They are two of the most popular types of plants in the world, but can orchids and succulents be planted together?
Whilst they might not be a pairing you immediately think of, the answer might surprise you.
Here we take a look at the similarities and differences between the two plants, and whether you can mix orchids and succulents.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Can Orchids and Succulents Be Planted Together?
Yes they can as both orchids and succulents have very similar growing requirements. The main difference is the soil they require, so the easiest way to grow them together is to keep them in their own pot lining, but put them in a larger container. Then you can water them and ensure they get the light they need quite easily.
Orchids and Succulents Have Similar Growing Needs
There aren’t that many plants that will grow very well alongside orchids, but succulents are one of them.
And whilst there are some fundamental differences between them, they do share more common care requirements than you might realise.
Notably, both the succulent and the orchid have very similar water requirements, that being they need lesser amounts than most other plants.
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Also they both enjoy about the same amount of sun and can survive in low-light conditions for a certain period of time.
Neither needs rich soil either, with both benefiting from an irregular soil that drains well.
So as you can see, some of the key growing conditions align.
The Main Difference is in the Soil
The key difference between the two is in the potting media they require.
Both plants need well-draining soil, but orchids also require a more coarse soil, thriving in soil containing tree bark, charcoal and perlite or sphagnum peat moss.
Orchids need soil that should ideally not retain too much moisture, just enough for the orchid to absorb it, with enough airflow for the roots to breathe. Without ventilation or air circulation orchids will eventually die.
So orchids need more diversity in their soil. Succulents are much more drought tolerant and just need soil that is porous and well-draining, with a lower amount of organic matter.
Their other differences are less significant.
Succulents usually do better in more direct sunlight, whereas orchids thrive in medium light.
Most succulents are low feeders too, so they don’t need to be fertilized each week as orchids do.
Take Your Climate Into Consideration
As much as orchids and succulents share many common growing needs, with the exception of their soil, the climate they are planted in will obviously play a role.
Orchids love warm temperatures, around 80 to 90 F and at least 50% humidity. Succulents do best during the late spring and summer months with at least six hours of bright light.
Too much direct sunlight for instance can scorch orchids, and they like it when their soil becomes almost dry between watering.
On the same subject, high temperatures that orchids enjoy might be too much for a succulent over a prolonged period of time, and they may require moving into the shade.
Consider your climate and growing area when growing orchids and succulents together.
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How to Grow Orchids and Succulents Together: Method One
The easiest way to grow orchids and succulents together is to keep them separate but in one larger container.
If you can keep the orchids and succulents in their own individual pot liners, but in a larger pot, then they can both have the soil they need to thrive.
- First of all, find a larger container into which your orchids and succulents will be placed.
- Then remove the orchid from any ceramic pot it might have come in, so it is just in its plastic nursery pot.
- Position it in the center of the container.
- Then fill the container with dirt all around the orchid pot, and plant the succulents as you normally would.
- The orchid pot should be hidden by the dirt and the succulents. Then add a coat of moss to top it off and hide the pot even more.
And that is it, you are done!
Place the arrangement in a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight and water it when it is dry, so every week or two.
What makes this work really well, aside from the plants having their own potting mix, is the fact that when the orchid has stopped blooming you can easily remove it and replace it with a fresh orchid.
How to Grow Orchids and Succulents Together: Method Two
The second way to grow orchids and succulents side by side is to spend some time working out each plant’s individual requirements and then group them together accordingly.
So first you could group them by the amount of light they need and their optimum temperature requirements.
You could then divide them up according to the amount of water they need and their dormancy periods.
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The idea is that you pair together the varieties of succulents and orchids that are most alike in their maintenance requirements.
So for instance:
- Cattleyas and Pachypodiums / Adeniums could be paired together as they can grow together in the same bright sun. You would just need to ease up on the Pachypodiums/ Adeniums when they go dormant.
- Stapelias and Habenarias work well together due to similar requirements, especially when the Habenarias enters its period of dormancy.
- Certain smaller cacti, and orchids such as Laelias, Dendrobium lindleyi and Rhyncholaelia are good matches, due to similar sunlight and temperature needs.
- Cymbidiums and Epiphyllum hybrids are also very close matches for temperature and light conditions
Again your climate will play a role in pairing plants together, but there are certainly a number of orchids and succulents you can grow in close proximity as long as you remember their needs.
So as you can see orchids and succulents can be planted together, which is quite handy because they actually pair really well together.
The orchids are definitely the main attraction with their colorful and elegant blooms, but the succulents offset their beauty with an understated charm all of their own, creating a wonderful contrast both in colors and style.
With orchids and succulents sharing a number of traits, but both needing different soil mixes, the easiest way to get these two plants growing together is to keep them in separate pots but in a larger container.
As long as they have the soil they need to thrive, then tending to their water and light needs should be fairly straightforward.