Clay pebbles, more than just ornamental

Clay pebble uses for pots, drainage and ornaments

Clay pebbles form a substrate that can be used in organic farming.

This has the advantage of extreme stability and durability.
Thanks to its 100% mineral content, this product is useful for drainage, repotting and also decoration!

Uses of clay pebbles

Clay pebbles can be used in many manners, both ornamental and to enhance the living conditions of your potted plants.

  • Drainage – All you need to do is pour a layer about an inch or two thick (3 to 4 centimeters) at the bottom of the container (pot, garden box, other) and this will increase air circulation, protect the roots and thus favor plant growth.
  • Repotting – To spur the growth of roots, it can be a good idea to mix clay pebbles into your special repotting soil mix to about 10% of the total volume.
  • Decoration – For all your indoor plants, but also for outdoor garden boxes and pots, clay pebble is extremely ornamental. A surface layer about 1¼ to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) thick mulch will highlight the color of the plants.

Humidity for houseplants

On top of being truly beautiful to look at, clay pebbles excel at keep the air around the plant moist. Many houseplants come from the tropics, where air humidity is naturally high.

Clay pebbles can raise moisture levels from 40-50% relative humidity to a more comfortable 80 % moisture, see how here. Wet the clay beads with rainwater to keep the pores from stopping up due to excess minerals in tapwater.

This will protect many houseplants from getting brown leaf tips!

Moisture retention for dry soil in hot weather

Adding clay pebbles to soil increases both drainage and water retentionWater retention is important for plants to survive when the weather is hot. Adding clay pebbles in the soil is a great way to regulate soil moisture. Water seeps into the pebble and accumulates there. When the soil is dry, water is released to nearby plant roots.

Together with hydrogel crystals, clay pebbles are a boon to help plants survive drought, or help young trees start off in their first few years!

Just as for repotting, mix in about 10% volume to the soil mix used for planting your tree.

Fertilizer boost

Clay pebbles, per se, don’t really fertilize plants. But if you dunk them in a solution of home-made weed tea, they’ll pack a punch for weeks afterwards!

  • Prepare your weed tea (nettle, horsetail, and more)
  • Dip your dry clay pebbles in the solution directly, no need to dilute it. Let them soak for half an hour at least.

Once ready, spread them as mulch or add them to your pots and growing beds. Note that since the fertilizer mix smells somewhat, best bury it into the potting soil for indoor container plants.

Smart tip about clay pebbles

If you use this substrate for mulch, you’ll be avoiding water loss through evaporation and weed growth.

This will help reduce time spent in watering, and also avoid use of weed-killing chemicals and you’ll be doing your part for sustainable development.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Clay pebbles to cover pots by Florentaise
Add pebbles to soil by Jose Cabeza under Pixabay license