How to Plant Succulents in Rocks for a Beautiful Rock Garden

A rock garden is a beautiful feature to add to your home. Just the sight of it provides serenity. Succulents can go very well in a rock garden and you have the opportunity to do your own landscaping to design your succulent rock garden. The following are things you may want to know.

how to plant succulents in rocks

Can You Plant Succulents in Just Rocks?

It would seem a rock garden, as the name suggests, should be made solely of rocks. However, if you are looking to plant succulents in your rock garden, you need more than just rocks. While the rocks are a great way to provide the succulents ample air and drainage, they will be missing crucial nutrients.

For this, the succulents need to be planted in soil as that is where the roots of the succulent will derive their nutritional wealth from. The right kind of soil for succulents will also hold just the required amount of moisture, whereas you may not be able to strike this balance with only rocks.

can you plant succulents in just rocks

Read also:
How to Plant Succulents in the Ground: Creative Succulent Garden Ideas

What Kind of Rocks Do You Use for Succulents?

You want to use rocks that can provide enough drainage and ventilation. Therefore, non-porous rocks are certainly not a good choice for succulents. So, you want to avoid items like gravel, river rocks, glass marbles, etc.

Since the succulent requires soil to thrive, you want to give the soil enough space to breathe. Use rocks only for decorative purposes, but know that they will not aid in the succulent’s growth.

For top decorations, you can use rocks that can also provide good drainage. These include porous rocks such as pumice, shale, lava rocks, etc. Any kind of rock that is light and breathable can be placed around the succulent or on the topsoil.

Best Succulents for Rock Gardens

The following are some of the best succulents for growing in a rock garden. They thrive well outdoors, are resilient and can also be propagated easily. Though some of these succulents may be slow growers, they are hardy and provide beautiful ground cover that will make any rock garden look vibrant.


jade plant in rock 1

The jade plant is a common variety in the Crassula genus and is a great fit for a rock garden. It typically has pink or white flowers during the blooming season and will make any rock garden look vibrant.

Ice plant

ice plant in rock 1

The ice plant provides a beautiful and lush ground cover, perfect for a rock garden. It has beautiful flowers that look like small daisies. The plant gets its name from the shimmery coating on the flowers and leaves which make it look like a layer of frost.


houseleek in rock 1

Houseleeks produce rosettes in a variety of colors, most fitting well into rocky terrains. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil but grow fine without them. The spiky leaves can come in a host of colors like green, red, or purple.

Read also:
12 Types of Succulents for Outdoors: Build an Awe-Inspiring Garden Today

How to Plant Succulents in Rocks

There are a few different ways of planting succulents in rocks, but the following is the most straightforward way of building a rock garden:

1. Clear the area

First things first, you need to clear the area completely. Remove all the weeds from the area so that water does not collect at the bottom.

2. Add soil

The next step is to add the right kind of soil or treat the existing soil so that it is well draining and provides enough air to the roots of the succulent.

3. Place the big rocks

You can bring in some big rocks which will form the framework of your garden’s design. They will be the big installation pieces that draw admiration, so be sure to pick interesting-looking rocks.

4. Add succulents

Once the big rocks are in place, identify the spots where you will be putting your succulents and then plant them.

5. Add small rocks

Once the succulents have had some time to breathe and the seedlings have germinated, you can start adding small rocks around the succulents to decorate the rest of the garden. Be sure to still leave ample space for the succulent to grow and for the soil around the succulent to breathe.

Caring for Your Succulent Rock Garden

caring for succulent rock garden 1

Caring for a succulent rock garden is no different than caring for your succulents otherwise. There are a few standards you must follow while caring for this garden. The following are certain things to be mindful about:

1. Pick the right rocks

If you want your succulents to thrive, you must pick the right rocks that can facilitate good drainage and will also allow air to the roots of the succulent.

Do not pick non-porous rocks, no matter how beautiful they look. They will leave your succulents starved for air and may even collect water, which is bad for any succulent.

2. Use the right soil

As mentioned above, it is important to plant the succulents in soil, instead of only using rocks. Again, using the right mix of soil is extremely important for a succulent. If the soil tends to hold too much water, that is not the right kind of soil for your succulent. Pick soil that is porous, allows air in and water out.

3. Water

Each type of succulent will require a different amount of water. However, in general, succulents do not need too much water. Over-watering the plant will eventually kill it, so you have to strike the right balance. Trust the succulent’s natural mechanism to keep itself hydrated for days.

Read also:
How Often to Water Succulents: The Definitive Guide

4. Sunlight

Since this is a rock garden, you will not have the option of picking up the succulent and keeping it indoors if you think the light is too intense. A succulent that requires only indirect light will not survive in a rock garden that is entirely outdoors and can also get hot, depending on the region. Pick a succulent that can withstand the outdoors.

Final Thoughts

The few pointers described above should be useful if you are looking to build a rock garden. This can be a therapeutic and creatively stimulating activity.

When you begin to see results in your rock garden, the rewards are satisfactory enough that you will only want this garden to grow and thrive.