so you say small, my brain thinks reall small)

Sorry this is useless, I just wanted to find an excuse to say LOL at the title.

[–] Nasrin 2 points (+2|-0)

It's a great title for sure!

[–] calming-tea 1 points (+1|-0)

especially because the circle names are not very big so it's easy to miss the name of the circle. I thought it was Women before opening the post

[–] gold_bee 2 points (+2|-0) Edited

As much as I love your title (!) I'm wondering about what type of potting mix you are using. Succulents like soil/potting media that drains quickly, so perhaps that could be it.

I use a mix of pearlite, vermiculite and coconut coir & only water when the plant isn't looking plump.

Maybe post a photo and we can help you troubleshoot?

ETA: Little succulents like little pots so that's why I suspect the soil.

[–] SilkySquid [OP] 2 points (+2|-0)

I use mostly a mix I buy on Amazon that's 1/4 pine bark, 1/4 akadma, 1/4 haydite, and 1/4 pumice (all with pretty small pieces)... but I've found through trial and error that this mixture is so fast-draining that it will dry most things out way too quickly for them to grow, so I usually mix in a tad of a regular potting mix soil too. I'd guess if anything that it's underwatered, but there was a point when I thought it might be overwatered (because by now I've torn my hair out trying to figure out what's up with it).

Haha... maybe I should just post a photo and see what people think is wrong with it. When I got this plant a year ago, it was so beautiful and lush.

[–] gold_bee 2 points (+2|-0)

I know the feeling when your beautiful plant won't thrive!

I haven't had a dragon's blood stonecrop but since it's a creeping variety maybe she just doesn't have room to creep with a small pot. A wide, shallow pot, like a planter bowl, would let her grow horizontally.

Anyway, a photo might really help!

[–] Nasrin 7 points (+7|-0)
  1. Your title is amazing and deserves much upvoting! Thank you for embracing the double entendre of Gardening.
  2. Size does matter when growing and especially potting up but usually more for plants with more extensive root systems than say, succulents. Starters usually need a bigger pot, the small pot is best for when they're first growing / germinating / recently propagated and need to flesh out their root systems.

That being said things like lithops or other spreading succulent tend to like a bigger but shallow dish type pot.

What are you trying specifically to grow?

[–] SilkySquid [OP] 2 points (+2|-0)

Currently I have dragon's blood stonecrop hanging by a thread in there. Before that was a baby toes succulent... I don't remember exactly before that one (the baby toes and all others have been so short-lived). The dragon's blood has actually lasted a year technically alive but it looks awful and has slowly been getting worse from the start. Maybe a light issue? (It's in my brightest window, however... I wouldn't think that's it.) I like plants but I have so much trouble getting them to thrive. :)

[–] Nasrin 3 points (+3|-0)

It can be light, water, soil. I personally am only good with trailing succulents like:

String of banana, pearl, turtle or the burro tail so please keep that in mind and if someone better with succulent can chime in with their advice over all go with it over mine but...

Commonly sold succulents need generally nutrient poor well draining soil and steady temperatures that skew to warmer like 80F / 26C and generally don't tolerate lower than 75 / 23 for extended periods though they can handle drastic drops like their normal night time temperatures.

Light and duration of light is important. If you aren't getting steady direct light that is lightly filtered (so in the window/ a doorway) for the majority of the day they won't thrive and slowly taper away.

Small pots usually mean more watering but, with well draining soil once every two weeks is often great if you soak them and let them drain. Most succulents do not do well if you water them directly, treat like a fern and water around not on the plant. If they're puffy and full they do not need water, hold off three more days or so then soak.

I hope this helps you!

[–] SilkySquid [OP] 2 points (+2|-0)

Thank you for all the info! Your plants always look so impressive in the photos you share... I hope to eventually learn enough get all the plants I have to that quality. :)

Well, I keep my house at 72F always, so it looks like that's not great from the start! I don't have a bunch of other succulents, but the ones I do have are sitting right next to it and are some of my healthiest plants (kalanchoe panamensis and a jade). Maybe at this point I should experiment by putting it in a larger pot and if it doesn't start to recover there... I'll just have to give up on the plant because it can't thrive in my house.