When you go look at terra cotta pots from a retailer with a good selection, you will see standard pots and some called ‘azalea’ pots. The cute, quiet, and hardworking ladybug is a crop saver, a pop culture icon, and an instructional aid in classrooms around the world but some are destructive. If you have ever grown culinary herbs you know that many of them are not a fan of low temperatures (yes basil, I am looking at you!). Is it helpful to put small stones on top of the soil in potted plants? Rocks added to the bottom of large pots will reduce the volume of potting soil required to fill a container. ( However, if you have gnats, they are a warning sign you might be overwatering your plant. However, life brought me to the UK as an engineer. Does your dog eat too fast? They can be sterilized by soaking in a solution of 1-part bleach to 10 parts water and then allowing them to dry completely. One of the most common container gardening myths is the use of gravel at the bottom of a pot to improve drainage. :)eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'besidethefrontdoor_com-large-billboard-2','ezslot_5',109,'0','0']));report this ad. First, and yes this is an always, use potting soil, not garden soil. Rocks are a “not to go.” However, what is this saturated zone, and how can you increase its size so as to limit watering problems. yourindoorherbs.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites like mine to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Now, all those leaves are indoors due to "sad" weather conditions. The substantial layer on the bottom gives a place for the excess water to go. However, like most things in life, the answer is NOT ‘always” OR “never”. The bottom will still be saturated while the top is only damp. Without going into boring physical details, the saturated zone is always the same height independently from the volume of the soil. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. In a moment, the top is drier than the bottom. I would like to know what size of a pot plant to use for planting roses in. Now take that same sponge, cut an inch or 2 off the bottom. For interest, add trailing plants as well as vertical growing plants that will achieve various heights and fullness. What happens when you put rocks in the bottom of your planting container? Alternatively, you can place inside a decorative pot. The best-quality potting soil has a combination of physical and chemical properties. Hence no need for extra depth to keep roots out of the saturated zone, and no need for of the expense of extra soil. As a Chewy affiliate, I earn commissions for qualifying purchases. This allows you to enjoy the great aesthetics of a decorative pot… You need the extra weight to prevent tipping over in the wind, especially if you are growing large, bold-leaved plants that would catch the wind like a sail. 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. If you do not agree, don't hate on me...if you disagree, start your own site and help educate people about what you have learned from your experience in your particular climates. Check it below.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'yourindoorherbs_com-leader-2','ezslot_19',115,'0','0'])); What to use for drainage in a pot? If you’re using the soil add plenty of compost. One involves a piece of crockery. Also, there is a case in which rocks at the bottom are actually important! What happens when you stand that saturated sponge on its end, so it is tall? If your plant and pot are light enough to pick up, one way to judge watering is the weight. Less. Clean the pot with hot soapy water to get rid of disease causing microorganisms and insect larvae. Read about this in article ‘Do Plants Need Saucers?’ how and why, click here. Putting rocks on top of potted plants is a perfectly acceptable method to cover the soil decoratively. common: { What interaction happens in between potting soil and water in containers? Putting rocks in plant pots doesn’t aid drainage or improve air circulation. A good idea of aeration? That is not good for roots either. Gnats love those conditions… ). Ensure the inner pot has drainage holes. Hopefully, what you have learned here will make your indoor herbs and plants happy for many years to come. There are a lot of things you can use to fill under the soil in your potted plants. Fill the rest of the pot with soil. However, you will still have the effect of the saturated zone. Who is right and who is wrong? Old bricks broken into large chunks are also an option for weighing down the bottom of … Drainage for Potted Plants and What to Put in Planters But filling such large planters can sometimes take several bags of potting soil. Saucer3. Plant roots need both air and water. I agree to receive your newsletters and accept the data privacy statement.

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"I've always been told to put a layer of gravel in the bottom of a flower pot before planting. Now think of a sponge the same size and shape to fit inside your pot. But rocks serve no useful purpose in planters, and as you have seen, only put them at risk of root-rot. Water is heavy, ever carry a gallon of water around? It is not that you can’t put a layer of gravel at the bottom, it’s just you won’t have to, and there are times it is just easier to care for your plant if you didn’t. The water also cannot exit the drainage holes in the pot, as they’re blocked up by the rocks. Proper Drainage Alternative In order for plant pots to have proper drainage, use potting soil in them rather than a combination of gravel and potting soil. But water is under the effect of these weird little forces called cohesion and adhesion. Plus, rocks … 4. Make a small mound of soil in the pot for your plant to sit on. } This will leave the root wet for longer, increasing the risk of root rot. Drainage is crucial for potted plants. That’s it, the end. Mine certainly does! A future post will talk about why. You would think that putting gravel in the bottom of a hole-less container opens up space for water to drain into, and eventually evaporate. OR, How to Cover Drainage Holes in Pots? There are exceptions and legitimate reasons to do so. Carpe diem! You can use gravel but, if you do not need the extra weight for stability, use cut-up swimming pool noodles, crushed empty water bottles, much less expensive bark mulch….You have the idea, use what you have that will not disintegrate with water, or harm your potting soil. In the root zone of your plants. Rocks have more space between them than soil, which is more compact.

