Succulents are plants that don’t like dense soil. Compact soil stores water which in turn cause root rot. Because they are native to semi-desert areas, they love a mixture of sand and soil with a gritty texture. The use of potting pebbles is a good idea to allow the succulents to grow healthily by themselves with low maintenance.
What are potting pebbles for? Potting pebbles are helpful for succulents. They provide drainage, root anchor, and aesthetic value. Pebbles do not just help succulents grow healthy but also beautiful.
Let’s discuss each of the benefits your succulents get from potting pebbles.
As mentioned, succulents grow better in fast-draining soil. This means that the soil should provide water exit point. One of the best ways to make a fast-draining soil is mixing the succulent soil with potting pebbles. This way the excess water will easily drain leaving nothing but moisture.
Without drainage, the excess water will stay at the bottom of the pot. This is bad for succulents. They are not accustomed to this condition. As a result, they may develop several growth problems. One of which is darkening or developing dark spots on leaves or stems.
Related: Can Succulents Grow in Rocks?
The second benefit of incorporating potting pebbles with succulent soil is that potting pebbles provide root anchor. Most plants establish stability with soil. But succulents’ roots are more stable and rigid when roots are anchored on pebbles.
Therefore, potting pebbles provide strength to the whole plant. With sufficient pebbles to hold on to, the plants will grow healthily and naturally.
More than providing drainage and root anchor, potting pebbles also add to the aesthetic value of the plant. That said, pots look more amazing and beautiful with pebbles than those that don’t have.
However, putting potting pebbles along with the succulents requires understanding color harmony. This means that you should make sure that the color of the pebbles will seamlessly connect with the color of the plants.
Another thing to remember when putting pebbles in the pot is the size and shape. Depending on the type of succulents you are growing, size matters to maximize the aesthetic effect.
How to prepare potting pebbles?
Before putting the pebbles in the pot, make sure that you thoroughly clean them. My usual practice is that I soak pebbles in the water for a couple of hours. This will soften the soil and kill the elements that go along the pebbles. This is very important especially if you reuse the pebbles from the other pot.
For easy cleaning, you can mix the water with fragrant liquid soap. Wash them thoroughly. Make sure that the pebbles are totally cleaned by rinsing them with clean water.
After the pebbles are cleaned, it is time to place them in the pot. The first thing to do is to pour the pebble first into the pot for about an inch thick. This enhances the drainage system of the soil mix you are using for your succulents.
If you are using a pot with drainage holes, it is important to consider the size of the pebbles. For smaller ones, you might need a mesh over the hole to hold the pebbles and prevent them from slipping through.
Then fill the rest of the pot with the fast-draining soil mix. Plant the succulents in the soil. Then make another layer of pebbles around the succulents. The pot should look amazing and interesting after spreading pebbles.
Best potting pebbles for succulents
If you are serious in making your succulent garden even more colorful and vibrant, you need potting pebbles that are colorful and have perfect shape and size.
For my garden, I use potting pebbles that I bought online. In this post, I would like to share with you my trusted brands.
This brand offers stunning potting pebbles for succulents. The stones come in different natural shades such as white, red, grey, and brown. The pebbles are perfect for succulents on any given occasion.
This is one of the potting pebbles that I use for my succulents. The color of the stones is just amazing. It makes my succulents’ eye-catching. Click here to check customers’ review and current price on Amazon.
Natural Decorative Polished Mixed Pebbles
These decorative pebble stones have multiple uses perfect for flower arrangements, succulent containers, and other small applications. What I like the most about these pebbles is that they come in multiple natural shapes and colors. There is no toxic chemical added so the stones are safe for the plant and environment.
What I like the most about these pebbles is the way they are polished. The stones are clean, dust-free and shiny. Safe for kids too. Click here to check customers’ reviews and current prices on Amazon.
Small River Pebbles
This brand of potting pebbles produces safe and non-toxic stones for succulents and other potted plants. It is all-natural and free from any toxic chemical. The stones were thoroughly rinsed so you don’t have to worry about safety.
The pebbles are not only perfect for succulents but also for other types of ornamental plants. The colors of the stones are also perfect for indoor and outdoor gardens. The stones have vibrant colors that add aesthetic value to the plants. Click here to check customers’ reviews and current prices on Amazon.
Mexican Beach Pebbles
The Mexican Beach Pebbles are natural stones from Baja California. Due to their perfect color and size, these potting pebbles are commonly used by professionals for their landscaping projects.
The vibrant colors make landscaping and gardening even more exciting. Not only that, these pebbles keep moisture in the soil while draining the excess water. As a result, your succulents will always be safe from overwatering. Click here to check customers’ reviews and current prices on Amazon.
Can succulents be planted in gravel? I always get this question from my readers. Here’s a thing you need to remember. Succulents need nutrients from the soil. And those necessary ingredients for healthy growth cannot be found in rocks or gravel.
Therefore, although succulents love gravel and pebbles, they also need soil. So, can succulents thrive in just gravel? I don’t think so. But if gravel is mixed with soil, that would be a perfect soil mix for succulents.
The soil provides nutrients to the plants and the gravel provides drainage which is important for healthy growth.
Is aquarium gravel safe for succulents? Using aquarium gravel for succulents will be definitely fine. Many people have tried it including me. And it worked. Aquarium gravel will also provide drainage for the plant.
My only worry is that when you use aquarium gravel for your succulents without washing or rinsing it thoroughly. The gravel may contain marine components that may not good for the succulents.
Can you use play sand for succulents? This is another question that I get especially from those who are living near the beach. My take on this is that beach sand can be too dense for the succulents. Although it provides drainage, the fact that it is dense, the succulents might not be able to breathe.
My suggestion is that use coarse sand instead of beach sand. Coarse sand does not only provide drainage but also allows the succulents to breathe. Suffocation often happens in plants with dense soil and sand.
Should you put out rocks in the bottom of a planter? For me, it is both not necessary and detrimental to the plants’ growth. This does not even help for drainage and in gaining airflow.
The reason why this wrong belief emerged is that people think that rocks create air pockets in the bottom of the pot that will help water to drain through the soil. The truth is you don’t need rocks to provide better drainage for your succulents. In fact, rocks do not actually help.
Another problem with rocks is that the roots of the succulents will not be able to anchor. This is because the roots are shorter. This means that rocks do not provide stability to the plants. So don’t put rocks use potting pebbles instead.
Potting pebbles are enough to allow plants to breathe while also providing better drainage. But also remember that succulents cannot thrive in pebbles alone. They need soil which they draw nutrients from.
The potting pebbles do have several benefits to the plants. They help the succulents grow healthier and more beautiful. The color and size of the pebbles add to the amazing characteristics of the succulents.
However, growing succulents require a lot of trial and error. Not everything you read online really works on your personal journey. So take time to indulge in the process of growing succulents and be patient. If you are determined, you will ultimately succeed.