Are Pebbles Good For My Soil?

The ability to have pebbles in your possession is a great practice for any plant-loving parent. I often utilize polished pebbles, rocks and stones in a range of sizes and colors. Pebbles offer many benefits for the soil, however they also pose some problems.

Pebbles can improve their drainage capabilities, retention of water, the aeration and the aesthetic appeal in the appearance of soil. They also aid in stopping or limiting the growth of weeds, soil erosion as well as fungal or bacterial growth. However, they are able to be absorbed into soil and alter its pH and cause heat accumulation.

As a specialist in plants I’ll also teach you how to utilize pebbles to improve soil.

Benefits of Using Pebbles in Soil

[1] Improves Drainage Capacity

Pebbles are used in soil is used in order to aid in drainage. Be aware the fact that all pot mixes are to be the same. Small pebbles added to pots designed to be used with specific potted plants, like succulents, can be a great help.

Smaller pebbles, such as stones, perlite, or vermiculite, have similar functions in this respect. They do not just provide texture, but they also assist in the creation of air pockets within the soil. This amazing feature keeps the potting mix in place and well-drained.

Be aware that pebbles are more heavy and more substantial than most soil particles. They can help in reducing the weight percentage of clay and other substances that hinder drainage.

Pots that do not have a drainage hole is not an ideal idea. Pots that do not have drainage holes are only decorative and are not designed to be used for planting unless you are using the nursery pot inside which will be removed after the watering process and then returned after draining.

The second reason is that things like pebbles and rocks on the bottom of the pot do nothing to aid the plant, and in fact cause it to become worse.When you water, you will have an “water table” that remains after you’ve drained.

Bottom rocks don’t lower the water table , and they do not assist in draining. They are only used to bring your water table nearer to root systems, which encourages root decay.

However I would strongly discourage placing pebbles in the base of your pot. This is a practice that has been in use for quite a while. But, it can cause destruction to drainage of soil because it causes water to accumulate in the soil’s bottom.

Make sure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom to prevent this. This allows the excess liquid to go away. This is a great method of stopping waterlogging.

[2] Stops Soil Erosion

If you own an area of your garden that is susceptible towards soil erosion then using pebbles can be a great solution. This is particularly important for plants that are newly planted which are growing in soil that is loose. Strong winds can take soil particles in the event that the conditions are dry.

Similar is true for rains that are heavy. They can remove loose soil from your plants, denying it of the needed nutrition and protection. Water and wind can be reduced on soil using pebbles, rocks, or even stones.

Pebbles, for instance can help reduce the impact of water from rain or irrigation and prevent soil particles from washing away. Pebbles are also superior and last more than the grass that is typically employed by gardeners to prevent erosion of soil.

The placement of pebbles are crucial. I highly recommend placing pebbles around the plants that grow on slopes in the garden. Pebbles are beneficial in areas that are not cultivated and also areas that have water flowing in the event of rain.

Another area of high risk is close to downspouts. They can assist in dispersing stormwater energy that comes from downspouts. The additional water will benefit the plants too.

[3] Prevents Soil Compactness

A soil that is too compact can create a myriad of problems to your plants. It blocks aeration and can become very affected by water. This is bad news for roots as they will not be able to absorb vital minerals, water, or nutrients.

Fertilizer can also be sucked up in the top layer, away from the soil, and is not which is where it’s needed. Additionally, soil that is compacted can increase the risk of watering too much. This could cause a variety of problems, including root rot, and eventually the loss of the plant.

If the soil is made up of lots of silt, clay, or other fine organic matter, it can become compact. One of the most effective ways to prevent soil from becoming compact is to incorporate pebbles into it. They function similar to peat moss perlite, vermiculite, and coconut Coir.

Due to their dimensions, pebbles help in the creation of air pockets in the expanding medium. They also assist in the retention of water. Pebbles play a crucial part in preventing soil compaction in both instances.

[4] Releases Nutrients

Pebbles added to soil can help to improve the soil. Do you realize that nearly all nutrients and minerals come from boulders, rocks, and stones? They are released by an intricate process called weathering.

The same applies to pebbles that are used in soil. Pebbles that are exposed to the elements that are on the surface tend to be weathered. Mineral-rich soils release nutrients and enrich the soil when they break down.

Weather isn’t a single occasion. It can take a long time however, it will to enrich your garden and nourish your plants for many years to be. It is important to note that pebbles with softer textures are more to be used for this as opposed to polished stones.

multicoloured pebbles

[5] Helps Retain Necessary Moisture

Another method to utilize pebbles is to place them over soil. This way they provide a barrier against water loss away from the soil’s surface.

The same applies to pebbles that are placed on near the base of the dish. They’re great in absorbing moisture that is not properly contained within the pot. In addition they assist in the release of water when the media is drying.

Pebbles, when paired with top dressing or mulch will significantly increase the efficiency of your plants’ water conservation. They’re perfect for those who have an habit of not taking care of their plants. It’s an effective solution for plants that love water like orchids, philodendrons and aloe vera.

[6] Guards soil from sun’s rays

There’s a reason why I place pebbles over the expanding medium. I prefer to use polished sparkling pebbles. This protects the soil, and the roots of plants from exposure in direct sun.

Pebbles do not just cool the soil, but they also reflect the majority of sunlight. They also prevent the soil from becoming dry and keeps the plants from suffering thirst.

[7] Aeration of Potted Plants

I’ve touched on this in the past. The risks of pots that aren’t properly aerated plants are alarming:

  • Roots aren’t able to take in the much-needed air and resources
  • Plants weaken and are susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections.
  • Roots can be damaged easily and are attacked by pathogens

Pebbles can be counted on within the soil help you. Pebbles, similar to perlite, make airy pockets in the soil’s growing medium. Pebbles also assist in the break-up of soil, and improve drainage.

