How to Dress Up Your Houseplants with Mulch

Mulch can even make this potted cutting look elegant!

We’re all familiar with the idea of mulching our flower gardens, so why not also mulch your indoor houseplants? A well planted, healthy container garden can be the focal point of a room, so it’s important to put a little extra attention into design and overall appeal. A nice layer of mulch is a very simply finishing touch that transforms your houseplants from shabby to chic!

Why Mulch Houseplants?

I love to add mulch to my houseplants in order to:

    Sparkly glass marbles.

  • Give a clean appearance by hiding the soil. This is especially important for plants in the kitchen and those used as decorative focal points. Plants may be growing in dirt, but they don’t have to look dirty.
  • Dress up leggy plants and make the container look “finished.”
  • Prop up drooping stems and hold plants upright.
  • Discourage pets from digging in the soil, especially if you put a layer of mesh underneath the mulch.
  • Retain moisture so you will not need to water your plants as often.
  • Prevent weeds from germinating in the pot.
  • Keep soil from splashing out when watering plants.

Types of Mulch for Houseplants

Regular garden mulch is usually too heavy for indoor plants, but you can use all sorts of creative alternatives, such as:

    Dress up a plant . . .

  • Moss: Spanish moss (gray) or sheet moss (green) are popular choices for florist’s arrangements because they’re inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to use.
  • Stones: Decorative stones, pebbles, or marbles make attractive and clean looking mulch.
  • Nut Shells: Hulls from nuts, such as pistachio or pecan, can be crushed and recycled as mulch.
  • Coconut mulch: Available in blocks that are moistened before spreading. Can be used both indoors and out.
  • Living mulch: Tiny groundcovers, such as dwarf sedum or living mosses, make great mulches for houseplants.

How to Care for Mulched Houseplants

When adding mulch to houseplants, remember not to:

    . . . with river stones and moss.

  • Overwater: The biggest problem with mulching houseplants is that it’s easy to overwater. The water filters right through the mulch and the plant looks dry, but underneath you might have soggy or moldy garden soil. Don’t let the mulch make you lazy – pull it back and check the moisture level of the actual soil before watering.
  • Over Mulch: Just as with garden plants, don’t pile mulch up against the stems of your plants as it can cause them to rot.
    Instead, keep it thin and mostly decorative.

Further Information


  1. Grass will definitely grow but make sure it’s not lawn grass. Lawn grasses are generally aggressive growers that will fight for all of the water and nutrients in the soil. They will eventually crowd out the other plant(s). IMO it’s doable but too much of a hassle to maintain.

    If, however, you get an ornamental grass like Blue Fescue, Japanese Forest Grass, or Mexican Feather Grass, you could make it work.

  2. all of the things I have used to top dress indoor plants just get filthy dirty as I water or grow mold. I have huge deep pots, large plants in them or 4 or more avocado, a vine, a cane begonia mixing in them. my house is always dusty despite that I vacuum daily. when the furnace blows, tiny soil particles fly.


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