5-1-1 or gritty mix for epi's and dragon fruit?

rarvn(z8 Coastal, SC)July 3, 2012

Good morning all. I have some cuttings of dragon fruit and epiphyllum coming at the end of this week. Which mix would be best to use for them (I'm guessing gritty, but I'm wrong about a lot of things on a fairly frequent basis). Also, is either of these mixes OK to root them, or should I root them and then switch them to a 5-1-1 or gritty mix later?

Thanks in advance for any advice!


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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I started my Dragon Fruit seed in the Gritty Mix, and it worked quite well for about a year.
I decided to re-pot into 5-1-1, however, as I believe Dragon Fruit tolerates a more organic
and moisture retentive mix - the explosion of growth after re-potting would seem to corroborate
my suspicion.

For rooting cuttings of either plant, I would use the Gritty Mix to avoid the possibility of rot.
I don't grow Epiphyllum species, but if it's going to be a houseplant primarily, I would keep it in the
Gritty Mix. The Dragon Fruit will be happy in the 5-1-1 once it has rooted.

Just one man's opinion ;-)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:37PM
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rarvn(z8 Coastal, SC)

Thanks, Josh. Your thoughts seem like sound advice. I'm happy about the 5-1-1 for the dragon fruit because it's going to wind up in a large pot eventually and I suspect 15-20 gallons of gritty mix weighs more than I'm capable of moving by myself.

I'm a little worried about the epi's. They are my first ones and research shows me that they are very intolerant of wet feet. Since I tend over nurture plants I need a mix that is going to be a bit forgiving of an extra drink now and then.

I have a Thanksgiving Cactus that is currently growing in a bag mix (I don't recall which one exactly - something in the miracle grow line I suspect) and I was thinking gritty mix for that one as well. I need to get it out of the stuff it's growing in currently before I kill it. :)

Thanks for the help.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I grow my arboreal/jungle Cacti in mostly bark, with a little perlite, pumice, or turface
tossed in - so I would lean toward the 5-1-1 for the Thanksgiving Cactus, as well.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:48PM
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rarvn(z8 Coastal, SC)

Good, that makes it easy. I already have a batch of 5-1-1 here.

The houseplants I repotted into 5-1-1 last weekend are all doing very well. They didn't pout even a little bit; in fact, none of them so much as dropped a bud or a leaf or a flower. I'm a little surprised at that - I figured they would briefly show some stress, but none of them are.

I'm feeling more confident every day about this transition to better mixes. I've been growing in bagged mixes for 20 years and even though they were unsatisfactory for the most part, at least it's a devil I know. That devil has got to go however, and I'm sure I'll feel better once I have some more experience.

I don't quite trust myself at this point. :)

Thanks again, Josh.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Crazy. I actually encountered this exact situation just a few months ago! I was planting two Epiphyllum oxypetalum cuttings that had been well rooted and growing in 6 inch pots. One is planted in gritty mix, and one in a less than ideal version of the 5:1:1. The gritty mix one got transplanted about two weeks before the other.

Both exploded in growth, but the response from the gritty mix specimen is a bit stronger. A bit more sturdy, or structured. I'm not sure if this is coincidence or an actual reflection of different potting media. I'm pretty certain that the gritty mix plant will have a better long term prognosis.. I'll have to repot the 5:1:1 in another year and a half at the latest.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 5:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

A friend sent me 3 epiphytic cacti last year and all are in the gritty mix. I have no basis for comparison because they're all in the same soil, but they over-wintered in my garage and seem to be performing in stellar fashion, minus the licking they took from the stray kittens that inadvertently got locked in the garage one wintry night. ;-( They look a little worried at the edges, but growth is strong, with FP 9-3-6 for supporting.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:12PM
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rarvn(z8 Coastal, SC)

Thanks for the firsthand accounts with epi's. I feel pretty good about the gritty mix for them. I hope mine become as happy as yours. :)

I have the bark and the granite for the gritty mix; just need the Turface now. There is a John Deere Landscaping store about a mile from my house. Will be dropping by there tomorrow to see if they have Turface in stock. If not, the NAPA down the street has 8822.

I'm a little vague about the gypsum. I have FP already. So do I need the gypsum if I'm using FP from the beginning, or can I just skip it?

On another note, (isn't there always another note?) I rescued a rhapsalis cruciforme today from Lowe's and it's looking a bit sad. It's currently growing in what I can only describe as soggy dirt and though I have not yet pulled it out to look at the roots, I suspect there is rot going on there. The mix is wet, but the stems appear somewhat dehydrated nonetheless. My guess is the staff at Lowe's have been dumping water in it every day.

Should I bare root the poor thing right now and pot it into gritty mix or should I just let it dry out and stabilize a bit first? The poor thing seems a bit stressed out at the moment and I'm not sure it can take a severe trauma. On the plus side, there are at least 50 stems in the pot and I talked the staff into giving it to me for $5. When I got it home, I gave a short tug to each stem and, amazingly, none of them came out. I'm pretty sure it's salvageable at this point, but it really needs to come out of the dirt it's in.

Any advice would be appreciated.



    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:27PM
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I'm not sure what you're really accomplishing by letting it dry out in the pot, especially if you suspect root rot. 50 stems is a big plant. I'd go ahead and remove the collapsed soil and cut out the rotting roots, trim off any bad stems and maybe even divide it up into different pots.

Forceful running water will inject oxygen into the situation. 1-2 oz of 3% grocery store hydrogen peroxide per gallon is in another way to treat the rot and ensure good new root growth.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:54PM
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