Gritty Mix Success Stories

Joe1980(5)March 14, 2012

Just thought I'd share some stories of success since going to gritty mix. First off, let me say that I have several plants in actual gritty mix, and some in a barkless version, either 2:1 or 1:1 turface to grit, respectively.

The first success in my beloved Pachira, who has been with me for about 8 years now. I switched to barkless gritty, 2:1 last summer. This winter is the first yet, where not a SINGLE leaf dropped from my Pachira, and I am heading into the growing season with a lush, full plant.

The next notable success is my small Desert Rose. I bought it last spring, and immediately put it into standard gritty mix. This was my final attempt at a Desert Rose, due to the fact that every other time they have rotted out during the winter. I am happy to say that mine made it just fine, and has begun growing new leaves.

I also have 3 Jades, one of which was a cutting of the variegated type, which I have been after for a decade. The cutting rooted successfully in gritty mix, and is now entering the growing season looking great. My Jades have never looked better!

I also have 2 Portulacarias, which I have struggled with in the past as well, in barkless 1:1 gritty mix. They both look great, even after both took a wind induced, pot breaking dive onto the deck in fall. They are sending out new shoots and ready for summer.

My large Snake Plant also went into standard gritty mix, and has done fine, although it pretty much always has. However, it flowered twice in the last calendar year, something that it NEVER did before.

I also have 3 bonsai trees, 2 Juniper and 1 Yew, in gritty mix that I just unearthed from my garden. They seem to have survived winter just fine.

So, with all that said, I have to thank Al for recommending the gritty mix to me and many others. Also, for anyone thinking about trying it, I can assure you that you won't be disappointed. It has worked wonders for me, and I am infinately grateful for Al and everyone else who got me into the gritty mix, and helped me with my questions along the way.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a couple varieties of snake plants, a jade, an aloe vera, a ponytail palm, and as of later today, a Meyer lemon in the standard gritty mix.

Some of these plants were literally rotting away before they were taken out of their nursery peat mixes and replanted into the gritty mix. I never would have had the guts to purchase the Meyer lemon without the confidence I have in the gritty mix.

The only downside is that these pots are heavy!

I'm also grateful to Al, Meyer_Mike, Josh, and others who have helped me along the way!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


could you tell me why did you decided to make barkless mix?
(Sounds good to me since I am having hard time to get bark fines).
What fertilizer do you use with it?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

and Joe

to get benefit of gritty without all that weight how about subbing all or lets say 1/2 of part of granite (and still using barkless mix) - I am quoting Al here and hope I got it right:

If you're substituting perlite for granite, since perlite holds more water than granite, you would need to use MORE perlite and less Turface, which holds the most water in the gritty mix; that is, if you want the same amount of water retention as the 1:1:1, bark:Turface:granite.
It works ok as a substitute for granite, but you'll need to be sure you get the coarse grade and you screen it - because size is important. It's always a good idea to rinse perlite to help rid it of it's dust, which is what contributes the most fluoridic compounds ...... just in case you happen to be growing anything fluoride-sensitive.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Joe!

Congrats on your hard work and your growing success for taking a stab at growing outside the box.
Oh, there is so many possibilities with this concept and the mix itself!
I was once like you. Sharing all my experiences with it, a couple bad, but mostly good and many many pictures.

You are right, thank goodness for Al/Tapla, and others for not only this wonderful mix, but the education about why plants thrive in it and the priceless time a few have spent here to stick by us all the way.

Ssmdgardener...I had no idea:-)))

Rina, good questions there.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rina, I went with barkless gritty mix mainly because I was having trouble with the bark repelling water, which was giving me trouble. Basically, I was watering, letting it drain into the saucers, and reapllying with a turkey baster, to avoid so much waste. After doing this over and over and over, I'd scratch into the mix an inch, and it'd be bone dry! Barkless mix doesn't do that at all, and waters very easily. Also, the only place I could find pine bark fines, stopped carrying it, and I no longer have any sources.

As mentioned above, I use a 2:1 or 1:1 Turface to Cherrystone grit, respectively. For any succulents type plants, I use the 1:1. For tropicals or those liking a bit more moisture, the 2:1 is my choice. But, there is one MAJOR thing about doing this though; there is no nutrient buffer without the bark, and no lowering of the pH either. So, you MUST fertilize EVERY watering, and with a complete fertilizer, in my case, Foliage Pro 9-3-6. I also use 100% filtered rain water, so the pH is acidic.

