How to Make a Pebble Tray for Plants

Closeup of a pebble tray for a houseplant to rest on

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Estimated Cost: $5

A pebble tray is an easy and affordable way to increase humidity for plants that thrive in a humid environment. A pebble tray is an alternative to purchasing a humidifier for your plants or misting them regularly. Humidity increases as the water the pebble tray evaporates.

Luckily, they are super easy to make and only require a few things to get started — a water-tight tray, pebbles, and water. If you can gather those things, you can start making your plant tray now.  

What Is a Pebble Tray for Plants?

A pebble tray is a tray filled with pebbles and water that sits under your plant and raises the humidity around it. Just remember to top up your tray with water as the water evaporates (this will be more frequent during hot summer months). 

Types of Plants that Benefit from a Pebble Tray

Any humidity loving plant will benefit from a pebble tray. Some signs a plant might benefit from a pebble tray are browning leaf tips or leaf edges that are getting crispy. Another sign to look for is wilted foliage or curled leaves. And while you might not be able to save the browned leaves, you can use a pebble tray to prevent more leaves from browning.

Some specific plants that would do especially well with a pebble tray are:

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Water-tight saucer or tray


  • Small rocks or pebbles
  • Water


Overhead view of materials to make a pebble tray for houseplants

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

How to Make a Pebble Tray

  1. Find a Saucer or Tray

    Find a plant saucer, dish, or tray that is large enough to accommodate the mature spread of the plant's foliage. At a minimum, the saucer or tray should be at least several inches wider than the base of the plant's pot. You can get creative and use a decorative tray or use a saucer that you would generally use to catch any excess water when you’re watering your plants. Just make sure the tray or saucer is wide and deep enough to add a base layer of pebbles or small rocks.

    Overhead of a tray to use for a pebble tray

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  2. Fill the Saucer or Tray With Pebbles

    1. Fill the saucer or tray up to the top with pebbles or rocks. You can use small, clean rocks from your garden or purchase pebbles at a plant nursery or garden center.
    2. Spread out the pebbles so they are distributed in an even layer.
    Filling a tray with pebbles

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  3. Add Water

    Add water to the saucer or tray, but don’t fill the water up to the top. Do not submerge the pebbles because the plant pot has to sit on top of dry pebbles.

    Closeup of adding water to the pebble tray

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  4. Place Plant Pot on Top of the Pebbles

    Place the plant's pot on top of the layer of pebbles, making sure that the pot's base does not come in direct contact with the water. If it does, remove some water. The plant pot drainage hole must be resting on dry pebbles to allow excess water to drain from the pot when you water your plant. If the drainage hole is in direct contact with the water in the saucer or tray, the soil will remain wet which can lead to root rot.

    Placing the plant on top of the pebble tray

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  5. Check Water Level Regularly and Refill

    To maintain consistent humidity levels around your plant, refill the water level in the saucer or tray as the water evaporates.

    Check the water level more often during hot weather or during the summer months in cooler climates,

    Monitoring the pebble tray

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

  • Do pebble trays for plants work?

    Pebble trays are great for increasing the humidity around a plant. Get a humidity meter and record the humidity level in the area around your plant to see the effect of the pebble tray.

  • What plants benefit from a pebble tray?

    Humidity-loving plants will benefit most from a pebble tray. Tropical plants, such as monstera, philodendron, prayer plants, and orchids would benefit from a pebble tray. Plants with browning leaf tips or crispy edges might appreciate a pebble tray. Don't use a pebble tray with succulent plants because they prefer a dry environment.

  • How do you use pebble trays for plants?

    Use pebble plant trays to increase humidity in the air around a specific plant. The evaporated water will add moisture into the air without using an expensive humidifier or constantly misting your plants.