Soil Question

birdsnbloomsMarch 27, 2012


I bought this soil at a local nursery..

It's labelded Succulent Soil.

Because we'd been in the nursery for hours, I was too tired to ask about ingredients.

I started repotting, and decided to open the bag of soil.

Hope the pics are sufficient. It's the same soil, under different lighting.

Oh, I phoned the nursery to ask ingredients. The woman I spoke to said 'it's a secret.'

At first I thought she was joking, but she wasn't!

I explained I have quite a few plants and afraid to pot with something I wasn't familiar with.

She said it contained 4 ingredients. She named two, pine bark and Perlite..I don't see any Perlite, but my eyes are bad.

Can anyone name the other two ingredients, or all four??

Here's two pics, taken under different lighting.

Thanks Much, Toni


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I see nothing more than peat moss and bark pieces. Definately NOT a succulent soil.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I see coir and perlite (the bigger pieces). I don't believe that there is much bark in there, and maybe peat moss is the last ingredient. It appears that coir is the most predominant ingredient.

You might like it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Toni, coir has my vote too, but I don't see any perlite at all. Are those chunks bark? They look REALLY small! If not, they might be some kind of lava rock... ?


    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:07PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Why can't I see the pics? When I click the link, it says "it looks like you're trying to see something in Hopefulauthor's photostream" and shows me thumbnails of the 5 most recent uploads, but soil is not one of them.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:41AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I do not see any pic either.

Toni that is funny "secret" I would ask them if they will replace my plants if they died if it is a secret. lol

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 11:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, if I were you I think that I would call the nursery back and explain that you are not asking for the recipe....just the ingredients. Tell her that it is important that you know every ingredient in that mix so that you can properly take care of the plants! Tell her that the components of every commercial potting mix is listed on the bag; they should comply to that rule, as well.

How can you fertilize properly, water properly if you don't know the basic ingredients? Did they add anything like gypsum or fertilizers or any thing else?

They can keep their precious recipe to themselves, but you should be able to find out the ingredients! If they aren't willing to co-operate, I'd return the potting mix and ask for my money back. But that's me....I don't buy anything without knowing what's in it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Joe, at first I thought it was Peat, too, but after studying it, thoroughly, it's not.
Closeup, the main ingredient resembles residue or finely chopped Lava Rock. It's red w/a little brown in color.

Rhizo, I Googled Coir. Most Coir photos are bagged or blocks, so it's hard to tell. Pics can pass for Peat bogs.

I agree whatever it is is the predominant ingredient. While sorting through different sections in the bag, 98% was this brown/red medium.

How do succulents do in Coir?
Bag weighed a ton. Dh is 6'0, he had trouble carrying it to the car. lol.
Somehow the bag and mix got wet, at the nursery.
I can't explain texture..the medium isn't heavy, in fact it's light, yet seems to hold water..if that makes sense.

Rhizo, why would I like it? lol

Gravy..I have no idea what the 'few' extras are. If bark, they don't appear to be any bark I've seen. My Orchids are potted in bark...two different types..the pieces in the bag do not resemble orchid barks.

Purple, don't know why you can't see pics..That's strange.

Marquest, like I said to Purple, don't know the reason soil pics aren't showing.

Rhizo, when I phoned the woman at the nursery, I wasn't so blunt, lol, but explained I have a good number of plants, some very old, and didn't want them to die.
She still wouldn't tell me their 'secret' ingredients.

Rhizo..The name of the nursery is Ted's in Tinley Park, IL.
Ted's is a family-owned business, run by Ted, his two children, and other non-related employees.
I called twice..the second time hoping Ted picked up..Of course this 'woman,' answered, so I hung up. lol.
I know I'm a chicken, lol.

But I was also upset..For one, what if a person had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients, had to be rushed to the hospital. Because of their so-called secret ingredients, one wouldn't be able to tell the docs what they handled. Believe me, when I talked to this woman, that was the first thing that came to mind.

Rhizo, did I say forumla? Sorry, I asked the woman for ingredients, not a formula.
Didn't like her attitude..Sheesh, I wasn't asking how they built a bomb, all I wanted were ingredients in a soil they recommend for succulents!

Since this medium is their brand, the bag doesn't list ingredients.

