Newby Questions on container soils / Newby mistake

tinamib(8B)March 22, 2012

Hi all!

I made my first post with questions about container soils for plants I am transplanting and somehow it ended up in the Urban Gardening section of the forum (a link off of this page). I don't know how or if I can move it to the container section.

I would love some answers though. Could you take a look at the following link to my post. If you know a way I can move it here, please let me know. If I should repost it a second time, please let me know.



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Hello Tina, here you go:-)))..................See below

Posted by TinaMiB 8B (My Page) on Wed, Mar 21, 12 at 20:45

Hi All!
I live in Round Rock, Texas and am not new to gardening or containers but decided this year I need to devote more time to the containers. (I am also going to be scouring other areas of this site for other things that need a bit more attention outside)

In containers, I grow succulents/cactus, citrus, assorted flowers, some herbs, and plumeria. In the yard, I will not even name because we grow so many veggies, greens, herbs, and flowers - all organic - maybe another post)

We had a rough couple years in this area with very cold winters and harsh summers and over the last couple years, my succulent/cactus collection dwindled from approx. 40+ to 20. Some of these are full sun and some are in partial sun.

I currently need to transplant succulents, cactus, citrus, and plumeria. I have been reading and have seen Al's Gritty mix and other soils. I have even located most of the ingredients locally.... Turface MVP and Gran-I-grit. Now I have a few questions and probably will have more.

1. We are VERY hot in the summer and I am concerned about the pots in mostly sun drying out quickly. What would be the best soil mixture for what I need to transplant (succulents, cactus, citrus, and plumeria)?

2. Would I use the same mixture in part sun?

2. How often would I need to water in full sun?

3. I am also looking for a good time release fertilizer. Any Suggestions? I read about the Dynamite Citrus, palm and can't locate it? (I have palms in the yard - The citrus I am transplanting is a Texas Valley Grapefruit I started from a seed - now 4 foot tall)

4. Would same mix be good for flowering mostly sun plants in containers or would I need something different?

I know I have a lot of questions. I have been reading for a couple days and researching sources.

Thanks in advance for all advice. I look forward to sharing lots of info in the future.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:02PM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

Hi Tina!
I have 2 very close friends in Round Rock! They are the Godparents of my daughter, we visit them often. I love that town, what a great place to live! We have actually been looking for work out there, we'd love to make a move!

Anywho, since I'm already here, I take a crack at your questions.

1) You've won half the battle if you have already locally sourced the ingredients for the gritty. The plants you mentioned will be quite happy in it, go for it!

2) Sure! Please understand that the 1:1:1 ratio is not set in stone. You can adjust the proportions of turface and granite to suit your needs. For example: A 1.25(T):1(B):.75(G) with retain more moisture than a .75(T):1(B):1.25(G) it? If you want your full sun plantings to retain more moisture, just adjust your's all up to you!

2a) I would be doing you a disservice if I told you anything on this. There are so many factor involved, you really will have to figure this out on your own. However, these are very porous, well aerated will need to water them frequently, I'll just say that.

3) For the most part, most folks around here only suppliment there container fertilizer regime with CRF's, if they use them at all. It is highly suggested that you use a soluble fertilizer with these mixes, such as Miracle Gro 24-8-16 w/ micros or Foliage Pro 9-3-6.

4) The gritty will work for anything! However, for short term plantings many folks opt for the 5-1-1, due to it's lower cost and ease of construction. The 5-1-1 is also great for very vigorus growers that will need to be repotted often. The 5-1-1 can also be modified to suit your needs, for example, replacing the peat with turface will yield a more durable product, or doubling the peat fraction will work well in a raised bed, stuff like that.

Those are all very brief answers, tip of the iceberg. Keep reading, you will find that many of your questions have been asked and answered, you just gotta find them. Post back with anything that your stumped on.

Happy Friday Y'all!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Thanks PJ!! I hope to start mixing and replanting tomorrow. I will use your suggestion on a little more Turface. I look forward to some very happy plants.

On another note, we love Round Rock. I have lived in this town since it was a small town (20 plus years). Both of my boys grew up here. This area has the fastest job growth in the country so good luck in your search.

I am off to plant garden plants, put out compost, and install a rain barrel today. I look forward to playing with containers tomorrow!

Happy Planting to All this wonderful weekend!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I made my first batch of Gritty Mix last week and transplanted the grapefruit tree, some cactus , and succulents using PJ's suggestions (1.5/1/1). The first batch didn't go as far as I expected so I am buying more bags this week to transplant more. I have a Blue smooth- edged Agave and one Plumeria that has to be transplanted soon. Really last week but since I ran out, it will hopefully be this weekend.

So far the first transplants look like they are doing good. I was and am still very worried about the Grapefruit but it was so root heavy, I was able to get most of the prior soil out easily. I hope I didn't shock it too bad. It is now in it's new pot that is approx 14 tall by 17 diameter. The grapefruit tree stands over 6 foot tall. Some leaves are a little yellow but it just came out of the sunroom less than a month ago. Because it needed transplanting, it had been blown over several times in heavier winds so it was already stressed. I gave it a shot of super thrive and gave it some organic granular 8-2-4 fertilizer to get it started. This weekend, I will work in some osmocote plus. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 8:15AM
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I couldn't find Dynamite by me 2 years ago. I was told that the manufacturer of Dynamite (Floikan) made the same thing under another label, which was Lowe's "Garden Club Select 2 pound Palm, Citrus and Avocado" time release plant food. I went to my local Lowe's, and they ordered it for me from Florida ( I live in NY) but you might have it locally, if it's still available...just a thought.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Thanks mandarin1! I have already been to our Lowers to look fthat he Garden Select brand after reading about it on here and they didn't know the brand. I looked at Lowe's online and it has been dis-continued on there. Maybe I will check again with the help desk to see if they can locate it

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 8:41AM
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