How To Plant Succulents In Rocks? {Is it Possible? Easy or Tough?}

You read it right, succulents can be planted in and on rocks. Rocks and succulents have been together for ages and succulents are adorable plants with their looks enhanced more when they are planted in rocks or have natural stones around them, especially in outdoor gardens. 

Are you wondering how to grow succulents in rocks? Is it even possible? Well, yes, since the succulents do not need much sooil r water to grow, it is much simple and easy to grow them in the rocks.

As I was contemplating  growing succulents in my backyard, an idea just crossed my mind to grow succulents in rocks. In this post, we will learn how to plant succulents in rocks as planting succulents in rocks will make a captivating art piece. So, Are you ready to rock?

How To Plant Succulents In Rocks?

It is easy to plant succulents in rocks as they store water in their leaves and can survive for longer time without any surface moisture, provided their roots are covered with some soil. 

Succulents can grow in rocks if the rocks allow effortless absorption of water and nutrients as the succulents need little water and nutrients from the surrounding environment.

The only concern with planting succulents in rocks is to provide them with everything they need over a longer time period.

How To Plant Succulents In Rocks

Can Succulents Grow in Rocks Without Soil?

The succulents cannot grow in rocks without soil for long. Rocks do not store water or help the cactus in absorbing moisture. You will need some soil for covering their roots. Planting the succulents in rocks without the soil can deprive it off the necessary ingredients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. 

Rocks do not produce the necessary ingredients hat the cactus requires. So, while you can grow the succulents in rocks, they will not be able to survive for a longer period. You will only be able to make the succulents appear to be growing in the rocks. To do this, you will add the soil at the broom of the pot and add up the rocks above to make up the look.

Succulents can grow in rocks without soil as succulents have been growing in the rocks in the wild from ancient times. The only thing you have to make sure of is to cover their roots with a little soil. So, it becomes much easier to grow them on rocks in your own garden.

Rocks offer better drainage and lots of sunshine making them a cosy abode for sun-loving succulents.

In contrast to the epiphytes like fungi, lichens, mosses and orchids etc. that can grow without soil by adhering to any object or plant, most succulents need at least a little soil to cover their roots. So, succulents can grow in rocks with at least a little soil.  

Although they require some soil or potting mix, not like most plants. In the wild, most succulents can thrive in harsh conditions that are unfavorable for other plants just because succulents have adapted themselves to survive in adverse conditions.

Hence, your succulents can grow in rocks provided they have a little soil to cover their roots. 

For a longer time period, succulents cannot be grown in just rocks. It is suggested to grow a succulent in a pot or a jar with potting mix to support the roots.

Here is a guide about all you need to plant succulents in rocks.

How about having a look at this video for a better understanding?

What Type of Rocks Should I Use For A Succulent Garden?

To plant your succulents in rocks, choose porous rocks with crevices big enough to grow your succulents.

As we talk about the types of rocks for the succulent garden, you cannot just pick up any rock. Stones of different shapes, sizes, and colors are available for adorning purposes. A few natural stones that can be paired with succulents are:

  • Boulders are rocks that can be 1 foot across or bigger. 
  • The crushed rock consists of angular pieces of stone grouped according to their size
  • Rubble has bigger pieces of crushed rock. 
  • Cobbles and pebbles are smooth, rounded stones. 

These are some natural stone products and rocks that can be used for your succulent garden.

    • Desert Gold crushed rock ⅜”
    • Red Lava crushed rock ¾”
    • Gambler’s Gold crushed rock 3/4″
    • Mexican Beach Pebbles
    • Baja Cresta Boulders
    • Gold Quartzite Boulders
    • Baja Cresta Rubble
  • Red Lava or Desert Gold, in 3/8″ or 3/4″ sizes can be used to surround the succulents to highlight specific plants.
  • Baja Cresta in brown and red shades and Gold Quartzite in golden shades are the big boulders that can be placed as centrepieces around the succulent garden.
  • Jagged rubble can be added throughout the garden to add a visual appeal to the garden. Baja Cresta rubble can also be used for this.

Some tips for landscape rock in succulent gardens

  • Select the rocks of light colour for a bright sunny area as the extra heat from dark rocks can burn sensitive succulent leaves. 
  • Gambler’s Gold crushed rock. Many succulents with pink edges will look best with the pink shades in Gambler’s Gold. 

The rosy tinge of Gambler’s Gold goes well with most succulents with the yellow and gold tones providing a contrast, thus creating a perfect combo of stone and succulents.

  • Another option around succulents for those of you who love a more modern look are Mexican Beach Pebbles that are round and uniform with various colour combinations from black to tan to red can also be an option to create a more modern and soothing effect throughout your succulent garden.
  • Even if your succulents are indoors, then too you can use rocks like Red Lava, Desert Gold or Gambler’s Gold. Place some rocks gently around your succulents or add some pebbles in the pots to see the difference.
  • River Rock and White Criva are also the rocks that can be used for your succulents.

Where can you buy the specific rocks that you want to grow the succulents in? 

You can easily buy them online from different sites that offer to deliver these rocks to your home at a very reasonable price. You can find on Amazon as well.

Considering the shape of rocks and the weather, you may have to replace the soil as it is lost after the storms or if you live in windy areas.

