Benefits Of Putting Rocks On Top Of Potted Plants: The Actual Facts

Putting Rocks On Top Of Potted Plants

Gardening is always a fun activity for many of us. But it is a fact that not everyone has a lavish garden. So we use the pots to plant our favorite flowers, vegetables, and many more plants. It helps to fulfill our desire for gardening. But unfortunately, there are some myths related to gardening or potted plants.

Many of us believe these myths and think that they benefit our potted plants, like putting rocks on the top of plants. However, if you did this to your plants, you also need to know the facts.

So let’s dig into it.

Why putting rocks on the top of potted plants?

Everyone has different believes on the myth that putting rocks on the top of the potted plants is beneficial. One of the most common reasons is to hold the soil around the plant foliage. So when there is the perfect connection of vegetations and pot soil mixture, there will be tremendous growth.

But it’s not true at all. Let’s think for a while according to reality. When there is the soil in the molded pot, and you place the plant roots in it, then there is equal soil availability for all the time. It doesn’t need to have any heavy material like rocks over it.

The second reason may not be a myth. The rocks on the top of the potted plant will hold the moisture in the soil for a longer time. So there is the availability of water to the roots. It helps the plant to grow faster and become healthier.

Some potted plants are too heavy, so they fall off when they get some height or expand. So if you put rocks on the side of the potted plant, it will not fall off. But don’t place the stones on the top of the pot immediately after placing the roots in potted plant soil. If you think that your plant grows enough and it will fall off, you can place a layer of rocks on the top of the potted plant.

In some cases, peoples put the rocks on the top of the plant for decoration purposes. However, it is a different thing.

Pros of putting stones on the top of potted plants

There are benefits of placing rocks on the top of potted plants. These pros are helpful in some plants. Let’s look at these pros:

Low maintenance

Rocks didn’t require the maintenance as it doesn’t need to replace even after years. So you can put the stones on the top if they are grown and become heavy.


Rocks are nonflammable since its the better options if you are living in wildfire areas. It helps to protect the plant from hot weather.

Lower cost

Rocks are less expensive than other organic covers of the soil. So it is also cost-effective to use in some cases.

Wind resistant

Potted plants in winded areas are more prone to erosion, so the heavy rocks help prevent soil erosion.

Protect from weeds

Rocks don’t support weed production. It helps to eliminate the weed for longer times.       

Cons of placing rocks on the top of potted plants

There are many cons of putting stones on the top of the potted plants. If it has few benefits, then it causes more disadvantages to the potted plants. So it is advisable not to put the rocks on the top of potted plants.

Let’s look at the cons of rocks over the top of potted plants.


Rocks or gravels on the top of potted plants cover the entire soil. You cant see the level of water under the rocks. So you don’t have the idea that how much water is left there.

Suppose there is the water build-up, then the soil converts into a soggy mess. It triggers the plant to rot more fastly even in few days.

Poor growth

Plants require specific nutrients, water, and air from the soil for their growth. There is capillary action that acts like a straw. Suppose you close the straw from one side, then how it works. So putting rocks on the top of potted plants act as the blockage of soil capillaries that stop their specific nutrients transfusions.


You can notice that if you place something in a closed container for a longer time, it develop a moldy mess. Similarly, by putting rocks on the top of a potted plant, you convert into a sealed container, and it will have mold growth. 

Does it really help the plants to grow?

The short and clear answer is NO; it doesn’t help the plant to grow fast. It is a myth that turns your plant into rotted material.

It is a fact that plant rots take specific material or nutrients from the air and soil. If there is a heavy blockage between the ground and air, then how it starts the growth.

It also increases the presence of water in the soil that makes it a spongy mess. Sponge takes the water for a longer time until you hold it and drain water. When soil is free from any covering, then the natural mechanism begins, and plants take their water, nutrient, and air requirement from the soil.

So you end up having a crowded plant that sits too long in the wet soil. It is clear that rocks on the top of the pot are a waste and even destroy your precious plant.

What to use instead of rocks for potted plants?   

It is always good to look for a better solution. If your potted plant requires the covering, you have other options instead of putting the rocks.

Let’s look at the material you can use to cover the soil in a potted plant.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulch is an organic material that decomposes slowly and adds fertility to the pot. It is a processed wood, manure, compost, seaweed, and a few other organic things. These things are the derivatives of mineral and organic materials.

It helps to maintain the nutrient requirements of the soil and keep the plant growing healthy and strong. Moreover, you don’t need to replace the organic mulch more frequently. But it is better to replace it once a year because it breaks over time.

Non-Organic Mulch

Non-organic mulch is something different from organic mulch. It includes decorative sand, glass beads, and horticultural gravels. It is available in the packaging market—the one pack helps cover the few potted plants. Unlike organic mulch, it doesn’t require replacement over few years.

Non-organic mulch is just the soil covering that reduces the soil’s water loss and keeps it available for plant usage.

However, it is advisable to choose lightweight mulch as heavyweight mulch can cause harm to the potted plant. Avoid taking the mulch from unknown sources as it may be harmful. 

How to Use Gravel with Potted Plants?

If you still want to put the rocks for a potted plant, then use it in a way that provides benefit.

Place a layer of rocks outside the potted plant like make a layer in the drainage layer or inside the decorative planter. Put the pot over the stones or gravels. They provide benefits by holding the water, increasing the humidity, and keeping the plant roots up to the required moisture level.


What can I put on top of potted plants?

You can put countless things on top of potted plants like horticultural gravel, decorative sand, shredded bark, and many more. These things didn’t require and maintenance and replacement for years.

Do rocks affect plant growth?

Rocks are not biologically active ingredients, so they didn’t provide any aid to plant growth. But rock can create a microclimate that may hinder or help the plant development. 

What should I add to my soil before planting?

Add organic matter in soil in the form of compost before planting. It can be any organic thing like mulch, fertilizer, friable soil, and anything. These organic materials help the plant to grow in perfect soil.

Are rocks bad for plants?

Rocks are nasty for the plants. It does not help the plant to grow even it converts the soil in alkalinity, but most plants require acidic soil for growth. Rocks also prohibit pruning and create shrubs.

Final thoughts

By summing up the above discussion, it is clear that putting rocks on the top of the potted plants is not a great idea. It is just a myth that stones help the plant grow fast and protect it from harmful effects. However, there are many other things that you can use to place over the soil to provide a cover.