Rhizo, the thing is I trust Ted. He's a real nice man. He even kept the nursery opened longer so we could look around.
He LOVES talking plants, espeically stories that happened in the 30's and 40's when he first opened the green houses.
While we were checking out, he reduced a couple prices, and threw in free cuttings.

I don't want to argue with Ted, heck the man is in his 80's, lol. Highly energetic, for a man his age. And KNOWS plants.

I want to phone again, but embarrassed. You're welcome to call though, lol. I'll give you or whomever isn't shy the phone number. lol.
They also sell huge bags of Tropical Soil, but I passed it up.

You're right about care, too. I mentioned it to the woman, but she acted like she didn't care. Repeated, they're not allowed to name ingredients.
I'm sitting here, getting angrier by the minute, but not angry enough to call back. lol.

Rhizo, I opened the bag to remove soil for the pictures...haven't potted using this stuff though.
I hoped someone on GW could ID all 4 ingredients. Wishful thinkiing. :)

Well, thanks everyone. Maybe I'll conjure the nerve and call back.
Ted usually answers the phone on wkends...perhaps I'll call Saturday.

It's too bad though..several succulents are sitting in an aluminum pan waiting to be repotted. Darn!

Thanks again, Toni

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

the main ingredient resembles residue or finely chopped Lava Rock. It's red w/a little brown in color.

I've seen this stuff recently & have been wondering what it is also. Your description is excellent.

I think the lady you talked to doesn't know, so she's hoping her "it's a secret" answer will make you go away without her having to admit that.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:43PM
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I dunno if you're a gritty mix fan Toni, but in my opinion, ever since I started using it, I feel it is by far the best succulent mix I've ever used. I've been a fan of succulents and keeping them for about 14 years, and let me tell you, I've tried many of different "succulent" mixes. Some were big name bagged types, others where like the one in the topic, a "special" mix made by a nursury. All in all, I've found that none ever really performed any better then the next, and they all gave me the same results as plain old Miracle Grow. However, after learning about the gritty mix, and trying it, I can honestly say that I am getting better results, and MUCH stronger root growth. I did, however, take it upon myself to nix the bark in my gritty mix, and use just turface and grit. As I said in another post, this is the first year that I have a desert rose that survived winter, and is thriving.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 5:56PM
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You got it from Ted's? Heh... It wouldn't surprise me if "secret" means "Ted or (more likely) one of his kids mixes it from whatever's available when they need some, tossing in what's there until it looks right, so what's in one batch might not necessarily be in another." ;)

I've gotten a number of succulents from Ted's over the past couple of years; assuming they sell the same mix they use (more or less), it's mostly pumice (lava rock), with coir fiber and very large (up to a half-inch or so) chunks of bark or wood filling out the bulk of the volume, and some kind of fine particulate to kind of bind it together and retain some water. I'm not sure whether the latter is peat, finely chopped coir, humus, or what, it might be some combination of those. I have seen perlite sometimes but not very often and not very much. They do also seem to adapt the mix a bit based on the plant; 4" Aloes, for example, seem to have much more of the fine particulate, while the Dorstenia foetida I got was almost entirely pumice and bark, not much else to speak of.

I've left succulents in that mix for over a year, and only had a few die on me for reasons I could relate to the mix (a few *very* moisture-sensitive plants rotted out -- Avonia quinaria, most notably). It does seem to break down pretty rapidly after 12-18 months in my care, with some plants correspondingly going downhill with it, so it definitely isn't a long-term mix in my experience.

Since Joe mentioned the gritty mix... I've been moving these succulents to a gritty mix as they outgrow the pot or the mix breaks down. For the most part, I'd say it's a wash, the plants spend a little time adapting then just pick up where they left off. The two exceptions: The very moisture-sensitive plants prefer the gritty mix (my second Avonia, which I transplanted immediately, is MUCH happier); and Sansevieria, oddly, seem to have more problems in the gritty mix -- I can't seem to find the right amount of water to give them.

For comparison: My experience has been growing under fluorescents for 12 hours/day year-round, with temperatures usually in the 70-90F range, and humidity of 25-30%. YMMV if your light, temperature, or humidity situation is different from mine. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I find that my sansevieria likes more water then your run-of-the-mill succulent, and because of that, I made it's gritty mix with more turface, to retain a bit more moisture. Another reason I like the gritty mix is the ease of repotting, in that the mix comes loose easily, and because it never breaks down, whatever remains around the roots can stay there. Again, note that I do not use the bark in my gritty mix, which is why I can say it "never breaks down".


