Turface MVP vs. All Sports

amazanderJune 1, 2012

All, newbie here :) learned a lot in this forum already.

Read a lot about Al's Gritty Mix and want to mix my own soil for the new Gardenia (4 feet tall tree above ground, 4 feet wide) I bought on sale.

I bought a 14'' clay pot, and about to do the mix... and no kidding, those materials are hard to come by. I just called around and found a close by place carries Turface but they stopped carry MVP - they only have something called Turface All Sports. I am not sure whether can I use it or not?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Same product.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Thanks Al. I just have VERY hard time to find Crushed Granite (gran-i-grit). Tried a lot of places and nobody seems to sell it. Is there an alternative to gran-i-grit that is equally good?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:58PM
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BTW, I am using this for Gardenia and hopefully I can find one replacement that is as good as gran-i-grit...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:03PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Amazander, anywhere that sells live chickens will sell gran-i-grit...if you're in the northeast, you should have an Agway somewhat nearby...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:17PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

How big is the gardenia? What size pot is it in? Bush form or tree/standard form?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Wow, Howelbama, you are RIGHT - I have an Agway close by and they have both Gran-i-grit and pine bark fines at a very good price $9 for 50 lb and $6 for 3 cub feet. Very NICE ! Thanks a lot!

Red, My gardenia is 4 feet tall, Tree form. It was some how trimmed so it has about 2 feet of main stem and up there there are two feet big leaves and flowers. They are 4 feet wide, pretty big ones, I bought 14'' clay pot from Lowes. I guess it can contain about 4.5 gallon of soil (not experienced and this is my guess)

I read a lot on the forum, I plan to wash off all soil on the gardenia and repot it bare foot. I read a lot on this forum and it is really helpful. I currently plant it in a big 18'' plastic container for a couple of days and I read that this is NOT a good idea. As a matter of fact, I already saw some buds that are not doing well.

I will buy 2x50lb gran-i-grit, 3 cub feet pine bark fine, 2xgran-i-grit. I will do Al's Gritty Mix as 1;1:1. I also bought some Epsoma Soil Acidifier and plan to use a tbsppon, and some holly-tone (half a cup), and maybe a spoon of Epsom Salt. I also gathered some coffee ground I want to add in ( 2 cups). Maybe a little osmocote for acid loving plants?? Am I too heavy on fertilizer? I just hate to see the bug comes off :-(

Then I plan to gentally wash off the root so it is bare foot, and plant in the 14'' clay pot. I will water thoroughly and brings it home and place it in front of a south-facing window so it gets plenty of lights. One thing is, of course my house is ACed and the temp is always 73 degree. I read that Gardenia needs some temp fluctuation between day and light. But I am not planning to move it in and out the house so the temp is going to be the same. I am not sure if this is OK or not?

Thanks a lot for your help.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I would leave out the Epsom salt and coffee grounds. Gypsum will provide calcium. You can add epsom salt to your water if your fertilizer doesn't have magnesium. Is it not possible for you to grow it outside? They like humidity, and my experience is that they always do better outside in the summer. Most plants do.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Ohiohem, thanks for the advice. It is possible for me to grow it outside but I think it is quite heavy to move... maybe I am just being lazy :) I will try to move them outside as frequently as possible...

Well, I will leave out Epsom Salt for now and coffee ground. Do you mean I need Gypsum? Where can I get Gypsum fertilizer? Found the following link http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202304553/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=gypsum+fertilizer&storeId=10051 Is this it?

Also, Al mentioned that we should sift out Turface using some insect screen. Is that necessary for Gardenia?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:52PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

The plant is indoors? Do you have a plan for runoff with the gritty mix? It will not hold water like you are used to. You will have to have a way to pump or siphon out the excess water that will collect in the (necessary) drip pan unless this is in a basement with a nearby drain.

If the plant isn't going to be outside I would substitute the granite out for a lighter product. The pot will be quite heavy if you use the gran-i-grit and will become a pain to move. I use horticultural charcoal and perlite in combination to substitute for granite but there are other options.

If the plant was going to be kept outside then I might say stick with the granite (esp since it's tree form) to prevent it from blowing over but inside? I say go with lighter materials...

I wouldn't attempt to use anything except liquid fertilizers with the gritty mix. It does not wick. This means that nutrients in solution in the pot will not move around evenly like they tend to do in peat and etc. Sometimes I mix in a small amount of CRF but that's just an insurance policy in case I can't fertigate for a week or something...

I've never tried a gardenia indoors without supplemental lighting (T5s or MH/HPS) - I suspect it will lack for light...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:00PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Amazander, Agway will also have the gypsum. Espoma makes some called " garden gypsum". Most of the big box stores sell it as well, as do most nurseries. However, you only need the gypsum and Epsom salt if you are using a fert that does not have calcium and magnesium in it. If you are using foliage pro, they are not needed.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Thanks. I am prepared to pump out the excess water if needed - but my plan is to put the clay pot in a decorative pot - the decorative pot has two drainage holes too - I bought some drainage rock and will put at the bottom of the decorative pot. The decorative pot is 18'' and much taller so when I put the clay pot inside, it will not touch the bottom of the decorative pot. The water will drain out, but the clay pot will never sit in water, at most get some humidity. I will put a saucer at the bottom of the pot so I do have to empty the saucer as needed.

