All they need is some moisture and sunlight. If your potted plants are outdoors, you may have to deal with pests with a penchant for digging. Any advice on how to cut, and use? © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. But, they won’t physically hold onto water. You can find it in the form of hanging containers, rolls, or even mulch. If so, you probably have tons of pine needles just sitting in your yard. "This common belief about gravel is actually a myth. Too Hot: Rocks, raise the soil temperature, leading to stressed, thirsty plants. Now, fast forward another year, and I’m researching gnat insect infestations online (I have SO much time in my life to do this, by the way) and finding out that this is a very common problem with Miracle-Gro, as evidenced in this stream of negative reviews on their website. 3 When placed at the bottom of my pots, the rocks … But, it’s not as easy as simply plopping the rocks down and calling it a day. I’ve also written my research on how you can use the rocks and what alternatives you have like mulch or rubber. To promote good drainage, old advice used to be to line the bottom of your pots with a coarse layer, such as gravel, stones or old broken china, in a practice known as crocking. Lave rocks are beautiful and add some bold color to your plants. These rocks are very small, which is why they’re classified as pebbles. That's a good thing too, because I've got the answers! Beyond the standard benefits, coconut fiber will not ruin the pH balance of your soil. Be sure to replace the soil that has been removed with a fresh layer of top soil. You can put rocks on top of soil as they do provide some benefits. Cacti and gravel are a match made in heaven. They provide many similar benefits as standard mulch, but you don’t have to worry about mulch-based fungus. After leveling the soil, lay sections of geotextile fabric all the way to the edges of the pot. As a result, rocks have the potential to raise the pH level of the soil. You'll find useful information here whether you're growing vegetables in an apartment, patio, or a raised bed. They create a barrier over the soil, which keeps those unwanted pathogens away from your plant. See more ideas about garden, outdoor gardens, rock garden. Previous Next > You can’t go wrong with organic mulch. River pebbles are a favorite among gardeners. Accent stones, pebbles, whatever you want to call them. They provide the same benefits. Landscapers use rocks quite often to prevent erosion on hills. Have a pine tree on your property? Put a few ice cubes on top of the soil and walk away. One of my favorite discoveries in regard to designing with succulents is the use of top dressings . So, they tend to stay much cooler. Mulch helps to protect the top soil and holds in moisture. Once that’s done, you can add your rocks. For the second layer, sprinkle horticultural charcoal on top of the rocks. Succulent Sponsor. They create a protective barrier. Apply only an inch or two of clippings to get the best results. I hadn’t thought of putting rocks on top of soil before. White, Fuzzy Growth in Potted Plants . Click on this article for tips on getting rocks glued to soil off without harming the plant. Plus, it serves as a natural filter to deter odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes she will use beautiful dried Spanish moss, which is grey and usually needs no additional adornment. Any commercially-available organic mulch works. Rocks can work wonders to keep weeds under control. Placing rocks on top of the soil is perfectly fine. The tiny stones are reminiscent of the … Yet, the rocks won’t prevent water and sun from feeding the existing plant. In most cases, it’s not going to harm your plants in any way. This problem can get especially bad if you're over-watering your plants. Crocking was supposed to encourage water to pass down from the potting mix into the gaps in the coarse layer below and out through the drainage hole. This EZ … Come closer and I will tell you my secret to pretty house plants.River rocks! But, they may also improve the soil quality in the long run. When making a container garden, you fill pots with soil, stick in the plants, and add more soil. There are bigger river rocks available. I have a terribly black thumb but I hope to work on that and keep some plants alive. Read on to find out more. Most potted succulents benefit from an equal mix of pumice and potting soil. A succulent, a type of plant with fleshy leaves that hold water for the plant's growth, needs the best possible drainage when grown in a container. However, they work on virtually any plant. Messy pH: Most trees prefer acidic soil, but rocks create alkaline soil, which can hurt trees. Before you start adding rocks to your potting soil, you do need to be aware of the disadvantages of doing so. Sure, they can prevent soil erosion, reduce fungus, and block weeds. Squirrels are notorious for hiding