what is the difference in Bark?

Lamora(4)April 13, 2012

Hi Everyone, I was looking for pine/fir bark for the 5:1:1 soil mix and the only thing I found for inside plants was "Orchid Bark".

I asked about pine and fir and they didn't have anything like that. (3 stores) The only other bark I found was for decoration, at least that is what it said on the bags.

Can I use the Orchid Bark for this mix? Would it make much of a difference?

I'm sorry if I sound confused about bark, Please? I would really like to know.

Thanks for any input.

Marjie :)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dellis326 (Danny)

Use bark for landscaping, find it outside at home depot, Lowes or whatever big-box/home center type store you have near you. I stay away from the colored stuff, black or red, it's dyed with something and I don't know what it is so I don't know if it is damaging to the plants in long term potting.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marjie, I use orchid bark, the "small" size - it is conifer bark. In a pinch, I've also used reptile bark from the pet store, it is fir bark.

Although orchid bark is often sold in little bags, it IS available in giant bags, which is more cost-effective of course... if it's only available in small bags in your area, the reptile bark may be more economical. It's easy to find: BigBox pet stores carry it in large-ish bags.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Dallis and Gravyboots :)

forgot about the pet stores having bark, only pet store here is Petsmart, haven't looked to see if they carry it or not.

So all in all-- except for the dyed bark, there isn't really much of a difference in how they effect the plants?
What about Cedar? would that work also?

Thanks for the responce, very much apprecieated.. :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I bought Repti-bark at Petsmart (I am in Canada).
Check all the bags, some are marked with a 'bonus' amount (10 quarts for price of 8) - makes difference, since it is bit on expensive side. So far that's what I have used, it is really nice, quite uniform in size, even smells good!
Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The soils I use for the 5:1:1 mix vs the gritty mix are different, but they don't necessarily have to come from different sources. I'll explain.

In the picture below, the bark at the top is fir bark, prescreened to 1/8 - 1/4". When I use it for the gritty mix, I just screen the dust out of it.

The bark at 3, 6, and 9 0'clock are all suitable for the 5:1:1 mix, but the bark at 3 is just a little larger than I like. Any of the barks at 3, 6, and 9 could be screened, and what does pass 1/2" but doesn't pass 1/8" used in the gritty mix. They could be used as they are in the 5:1:1 mix with no screening at all. You can see the dry 5:1:1 mix in the center of the photo, and here is what the gritty mix looks like after it's made.

I hope that helps. I saw your post earlier but it's been a bust weekend. ;-)


    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Al- thanks.
So bark is bark? just the size of it matters? Am I understanding this right? as long as it isn't treated. If that is the case then I'm good with Orchid Bark. It was the only one in the size I wanted/needed. If I can find some fir/pine, I will get that.

Thanks again
Marjie :)

ps. please correct me if I am not understanding.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Some bark, like hardwood bark, is inappropriate for container media. I think that to keep it less confusing, you should limit your search to pine bark fines (available packaged under a variety of descriptions) for the 5:1:1 mix, or fir bark or pine bark fines that have been screened for the gritty mix.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aharriedmom(8B FL Sunset 28)

Bumping this up because I am searching around for the best bark sizes for the gritty & 5-1-1.

Three posts up, Al says 1/2-1/8" sizes can be used for the gritty, and the bark as pictured could be used for the 5-1-1.

I ask a question about sizes in this thread: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0717120514851.html?9

(I'm linking because someone may stumble across this thread wondering the same thing I'm wondering.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with more questions re. bark sizes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

"Orchid Bark" is Fir bark, as far as I know.

Harried Mom, this is the size information that you need:
Gritty Mix = 1/8 - 1/4 inch if using Fir Bark.
Gritty Mix = 1/8 - 3/8 inch if using *Pine* bark.

5-1-1 = bark dust up to 1/2 inch bark pieces, Pine or Fir bark, partially composted/aged.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 8:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
A lighter gritty mix and a 5-1-1 question
Hey, So I love gritty mix and only have a few plants...
Fiddle Leaf Fig & Baby Jade help...
I've had this fiddle leaf fig for about a year. Why...
Question about ecobulb for houseplants
a while back someone on this forum rec. the Ecobulb...
ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a
The "Show Off" Thread
I love coming to this site for all kinds of useful...
Why does my anthirium want to commit suicide?
This is my anthirium and it is slowly dying? Judging...
Sponsored Products
Michael McHale Designs | Tribeca Five Light Chandelier
$489.00 | YLighting
Virtu USA PSK-1101-BN Poseidon Two Lever Handle Faucet - Brushed Nickel
$205.00 | Blue Bath
Home Decorators Runner Rug: Dazzle Black 2' 6" x 6'
Home Depot
Hops Sofa Bed
| Italy Design
40W 120V T14 E26 Thread Edison Bulb by Bulbrite
$7.99 | Lumens
Hughes U-Chaise Sectional (3 piece) - Lucky Turquoise Blue
Joybird Furniture
Worlds Away - Braxton Media Console - BRAXTON ROSEG
Great Furniture Deal
RGB 5050 LED Strip Light 30/m 10mm wide 5m Reel
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™