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Does putting slate on your pots help keep the soil moist?

As I walk around my garden I wondered does putting slate chippings on your pots help stop them dry out? Or offer any other benefit than making them look tidier.



  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,691

    Any sort of decent mulch will help to retain moisture and keep down weeds at the same time.

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    Yes I realise mulch does. But this is not suitable for my carnivorous plants as they, like teenagers, like to be so very hard done too and made to suffer at all opportunities.

    Perhaps I should, in order to keep the answers I received on point, have phrased the question;

    Does putting slate chippings around a plant in a pot have any negative effects?

    Could they in actual fact dry (think causing thermal evaporation) the plant out rather than lock moisture in as is the intention?

  • MynxMynx Posts: 101

    I'm glad you asked this Clarington as I was wondering the same thing - I have put white pebbles on my pots and am not sure if I should have done. Looking forward to the answer on this one image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009

    I use pea gravel, small pebbles, expanded clay pellets or chipped bark depending on what is in the pot and how big it is.   They certainly help lessen moisture evaporation and look a lot better than bare soil or compost and weeds that inevitably try to invade.

    Haven't tried slate because I haven't seen it on sale here but I suspect it would look good under plants like Japanese maples in pots.   Wouldn't put it with hostas as slugs could lurk so easily under it.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,384

    Yes.  A layer of slate IS a mulch.

    Evaporation is all about the surface area which is exposed to wind and sun.  Bare soil (millions of small particles) has a much greater surface area than a layer of slate/gravel/pebbles.

    Rock is generally impervious to water so water cannot move upwards through it as the surfaces dries.  This is not the case for bare soil and water will travel upwards from the soil below as it evaporates from the surface.

    Last edited: 17 July 2016 13:27:09

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I didn't realise that mulch was also things like slate. I always assumed it pine needles, manure, aged compost, wood chippings. Things that would eventually rot down eventually and should be reapplied each year.

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457

    I used chipped slate (smaller chips) on all my pots last year and it did ok keeping them moist.  No better or worse than other stuff like pea shingle I thought, but better than nothing at all.  

    Weeds still grew through it but not as as badly as they would have if it hadn't been there.

    It was also quite easy to trap in the sieve and reuse when it came to repotting so all in all I'd say it's a good mulch for pots - especially if it looks nice against the colour of the plant and fits with your "garden decor" (mine was blue).

    Glad you asked I still have some and just thought of a use for it - thanks for reminding me! image

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    I use slate, gravel and stones, as a mulch in pots.

    It certainly helps in a GH. All the pots in the GH with a layer, retain moisture far better than pots without...the mulch can be reused every year, slows down weeds and it looks good if you get the colour co-ordination right...image  

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