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Toni, give me the number, I'll find out for you.....


    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Purple. You've seen this stuff? In plants?
Next time you're out plant shopping, lol, come across a plant w/this medium, can you ask the clerk what it is? lol?
Naw, j/k...but I am curious. Never did call Ted's.

Believe me, they don't want me to go away, lol. When we shop at Ted's, well, it's a little expensive. Under 100 though.
That's one reason I only shop there every other year..They have beautiful plants!!!

Joe..if you're asking if I use Turface the answer is no, however, my succulent mix is gritty.

Did you over-water your Desert Rose? My oldest is 15-yrs..but during winter I allow Adeniums to go into dormancy which means less water and no fertilizer.

Joe, I've been mixing soils 25+ yrs. The only time I used soil straight from a bag was in my teens, when I first got hooked on greens. Long ago, :)

I'm happy with my plants..I'm not saying I've never killed a plant..who hasn't? My oldest is a spider from 1973. Next is a Clivia sowed from seed, 1982/3.
Oldest succulent is a Crown of Thorns, started from a cutting in 1982/3. In the last 20-yrs it's never stopped blooming. So, yes, I'm okay with my plants.

Hey Cliss..long time since we've talked. Yep, went to Ted's, Feb 14th...

Cliss, guess you don't care for Ted's soil or is it the nursery??? lol

Funny, last time I went there I bought Dorstenia Gigas. I have NO idea what type of medium it's in, but it dries daily, It needs repotting. Roots are exposed on top and bottom pot.

In 2009, I bought an Operculicarya Decaryi from Ted's. It was potted in round, red/brown balls. I also bought Sansevieria francisii that was potted in tiny, brown chips. Don't know what either are. Do you??

Neither mediums look anything like the succulent soil above. Strange, both balls and chips broke down fast, too.

Which mediums do you use to make a gritty mix? Wish I could help, but I haven't the faintest. Guess you have to experiment like you would w/any other soils/soil-less types.

My Avonia's lived in a 2" pot over 5-yrs..Do you think it needs a larger container? lol.
It was a freebie, a little bitty seedling w/a purchase.
Does your Avonia leaves close like a Maranta/Prayer Plant as the sun sets?

Each room differs. Front plant rooms temp, 62-68F. Back plant room, 55-65F. Living Room 68-70F.
Winter humidity, 50-65%. Summer humidity we don't use a/c or c/a.

Mostly south windows, 1 large upstairs west, 3 large downstairs west, 4 east, 4 north.
In addition to artificial lights plants get natural sun, so during winter, lights are on from 4-10PM. Artificial lights will soon be turned off until autumn.

Before new windows were installed..back room, winter nights were as cold as 23F. It was terribly icy..Yet, succulents AND tropicals survived. Various succulents like Agaves, Sans, Crassulas, Euphorbias, and tropicals, Hibiscus, Citrus, Gardenias, and a few others..

YMMV reminds me of a Roman Numerial, lol. I give up. What's it stand for?

Well, I'm still not sure what the mix is, or if it should be used w/
If push comes to shove I'll add it to my regular succulent mix and call it a day. Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:57PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'll bet that one of those ingredients is Turface. Or the type of diatomaceous earth used as a soil amendment. DE particles are are about the size of turface or perlite.

Toni, I don't think Ted will think that you are arguing with him! Just explain to him that you need to know that basic ingredients of that mix so that you know how to use it! And bring your pets into the discussion. You don't need to know how to make the darned stuff, but you would like to know what's in it.

By the way, you may remember me talking about my favorite potting mixes manufactured by Fafard. Fafard also makes some coir mixes. I've attached a link just so that you can read the ingredients, in case you're interested. I've known retailers to re-package their professional quality mixes that they then sell to the public.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click to see!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:29PM
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just guessing: YMMV = your mix may vary.....???

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Hi Rhizo..You are too funny. You manage to locate everything, lol.

I've never seen Turface so couldn't ID it if it was staring me in the face. When people post they're Turface mix pics on threads, there are other ingredients included.

