10 Best River Rocks for your Succulent Garden

10 Best River Rocks for your Succulent Garden

Mar 28, 2023

Do you know how much water is consumed per day by the typical U.S. household to maintain their lawns and gardens? On average, it is 40 to 60 gallons a day!

Unfortunately, nearly half of it is wasted through evaporation, wind, and draining due to overwatering.

We are aware of how potable water is precious and scarce. What can we do to contribute to water-saving?

Experts might advise you to create a water-friendly landscape to conserve water-like precious resources for our next generations.

Now, let me tell you that it needs to checkpoints on water waste, and we can do it with two main components of the landscape: plants and land.

What Are Succulents?

Technically, xerophytic plants, we say succulents, can cut water consumption drastically.

Succulents are native to arid zones — Areas with acute water scarcity: dry deserts, cold mountainsides, and steamy jungles belong to arid zones. 

It means succulents can sustain normally in extremely dry, cold, or steamy areas if we take care of them properly. 

Succulents also need a minimum of water to grow and blossom; we conserve plenty of water we waste in irrigating the plants and other vegetation in our landscape.  

Which Succulents Are Best?

Several unique species of Agave, Aloe Vera, Crassula, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Sansevieria, Sedum, Sempervivum, and Yucca are commonly grown succulents in the States and Canada.

Checking Water Consumption by Land

Yes, the next thing we can do in saving water is to reduce water evaporation through the land. We do it by somehow covering the land. In the old days, we used to use organic and inorganic mulching.

Unfortunately, organic mulching like dry grasses or hay used to decompose rapidly while inorganic mulching or covering with stones or rock particles do the best if applied properly. 

If you ask me, I’ll prefer river rocks the most against the crushed rocks, land gravels, and rock/stone slits. Why?

Do You Know What Are River Rocks or Riverstone?

The origin of most rivers on the planet is mountain areas. Small streams gather at a point and turn into a large and massive pool of flowing water. 

Since rivers originate from rocky areas, they used to brink tiny to large pieces of rocks downstream. These rocks in a river travel many miles and pass through various terrains like waterfalls; shallow and deep waters; and finally, river delta where the river merges into the seawater.

sea-with-stones (1)

Depending on the weight, river rocks are deposited in shallow water areas, the bottom of waterfalls, and banks of the river. During this journey, rocks in the river smoothen and get rounded shapes like oval and flattened-oval.

  • It is the reason the majority of river rocks are pebbles with an average diameter of one to two inches. 
  • Smooth Gravels are smaller than pebbles and with irregular shapes but with smooth edges.
  • Cobbles (not cobblestone) are somewhat bigger than pebbles.
  • Boulders are larger than pebbles and even cobbles and are mostly found in irregular but rounded shapes. They can be one or more feet in diameter.
  • Big river rocks are large and heavy pieces of natural rocks cut into the river water. You can notice them in water streams located in mountains or the base of the mountain at the origin of the river.

The Geographical Nature of River Rocks

We know rivers origin from mountains and pass through various geographies. Mountains have different types of rocks based on their origin, sedimentation, and metamorphism takes place beneath the surface.

The eruption of mass of lava & ash gives birth to basalt, granite, and quartzite like igneous rocks. Sedimentation and subsequent metamorphism of core earth mass give birth to sedimentary and metamorphic rocks like limestone, sandstone, mudstone, shales, and slate stones.

Sometimes, petrified woods are found in rivers due to the replacement of organic mass of wood by minerals but retain the shape and size of grains of wood.

The continuous water flow in a river also erodes its banks and freeing different kinds of rocks that reside along the banks or beneath the water.

10 Best River Rocks for Your Succulent Garden

As a result of the processes depicted above, you can find any of the following types of rocks in rivers across the globe:

  • Basalt Pebble Stone
  • Feldspar River Rocks
  • Granite Pebble Stone
  • Mudstone Pebbles
  • Limestone River Rocks
  • Marble Riverstone
  • Quartzite Stone Pebbles 
  • Sandstone River Rocks
  • Slate Stone Pebbles
  • Travertine Riverstone

Basalt Pebbles:

pebble stones in the Walkway

Basalt is a volcanic rock with typical colors and textures. Mostly basalt river rocks or basal pebbles found downstream of rivers coming from volcanic areas. Similarly, they occur under the water and seashores with high basalt occurrence.

Shiny black basalt pebbles are becoming a point of attraction when used in a water feature, landscape designs, and ground covering. Mexican pebbles are an instance of it. 