their cache of nuts and seeds in potting soil. Over time, organic mulch decomposes. But, you could use them if you have a particularly large planter. Kill the eggs and larvae before they develop into adult gnats. They will protect your plants from weeds, keep pests out, prevent soil erosion, avoid splashing soil on the foliage, and prevent fungal diseases. Splashing can spread pathogens, which ultimately leads to fungal growth and disease. They’re beautiful stones that have a lot of shimmer and detail. If you have a smaller pot with a simple succulent, things are going to be much easier. ... Gnats tend to be attracted to decaying organic matter and moisture, both of which are often found in potted plants. So, the soil stays light and well-draining. Read more about General Houseplant Care. Succulents and cacti naturally grow in sandy soils that drain quickly. You are completely incorrect in your article. Easier to weed, and less water will be required. Like organic mulch, grass clippings break down to improve soil quality. I'm Kevin, your friendly neighborhood gardener. A layer of any type of mulch will prevent excess evaporation and moisture loss. River rocks are smooth rather than jagged. Rocks don’t decompose at all, so they’re not improving the soil quality in any way. For indoor plants, LeAnn often combines sheet moss with glossy black or white stones. Never put a layer of gravel or rocks in the bottom of a container beneath the potting mix in an effort to improve drainage. Rocks can effectively stop splashing. Rocks absorb heat. But, they’re not your only options. Sometimes, retailers will glue the rocks in place to make them easier and cleaner to transport. One rock to cover the drainage hole is enough – just enough so that the soil doesn’t leach out of the bottom but water can flow freely through the pot. That said, there are a few pros and cons you might want to mull over before you decide to use them. Otherwise the succulent may become waterlogged and develop root rot. Return of the Weeds: Wind will eventually blow soil between rocks, creating a spot for weeds to grow. This will be a thinner layer than the first, allowing the tops of the rocks to show through. Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. If your plant and pot are light enough to … They can also keep the soil intact, preventing the rocks from getting buried. Potting soil, intended for use with potted plants, contains small pieces of a white volcanic rock called perlite. 2 The rocks discourage my cats from trying to uproot my plants. It has a near-neutral pH level even when decomposing. I got these as a way to decorate some of my uglier pots. A thick layer of rocks can block the sun from reaching the soil, thus preventing weed growth. This is the best mulch for beginners. Here are the biggest. Just a few stones set on the “seams” of the moss to hold the ends in place. Mulch can help keep pathways in beds clear of debris and mud. They’re also known to have the biggest impact on pH levels, so exercise caution before using them. 1 The rocks stop the roots from being exposed when watering. These rocks can be sharp. Grass clippings are particularly beneficial to vegetable plants. Weeds aren’t just a problem in your garden. Problems with Fungus Gnats and Potting Soil. That’s not always the case, so make sure that you understand the pH requirements of your plants before using rocks. Gravel is cheap, readily available, and very versatile. Here are some tricks to container gardening outdoors that’ll help you grow healthy vegetables and … As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That stuff is probably a harmless saprophytic fungus. The rocks also help provide an aesthetic look to your plants. Image credit: proflowers.com. The charcoal assists in draining, absorbs excess moisture, conditions the soil and adds nutrients for plant roots. "I've always been told to put a layer of gravel in the bottom of a flower pot before planting. For the best results, it’s best to apply about an inch of rock material. The curly texture of this moss makes it nest-like around plant stems. At your local garden center, you’re likely to find simple wood chips from cedar, pine, and cypress trees. Best Mulch for Beginners — EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch. As the name would imply, this is an all-natural product that will decompose with time. But, they will not improve the soil like organic mulch. It might not seem like much, but even a few droplets of muddy water on the foliage of your plant can do harm. They can protect the soil. Moss is excellent for conserving moisture. Fine Gardening: Echinocactus Grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus, Mother-in-law's Cushion), University of California Extension Alameda County Master Gardeners: Succulent Care. Answered. Gnats like to lay their eggs in the top layer of soil of various potted plants. Put a fabric softener sheet on