Do you know Turface's main use? 'other than plants, lol.' Is it natural or man-made?
Excluding plants, why would someone buy Turface? What type of project is Turface used for?

What does DE stand for? As in DE particles.

Rhizo, Ted isn't the problem; it's his employees. When I've asked to speak to Ted, I was told he's w/a customer or out of the gh.
He usually answers calls on Saturdays, so I'm going to phone him this weekend.

During our last visit, when I bought the soil, Ted was standing near the checkout clerk. I asked about ingredients. The clerk, who also tends to C&S, detailed each succulent I purchased, but subtly avoided the ingredient question. By then, dh was carrying this huge, heavy bag to the car, and was in a hurry to leave. lol. Still, the clerk couldn't have been more obvious he didn't want to discuss fact, he acted relieved when dh called me out to the car. I got the feeling he was afraid to answer.

Good idea. When I phone Saturday I'll explain about pets and my allergies. I don't want to cause problems for Ted, but not knowing ingredients could be fatal. Not only to us but my plants.

Oh yes, you've praised Fafard several times. Which of the 3 types shown do you use? Is Fafard w/Coir good for suculents?

Why do retailers re-package their professional quality mix, then sell to the public? I don't understand.

You posted a Fafard link on nother thread half a year ago or so. I clicked the link and read ingredients. There was a picture of this mix, too. It looks a good blend, unfortuntely Fafard isn't sold locally.

Rhizo, thanks for your help. Toni

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Rhizo, you nailed it - that's what was in my pot - turface. Too lightweight for my windy front porch.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Joe -- what portion of Turface:granite do you use for Sans? I've used a 3:2:2 Turface:granite:bark proportion for Begonias to good effect, it hadn't occurred to me to try something like that for Sans as well...

Toni -- Oh, I love Ted's nursery, there's just some aspects of it that amuse me. But then, I'm easily amused. :) His succulent mix does make me feel a little uneasy because it retains so much water, but as I said, I haven't really seen many problems with it for most succulents, as long as you plan on replacing it after 12-18 months, so it's really just my tastes as much as anything.

The Sans with tiny, brown chips -- How tiny, and were they brown or reddish-brown? I haven't noticed anything like that, right offhand, especially anything that would break down fast... The S. francisii I bought from Ted's last year was mostly potted in pumice and peat and is still doing well.

I use granite, turface, and fir bark for a gritty mix... Turface is a man-made product mostly sold as a soil conditioner for athletic fields, especially running tracks and baseball diamonds, from what I can tell... It absorbs a lot of water, so the fields don't get as muddy and dry out more quickly when it rains. I have another mix (humus, fir bark, and perlite) for my self-watering plants, and I grow some plants in hydroculture as well, that's pretty much all my mixes. Keepin' it simple I guess.

I think you're thinking of a different kind of Avonia... Avonia quinaria is the little succulent that looks like a caudex with green dreadlocks. Google has lots of pictures of them. Mine still hasn't bloomed, unfortunately; the blooms are almost the same size as the plant, which I think is kind of endearing. :)

YMMV == Your Mileage May Vary.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, Turface is heat processed clay...fired at very high temperatures so that the clay particles expand, while becoming very hard. I first became acquainted with it many, many years ago when I was consulting for some golf courses in the Hilton Head area. It is used on sports fields of many kinds to prevent compaction, improve porosity, and to hold on to water AND nutrients for long term plant use. It's fabulous stuff as a soil conditioner! I don't use it anymore in favor of my Fafard Heavy Weight mixes, but still recommend it. It can be readily purchased anywhere that sells supplies for sports fields of any kind.

It has become a popular component in bonsai soil mixes as well as in mediums for just about any kind of plant.

DE is diatomaceous earth. There's food/horticulture grade DE that is a rather fine dust used for pest control. We've talked about it for your ant problems, I believe. There's a DE that is used for pool filters. And there are other grades of DE that can be used as a soil conditioner or amendment. Great stuff, again. Anything that adds porosity (increasing the soil's oxygen content) is fine with me.

I've never used the Fafard Coir mixes. I was just showing you those products so you could look at the ingredients. It's not unusual for a retailer to get in a ton of whatever kind of mix, and then repackage it up into smaller bags to sell retail. Just part of doing business.