Pebbles help aerate potted plants which allows root systems to work effectively and stay healthy. Due to the ample amount of minerals, nutrients, and water the plant will flourish. Aeration of the soil helps to prevent the development of mold, algae and fungal diseases.

[8] Inhibits Bacterial and Fungal Growth

Pebbles placed in the soil can help keep fungal and bacterial growth at bay through a variety of ways:

  • Pebbles help to aerate the soil which prevents the spread of pathogens
  • Pebbles can keep infected plant matter from reaching the soil
  • Certain components of the pebbles could also be anti-fungal
  • Pebbles aid in drainage and help protect the roots

Together, the properties of pebbles makes them a great addition to the soil. They can help prevent the development of waterlogged, spongy, or humid conditions that encourage the growth of fungal organisms.

[9]Protects plant from damage

Pebbles are a great addition to the soil as mulch, or used to build growing beds. Pebbles can be a blessing in all these situations as they shield your plant from sunlight, cold, or extreme heat. This is particularly important when your plant isn’t winter tough.

In the end I usually employ pebbles to shield my garden plants from damage caused by frost. They shield the delicate roots and crowns from frostbite. In the indoors, you can get similar results.

The roots that are exposed are particularly susceptible to cold and heat stress. The addition of pebbles to your plant can help block external influences. In the event of cold temperatures, your roots will stay alive and warm.

[10] Prevents Weed Growth

Pebbles are excellent garden weed control. However, prior to using pebbles in your soil, you must remove all visible weeds in the garden. Pebbles function as mulch and block sunlight to reach the plants, making them die.

[11] Aesthetic Appeal

Pebbles look great when placed in the top layer of soil to create decorative pieces. They are suitable for potted and garden plants. They can provide a beautiful and neat finish to the pots in your garden and potted plants.

I suggest using large polished colored pebbles. Their rounded edges give an elegant look for your garden. Sea pebbles are my top choice because they provide an organic look and a contemporary look.

If you’re looking to create a beach-themed appeal for your garden it is recommended to use riverspebbles (Check the most recent prices at Amazon right here). The best part is that pebbles are available in an enthralling array of themes and colors.

Downsides of Pebbles in Soil

Pebbles in soil are beneficial to your plants. But, they also have their own set of disadvantages.

Pebbles alter the pH of soil.

This is particularly evident in pebbles that release lime. Be aware that certain plants love acid like azaleas, gardenias, Boston Fern, as well as African violets.

If the pebbles leak lime, they can encircle your plant in alkaline conditions. By altering the soil’s the PH of your soil, pebbles could cause damage more than they do good for your plants. (Source: Pennsylvania State University)

[2]Absorbs Too Much Heat

Pebbles, particularly those with darker colors are heat sinks. They hold and absorb excessive heat, which can harm the plant. Be aware that heat accumulation in soils can cause damage to roots and lead to excessive transpiration of soil water.

It can sink into the soil

Pebbles tend to weigh more that soil particles. As time passes, they’ll cause pressure and sink on due to their weight. This can have a variety of effects for soil health, such as the loss of aeration, soil compaction and damage to the roots.

How to Use Pebbles in Soil

1. Choosing the Right Placement

The method of placement can be as simple as placing the pebbles into the soil of the container plant. In gardening, finding the ideal spot will make a huge difference. I prefer to place my plants around the main plant.

To enhance your aesthetics, concentrate on the areas of your garden that are easily visible. Most of the time you’ll need to focus on areas that are susceptible to erosion.

2. Selecting Types of Pebble

If you’re looking for pebbles to plant your plants with there are plenty of choices. The shape, color, as well as the size are important.

Here are the most common kinds of pebbles:

  • Clay pebbles are commonly employed in aqua ponds as well as hydroponics projects. They’re ideal for both garden and indoor use. This is because clay pebbles are robust, durable, and provide good drainage.
  • Limestone pebbles are inexpensive and easily accessible, limestone is mineral-rich and appear amazing when polished. Apart from their aesthetic value they also release lime, which can alter the pH of soil. Therefore, they’re not suitable for plants that love acidity.
  • Dolomite pebbles – These stones are stunning beautiful. They are available in a variety of cool colors, ranging from warm pink and blue to white colors, or even completely colorless.
  • Granite pebbles typically are pink or red.
  • Natural stone pebbles – If are looking to keep the natural appearance of your yard, you can’t be disappointed with these. They are usually sleek, rounded edges.

The choice of the right pebbles is based on your individual preference.

3. Get Your Pebbles

The local garden store is a must-stop. However, you can purchase these items through Amazon, Walmart, and other home improvement stores such as Lowes.

If you’re an adventurous person then you could pick your own. They’re plentiful in rivers or sea banks.

4. Clear the Area of Dirt and Weed

The next step is to clear the area of focus off of debris, weeds, rubble, and grass. Be sure to have proper drainage in the area you’ve cleared.

5. Pebble Preparation

Make your pebbles into a collection. Choose from a variety of colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and patterns. Certain shapes work best for specific landscapes.

It is possible to wash off the pebbles to get rid of grime and dirt.

6. Arrange the Pebbles

Make a thick layers of pebbles, pressing them into. This will eliminate the possibility of the growth of weeds as a result by this method. The plants surrounding the base of the plant should be able to let air and water to flow freely. In order to ensure they’re distributed evenly make a plan.

Is it OK to Put Pebbles on Potted Plants?

Pebbles used in pots can offer many benefits. They can help improve water retention, maintaining of a proper drainage system and control of fungus and gnats.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)