aquarium gravel for succulent

Can You Use Aquarium Gravel for Succulents?

Succulent even though are quite low maintenance plant, are quite picky about their soil components as they are sensitive to damp soil and only prefer soil that does not retain water for long.

Can you use aquarium gravel for succulents? Aquarium gravels help in better drainage and also promotes better aeration. This further helps in better root development and keeps the succulent healthy. These gravels also help in providing a decorative touch to your succulents and instantly enhances the ambiance of the room.

Can you use Aquarium Gravel for Plants?

Aquarium gravels particularly the colorful varieties can help in instantly brightening up the potted plants. Just sprinkle them on the topsoil around the stem base. Using them at the bottom of the pot will promote drainage.

No matter what kind of indoor plant you have, all potted plants prefer better drainage especially indoors. The chances of fungal infection or pest manifestation are higher inside as it takes to take for the wet soil to get dry.

So using gravels and pebbles is a great option for preventing those issues. Moreover adding them to the base of the pot helps in providing some weightage. In case you use plastic containers this will help them to be more stable and prevent them from falling sideways easily.

Is Aquarium Gravel Safe for Succulents?

Aquarium gravel is completely safe for growing succulents as long as you wash them properly and mix them well with the soil mix. Washing them is crucial as they can contain salts, soil particles, and marine components which are not only completely useless for the succulents but can be harmful. So make sure to wash them in water. For best practices, you can even consider adding a bit of liquid soap to the water and then rinse them.

Aquarium gravels fullfil the purpose of having gravels in the soil mix completely and promote better root development and drainage which further helps in keeping the plant healthy.

Benefits of Using Gravel for Growing Succulents

Superior Drainage

  • The most utmost need succulents have for growth is having a proper drainage system in place in the pot.

Succulents are extremely sensitive to overwatering as they are not accustomed to it in their natural habitat which is usually drought-prone. So they dislike damp soil conditions as it can cause root rot.

Having gravels in the soil mix helps in enhancing the drainage by many folds. The larger particles of the aquarium gavels help in draining the excess water faster off the pot.

Support for the Root system

The gravels help in adding on some weight to the soil mix and in facilitating better root development. They help in making the soil layers more stable and in anchoring the roots. This in turn helps in better plant development.

Promote Better Aeration

Air circulation is an important factor within the soil mixture of any succulents. Proper aeration in the soil helps in providing the right amount of oxygen to the roots.

Also, it helps in diminishing the chances of fungal growth. The soil also becomes dry faster when the air circulation is good.


Aquarium gravels are just the ideal components that can be used for decoration purposes. They are extremely colorful and help in elevating the look of the succulent pots to the next level.

Adding these materials around the stem base and forming a layer above the topsoil is like adding a cherry to the cake cause succulents to stand out on their own because of their stunning looks. On top of that, these eye-catchy gravels will make it more gorgeous.

Adding gravels over the topsoil also helps in protecting the plant crown from the excess deposition of moisture and saves it from root rot (source).

cactus in a pot can be placed in bathroom

Things to be Wary about while using Aquarium Gravels

Always Wash The Gravels

Even good branded aquarium gravels are found to be filled with dust and as they are collected oftentimes from beachside areas, they contain many unwanted salt particles and other typical marine components which has no use in plant soil. So make sure to wash them if possible multiple times before adding them into the potting soil.

Use Natural Aquarium Gravels

Instead of using synthetic aquarium gravels always go for natural ones. Even though those are filled with dirt and dust they are not artificially dyed. The colored gravels are not always healthy for the succulents and these chemicals can accumulate over time in the potting soil and affect the root growth. So choose natural ones over synthetic colorful looking ones.

How to use Aquarium Gravel for Succulents?

  1. The first step is to make sure you thoroughly wash the gravels before using them. Just place them in water for a few hours and it will be done. Gravels contain a lot of dust, marine components, soil particles, and other materials completely unrequired for the succulent soil. So this is a great place to start.
  2. Now mix the aquarium gravel with pebbles and make a layer of an inch depth at the bottom of the pot. Having gravels at the bottom helps in enhancing drainage significantly. If you have holes at the bottom then you need to be wary about your pebble and gravel size to make sure they dont slip out with water through the holes.
  3. Lastly, place the soil mix over the rock layer. If possible you can also aim for providing an extra layer of charcoal over the gravel and pebble layer as it has anti fungicidal properties and also helps in absorbing water. After that, you can add the soil mix. Now pour the excess aquarium gravels at the soil top around the stem base for decoration purposes.


Can plants grow in gravel?

Gravels are undoubtedly one of the components in the soil mixture that can help in boosting the drainage system of the plant to a wide extent. Not only drought-tolerant plants but even many tropical plants prefer to have good drainage, especially when growing indoors.

  • Better drainage ensures better chances of survival of the plant and keeps pests and harmful microbes away.

However, providing a separate layer of gravels at the bottom of the pot further helps in improving the drainage. But it is important that sufficient amounts of soil are mixed to balance the nutrition quantity of the soil mix. Otherwise, even drought-tolerant plants that grow in fast-draining soil will find it hard to grow under these conditions as they derive their nutritional needs from the potting soil only.


Aquarium gravels are a good way to enhance the drainage and aeration of your succulent pots. Besides this, they also look stunningly good when placed on the topsoil layer. Succulents by themselves stand apart in any room owing to their special appearance and shapes. On top of that these gravels further increases their aesthetic value by many folds. However, always remember to use natural aquarium gravels instead of synthetic ones and wash them properly with water to get rid of the dust.

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