The attached link will show you what I have been using for many years. You could probably have ol' Ted special order you a bag. That's how I get having a nursery order it for me. Purchasing several different ingredients in order to make my own medium has totally lost it's appeal for me, especially since there is no loss of plant quality. Fafard is used, as is, straight out of the bag.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fafard Heavy Weight Mixes

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:57PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


I used Farfard and loved it. Like you, after years of doing so mixing my own several-ingredient concoction lost its appeal. I've not had a loss of plant quality, either.

Now I use Metro Mix 350 or 366 but without the coir because that has an adverse effect on African violets. My farmer's co-op carries it so no more special ordering. Might not work for you but thought I'd mention it if you can use it. Several of us in the AV club switched from Farfard when the co-op started carrying Metro Mix.

There are many other formulas; these are just the two I've used. I do mix it 3:1 with coarse perlite since I need a very light mix for reservoir/wick watering.

Metro Mix 350:
Formulated Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, coarse perlite, bark ash, starter nutrient charge (with Gypsum) and slow release nitrogen and dolomitic limestone

Metro Mix 366
Formulated with Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, bark, starter nutrient charge (with Gypsum) and slow release nitrogen and dolomitic limestone.


Here is a link that might be useful: Soil

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 12:40AM
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Cliss..I love Ted's too..
Their only negative, '90's,' most plants were not priced. When I asked what 'X' plant cost, the cashier seemed to think it over, pick a price out of the air. lol.
Nowadays most of their plants are priced.

Here's a pic of Sans/Soil, 2/09, a month after purchase.

Cliss, I can't take pics, lol. The medium doesn't have as much red as the pic's medium brown, w/a hint of red.

All I know is Ted's succulents are not potted in the succulent soil I recently purchased from him. Wonder what that's about.

Do you plant tropicals in Turface/gritty mix, too?

I'll have to snap a pic of the plant I thought was Avonia. Maybe you can ID it. It has a small caudex, but very slow-growing. When it first arrived, it looked like a stick, lol. Can't complain, it was a freebie.

Rhizo. thanks again. I think you explained Turface some time ago. You should go on the Millionaire Show, lol. You know a little about't mean little, literally...

Too much for my brain to soak up. lol. DE, Turface.
If it works, that's great.

Either you or someone who uses Fafard posted a pic of this blend on the forum. 'Maybe a year back?'
The blend looked ideal.
I Googled local retail and online nurseries, then came across a price list, lol.
Cost wouldn't be bad for people with 20 or so plants, but I'd need to purchase a truck-losd. lol.

I wish but doubt Ted would order outside soils. They used to sell their own soil plus others like MG, nowadays their shelves are stocked w/their own brand.

BTW, after looking at the link you posted, I found another by Googling, Fafard soil ingredients.
Fafard #3B consists of Peat, Perlite, Processed Pine Bark and Vermiculite..basically the same ingredients I mix for tropicals that require acidic soil.

What's with wetting agents? More and more soils are adding, whatever it is, to creat? wetting agents. I avoid soils that lists wetting agents and added fertilizers, but soil w/o is getting harder to find. To top if off, price increases..

Howdy Linda. Is Coir the same as Coconut husks? Toni

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:45PM
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Cliss, I am so sorry. My plant isn't Avonia it's Adenia. lol.

Pic taken last summer. Adenia is the tallest plant.

In the dog planter. Sorry. Toni

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:57PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7 answer your question about coir: yes, coconut husks. We've all had a coir product of one kind or another in our homes, without even knowing it. Probably lots of things.

A wetting agent is simply a product added to overcome the tendency of certain potting soils to be water repellent. Any potting soil with peat, for example, is often a real pain-in-the-youknowwhat to get wet. Water rolls off like from a duck's back. That's all a wetting agent does. It doesn't absorb water, and it doesn't interact with anything else. I think that you might be thinking of water absorbing crystals, which I HATE!

A wetting agent will not prevent a mix from drying out properly or really do ANYthing but allow for initial wetting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coir stuff

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Toni, that looks almost exactly like the S. francisii I got from them last July, down to the mix... OK, the one I have is a few months further along in size, but apart from that. :)

I've been experimenting with tropicals in gritty mixes, yeah... I like the weight and not having to worry as much about overwatering. The trick is figuring out how much Turface to put in to keep from *under*watering, but even that's not really a problem for me with pots larger than 4" standard/5" azalea. Epipremnum aureum, Peperomia obtusifolia, two different Begonias, Dracaena marginata, a Codiaeum, and a few others so far... All doing pretty well. (OK, two exceptions, but those aren't mix problems exactly. It's not the mix's fault that I knocked the Asparagus off the shelf and damaged its root system in an midwinter emergency repotting, or that I managed to break the top off the Tibouchina. sigh.)