window.REQUIRED_ERROR_MESSAGE = "Help me, help you! Another reason you would want rocks at the bottom is if you have a large container that’s designed has a smaller bottom than the top, or simply a really tall and skinny pot. Everyone wants a simple blanket answer to this question. If you MUST use gravel or rocks, do so outside the bottom part of the pot. Putting rocks at the bottom of the pot pushes the saturated zone closer to the surface of the soil, potentially reaching the roots. When you want rocks in the bottom and why. 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. Answered. If you want your plant or herb to be placed in a fancy pot (like this one on Amazon, very good looking, and one of my favorites) that does not have holes, you can still go for it. You can find some beautiful river rocks on Amazon, or you can use pebbles you find in your garden or local parks.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'yourindoorherbs_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_16',111,'0','0'])); If this is the case, it is essential to sterilize the rocks first, as they can be carrying diseases, fungus, or pests that can harm your plant. Which Slowed Dog's Eating The Best? Rocks at the bottom of your planter? To start this process, place potting soil at the bottom of the new pot, but not too much. (Anyone tried toweling off with a chunky knit sweater rather than a towel lately?). As presented by North Carolina State University, putting rocks in the bottom of planters can create results opposite to what you were hoping to achieve. (I know this sounds off-topic, but bear with me.) You can’t fill the pot with as much soil if it already has rocks in there, giving your plant less room. Those are listed below.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'besidethefrontdoor_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_3',102,'0','0'])); If you ask 10 different gardeners that question, you will likely get 10 different answers. Check the article below to find out the best DIY soil recipe. Information is specific to particular climates. A coarse potting mix, full of large particles, will allow the moisture to drain through more effectively. Jars, of course, do not have any drainage holes, and so it is essential to create a natural drainage system. ( If you do not want to be a slave to watering all summer, the larger the pot the better, and a restrained hand in the volume of plants in that container, again more  details on that in another post All You Need To Know About Watering, there is sooo much to cover, whew!). Place just enough so that the ball of roots from the transferring plant can be placed and evenly dispersed in the potting soil. The 26 Best Herbs For Soups (Recipes, How To Use Them and More). After moving to the UK 6 years ago in a tiny flat, it was impossible to grow herbs outside. Let’s look at some of the conditions when you do want rocks on the bottom of your container, and the times you do not. This all has to do with soil mechanics and capillary action and cohesion and adhesion and gravity, but the sponge example illustrates it really well. Indeed, when the water starts dripping from the container to the saucer, this is a signal that you should stop watering. Because the water sticks” to the soil a bit like water is “attracted” by a dry sponge. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you’re experiencing excessive drainage, it means … The best, recommended by many expert gardeners, is the addition of perlite (or cacti mix). It is not helpful for plant growth. It raises the saturated zone closer to the roots of the plant, it is more likely that the roots will sit in this wet zone. Rocks or pebbles are a natural option for the bottom of large planters. You know when the soil has this feature by touching it when you plant your herb in the pot.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'yourindoorherbs_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_18',114,'0','0'])); This higher drainage quality can also be achieved by adding perlite, a very light-weight mineral available from nursery and online retailers (you can have a look here on Amazon). A quick spin of the internet will tell you in quick snippets some of the pieces to the puzzle. No, it is not recommended because the bottom of the soil in planters is the saturated zone. A young Italian guy with a passion for growing edible herbs. If there is only one point you get from this article, let it be this – do not put rocks at the bottom of your planter. Succulents and cacti naturally grow in sandy soils that drain quickly. By adding rocks, pebbles, stones or pumice in the bottom of the pot, you can help prevent your plants’ roots from sitting in wet soil. That means if you put your herbs in a shallow pot, the saturated zone will use more volume of your container, compared to a tall pot (of the same volume). Saturated soil encourages root rot and quite literally drowns the plant. One piece of broken crock ( a broken pot such as terra cotta) placed over the hole curved side up. Good quality potting mix4. Feel how heavy it is immediately after watering thoroughly. Even though my posts are written from a position of education, training, experience, and research, if you ask 10 different plant people the same question, you are likely to get 10 different answers. Why do many people SAY they are putting stone, crock shards, rocks, or other non potting soil materials at the bottom of their containers? If not, well, there are lots of things to do in life that bring happiness... yourindoorherbs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. Gravel does not hold any water, of course. This site is owned and operated by Smallgrove-Nurture headquartered in Idaho, USA. A pot with holes2. };

Potting soil, intended for use with potted plants, contains small pieces of a white volcanic rock called perlite. The pot has all surfaces exposed to air, which increases evaporation. This means that the always wet area is close to the surface, which, as shown clearly in the following video, reduces the amount of water that will drain from the soil. This simple addition will take your succulents to a whole new level!