Whenever you need contrasts with white or light-colored pebble stones, basalt pebbles are handy to apply. 

Feldspar River Rocks

Technically, feldspar is a background part of all siliceous rocks, but when alkaline and other minerals forming compounds with feldspar occur abundantly in rock metrics, it is called feldspar rocks and due to high mineral content, they are found in red to yellow and white tones.

Feldspar pebbles are homogeneous in appearance but often consist of regular veins and augment the beauty of shiny feldspar pebbles. 

Granite Pebbles

Granite pebbles or granite river rocks are popular among gardeners who use pebbles abundantly. Thanks to its typical appearance with gray to black flakes spread across white to pale white background, granite river rocks look gorgeous in planters and ground covering.

The durability of granites is unbeatable and their water-resistance capacity makes them the first choice as topping layer around succulents and other plants.

Mudstone Pebbles:


Mudstone means stone made from mud or clay. The origin of mudstone is water with an abundance of clay so you can find mudstone river rocks or pebbles and particularly boulders with large size in rivers and seashores.

Mudstone pebbles and boulders are black to gray with darker shades. They got natural polish due to water movements. Artificial streams fall, and water features look tempting when integrated with mudstone pebbles and boulders.

Mud rocks also consist of claystone and siltstone river rocks and provide you a variety of colors and textures when you combine them in your ground covering or surrounding spaces of vegetation in your gardens and yards.

Limestone River Rocks:

The name of limestone consists of its primary element – Lime means chalk or calcite. Limestone river rocks are mostly while to gray and tan in colors. 

Fossiliferous limestone pebbles seem porous and imprinted due to fossils whereas many common limestone pebbles have rains and some veins visible on the polished rounded surfaces.

Marble Riverstone:

Marbles are a kind of limestone but with different mineral constituents and varied in colors and textures. However, marble river rocks found in the water basin around the large deposits in rivers and sea.

Due to the natural tumbling or finishing process, marble river rocks or pebbles look shiny, smooth, and attractive in textures. Of course, the occurrence of marble pebbles is rare in nature but wherever they are found seems precious gems settled in the water.

Quartzite Stone Pebbles:

Quartzites are full of quartz or silica in their composition. Thus, they are among the hardest and sturdy siliceous rocks like granites. River or seawater accomplish their finishes during transits. Gray to tan and brown shades with typical pits and grains make quartzite pebbles attractive.

The occurrence of quartzite is rare in nature but river bank nearby queries give birth to quartzite pebbles. Similarly, in mountains where water streams form when containing quartzite rocks, you can find quartzite river rocks or pebbles in downstream areas.

Sandstone River Rocks:

beautiful-shot-stack-rocks (1)

Sandstone as its name suggests the presence of sands in it. Higher composites of silica form the siliceous rocks with sedimentation and subsequent metamorphism.

Water streams emerging or passing through sandstone deposits carry plenty of rock pieces and smoothen them during the transition. 

Due to mineral impurity, sandstone pebbles possess gray to black grains and display different colors with alluring textures.

Sandstone pebbles are mostly gray to brown in tints and sometimes yellowish shades.

Slate Stone Pebbles:

Slatestone river rocks are a kind of mudstone containing clay (Mud) and volcanic ashes. They have typical slaty cleavage but are hardly visible in slate stone pebbles due to natural finishing and filling processes under the water.

Slatestone river rocks mostly have a grayish to black appearance. Other colors exist and give a homogenous appearance when spread on the land as ground cover or pebbles in plant beds.

Travertine Riverstone:

We know travertine rocks are another limestone rock, but with differences in their formation process. In the areas of hot springs in volcanic regions, minerals precipitate during the evaporation process and turn into calcite rocks. 

Thereby, the embedding of any organic substance like fossils does not take place and they remain highly porous but solid rocks.

Flowing river water or seawater on the shores turn these travertine rocks into smooth but pitted pebbles with a unique look-n-feel.

The best destination to obtain high-quality river rocks or pebbles for a succulent garden.

World of Stones USA is the place to get the best quality of river rocks or pebbles and boulders for your succulent garden.

  • Pebbles protect your succulent plants from extremes of heat and wetness. 
  • Pebbles topping checks the land water evaporation and provides natural cover to roots. 
  • Right care of topping made of river rocks allows free aeration to the plant roots and encourages the growth of succulent plants with minimum water consumption.

If you seek more info and proper guidance for pebble applications in your succulent garden, our stone experts are available for free sessions.



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