What Are The Top Dressings For Succulents? & How To Use Them

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Succulents have become famous over the past few years for their ease of care and excellent appeal. Growing this succulent blog from 2019 is quite a journey for me, and I see people coming for this type of plant every day. Regarding the succulent pot outlook, it’s hard not to mention the top dressings. Top dressings are not just ornamental, but they can also help your succulents stay dry and healthy. Today, let’s make a list of succulent top dressings and some notes on using them to decorate your succulents.

A succulent top dressing is a layer of material applied to the soil’s surface in a potted plant. For succulents, top dressings add the benefits of helping to support the plant and keeping leaves off the soil, which can help prevent rot.

6 Common Top Dressings for Succulents

6 popular topdressing for succulents. Infographic from Succulent City

There isn’t 1 single top dressing specially for succulents. The below-mentioned top dressings are great for other potted plants, too. Here are the 6 top dressings that I found very common, especially for succulents:

  1. Decorative Stones and Pebbles: For me, these are the most commonly used top dressings for succulents. They are colorful and varied in diameter. You can flexibly apply them to any potted succulents, and they look great anyway.
  2. Pumice: As I wrote in another post about pumice for succulents, this material is an excellent top dressing for succulents. It looks neat and supports drainage very well.
  3. Sand: Sand is native to deserts. If succulents can talk, they will tell you that they love it. Sand can give your collection the oasis vibe that no other top dressings can. But it looks boring to me haha.
  4. (Sphagnum) Moss: Unlike sand, most succulents will not like this one if they can speak their minds. However, some succulents like Senecio rowleyanus, orchid cacti (Epiphyllum), or Rhipsalis cacti prefer a slightly more humid environment. But as a decorative, moss looks stunning. Furthermore, peat moss is widely known as a commonly-used organic matter in succulent soil mix.
  5. Gravel: Thought it was only for aquariums? No, you can also use it as a top dressing for succulents. Gravel also comes in various colors, making it an ideal substitution for pebbles or decorative stones.  
  6. Bark and Mulch: This is a moderate choice, where the look or the ability to help drain water/retain evaporation is average. They don’t look nice like pebbles or moss and drain as fast as gravel or pumice.

Some Notes On Using Succulent Top Dressings

Select a top dressing material that fits your needs. If you go for the outlook, choose pebbles or gravels. If you want some oasis vibe, go for sand. Or would you like a neat, well-draining material? Pumice is just right. 

Now, we walk into the applying step. Before application:

  1. Ensure that your succulent is potted in well-draining soil.
  2. Gently spread a 1/2-inch layer of the chosen material over the soil’s surface without covering the plant’s base.
  3. If you use moss, keep an eye on your watering routine, as it will retain more moisture than others. 

Lastly, periodically inspect the top dressing for any mixing with soil or signs of deterioration, and replace or reapply it as necessary to maintain the plant’s health and appearance.

Closing Up

I have introduced 6 top dressings for succulents in this post. Is there a top dressing that I miss? Let me know in the comment section below! Here are a few related reads for you to enjoy your stay at SucculentCity:

Succulent City chief editor


Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City

Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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