Ah, Adenia, not Avonia! That makes sense... :) I don't know anything about Adenia, I'm afraid. (And I always get them mixed up with Adeni*um*.) Toni, what's that plant to the left of the Adenia, the one with the red stems? Some kind of Anthurium?...

Rhizo: Thanks for the explanation of what a "wetting agent" is, I've never been sure... The only time I bought a bag of soil with a wetting agent, it felt sort of *oily*, so I ended up tossing it. Just didn't want to use it with my plants.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Rhizo..What type of products around the house would be made of Coir??

About wetting agents. Bagged soils, like MG always contained a certain amount of Peat. The last few years, MG and other soil manufacturers started using/adding wetting agents and fertilizer.
Get what I'm saying?
I assume there's something in addition to Peat, added to soil that retains water.
When MG first started adding wetting agent the soil was primarily used for outdoor gardening, not house plants.
The last two years MG added, whatever it is, to house plant soil, too.

I wrote to MG Corp a year or so ago about wetting agents and fertilizer added to House Plant soil. I suggested they sell both, so the consumer had an option to choose between the two, (be it soils with wetting agents & fertilizer or not.)

Whomever responded, was an idiot! She sent 'COUPONS!!' Like getting X% off would resolve the matter; I and a million others be content..NOT!

It's getting harder to find bagged soils w/o wetting agent, and certainly unfair to consumers.
I for one don't want soil that retains moisture. It might be okay for garden plants, but not house plants.

MG's TV commercials make it sound like they're doing us a favor..'less watering, and no need to go through all the trouble adding fertilizer.'
What they really care about is making more money.
Sorry Rhizo, this topic bothers me.

I use MG, but not as often as before. Thankfully, there are a few other soil manufacturers that don't add wetting agents..not brand names, but who cares??

BTW, I knew what wetting agent meant, but not what it is. lol.

Don't know what you mean about crystals?

Wish I'd seen your Coir Stuff link before replying. I'll read it after submitting. Thanks.

Cliss. What part of the C&S green house did you find your Sans? In the section where small, reasonably priced sucs are sold or larger, more expensive? Center Suc G

Normally I buy small plants..even 2"ers.

The only plants I've bought large are grafted Citrus, a Gardenia tree, back in 1995, and Hibiscus tree, 10+ yrs-ago.)

Is gritty mix heavy or light? Don't know what you meant when you wrote you like its weight.

The succulent mix I make is very porous, tropical is well-draining but a little heavier than succulent mix.
It depends on the plant.

Since Turface dries faster than other soils/additives, and if you happen to be the type who can't resist watering wet soil, then Turface is for you. lol.

Add another 100 plants, believe me, you won't water as often, lol.

Wish I had an answer about your when to water while using Turface question, but I've never potted using Turface, don't know anything about it.
There are people here on GW you can ask.. People who use it regularly.

Did you have an Asparagus Fern? Sprengeri? The plant that fell off the shelf? It couldn't be saved?

Back in the early 90's, I bought an Anthurium, Flamingo Flower at Jamacan Gardens..Ever been there?
I LOVED that plant. It was potted in clay, sat before a not-too-sunny south window.
Every winter it'd flower 3-4", red blooms w/cream-color spadix.
One year, my dog bumped into the shelf, knocking the Anthurim down. The clay pot broke in a million shards.
I immediately repotted...same type soil, same size clay pot. It died! Just like that.

I have a few Anthuriums, but they don't do nearly as well as my old Flamingo Flower. Boo hoo! lol.

How often do you water Begonias in the gritty mix?

Tibouchina's are so beutiful. How tall is yours? Does it flower? The blooms are gorgeous.
I didn't know Tibs could be grown indoors.

I don't know the species of my Adenia, but it looks nothing like Adenium. Why did you add * in the word, Adenium? lol.

The plant to the left of Adenia is Impatient morsei. Got it at one of my favorite online nurseries 4/11.

