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How To Use Gravel for Mulching Small Plants

By parttimegardener
October 25, 2015

When I was getting tired of poking gravel with tweezers or toothpicks out of the rosettes of my sempervivums and jovibarbas after having applied fine gravel as a ground cover, I came up with a new method and applied plants to gravel rather than gravel to plants.

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 24, 2015 6:14 PM CST
Great article Michael, and very easy to accomplish using your directions. I can see that this would work very well indeed.
Love the symmetrical pattern of your plants. Lovey dubby
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Oct 24, 2015 8:55 PM CST
This is similar to how I do my semps in "window box" (deep, rectangular) planters. A friend has a big pile of excess gravel from a project and I just go over and get some when I need it. I planted three varieties per box and when I watered during the summer I used my watering wand and water turned to full blast. It ran through pretty quick.
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Clematis Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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canadanna
Oct 25, 2015 7:05 AM CST
I also like the idea of using a planter plate. Hurray!
Name: Magga
Reykjavik, Iceland (Zone 4a)
Foliage Fan Roses Region: Europe Peonies Lilies Dog Lover
Ferns Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Seed Starter Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Sempervivums
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magga
Oct 26, 2015 6:07 PM CST
Thanks for this very useful article. I grow semperviums in an upside down old wide metal lampshade that I had in my kitchen some years ago. I haven't put any gravel between the plants but I'm sure it gives much better draining. I have very fine light pumice that i mix with potting soil. It drains very well. I think that might very well be used instead of fine gravel, so I thing I shoult try it. Thanks Thumbs up
Magga
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 26, 2015 7:04 PM CST
Hi magga. Your pumice should do very well for you as a replacement for gravel.
I would love to see a photo of your semps and how you pot them up. It sounds lovely.

mzmw
Oct 31, 2015 7:49 AM CST
Hi, I have a deep sloped base of Pea gravel,my big rocks are sort of half buried in it,(many times moved and reset I might add to suit me,lucky to have old barn foundation to pick from) and stepping stones through( leading to other perennial gardens,) all Semps etc, in containers of different sizes and materials, placed on different angles in pea gravel.When planting I use chicken grit on the containers, as is very fine and white I do not mind if it shows a little. I call it my' Pot Pea Gravel Garden' Only started this year,so a lot of changing around yet..and will see how things have settled after our cold snowy winter.Not all plants I have are hardy so some are now inside.As I had to use internet to follow how to..I chose a mixture of equal parts Peat,coarse sand and Perlite for my containers. The Peat is Sphagnum moss,so not as acidic.I have some Alpines also in this garden, as I say.. time will tell.I am not new to gardening in general..but is a first for these amazing types. Have found a lot of info via All Things Plants..seems like a great group of people. Thank You!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 31, 2015 2:20 PM CST
Hi mzmw, great to meet you. I find this an amazing place to meet new gardening friends. It really is full of great people.

Would love to see some photos of what you are doing, it sounds wonderful.

mzmw
Oct 31, 2015 4:20 PM CST
I will have pictures next spring and summer I hope! So far we are having a great Autumn,some high wind but temps staying above freezing, hope it will not be a sudden hard freeze,find plants do not appreciate that,they prefer to go off to sleep gradually, do not need quite as much snow cover as we had last year,but that did prevent thaw and freeze affecting plants. I have so much to learn about these different plants.Reading all I can. Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 31, 2015 4:22 PM CST
I look forward to seeing all your pea gravel mulched plants. They should do great for you.

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