What is topdressing and do I need it?

Topdressing is a layer of stones, rocks, coloured glass, crystals etc that you put on top of your soil around your plant. Topdressing is by no means essential and there are some people who feel that it keeps too much moisture in their soil so they prefer not to use it, others say they find it harder to know when to water when they use top dressing as they can't see the soil. It really is up to you whether or not you want to use it, if you try it out and don't like it you can always scoop it off again, no harm done.

Echeveria romeo with black topdressing
Black topdressing on echeveria romeo makes the red pop
The reason I use topdressing is mainly because it looks nice! A nice topdressing that complements your plant can really help to bring out your succulents colour and make what could be a plain plant into a feature.

Some other reasons for using top dressing are:

  •  On some low lying plants it can stop the lower leaves from lying on top of wet soil by providing a barrier between leaf and soil. This can help prevent lower leaves from rotting and can also prevent some fungal infections. 
  • The weight of top dressing can also help to steady some top heavy plants and prevent then from tipping or pulling out of the soil.
  •  If squirrels digging at your plants are an issue for you top dressing can help deter them. 
  • If you live somewhere hot it can prevent your soil from drying out too quickly. Soil without top dressing can have a tendency to dry out too much and go hard, you'll find when you go to water your plant that the water pools on top of the soil instead of soaking through evenly, this can encourage rot. Top dressing prevents this from happening.
  • When it rains or when you water your plants the topdressing can help keep your soil in place and stop in washing away
You can use anything you like to top dress your succulents, it doesn't have to be expensive either. My kids and I spend a lot of time at the beach, we like to collect shells, stones and sea glass, all of these can be used to dress your plants.
Seashells and echeveria succulent topdressing
Tiny seashells used as topdressing

You can use aquarium gravel which is sold in every colour of the rainbow and is usually quite cheap. A favourite of mine is using pieces of mirrored glass, we got these from IKEA, I think they were supposed to be used as candle gravel. It gives a lovely mermaidy beach look and works well with the subtle colours of this blue and pink echeveria.

IKEA succulent mermaid succulent
IKEA candle glass

I hope you have found this helpful and that it has answered some of your topdressing questions. I'd love to know what your favourite topdressing is? You can leave me a comment down below or you can find me on various social media, links are in the sidebar.

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