It grows fast. This pic was taken Nov 1, 2011.

It's grown larger, however I'm afraid to prune, lol.

Oily soil,

Cliss, I was kidding about over-watering, so no hard-feelings, okay? Toni

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Toni, I'm a couple days late in responding, I don't really check in on the forum over the weekend...

I think I picked up the S. francisii from a table at last summer's cactus & succulent show; I don't know if it's actually Ted's or someone re-selling his plants, but they're recognizably his. I know I didn't pay too much for it, so it must've been from the cheap side of the greenhouse ultimately. I don't like paying more than $5 for a plant, reluctantly up to $7 or so including tax and/or shipping, so I tend to only get smaller plants as well. (Which is one reason I like Ted's, I've gotten lots of neat plants from them at good prices.)

By "weight" I meant literally its heft... It's 1/3 granite, so a pot won't tip over too easily, and just feels more "there" to me than typical peat/humus mixes, if that makes sense. And given that I'm up to about an hour of watering per day to keep up, believe me, I'm around my limit there. Underwatering is definitely starting to sound attractive. :)

It's Asparagus densiflorus meyersii. It's still alive, sort of, but it's kind of patchy, and the bulbs are withered and don't seem to plump up when watered any more. If it survives another month or so I'll try to unpot it and see what shape the roots are in, maybe it's just growing some new bulbs under the surface.

The Tibouchina was around a foot tall when I got it last year, and over two feet when I broke it last week. :( It lost several lower leaves over the winter, and to be honest I was thinking about pruning it back and seeing if I could get it to branch anyway, but I didn't want to do it quite this early. So now I have the top stuffed into another container; with luck, either the base will sprout new leaves or the top will root. It's never flowered for me but I still kinda liked it, I had some vague hope of flowers this year. It didn't seem to have much problem with indoors as long as it was getting enough light and humidity.

I water the Begonias in gritty mix about twice a week; I could probably shift to every 5-6 days without too much trouble, and with a little more turface or a larger pot it'd go to once a week easy. They definitely want the mix left damp; they currently hit "dry" at 7-8 days. They're in small pots right now, though (5" azalea).

I've heard of Jamaican Gardens but never made it there before they closed, unfortunately. Too bad about your Flamingo Flower... I guess it happens, eh?

I inserted the asterisks in "Adenium" to stress -um vs. -a (Adenia). Sorry, old habit from the Bad Old Days of the 'net, before we had this fancy HTML stuff to work with. :)

Toni, that Impatiens morsei is GORGEOUS. I'm normally not big on Impatiens, because I'm more about foliage than flowers, but this one has foliage all the way... Wonder if I could actually get one to survive, it looks like they prefer cool temperatures indoors and I have a hard time supplying that over the summer...

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 7:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, I still think that you are confusing water holding polymers with wetting agents. They are two entirely different things.

If you click on the link in my early post about coir, you'll see pictures of many commonly seen household items. I'd guess that outdoor door mats might be the most common, but so are hanging basket liners, brushes of different kinds, and ropes. I have a woven pocket book made of coir.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Hey Cliss,

No hurry answering. Some wkends I don't get online period. Too many other things to do; the puter is time-comsuming, nothing gets done. lol.

You got your Sans at Botanical Gardens C&S Show?
I thought when 'X' plant is sold, legally, the name of the original/propagating nursery must be listed?
For instance, Jamacan Gardens sold Housermann's Orchids. Housermann's name was written on each label and pot.

Finding a plant online, for 7.00, shipping included is almost impossible. I've bought seeds and cuttings w/shipping under 7.00, but never a plant.

Shopping locally is different. A plant would have to be spectacurlar at 10.00. 3.00 more than you're willing to pay. lol.

My Hib tree was 9.99 at Jewel's, Citrus were 10-15 from Fl, and Gardenia from JG's was, well, very expensive. But they were grafted 2-3' trees. Each purchased separate, within a 20-yr period. The last trees, Citrus, were purchased 2006.

I love shopping from what I call, The Dead Cart. lol. When stores mark down prices, some as low as .10. If no one buys them plants are tossed.
Even 1.00 plants are a good bargain..the only problem, most 1.00 plants sold at Jewel's are common plants. Either those I have or don't want. Parlor Palm is one common plant.