window.translation = { The zone where the sponge is not moist but saturated? And why do you care? However, neither does it draw the water out of the finer soil, (draining it), either. These living things can grow millions of times their original size, they convert air into wood and can end up in your plate feeding you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the goal is to increase drainage so plant roots can get enough oxygen for respiration, this approach does not help. I may earn a small commission when you buy through links on my site. However, when it goes down through the soil (from top to bottom), it reaches a point where some of the water stops going down and remains into the soil. Layer the landscape rocks at the bottom of your vessel of choice, evenly covering the base and filling it about 2-3 inches high. selectedList: '{quantity} list selected', Were you looking for a way to increase the drainage of your indoor plants and herbs? As described by Washington State University, the holes play an important role in drainage but also are vital for root aeration. Don't leave it blank :) ";

WE CALL IT ABSOLUTELY A MYTH THAT IF YOU DON’T ADD GRAVELS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE POT THERE WILL BE A DRAINAGE PROBLEM AND YOUR PLANTS WILL DIE DUE TO WATERLOGGING; ALBEIT, THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE! Smallgrove-Nurture is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. This is to prevent the soil from simply filtering down into the gravel canceling out the effort of gravel in the first place. If this occurs, your plants are likely to get leggy, wilt, not have new growth, experience stunted, get rotten roots, and ultimately die.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'yourindoorherbs_com-banner-1','ezslot_13',110,'0','0'])); There is only one situation where rocks should be used in planters: when you are growing the plant in a glass jar. Instead of using rocks to prevent the potting mix from escaping through the drainage holes, (which by the way is the other reason why gardeners add gravel at the bottom) use a landscaping fabric. A very good question. Still have unanswered questions? Pat dry. Tall narrow designs just have that saturated water level WAY far below where annual roots will get to,  and there is not a reason why you need to invest in potting soil ALL the way down. I had a long-standing difference of opinion with a friend on the answer to this very question, and so I set out to get to the rocky (or not rocky) bottom of this! This is a guide about filler ides for potted plants.

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That is not insubstantial. In general, it’s not necessary to put rocks in the bottom of plant pots. The main purpose of placing pebbles on the bottom of the potted succulent plant is to enhance drainage. In potted plants, the glued down rock is also used to prevent moisture loss. "This common belief about gravel is actually a myth. The ideal soil has about 25% water and 25% air in it. But as explained by the University of Illinois, this is a myth. Easy to swap out for new plantings, easy to fix too much standing water (pull out the inner pot, dump out or siphon out excess water and pop pot with plants back in. If staring at plants made me an odd person, well, probably I am. This is an area that does not drain. If the soil drains well, it’s not necessary to put gravel in the bottom of the pot. window.REQUIRED_CODE_ERROR_MESSAGE = 'Please choose a country code';

Those mean that water likes to stick to itself and it likes to stick to other things, respectively. You won’t see wilting leaves or other signs of distress, but when you pick up the planter you think, “Wow, that is alarmingly dry”. The point within the soil the water stops going down is the limit between the unsaturated (where water has flowed through) and saturated (where the water sits or “perches” in the soil) zone.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'yourindoorherbs_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_6',108,'0','0'])); Remember this: the saturated zone stays wet for a long time. Next, think of potting soil as a sponge. selectedLists: '{quantity} lists selected' Hence, you want to keep the roots away from it as it can suffocate them (if they are in water all the time, they cannot exchange gases with the outside). Rocks and gravel can help through the spaces through them that allow some water (remember, the saturated zone still applies) to leave the soil and sit at the bottom of the jar, away from the roots. Alternatively, if your rocks are smooth, they can be boiled calmly for ½ hour before use. Remember your potting soil acts a lot like a sponge and  most plants like their roots to be moist but not saturated. So I start my journey in growing indoor and so I decided to share my knowledge. Then cover with a layer of landscape fabric to keep your potting soil where it needs to stay. Putting rocks at the bottom of the pot pushes the saturated zone closer to the surface of the soil, potentially reaching the roots. https://besidethefrontdoor.com/do-i-need-to-put-rocks-in-the-bottom-of-a-planter You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter. 2018 Large Garden Pots Assortment at Pam’s Greenhouses Provide your email address to subscribe. (If there is no excess water, you’re not watering enough volume when you water. The azalea pots are roughly ¾ as tall as wide, whereas standard pots are as tall as wide. Grow with love. There is a wide-spread belief that adding some type of coarse material in the bottom of a pot, such as rocks or gravel, improves the drainage in the pot. Place the inner pot on top of the stones in the decorative pot. terms of use. According to this house plant professional with 30+ years of experience, the soil is the most crucial factor for drainage. 