As a variety of cactus that’s native to semi-desert regions, succulents don’t ith dense soil that traps in a lot of water. Instead, a combination of sand and soil with a gritty texture is what works best for such plants.
One of the greatest things about growing succulents is how low maintenance they can be, which starts by planting them properly. This is where potting pebbles come in, providing the optimal drainage and root anchor required to get healthy, beautiful succulents.
If you’re looking for the best potting pebbles for succulents, then this article is for you. Today, we’re reviewing three of the top potting pebbles options available on the market and offering a detailed buying guide on how to choose and prepare potting pebbles.
Why Use Potting Pebbles for Succulents?
Potting pebbles are rather helpful when it comes to growing succulents, especially if you’re new to the gardening scene and looking for some low maintenance plants.
Potting pebbles offer drainage, root anchor, and aesthetic value. They don’t just promote healthy growth of your succulents healthy, but also provide a charming aesthetic to the plant.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the benefits that come along with using potting pebbles for succulents:
As we mentioned earlier, succulents don’t do well in compact soils that store water. Instead, succulents thrive in fast-draining soil, meaning that the soil should have a water exit point.
Mixing your regular succulent soil with potting pebbles is one of the simplest ways of making fast-draining soil. This allows any excess water to easily drain leaving just enough moisture behind.
The main purpose of putting pebbles on the bottom of potted succulents is to promote drainage. Succulents naturally grow in sandy soils that drain quickly, so their roots should never be left in wet soil. The pebbles help water move through the soil to avoid rotting of the roots.
Without drainage, the excess water will sit at the bottom of the pot. Succulents aren’t meant to accommodate such a condition, which is why too much residual water is bad for succulents.
Your succulents may develop several growth problems without proper drainage soil – one of the most common being darkening or developing dark spots on leaves or stems.
The second major benefit of mixing potting pebbles with succulent soil is that potting pebbles serve as a root anchor. Many plants achieve stability with soil only, but succulents’ roots become more stable and rigid when they’re anchored on pebbles.
Even if you got your hands on a type of succulents that requires no soil, it’ll still need a medium to anchor its roots.
Potting pebbles don’t just offer stability to the roots allowing them to grow healthily and naturally, but they also protect the plant from the elements. As a result, potting pebbles provide strength to the entire plant.
Other than supplying succulents with drainage and root anchor, potting pebbles also boost the aesthetic value of the plant. To put it simply, succulent pots look more beautiful and interesting with the addition of pebbles compared to when they don’t have them.
Potting pebbles enhance the appeal of your succulent arrangement by fill in the gaps between the plants and putting a touch of color. Pebbles are available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to suit a wide range of tastes.
Potting Pebbles Preparation
Before placing the pebbles in the pot, make sure that you clean them thoroughly. Start by filling your tub or sink with warm water and add a few drops of mild, fragrance-free liquid soap.
Then, put the pebbles in a colander and lower them into the sink. Let them soak for several hours to soften the soil and get rid of any harmful materials lingering on the pebbles. This is particularly important if you’re reusing the pebbles from another pot.
After soaking, remove the colander, then drain and wash the pebbles thoroughly. Be careful to remove all of the soap as you rinse with clean water.
After the pebbles are cleaned, it’s time to place them in the pot – which brings us to the next section.
Potting Pebbles Styling and Placement
The first thing you need to do is pour the pebbles into the pot until they’re at least one inch thick. This significantly enhances the drainage system of the soil mix you are using for your succulents, especially if the soil already contains a lot of sand.
If you’re using a pot with drainage holes, you should consider the size of the pebbles. If you’re working with smaller ones, you may need to put a piece of mesh over the hole in the bottom of the pot to keep the pebbles intact and prevent them from slipping through.
After that, fill the rest of the pot with the fast-draining soil mix. Then, plant the succulents in the soil and lay another layer of pebbles around the succulents. The pot should look gorgeous once you spread the pebbles.
Keep in mind that pairing potting pebbles with succulents requires you to have a decent idea about color harmony. This means you should make sure that the color of the pebbles will complement the color of the plants.
Another thing to remember regarding pebble styling is the size and shape of the pebbles. Depending on the type of succulents you’re growing, size can play a role in maximizing the aesthetic effect.
Tips on Taking Care of Succulents
- Provide your succulents with enough light: out in the open, succulents require about 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight every day depending on the type you’re growing. Inside the house, place your plants near a window that receives light throughout the whole day.
- Choose the right soil: succulents thrive in soil that drains, which rules out using dirt from your yard and regular potting soil. Go for cactus soil or a mixture of potting soil with pebbles or sand.
- Keep your succulents clean: over time, succulents will end up collecting dust on their leaves, which can hinder the growth of your plants. Make sure you schedule periodic cleaning sessions and use a damp cloth to gently wipe the leaves and spines. Use a soft paintbrush to reach tricky spots.