Yep, give your Asparagus more time. Before you know it, little growth should pop up. But, make sure soil doesn't dry too much, especially this time of year.

I realize we use different mediums. For non-succulent plants, I toss in a handful of rich soil in addition to soil-less.

Can you take/root cuttings from your Tibouchina? Do you know the reason it hasn't fowered? Something's missing. Could be light or fertilizer. Pot size?

Why are 5" pots hard to find? A good number of my plants potted in 4" need large homes. 6" is too big.
I found 5" Azalea pots, but no other types. Some plants need 5" tall, Azalea pots won't do.

Cliss, I usually buy Impatiens for outdoor gardens. One day while browsing Accents, I came across morsei. It said perennial, so thought I'd give it a try.
It's 'indoor' hardier than other Impatiens, hasn't contracted Mites, and although it has pretty flowers, it's grown for foliage. Fuzzy, dark purple, red-veined.

I want to prune a little but fear doing it. lol. since I don't know its flowering season, I'm afraid I'll cut blooming tips.
I'd like to root a few cutting, or should I say, 'Attempt Rooting.' lol.

Speaking of Adeniums, last month I ordered two nicely colored Adeniums from Thailand. Everyday, I wait for the door bell to ring, see a delivery truck, sign for the package, and find my new plants..They're late, hope not dead.

Hi Rhizo. Rhizo, I didn't know what the soil companies used as wetting agents.
While looking at soil, 'about 2-yrs ago,' I noticed, not all but some manufactures listed wetting agent under ingredients. I didn't know what wetting agent was, but knew I didn't want any soil that remained moist.

I see what you mean about Coir products used in the house. Brushes! And many other items..Who'd have thunk? lol.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Wetting agents DO NOT make a potting medium STAY moist. They are used simply to facilitate the original wetting. Period. Moisture holding polymer crystals are what can keep a soil moist far longer than it normally would. Potting soils that contain these crystals will be called "moisture control", "moisture lock" or some other silly name in big letters on the front of the package.

It has nothing to do with wetting agents.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:35PM
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I've gotten a few Sans at the C&S show, yeah. It's possible that the ones from Ted's are marked somewhere and I haven't noticed. But the C&S show also has hobbyist growers selling extras from their collections, so I expect they're exempt from that particular rule, not being real nurseries and all.

Yeah, shipping makes things expensive... Last summer I haunted ebay, looking for sellers who were selling plants cheap and had multiple plants I wanted; if I got 3-4 plants at a time it'd defray the shipping cost to the point that I was paying $5-$6 each. But, that's kind of one of those "the more you buy the more you save (but the more you spend)" problems, isn't it? ;) I do break down now and then and pay a little more if it's something really unexpected. At last year's C&S show I picked up a Sansevieria pinguicula for $8, even on eBay the bidding on those starts at $10 and they usually run around $25, so I figured it was a good buy. And last month I gritted my teeth and paid $10 for an Osmanthus heterophylla ("false holly"), just 'cause I've been looking for one FOREVER and it's hard to find.

Unfortunately I never see any "dead carts" when I go shopping for plants. I've only heard legends of them. I think they're only at Lowe's, and Lowe's is only 'way out in the suburbs where I rarely go.

I salvaged the top of my Tibouchina and I'm trying to root it. Here's hoping... It's still green but not looking too happy I'm afraid. When I got it a year ago it was just a plug, not too much in the way of roots; I moved it into a 4" pot, I figure it didn't bloom last year because it was too busy growing roots. That's why I was hoping for this summer.

Yeah, 5" pots are impossible to find... I did stumble across some at Whole Foods a couple months back, but they didn't have any drainage holes. I bought a couple anyway and thereby learned something interesting: Biodegradable pots are apparently coated in some kind of sealant to prevent them from biodegrading while in use. If you break that seal (by, say, drilling holes in the pot), and then get it wet, it starts to, well, biodegrade. It took me forever to figure out where that smell of rotting tires was coming from. Oh, well, live and learn.

From what I've read, Toni, if the dealer you bought from shipped healthy plants, they should make it over here without too many problems. Adeniums are pretty tough plants, I have at tray full of seedlings (only an inch or two tall) but I keep being tempted to buy a full-size one. Good luck on yours!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:35PM
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