Can you mix plants w/different water needs in gritty mix?

jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)April 23, 2011

I am getting ready to plant my mom some mixed containers and was wondering how well some plants would mix, due to having different water requirements.

Can plants like zinnia and other drought tolerant plants be mixed with others that need water on a more regular basis like petunia's?

I've been working with some of my own with great results, but the plantings are fairly new. I have several herbs together doing well right now. Roots are at all different levels in the mix, and lavender in the center.


I know you had the Gaura lindheimeri in a mixed container, but I really didn't notice what else was with it. Were they also drought tolerant, or was it a mix of plants with different needs.?

My one out in the garden/ground is blooming like crazy now. :-) AKA Dancing Butterflies~ much easier name to say and remember. lol...

If anyone has plants with different needs growing in the gritty or the 5-1-1 please feel free to share pictures!



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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, JoJo!

I don't do much mixing, but I do have Petunias in the 5-1-1 out front.

In general, I would separate plants with highly differing water requirements.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 12:13PM
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I would say that just because a plant is listed as being "drought tolerant" doesn't necessarily mean it enjoys going without! It means that it CAN tolerate drier conditions than another plant type.

Quite honestly, JoJo, what have you got to lose by trying a mixed planting? I mix annuals and perennials all the time, barely taking into account their individual label instructions. The majority of mixtures do just fine.

I think it's more important to note their light requirements... you wouldn't plant a light sensitive Hosta in the same container with a cactus requiring full sun, and then place the pot in a location that got all day sun... the Hosta would burn up, while the cactus would do just fine... unless you adhered to a more frequent watering schedule than the cacti could handle... in which case, the Hosta would burn up and the cactus would drown!

Let common sense be your guide. Plants with SIMILAR requirements do great together! I think zinnias and petunias can absolutely be planted together. Just as I think that planting a cacti and a cattail together would be suicide for the plants. I'm sure you know what I mean! :-)

Happy Planting, JoJo!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 1:39PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hello and Thanks!

My mom loves petunia's so I will set her up with the 5-1-1 for them.

Jodi, the first thing you wrote is what I always have to remind my mom of! LOL!

Last season I had zinnia's in with my lettuce and they just didn't do well (in ground) So that's why I was curious about containers.

The mixed herbs are doing pretty good, and have slightly diff. water needs.

I mix things up like crazy in the garden beds, but this will be the first year with flowers in the mixes. :-)

We'll see how it goes, and if I can remember, i'll get pictures.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:21AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I probably wouldn't want to mix cacti with Impatiens, but as the perched water table disappears, so does the need for separating plants that don't tolerate wet feet from those that do. What's that Euphorb you just bought? - Diamond Frost? It normally likes soils to dry down, but I grow it every year mixed in with a dozen other plants that don't mind the soil being damp all the time. I suppose if I put it in with Impatiens & kept it out of direct sun, it would do as well as expected in the less than ideal light, and I wouldn't expect it to have any root issues.

Look at it with the same raised eyebrow you already use to look at the advice to only pot up 1 pot size at a time. You KNOW that advice is soil specific, and takes for granted you'll be using a heavy, water-retentive soil that binds you tightly to the advice. We also know that the advice doesn't hold water when applied to the soils we use, like the gritty mix & the 5:1:1 mix. You can pot very small plants in large soil volumes when those soils don't hold perched water.

For the same reasons the 'pot up 1 size' loses its importance as the PWT disappears, so does the need to keep separate plants we're advised prefer different moisture levels in the soil. You need to be careful about plants that require situational (dry) dormancy and do best with sporadic drinks, but a very high % of plants that will do well in barely damp soils (most will) can be grown side by side in fast draining soils.

I should try an experiment where I grow something like one of the Coleus varieties that will tolerate some sun, in the same container with a number of succulents. If I remember, I'll do it this summer - just for grins.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:46AM
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I think Al is right... we're open to more options and less error because of the free draining mediums we employ.

In my experience, I've found very few of the plant tag/label instructions to be accurate... for example, the instructions for growing Hippeastrum bulbs tell us to keep the soil moist at all times, and when you take into consideration the type of soil that comes with the kits, you know that can't be right. It's precisely why I experienced so much rot.

So, I would take tag instructions with a grain of salt... and keeping in mind the sun or shade needs, water as needed... we're using mediums that allow us much greater measures of error to begin with.

Your arrangements will do great, I'm betting!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:14AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Good Morning!

Thanks for all the input!

Al~ I had to laugh at your post! I was so tired last night that for the life of me, I could not remember buying a Euphorbia.(I'm used to thinking succulents when I see that name) I had to go out and look. LOL!

Yes, that is the plant I just got. ;-) And I was thinking of giving it to mom, which means it would be in with petunias and mums and maybe a Lobelia or 2. I wanted to add the zinnias to the back to give it height.

I was thinking along the same lines as you Al, but just thought I'd ask. For myself, I wouldn't worry, but I want it to be nice for mom. ;-) It makes sense that as the PWT drops so would the need to separate plants.

I totally agree with looking at this with the same "raised eyebrow"!
I have basil seeds sprouting in a 10" pot right now! lol.. so that shoots the "overpot" theory all to heck. lol.

Now I would have never thought about the dry dormancy. So thank you for that! I'm aware of it where succulents are concerned by never would have thought about it with flowers and such. ;-)

""I should try an experiment where I grow something like one of the Coleus varieties that will tolerate some sun, in the same container with a number of succulents. If I remember, I'll do it this summer - just for grins.""

Your starting to sound like me. I do alot "just for girns" and you can't forget the giggles. lol. ;-)

Jodi~ I agree we are open to more options when using the free draining mix that we do!

And I take tag/growing instructions with a huge grain of salt! Now that we have the internet, I much prefer to look up the growing care! And will gladly accept the help and advice of a few close friends. ;-)

I'll try and get a picture this evening of the herbs I mixed.

Al, we'll have to remind each other to get back here and post pics of what we experiment with. ;-)

A Very Happy Easter to everyone! From me and my rock bunny. ;-)


    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 12:25PM
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