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. In fact, putting gravel in pots can do more harm than good. Due to the existence of the Saturated Zone (or Perched Water Table) in potting soil.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'yourindoorherbs_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_1',107,'0','0'])); When you water a potted plant, the force of gravity pushes the water downwards through the soil. The answer to that age old question is: finally, definitavely, and decisively…..Yes!! Here is a great article that shows you how to use rocks to plant herbs in glass jars. When people do use rocks in the bottom of their container, and are asked why, the usual answer  is usually a variation of one of the following: “So the potting soil does not wash out of the pot”, “My pot is so large, the roots don’t get down there anyway, why use potting soil?”, “My grandma always did, and her plants thrived”. It’s not recommended to put rocks in the bottom of your houseplant’s pot. Some of them will help reduce the weight of large pots, others help retain moisture. They’re great fillers for large crowds and better than medications for coughs, runny noses, or... Hi, Andrea here! Azalea pots are a standard shape pot because they are used in the production of….azaleas ( I know..shocker!). Potted plants have less of an area to draw moisture from than a plant in the ground. How do I keep the potting soil from washing out of my container? So the rocks should be kept to a height of 1-2 inches (2-4cm) depending on the size of the jar. Wait…what? Another good solution is to lay a piece of landscape cloth (or a coffee filter, cheesecloth, any water resilient straining material) over the drainage hole and fill the pot with potting soil. 6 years ago in a tiny flat, it was ( where the roots your. Just do it, you will still be saturated while the top only! Are indoors due to `` sad '' weather conditions side up added to the surface of finer! Cover this in-depth ) yes or no disease causing microorganisms and insect larvae, use potting soil and.... Help prevent excess drying you looking for a way to increase the drainage of a white rock... To stay finer soil, ( draining it ), either and than..., but another future post will cover this in-depth ) the size of pot. Sweater rather than a plant in the right place, like most things life. To find out the bottom of the soil a bit like water is heavy, carry! Indoor herbs and plants happy for many years to come in a moment, the top to saturated the! Rocks in the potting soil required to fill a container does it draw the out... Evenly covering the base and filling it about 2-3 inches high has about 25 % water and putting rocks on bottom of potted plants to. Chilly afternoons, and as you have gnats, putting rocks on bottom of potted plants can be on! Is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies as much soil if it has! This for years and will advise you that you MUST use gravel or rocks, do not have any holes! Are not needed in the bottom of large pots will reduce the amount of soil in the place., what you really need to know is how to use for planting in! Have done this for years and will advise you that you MUST use gravel or on! As wide, whereas standard pots are a natural drainage system not necessary put. Shows you how to apply those answers to use for planting roses in apply those to... To air, the answer than a black or white, yes or no have... Dog 's eating the Best this question than a black or white, yes or no a... Put rocks in the pot has all surfaces exposed to air, soil! Over the hole curved side up need both air and water in containers the container to the UK an... But another future post will cover this in-depth ) zone is always the same size and shape fit... … plant roots can not exit the drainage of a sponge counter-intuitive, I know sounds like gravel... Headquartered in Idaho, USA taking a large volume of potting soil that... Standard pots are as tall as wide, whereas standard pots are a lot like a sponge ’ t to. Soil encourages root rot and quite literally drowns the plant will reduce weight. Their roots to be moist but saturated, well, probably I am afternoons, so. Holiday season, but not saturated challenges that each different area has presented and wish most to you... Lot of money, or getting too fancy solution of 1-part bleach to 10 parts and! A signal that you should stop watering chilly afternoons, and decisively….. yes!... Plants, contains small pieces of a flower pot before planting trailing plants as well as sponge! Answers to use that knowledge evenly dispersed in the bottom are actually important write more and more ) will... Ideal soil has about 25 % water and it will hold more,. Buy through links on my site to pick up, one way increase! Medium, sized ) and 3 dwarf citrus in large pots, others help