- Use a container that promotes drainage: succulents don’t enjoy sitting in drenched soil, which makes drainage pretty crucial to achieve healthy growth and prevent rot. For these reasons, you should use plant containers that feature drainage holes to allow excess water to exit.
- Don’t water spray your succulents: when watering your succulents, avoid using spray bottles. Misting these plants can result in moldy leaves and brittle roots.
3 Best Potting Pebbles for Succulents
After hours of research, we’ve scoured the internet for the best potting pebbles for succulents. Here are our top 3 picks:Check Price On Amazon!
Sporting thousands of positive reviews from plant owners, these gardening rocks by The Next Gardner are an excellent choice for any type of succulents.
These beautiful, high-quality stones do a great job in stabilizing newly planted succulents, draining excess water, and helping lock in the nutrients of the soil to support better plant growth.
These stones come in a selection of natural shades of white, red, green, grey, and brown colors. They aren’t only perfect for succulents on any given occasion, but they’re also excellent for use in aquariums to help absorb impurities and keep the water clean.
The Next Gardner Succulent Rocks arrive in a 1.5-pound bag that you simply tear off the top to open. We love that the bag is resealable, so you can take the portion of pebbles you need from the bag and then seal it back for secure storage.
- Great value for money
- Wide range of colors
- Resealable bag
- Prone to discoloration
Next up, we have the Agate Stones for Succulents from Hilitchi. When it comes to color and luster, these pebbles go all out.
They’re available in gorgeous colors including white, gree, blue, red, and yellow. The stones look so natural, with craggy edges on the outside and streaked veins on the inside.
These agate stones are made from silicon dioxide, so they offer extremely high hardness and resistance against abrasion. This also allows you to use them in a variety of projects such as floral arrangements and jewelry making.
As for the shape, the Hilitchi pebbles generally have an oval shape, but they vary in size and thickness because they were formed naturally. This means there might be some uneven cracks and small holes on the surface.
The one thing we didn’t fully appreciate in these pebbles is their seemingly higher cost compared to other options on the market. However, many users think their quality is worth the extra few bucks.
- Bright colors
- Attractive polished finish
- A bit too pricey for the quantity you get
Last but not least, these decorative pebbles from Midwest Hearth Natural are very popular among people interested in growing succulents, mainly due to their excellent quality and sleek look.
These pebbles are on the smaller side, with a ⅜ inch average size that’s ideal for small pots. Each bag contains a wide variety of natural shapes in a beautiful white color that instantly brightens up any garden.
We also like the polished finish of these pebbles, coated in pure paraffin wax to boost color and shine. Not to mention, these pebbles are eco-friendly since they’re just natural stones and wax – no fillers, dyes, or oils added.
Besides succulent pots, the Midwest Hearth Natural Decorative White Pebbles can be used in multiple projects such as fairy gardens and flower arrangements.
These pebbles come in 2-pound bags, so you get a lot of product for the price.
- Rich white color
- Pure wax coating
- Not the best packaging
Potting Pebbles for Succulents – FAQs
Can I plant succulents in gravel?
This is a very common question we get from people interested in growing succulents. The thing you need to remember here is that while succulents are low maintenance plants, they still need nutrients from the soil.
Those nutrients are necessary for healthy growth, and unfortunately, they’re absent in gravel or rock mediums.
As a result, the answer is two-part: No, succulents can’t thrive in gravel alone. But if you mix gravel with fast-draining soil, it’d make a perfect potting mix for succulents.
The soil will provide vital nutrients to the plants and the gravel will provide drainage – both of which are crucial for healthy succulent growth.
Is aquarium gravel safe for succulents?
Yes, using aquarium gravel for succulents would be just fine. Many people have tried it and everything worked out well. Aquarium gravel will even provide efficient drainage for the plant.
That being said, when you use aquarium gravel for your succulents, be sure to wash it thoroughly. The gravel may contain residue from marine substances, which can be potentially harmful to the succulents.
Can I use beach sand for succulents?
Another common question, especially among those living near the beach, is whether or not beach sand is suitable for succulents.
Beach sand can be quite dense for your succulents. Even though it provides good drainage, the fact that it’s so dense may cause the succulents to be unable to breathe.
Instead of beach sand, consider using coarse sand. Not only does coarse sand offer efficient drainage, but it also prevents the succulents from suffocating.
Succulents will stay looking good for weeks even if you’re a black-thumbed gardener. However, this can only happen if you set up your plants properly, which starts with correct potting.
Using potting pebbles for succulents is a wonderful idea as pebbles provide efficient drainage, adequate root anchor, and fascinating aesthetic value.
Our recommendation for the best potting pebbles for succulents goes to The Next Gardner Succulent Multiple Use Gardening Rocks. These pebbles are available in beautiful shades of natural colors, come in resealable bags, and offer excellent value for money.Check Price On Amazon!