How to Plant Succulents in Rocks: Indoor and Outdoor Succulent Displays

Succulents’ versatility can’t only be seen in the varieties they present, but also in their ability to thrive in different environments. In fact, people have planted them in rocky gardens and these plants look great in that setup. So, you’re maybe curious about how to plant succulents in rocks.

Succulents can’t live long in rocks alone. If you plan to keep them long-term, you’ll need to add some soil mix in their container to support their roots. Thankfully, we can create an illusion that they’re in rocks by sandwiching the soil mix with sandstones, cobbles, or other porous stones.

In this article, we’ll be tackling how to plant succulents in rocks for indoor and outdoor displays. You’ll also know whether this option is worth taking and what conditions will make your succulents happy in rocks, so keep reading!

How to Plant Succulents in Rocks for an Indoor Display?

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Succulents can thrive well in rocks indoors. You can plant them in pots or glass containers and place them by the windowsill where they can get bright light.

To have a succulent rock indoor display, follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather the Basic Materials

For a smooth planting process, prepare everything you need beforehand.


Choose porous rocks like lava rocks, shale, pumice, and coarse sandstone since they can provide good drainage and airflow.

As much as possible, avoid non-porous rocks like glass marbles, river rocks, and gravel.


Pick succulents that can thrive well in rocks such as serum, echeveria, aeonium, and more.

Well-draining Potting Mix

Succulents can’t live in rocks for long as they can’t get any nutrients from those materials.

Hence, it’s vital to choose a well-draining soil mix to ensure that your plants will get the essentials they need to grow.


Choose pots that have holes at the bottom for good drainage.

You can use jars, bowls, terrariums, or any container of your choice.

Other Tools

Prepare gardening gloves and a small trowel for scooping rocks and soil.

Related: How to Plant Succulents in Glass Containers

Step 2: Add the Pebbles and the Soil Into the Pot

Once you have the materials ready, begin by adding the porous rocks to the bottom of your chosen pot.

If you’re using a glass container, you can build the rocks around the inside of the glass. This will create an illusion that you’ve completely planted the succulents in the rocks.

After working on the first layer, add a small amount of soil mix just enough to support the base of the succulents.

Step 3: Transfer the Succulents to the Pot

After layering the rocks and the soil, it’s time to transfer your succulents. Gently pull them from the original pot and remove as much soil as you can from the roots.

Then, arrange the succulents on the new medium according to the style you prefer. You can distribute small ones around the pot if you have a bigger space or stock them all together in the middle.

Just make sure to leave spaces so there’s room for your plant’s growth.

Step 4: Add a Little More Soil and Topdress with Rocks

Next, add a little more soil mix to lightly cover the roots.

Then, place rocks on top for a finishing look. You can choose colorful or decorative stones to enhance the look of your succulent rock display.

Step 5: Sprinkle Your Succulents With a Little Water

Sprinkle a small amount of water over your succulents and be careful not to soak them. Otherwise, your succulents will have a hard time surviving.

Take note that you’ll only need to water the soil whenever it feels dry.

How to Plant Succulents in Rocks for an Outdoor Display?

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Succulents aren’t just good for indoor settings. They, too, can add more definition to your outdoor garden.

With varying sizes, shapes, textures, and hues, they’ll surely be a sight to behold!

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

Since your outdoor space is big, you can incorporate great varieties of succulents and rocks.

You can bring in a mix of cobbles, pebbles, rubbers, plus boulders for a more stunning look. Any available rocks with crevices can be used, too.

For succulents, you can choose those with varying heights, colors, and textures. You can opt for serum and sempervivum as they’re easy to grow and can adapt well to the outdoor environment.

You’ll also need a soil mix with good drainage, gloves, a small shovel, water, and a watering can.

Step 2: Look for a Good Outdoor Spot

When looking for an outdoor space to plant your succulents, make sure to consider the type of succulents you’ll grow. If you’ve chosen those that prefer partial sun, you have to look for a spot in your garden or patio that provides shade.

Once you’ve located the right place, clear it completely by removing any weeds that might be present.

Step 3: Arrange the Boulders

Position the big rocks or boulders to form the framework of your outdoor garden. You can scatter them if you have a bigger space or round them up together.

Feel free to arrange them according to how you want your succulent rock garden to look. You have full control of the landscaping, so let your creativity surprise you!

Step 4: Add a Well-draining Soil Mix

To ensure good drainage, put the soil mix in areas you plan to plant the succulents. You can add them on the surface of the garden and in the crevices or small openings of the bigger rocks.

Conversely, you can nurture and treat the existing soil so it’ll promote good drainage and air circulation.

Step 5: Plant the Succulents

Now, it’s time to position the succulents in the areas you want them to be planted in.

Dig small holes enough to bury the roots of your plants, but make sure to keep the leaves above the topsoil.

You can also insert the roots in between the crevices of the bigger rocks for added aesthetics.

Step 6: Add Small Rocks for the Final Touch

Finally, decorate the top surface of the soil with pebbles, sandstones, or cobbles.

This will make your succulents look like they’re planted in rocks.

How to Keep Succulents Healthy in Rocks?


Succulents will thrive well in rocks if you provide them with their basic needs—nutrients, sunlight, water, plus a well-ventilated spot.

While rocks can provide good drainage and airflow, they don’t have the nutrients your succulent needs to survive.

Hence, it’s important that you add enough soil that can cover the roots of the succulents. After some time, you may need to pour new soil mix into the pot to supplement their needs.

Most succulents love bright sunlight, so placing them in a spot where they can get enough light will keep them happy.

It’s also crucial to water them whenever the topsoil feels dry. During prolonged heat waves, you’ll also need to cover them with shade cloth. This will prevent them from getting burnt and dehydrated.

Read more: How to Keep Succulents Small: 5 Pro Tips

Wrap-Up: How to Plant Succulents in Rocks?

Planting succulents in rocks is easy and will likely be a success once you have the right materials.

For indoor displays, just place porous rocks at the bottom of the container. Scoop a small amount of soil enough to cover the roots of the plant. Then, scatter pebbles, cobbles, or any rocks of your choice on top for a finishing look.

For a rocky succulent garden arrangement, collect big rocks and position them to create the framework of your garden. Add just enough soil mix, plant the succulents, and then finish the top layer with pebbles.

Voila! You’ve incorporated succulents and rocks together for a stunning look.