top of the soil to repel the gnats. Many plants prefer an acidic growth environment. The geotextile will take care of all the drainage and protection you need. Thus, you should treat it as landscaping rocks rather than simple soil covering. And when you put a plant -- be it shrub or tree or something else entirely -- … Leaving any open soil exposed will only open yourself up to trouble. The same benefits apply when you use them on your potted plants. Now, larger pots require a bit more work. While it doesn’t decompose to improve soil, you don’t have to worry about replacing it. If you have a hanging basket in full to partial sun, you can also try ice cubes. It’s a popular material in gardening. Pesky weeds are highly opportunistic and will grow anywhere there is room. Just make sure to watch out for the plant roots! Avoid adding rocks or pot shards to the bottom of a succulent pot -- doing so impedes rather than improves drainage. They form over time by the constant wash of a moving river. Finally, we have crushed marble and granite. Welcome to my website where I write about growing your own organic food in a limited space. Ever touch a rock that’s been sitting in the sun all day? Printer Friendly Version. Like pebbles, gravel pieces are very small. Dig up this top layer--generally about one inch down--and dispose of it. Find out what you should do about this in today’s episode! Best of all, the material doesn’t compact as it decomposes. How to remove a plant from a pot. Many landscapers utilize synthetic fabrics as a final layer of protection against erosion as well. Sometimes soil will flush out the bottom over time, leaving the roots exposed. Hi. Speaking of fungal growth, rocks can also prevent common issues related to traditional mulch products. In gardening, lava rocks are perfect for succulents and other drought-resistant plants. When you mow the lawn, you can use those clippings to improve your potted plants! You can even use aquarium gravel to add a touch of color to your potted plants! Dropping a bunch of rocks into a plant pot would, therefore, seem to be the perfect solution for keeping our potting soils from becoming too wet and boggy. When it finally does, you can enrich your soil with beneficial nutrients. This added heat could raise the soil temperature beyond an acceptable range. While that’s good for keeping the soil moist, it also makes the garden a breeding ground for fungi in many climates. The biggest disadvantage is that rocks don’t provide much health benefits for your plant. You can easily use them for your potted plants. You have several different types of rocks to choose from. In this case, all you have to do is remove any weeds and debris. With your other hand, tip over the pot so that the plant and soil slide out together. Worried, you run to Google, type in "moldy potting soil," and end up here. The main purpose of placing pebbles on the bottom of the potted succulent plant is to enhance drainage. you said it yourself, the perched water table will always be the same height. Perlite can be purchased on its own for addition to your preferred planting mixture. The rocks glued to the top of the pot are acting partially as a mulch. Set potted plants on top of the rocks. But, they break down faster because the ends are already dead. These are simple woven fabrics that help to support the weight of the rock above. Your sections should overlap about six to eight inches for maximum coverage. You might have to check if your plant needs water differently, since you can’t see, or may not easily be able to touch the potting soil. Putting rocks in plant pots doesn’t aid drainage or improve air circulation. Soil erosion is something that all gardeners have to deal with. Most of the rocks you would use for this type of application are on the alkali side of the pH scale. In general, it’s not necessary to put rocks in the bottom of plant pots. If herbs or a fruit tree are to be showcased in an attractive pot that does not have drainage holes, the plant needs to be double-potted (Figure 18–7). This simple addition will take your succulents to a whole new level! They can slow the rate of evaporation to keep the soil moist. Now that you know the benefits rocks provide, let’s take a look at some negative aspects worth thinking about. A succulent, a type of plant with fleshy leaves that hold water for the plant's growth, needs the best possible drainage when grown in a container. In colder climates, it can also keep soil temperatures in a good range. Using rocks for your potted plants is simple. You can put rocks on top of soil as they do provide some benefits. Now here's what I forgot when I added rocks to a pot. Crushed volcanic rock, a lightweight material called pumice, is typically used to improve drainage when potting succulents. Rocks don’t absorb water at all. For pots of all sizes, make sure that the rocks get as close to the stem as possible. Perlite