Most of the succulents are native to dry, desert places with rough weather and have adapted well to survive in harsh conditions by storing water in their roots, stems, and leaves.  

Type Of Soil Succulents Need

Succulents growing outdoors need cactus soil or mix potting soil with sand, pumice, or perlite. Succulents do not need a highly organic, nutrient-rich growing medium to survive.  

Remember, succulents cannot grow without organic matter and only a little will do the needful. 

Succulents can be grown in rocks & gravel, provided you add a small amount of soil to the rock. Succulents, especially small varieties, can be grown easily in rocks. 

You can keep your succulents happy and healthy in the rocks with the following tips:

Environmental Conditions 

Select the right succulent for your area and consider the environmental conditions for your rock succulents. The location for your succulent rock garden must receive adequate sunlight without too much rain.  

A warmer region is good for an outdoor succulent rock garden as different varieties of succulents flourish in warm or hot weather. There are many winter-hardy succulents available that can be grown in colder areas.

Grow Winter-Hardy succulents in cold climates

There are many succulents that thrive in cold climates and some become even more beautiful, the colder it gets.  

Sempervivum, also called Hen-and-Chick Plant, has beautiful grey-green rosettes that develop a gorgeous plum color with the drop in temperature.  

Natives to Southern Europe, these succulents can live in temperatures down to 50 degrees below zero.  Select a Sempervivum Hen-and-Chick Calcareum succulent for a cold-tolerant succulent as it can endure freezing temperatures, it loves full sun & doesn’t like deep shade.  

Prefer planting this adorable succulent outdoors in your rock garden rather than indoors. 

With dry conditions and proper drainage, succulent rock gardens can flourish even in rainy climates

As succulents are drought-tolerant,  choose a dry location with proper drainage that will help your succulents to survive even in rainy locations. In rainy areas, succulent rock gardens can thrive not only during the dry season with proper care, but they can even grow well during the rainy season.  

This is possible with the perfect drainage offered by the rock surfaces on which the succulent garden is planted.  So, keep checking occasionally that water drains easily through the rocks  without any blockage.

While living in a very wet region, relocate your succulent rock garden to a covered foray or terrace where it should flourish.

Best Succulents For Rock Gardens

Select your succulents considering the amount of sun exposure. 

Whenever you choose your succulent, keep in mind if it will thrive in full sun or partial sun depending on the amount of sunlight your area is getting. 

If you are planting your succulents on a rock in a shady area, select the succulents that can survive in low sunlight like Haworthia or Zebra Plant, Bear Paws, Woodland Stonecrop, etc.

Select Small Succulent Varieties

Selecting small succulents to grow in your rock garden as with the unlimited varieties, it will help you to be creative with the colors and shades you want for your succulent rock garden.  

Small, fussy varieties such as Echeveria Minima, Jade plant (Crassula Ovata), Haworthia or Zebra Plants and Flower Dust Plant are a few of such varieties.

Your rock size is important

Small to medium sized rocks are best and as succulents are slow growing plants, choose varieties that grow slowly or remain small even when mature for planting on smaller to medium sized rocks, obviously you can't  select Aloe or Agave for planting in smaller to medium sized rocks. 

Medium sized succulents can be planted in bigger rocks with bigger crevices and check the spread of your succulent’s root system to control the size of your plant.  

Choose Large Rocks With Large Crevices

Choose large rocks with large crevices, cracks or holes for better plant growth. Limestone, shale or sandstone will be a good choice to plant succulents.

Crevices should be fairly large to add a little soil, but not much deeper to retain water which is not good for your succulent. 

Planting succulents in rocks will aid drainage only if you choose rocks with crevices that hold your plant’s roots but are not big enough to engulf your small plant and retain water.

Amount Of Soil Needed

Only a very small amount of soil is needed and just take sufficient soil to fill the narrow crevices of the rock, only to bury the roots of your succulent and supply enough nutrients.  However, this small amount of soil can be lost every now and then due to weather and wind. You may need to replenish the soil regularly to cover the base of the roots.  

As we use a well- draining soil or potting mix while planting succulents in a pot, similarly mix in larger particles like pebbles, gravel or stones to ensure better drainage when planting a succulent in a rock. Planting succulents in rocks with narrow crevices, however, eradicate this trouble, just make sure to provide enough moisture.

Many sun-loving succulents are planted in rocks in your garden, should you water them?

Your succulents will receive sufficient water through rain and humidity.  However, in a dry place with low humidity or if your succulent is placed on a terrace, you can spray your succulents on rocks with a spray water bottle from time to time.

Will The Succulents Planted On Rocks Need Nutrients?

As succulents accumulate water, they also store the dissolved nutrients. Over-fertilization can make your little succulent grow too quickly, which you won’t like when growing on your rocks.  

If your succulents are getting enough moisture with sufficient soil, they can thrive without fertilizer.  If you want to give your succulents  more nutrients, use a non-fertilizer alternative such as compost-tea occasionally.  Compost tea provides nutrients and protects your succulents from soil pests.


Planting succulents in rocks can be fun and rewarding as it will give an aesthetic appeal to your garden.   You can add a variety of succulents and a little bit of soil to create a dramatic garden. Succulents are very resilient plants to blend with your favourite rocks in your garden.  

Succulents can be planted on rocks and rock crevices with different arrangements and you can easily craft an unique garden that stands apart.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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