I put them against huge windows which are on a 20 feet wall facing south. It gets almost direct sun light through the window every morning - looking out of the window you can see the sun without blockage. And the light is so strong that I can not even watch TV on a sunny day if I do not lower the shades. I hope this is enough, but if not, I will move them out.

Thanks for the advice on the replacement for gran-i-grit too, and on the fertilizer - yes, it does not wick. I understand the main point of Gritty Mix is that it does not hold water so it will not make root rot for Gardenia, which is the majority of problems for Gardenia. I am very new - this is the first indoor plant I plan to grow. Without experience and after reading the infamous Suicidal Gardenia thread I feel that I need to have a Chicken ready and do necessary voo-doo dance if necessary...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Thanks howelbama - I will try use foliage pro then - sounds much simpler.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:55PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

No problem. Be careful that it does not burn by the window, too close and it may overheat. Also make sure that every time you water you do so that a good percentage runs out the drains. This flushes out any excess fertilizer built up in the mix. I prefer to fertilie every time I water with about 1/4 tsp per gallon of water... I use foliage pro for the most part. Also, keep the base of the container elevated off of the saucer with some type of spacers so it is not sitting in the water. Leaving some water in the saucer may help increase the humidity a bit..

And, even though the window gets good sun, the plant still won't be getting any overhead light as it would outside, so some supplemental lighting might be needed. It may wind up " leaning" towards the window to get light...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:17PM
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Thanks Hoeelbama for your very detailed instructions. Great reminder on running off the excess fertilizer! I think I eventually need to move them out once in a while to get good sun, as you guys suggested...

I finished repotting all three of them this afternoon. It was raining so I think it helps. I hope I did not shock them too much. Now I am leaving them outside in the shades and I plan to leave them there for a couple of weeks until the root develops some grisp on the gritty mix.

I end up NOT using any fertilizer int he mix, just plain water. I guess I will fertilize it next time I water it.

About fertilizer, since they are blooming now, should I use DynoGro-Bloom instead of foliage pro? 3-12-6 sounds good for the flowers, or am I way off the base? Foliage pro is 9-3-6 surely encourage "foliage" as the name suggests. Also, how frequently do you water using Gritty Mix?

Another question is that I read it needs a Ph value between 5 to 6, 5.5 is probably good. I read from Al that Turface is around 6.2. Do I need to add some soil acidifier to get the environment right?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:29PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Amazander, you could try the dyna gro bloom. Though I don't know if they will really utilize all that P... I think the prevailing theory is that restricting N is actually what helps to stimulate blooms rather than increasing the P. but with an all in one product, you can't really alter anything, so the bloom formula should work, I just doubt that the plants will actually use all that P. as long as you are flushing with every watering though it should work just fine.

I wouldn't mess with the pH at all, I think the gritty pH will be fine as is.

The pH of you're water is probably of more concern, as tap water is usually pretty high ( mine is around 9.0). Most people don't do anything though and have plenty of success, however some people do use distilled white wine vinegar to bring their tap water pH down.

I water my pants in the gritty mix about every 4 to 5 days. At first you may have to water more often until the roots fill up the container. Themix often looks and feels dry, but still has plenty of moisture in it. It is an extremely difficult if not impossible mix to overwater in, but I doubt that you will have to water more often than every three days.

If you haven't read it yet, tapla's post on fertilizing containerized plants is awesome and has helped me a ton.

If you wind up keeping it by te window in the long run, I would suggest rotating the container a quarter turn every other day or so to give th whole plant good light exposure.

Hope my babbling and run on sentences make sense lol.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:29PM
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great info. I will use foliage pro then. I will also water every three days. However, you mentioned that you typically make sure a good amount of water runs out of the hole whenever you water, do you just use the fertilized solution water or you first use "fresh" water to wash out the fertilizer and then use the solution water? Just ant to make sure.

I installed reverse osmosis water filter so the water should be pure water. I think I am good there.

thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:23PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


The bloom formula may actually work quite well, as it does restrict the N, I'm just not that convinced all that P is needed. I don't think it will harm anything either, but I honestly don't have any experience with it as I really don't grow any containerized plants that bloom so I stick to FP. All my blooming plants are outdoors in raised beds or in the ground, and I use compost and other organic methods to feed them.

When I water I just mix the FP and water until about 10 or 15% of the volume of the container runs through the drains. If you want you could do a thorough flushing every once in a while. Flushing actually works better with a very mild solution of fertilizer than plain water. This may be more of a concern with the bloom formula because I believe P is less mobile than N and may be more prone to build up if the plant is not utilizing it all. But I don't think build up will be an issue with either formula as long as you are flushing some with every watering (the 10 to 15% runoff)

I use RO water as well and I'm happy with the results, especially when using the 1/4 tsp per gallon regimen as that dose sets the pH of my mix around 6 or so. Whereas if I use the RO and mix a full strength dose the pH goes really low and requires buffeting (more work and more chemicals to deal with)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:22PM
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