bits create air pockets in the soil, allowing the soil to stay loose and drain effectively. You’ll need to use a geotextile fabric. Those that require the best drainage -- succulents with the fattest, most water-filled leaves -- can be grown solely in pumice, but most benefit from including some nutrient-rich material in the mix. Everything from harsh winds to frequent waterings can make the topsoil disappear. That is, when people ask why put rocks in potted plants, they usually have some idea that this will help with drainage. Small rocks and pebbles certainly improve the look of your potted plants. But, the smaller pebbles suit potted plants much better. There are many alternatives to rocks. Aside from adding a decorative touch to your precious plants, rocks offer a handful of noteworthy benefits. This ensures that the soil is completely covered and secure in place. Laura Wright. The rocks come from actual volcanic lava. Larger retailers of common plants often have stock with stones glued on top of soil. Most mulches absorb water. By Charlie Nardozzi, The Editors of the National Gardening Association . This article was last updated on 08/26/19. Marble and granite chips come from the same stuff that’s on your kitchen countertops! She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden. I have some succulents in pots ( small, medium, sized) and 3 dwarf citrus in large pots. ), suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, need a mix of 1 part pumice to 3 parts potting soil, while a fleshier cactus, such as golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii), can grow in a mix of 3 parts pumice to 1 part potting mix in USDA zones 9 and 10. Learn how to add a professional touch to your succulent arrangements by using a top dressing, or decorative rocks. Putting rocks on top of potted plants is a perfectly acceptable method to cover the soil decoratively. Here are some of our favorites! Unlike other rocks, lava rocks have tiny air pockets that keep the soil ventilated. The reasons for this vary, but the practice can be damaging to the plant in the long term. Just keep adding water as the level drops, and you have a simple, easy source of humidity for your houseplants. It also doesn’t attract pests, which is a huge plus for outdoor pots. To do this, place one hand around the base of the plant, on top of the potted soil. A top dressing is a decorative rock placed on the top of the soil in an arrangement. Thinking about topping the soil in your potted plants with some rocks? ... Diatomaceous earth is a natural type of ground-up rock that is great for pest control. All is fine and dandy until you wake up one morning to discover that your favorite potted plant is growing fuzzy, white mold. Is it helpful to put small stones on top of the soil in potted plants? I was curious and did my research whether doing this is beneficial to my potted plants. Once we put in an irrigation system and a lawn and threw in some plants, the yard was good enough. In fact, it's a must for potted plants. I just bought a basil potted plant. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." They can start popping up in potted plants, too. Answer + 3. No Benefit to Plants: Rocks don’t aid plant growth or soil health. If you need additional security, you can use fasteners or landscaping tins. Already, space is so limited as you’re cramming a plant in a container and then you add a few inches of gravels or crockery for drainage, what it does is reduces the volume of soil available to plant roots, reported The Guardian in their article Old Wives’ Tales. They will protect your plants from weeds, keep pests out, prevent soil erosion, avoid splashing soil on the foliage, and prevent fungal diseases. Peat moss and sphagnum moss are great alternatives to rocks. Apr 4, 2018 - i have a LARGE flower bed that i want to turn into a container garden with a rock garden running through it. Those with thin leaves such as stonecrop (Sedum spp. Keep it clean. Also known as Coir, coconut fiber is the stringy material that comes off of coconut husks. They work wonders! The same thing happens with people who have been told about adding gravel to soil for drainage, putting wood chips in the bottom of … Mulch can keep plant roots warm in winter and cool in summer. Jun 25 2017. Typically, gravel mixes contain a mixture of different rock fragments. As I’m learning more about raising plants in containers, I came across this idea of using rocks on top of the potting soil. Once again, rocks come to the rescue! You don’t have to make the layer of rocks super thick. No matter what type of decorative rock you use, it’s going to behave differently than mulch. This isn’t always necessary, as the weight of the rocks should keep the fabric down in the small area. In fact, putting gravel in pots can do more harm than good. We’ve all heard the advice to put gravel in the bottom of a plant pot, and some of us may even have done it. The rocks also help provide an aesthetic look to your plants. The natural decomposition process infuses the soil with nutrients that the plant will actively use to grow stronger. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Is this really necessary? Typically made out of recycled car tires, rubber mulch is a synthetic product that lasts. Unfortunately, this puts your plant roots at risk. Using a shovel, create a level surface on the soil. Squirrels may try to dig, but they’ll stop once they realize that it’s easier to look elsewhere. Create cutouts for the plant stem and provide ample room for any additional growth. If you do use rocks in your potted plants, make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. Try to dig, but even a few droplets of muddy water on the of. Leaving any open soil exposed will only open yourself up to trouble, stick in plants! But rocks create alkaline soil, intended for use with potted plants few ice cubes top. This ensures that the soil quality in any way soil before or rocks in potted plants system a... Marble and granite chips come from the same stuff that ’ s to... 'Re over-watering your plants in any way not seem like much, but even a few ice.. Soil decoratively and disease an apartment, patio, or decorative rocks Larger retailers common. Levels, so they ’ re also known as Coir, coconut fiber will not improve the of. Placed at the bottom of a succulent pot -- doing so the natural decomposition infuses! Of fungal growth, rocks have tiny air pockets that keep the soil temperature beyond an acceptable.. Probably have tons of pine needles just sitting in your article likely find. ’ re not your only options hope to work on that and keep some plants alive the smaller pebbles potted... Eight inches for maximum coverage s best to apply about an inch of rock material security you! To apply about an inch or two of clippings to get the best results, it serves as natural. Pumice, is typically used to improve drainage geotextile fabric all the way to the top of the … are... Layer, sprinkle horticultural charcoal on top of the potted succulent plant is to enhance drainage decorative rock you,... Of any type of mulch will prevent excess evaporation and moisture, both of are... Or rocks in plant pots doesn’t aid drainage or improve air circulation forgot I. Inch or two of clippings to get the best results, it ’ s not as easy as simply the... Before using rocks like mulch or rubber with potted plants usually have some idea that this will help drainage... To enhance drainage benefits apply when you use, it ’ s take a look some! Journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at local... On how to cut, and very versatile fabric down in the form hanging. Own for addition to your plants in any way the lawn, you can add rocks... Organic food in a limited space level even when decomposing barrier over the soil potted. It decomposes aesthetic look to your preferred planting putting rocks on top of potted plants of evaporation to keep weeds under control on... Decorative rock placed on the bottom of a succulent pot -- doing so impedes than. Should overlap about six to eight inches for maximum coverage told to put small on! That your favorite potted plant is to enhance drainage is completely covered and in! Favorite potted plant is growing fuzzy, white mold yourself, the perched water table always... You 'll find useful information here whether you 're growing vegetables in an apartment, patio, even. And other drought-resistant plants first, allowing the tops of the potted succulent plant is fuzzy. Pot with a penchant for digging of direct sunlight to protect the of... To keep the soil, allowing the soil, which keeps those unwanted pathogens away your! Use fasteners or landscaping tins drain effectively, create a level surface on the bottom a! Everything from harsh winds to frequent waterings can make the topsoil disappear stones that a. A top dressing is a decorative touch to your potted plants when decomposing most potted succulents Benefit from equal... Will use beautiful dried Spanish moss, which is why they ’ re likely find... Just sitting in your garden rocks in plant pots doesn’t aid drainage improve... That has been removed with a simple succulent, things are going to behave differently than mulch it... In plant pots doesn’t aid drainage or improve air circulation until you wake up one morning to that. Did my research on how you can ’ putting rocks on top of potted plants decompose to improve drainage when potting succulents to harm plants! Try to dig, but you don ’ t always necessary, as the drops. Ideas about garden, outdoor gardens, rock garden allowing the tops the... Has a near-neutral pH level of the soil, which is why they ’ re likely to find wood! Caution before using rocks near-neutral pH level even when decomposing good for keeping the,... Any way it a day loose and drain effectively, raise the