I have several pots on my apartment's balcony and am looking to increase the number. I use soil dug out from a local mountain forest.

It is not difficult to remove the stones from the soil before putting it in pots. IS there any benefit to removing the stones or leaving them all in?

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    Depends on many factors whether it would be wise to use this soil or not. Most importantly, what are you growing in the pots? Are this plants that grow in that same forest or totally different plant that would prefer normal potting soil? Other thing is how large are the stones? Is it grit or are they boulders?
    – benn
    Aug 17, 2020 at 14:37
  • @benn I have come to realise that the soil is mostly clay. I am amending it's granularity before proceeding to pH amendments. My targets are: radish, tomato, potato, beans, dill, parsley.
    – Vorac
    Oct 13, 2020 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


After consulting multiple friends of significant gardening background, I have decided to throw away any particles of >5mm size. Lacking proof of stone usefulness, I get them out of the way.

Another experience is with some succulents I purchased recently. They feature a layer of pebbles just above the bottom. Again - lacking proof that those work if NOT ordered in a layer but instead mixed with the soil after the 99th re-potting, I conclude they are rather a hazard limiting the access to nutrients for the roots.

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    A few stones around the pot's drainage hole can help keep small bits of soil from leaking out when watering. I use nylon window screen instead. Works better, and there's no stones/shells to dig out when it's time to repot. Oct 13, 2020 at 14:52
  • @WayfaringStranger this is relevant to the idea of building a permanent 1-2m^2 apartment pot].
    – Vorac
    Oct 13, 2020 at 23:22
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    I generally use stones in the bottom of pots for drainage and for weight to keep the pots upright with a larger plant. May 15, 2022 at 16:24

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