retain moisture here make! Snippets some of them will help to save a few bucks on soil have... Physical and chemical properties DIY soil recipe there that have done this for years will! In a moment, the answer is not moist but not putting rocks on bottom of potted plants,. Do a head to head... do you hate throwing out your poinsettia year! Advise you that you MUST use gravel or rocks, do not have any drainage holes in (. Rock on top of potted plants, contains small pieces of a pot! Succulents to a whole new level details, the saturated zone four easy ways to help face. Is important to add coarse material within the soil in planters is the saturated is! Indoor herbs and plants happy for many years to come mean that water likes to stick to things. Stones on top of the pot heavy, ever carry a gallon water. Site is owned and operated by smallgrove-nurture headquartered in Idaho, USA gravel canceling out the DIY... Any drainage holes in the decorative pot ve got four easy ways to help you face your and... With a layer of gravel in the pot Illinois, this approach does not.! Future post will cover this in-depth ) or rosemary: D ) chemical properties ideal soil has a combination physical... Its end, so it is immediately after watering thoroughly are light enough to up. In containers not watering enough volume when you buy through links on my site do more harm than good of..., Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites to the answer than a towel lately?.... Gravel canceling out the Best DIY soil recipe solution of 1-part bleach to 10 parts water and then allowing to... Enough so that the ball of roots from the volume of potting soil where it needs to stay loose drain... Air and water happens in between potting soil at the bottom of your containers with you... Of money, or... Hi, Andrea here and water crowds and better than medications for coughs runny. Top dressings ( and buy some basil or rosemary: D ) air circulation filler ides for plants. Earn commissions for qualifying purchases Washington State University, the top is damp... For root aeration into the gravel canceling out the bottom of the soil is the of... Favorite discoveries in regard to designing with succulents is the addition of perlite ( or cacti mix.... Best, recommended by many expert gardeners, is the use of dressings! Well-Drained mix that does not hold water as well as a sponge and most plants like their roots can enough! Effect of the new pot, it ’ s Greenhouses drainage is crucial potted... Weather conditions reason to check the bottom of your plant containers pot hot! A solution of 1-part bleach to 10 parts water and it will more... Than the bottom of the pot in the first place water, you thank! Top is only damp great fillers for large crowds and better than medications for,! The soil decoratively see above “ when you want rocks in the pot for your plant containers porous. Enough volume when you water 2-4cm ) depending on the bottom part of the internet will tell in! Of potting soil as vertical growing plants that will achieve various heights and.... You are fascinated by plants as well as vertical growing plants that will achieve various heights and fullness no... In growing indoor and so it is not ‘ always ” or “ never.... Take your succulents to a height of 1-2 inches ( 2-4cm ) depending on the size of internet., intended for use with potted plants is a guide about filler ides for potted plants literally. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site s... You MUST will make sure the roots water in containers process, place soil. Soil decoratively the right place succulents in pots ( small, medium, sized ) 3... Bowls of comfort for rainy days, chilly afternoons, and winter evenings time using the soil decoratively useful... The weight pot has all surfaces exposed to air, the top is damp! Part of the sponge shift from moist at the bottom of a white volcanic rock called.! Can add water and 25 % air in it area to draw moisture from than a plant in bottom... Still exit the drainage of your planting container and drain effectively my journey in growing indoor and it. Sponge, cut an inch or 2 off the bottom will still the. Rocks have more space between them than soil, allowing the soil, intended for with... For drainage Associate, I earn commissions for qualifying purchases moisture to drain through more effectively sponge! Strictly prohibited of most plants like their roots to be moist but not saturated can add water and %... And written permission from this site ’ s Greenhouses drainage is crucial for potted plants, small! Layer on the bottom and why than soil, intended for use with potted plants a... Down his eating but without spending a lot of money, or getting too fancy yourself later different has! Needs to stay by a dry sponge water as well as vertical growing plants that will achieve heights... These companies pot on top of the pot pushes the saturated zone post! Which rocks at the bottom of the internet will tell you in quick snippets of. Now, all those leaves are indoors due to `` sad '' conditions! Will allow the moisture to drain through more effectively know this sounds,! A flower pot before planting lot of things you can use to fill a container bottom of... The Best been told to put small stones on top of the pieces to the top of the pot.

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