As for the perlite, I don't care for it because it floats when watering, which leads to a congregation on top. Also, all plants outside have any exposed perlite blown away with the slightest breeze. I know this from using 5-1-1 mix.

Mike, so far, every last plant I put into any sort of gritty mix has thrived, so I have no failures to report yet. Even the tropicals like my Pachira and a Schefflera, which I was skeptical to put into a seemingly "drier" mix, have done great. People who visit and scope out my plants, are just baffled that they can grow so good in what looks like small gravel.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


thank you for all the info. Great that you have success with your potted plants. I am just starting with the mixes. So far repotted few succulents, a lemon, bay & rosemary. Promptly run out of ReptiBark. It is too expensive to use on everything I have (everything is in 'wrong' soil. Have over 50 pots inside. Lots more outside). Luckily still have time to look for ingredients.

I usully top dress my pots (I use smaller decorative rocks or #3 chicken grit-larger size), so if using perlite it probably would be covered. Even perlite is not so reasonable here - 15kg costs me $30!!! I think that is much less than 4cu.ft-not sure, and it has to be sifted, I wonder how much of it is waste (dust). I would prefer to make gritty or 5-1-1 exaclty as Al's recipe, but not sure if I be able to find all the necessary ingredients (for reasonable cost).

Do you have any pics to post?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Reptibark is WAY too expensive for my tastes as well. You'd be better off looking for pine bark mulch, rather then "fines". The labeling on what is useful for the mixes can vary. In fact, last summer, I went to a landscape outfit that sold pine bark mulch in bulk, with the intent of simply getting mulch for my garden. I filled two 55g barrels, and being a "fill your own" deal, I scooped from the bottom, where the smaller particles were. I was pleasantly surprised to find that with some sifting, I could have easily gotten quite a lot of "fines" that would be suitable for gritty mix or 5-1-1. I payed $12 for the 2 barrels full, and could have probably gotten the equivalent of 3 or 4 two cubic foot bags of fines. You might want to see if you can find a landscape supplier or sawmill that has pine bark mulch.

As for the perlite, if you lived closer, I'd give you a huge bag for free. I bought a rather large bag, for around $15, figuring I was going to use lots of 5-1-1 mix, but now I realize I have too much. Personally, I'm not all THAT wild about the 5-1-1 mix, because if you let it go just a bit too dry, it's VERY difficult to water, due to repulsion. I'll tell ya though, for outdoor stuff, 5-1-1 is a good choice, but for your indoor plants, just skip the 5-1-1 and go gritty. You may try the barkless mix, but be cautious of fertilizing, and Foliage Pro 9-3-6 is a must. I got mine from Amazon for $23 for a quart, which looks like it'll last me a few years.

I'm no pro, and am only a year into this gritty mix thing, but I'll assist you in every way I can if you choose to go barkless. I made the choice to do it not knowing how things would turn out, but so far, so good. I'll probably never use the bark again, and stick with my turface/grit combo. Another advantage is that when you lose the bark, your mix will literally last forever. Nothing in it breaks down, so you can just repot with the same mix over and over. Basically, you buy a couple bags of turface and grit, and you're good for eternity!


P.S. I have no pics, because I think you need to use some sort of host or something, and then use html to link to it. I am a somewhat old school 32 year old, not liking the hassle involved with a lot of the internet stuff, especially social networking stuff. I haven't a clue how to post pictures on this forum.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thank you again.

FP 9-3-6 is another problem here - I have been looking for it, so far no luck. Will try some hydro stores, maybe there. No shipping to Canada from interent sites.
I hope turface will work out, found place that sells it & I hope it is right size.

It is an obsession-like, this hunting for ingredients.
Too bad that work interferes with this hobby...

P.S. I am old school old, LOL, finally learned how to post pics (first put them on Photobucket, & there is the html code to post...actually easy once you try); even learned how to post in itallics, bold, also multiple pics side by side! I found members are very helpful here. Never too late, right?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Arabian Jasmine help
Hello I have had an Arabian Jasmine in a pot on my...
flyinbtsomypants (WestCent.FL Z9b-10a)
Can a peat based mix be used for 2 seasons?
Hello - Considering compaction, etc can a peat based...
Summer Squash
Last spring/summer, I planted a summer squash that...
Unusual Containers
I've been growing Sedum in a wheel off of a tire (that...
Fabric Pots - Decor Question
Good afternoon everyone. I'm thinking of growing a...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™