Help with Pothos potting media please.

alocasia_nanc(5 - chicago)August 24, 2011

SO, for some reason i thought vermiculite and perlite were/did the same thing. they do not however i have learned. problem is that i planted my new pothos in a mix of 2 parts miracle grow potting mix/1 part vermiculite. i had read that they DO not like to sit in wet soil so i thought i would add something to help drain the soil.

should i repot to a different mix or do you think it will do ok?

THANKS!!

nanc

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Nanc,

I think you still need the perlite, to break that mix up & help aerate it. In my opinion for Pothos, it's not that it doesn't use a lot of water, it's that one doesn't water it often. It really needs to dry out btwn waterings.

I see you've tried to do some reading on them, which helps, read a bit further & you'll see the only way to kill these is by overwatering. To help stave that off a fast draining mix is key. Also benign neglect, to basiclly ignore the plant completely, they seem to thrive that way.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:51PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I agree with pirate_girl on everything except about drying between watering. These plants evolved as climbers in very humid condition so lots of moisture is need for them to thrive. You just don't want them sitting in muddy soil.

You can re-pot it with half to three quarters with non-soil ingredients such as;
Perlite
Orchid bark
Shredded wood chips
All natural wood charcoal (small pieces, Don't use briquettes)
LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate)
Floor drying products made from diatomaceous earth.
small gravel

It would be best to use several of these along with your soil mix. the main thing is that there are varying sizes so things don't settle down and close up the spaces, stopping air flow and trapping stagnant water.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:14AM
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alocasia_nanc(5 - chicago)

Should I repot the whole thing or could I just mix some perlite in to it? Maybe some orchid bark I have laying around?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 11:44AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

It would be pretty difficult to mix perlite into the pot with the plant in it. You'd be unlikely to get it evenly through-out the pot. Try a third each, Soil, perlite & bark.

I would repot it with a better mix, You'll be doing yourself and your plant a favor.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 8:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The vermiculite breaks down quickly, compacts, and increases water retention. Perlite alone reduces water retention, but doesn't impact flow through rates for long and doesn't have much impact on the ht of the perched water table (see link below if you're interested in a better understanding of soils for containerized plants).

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Click me for more info!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 9:34PM
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alocasia_nanc(5 - chicago)

Ahh thank you Al. That is just what I was looking for and didn't know it =)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 6:18PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

..... most welcome!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:11PM
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alocasia_nanc(5 - chicago)

repotted my love. in a mix that is roughly 2/3 perlite and 1/3 MG soil. i think next time i repot i am gonna add some bark.

thanks again for all you help everyone!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Excellent!
Now you have a mix that you can water and fertilize more thoroughly.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 3:53PM
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alocasia_nanc(5 - chicago)

Thanks Josh!

When/How/what should i fertilize.

I had a very scary bad experience with some fertilizer spikes and them almost killing my plants so i am leery and don't fertilize anymore. any recommendations??

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 4:00PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Recommendations?

Yeah...don't use fertilizer spikes ;-)

But don't shy away from fertilizing. A lot of us follow the mantra, "Weakly weekly."
Use a reduced dose, but more often.

I like Foliage Pro 9-3-6 because it contains all the major and minor nutrients.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 5:24PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I use General Hydroponics Flora Series at full to half strength (It depends on what I'm using it on) of the foliage rate every two or three weeks. I get it at Brew & Grow on Kedzie Ave.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 11:33PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree with Josh. If you can't get or don't want to order the Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, Miracle-Gro or Peter's granular 24-8-16 or Miracle-Gro liquid in 12-4-8 are all excellent choices for virtually ALL your houseplants. There is a lot of advertising hype pushing you toward different fertilizers for different plants, but when it comes right down to it, virtually ALL plants use roughly the same RATIO of nutrients; some plants just use more nutrients (overall) than others. When the factoring is done for how the nutrients are reported on the label, you'll find that fertilizers with NPK RATIOS (ratios are different than the NPK %s) of approximately 3:1:2 (24-8-16, 12-4-8, and 9-3-6 are all examples of 3:1:2 ratios) offer many advantages over fertilizers with other ratios.

Al

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:09PM
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