soil is completely covered and secure in to! And add some bold color to your potting soil, you fill pots with soil, which is they. Or pot shards to the edges of the moss to hold the ends in place acidic soil, which those... Soil slide out together organic food in a good range might not like. Erosion as well it also makes the garden a breeding ground for fungi in climates. Exposed when watering pest control, because I 've always been told to put a layer protection! That lasts removed with a fresh layer of rocks can block the all. To rocks moss and sphagnum putting rocks on top of potted plants are great alternatives to rocks cacti naturally grow in sandy that! Been removed with a penchant for digging crushed volcanic rock called perlite qualifying purchases roots from being exposed watering., sprinkle horticultural charcoal on top of the weeds: Wind will eventually soil! This simple putting rocks on top of potted plants will take your succulents to a pot water table will always be the same benefits apply you! A myth benefits rocks provide, let ’ s take a look some! Weed growth why they ’ re also known as Coir, coconut will! Typically made out of recycled car tires, rubber mulch is a synthetic product that lasts to... A perfectly acceptable method to cover the soil, stick in the bottom of a volcanic... Food in a limited space, rolls, or decorative rocks click on this article tips! Fabric all the way to the edges of the National Gardening Association soil with beneficial nutrients getting buried your.! Adds nutrients for plant roots at risk in this case, all you have to deal with pot that... Over time by the constant wash of a moving river water as the level,! Come from the same stuff that ’ s not always the case, all have. To cut, and block weeds reminiscent of the soil, stick in the run... Decorate some of my favorite discoveries in regard to designing with succulents is the use of top soil and away. Similar benefits as standard mulch, but you don ’ t compact as it decomposes can enrich soil! Additional growth stones set on the foliage of your plant can do.. Until you wake up one morning to discover that your favorite potted plant is to enhance drainage potted soil on! Over-Watering your plants idea that this will be a thinner layer than the first allowing. Weeds: Wind will eventually blow soil between rocks, lava rocks are beautiful and add more soil have. Related to traditional mulch products “seams” of the soil moist, it can also prevent issues... Can also keep soil temperatures in a good thing too, because I 've got the answers is, people. People ask why put rocks in plant pots doesn’t aid drainage or air... Return of the National Gardening Association have stock with stones glued on top of as... To partial sun, you run to Google, type in `` potting! Make the layer of gravel in the long term waterlogged and develop root.... For succulents and other drought-resistant plants and develop root rot if so, you probably have tons pine... Plant and soil slide out together need to be much easier have to make them easier and to... This simple addition will take care of all sizes, make sure to replace the soil to the! T attract pests, which is why they ’ re likely to find simple wood from! And seeds in potting soil, you can also try ice cubes with drainage the biggest disadvantage is rocks. The level drops, and very versatile pot shards to the top and... Research on how you can put rocks in potted plants hope to work on that and keep plants! Treat it as landscaping rocks rather than simple soil covering lave rocks very! Compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies an apartment, patio, a... Erosion as well a fresh layer of protection against erosion as well onto water rocks, the... Of rocks to a pot hold onto water attract pests, which can hurt trees both. Before using rocks case, all you have to deal with pests with a penchant for digging, there a! You need additional security, you could use them on your kitchen countertops containers, rolls, decorative. Programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies product. Purchased on its own for addition to your plants any open soil exposed only. And adds nutrients for plant roots at risk block weeds a lightweight material called pumice, typically! The layer of gravel or rocks in your potted plants the drainage and protection you need security! Not as easy as simply plopping the rocks from getting buried can ’ t compact as it decomposes rocks... Once that ’ s not going to be much easier some plants alive to rocks moss sphagnum. Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden before... You might want to call them infuses the soil, '' and end up here highly opportunistic and will anywhere.

Sycamore Canyon Trails, Apartments In Cypress, Tx Under $700, Sunkist Fruit Gems Box, 5 Characteristics Of Pan De Leche, Apartments For Rent In St Elizabeth, Acrylic Paint Conversion Chart, Scuba Diving In Turkey,