where to buy soil

meyermike_1micha(5)December 18, 2007

Does anyone out there know of any place in the south or west of a company that actually sells already made fast draining perfect potting soil for citrus and plumerias...I am so tired of having several kinds of media in my cellar and then trying to fiqure out how to mix how much of what to make a perfect potting mix. Please if anyone knows of any garden center that grows citrus and is willing to sell soil also to folks like us up north premade, it would be so appreiciated...I think that if someone out there made the perfect soil for these kinds of trees and sold it by the bag for people like us...They would be very wealthy. Too many people are questioning how to make their soil and amend stuff they already have by trial and error in which I have lost trees when it would be so easy to just buy it from a grower who knows the needs of these trees so well.

Thanks...Citrus fanatic! P.S. I have been told by some to buy farfard soil in my erea. But from all the research I have been doing, Any soil with PEAT MOSS in it or even a small amount does nothing good for the roots for citrus or plumeria. I was even told this by Four Winds Gardens who specializes in citrus.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The number 1 (first) RULE of growing plants successfully is to grow plants adapted to your area. I walked through orange groves to get to school every day of my first 13 years of school. Special soil was absolutely not a consideration. Climate was.

Now I live in San Antonio. There are very few citrus varieties that thrive this far north. I have had a Myer lemon in a 5-gallon pot since about 1989. I bought it from a friend who was moving north, so it was sort of old when I got it. Finally I put it in the ground this past summer. For years I fought to keep that plant at a semi-constant moisture and always lost 90% to 95% of the fruit. Now it seems all my problems are resolved. It is doing great in a huge planter (64 cubic feet or 500 gallons). The soil in that planter is 50/50 sand and semi-composted hog manure. It has both ripe fruit and new flowers on it right now, so that's a good sign. Still we get occasional temps in the mid 20s, so I'm not entirely optimistic that we will have much fruit.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 1:42AM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Potting soil as sold in the U.S. is more of a profitable way to get a good price for residue left over from some other business. As far as I have seen (and I've seen a lot of it), what is referred to as 'potting soil' is either bark, peat or poor dirt. They toss in a little chemical fertilizer to give customers the impression that it grows stuff.

I grew up amid orange groves and strawberry fields in southern California, and the soil was sandy loam. Maybe a combination of sandy soil (not beach sand or construction sand) mixed with compost would work.

But growing citrus in the north is tricky at best, as the person above has pointed out. Wider temperature fluctuations than what the plant likes is going to really stress it.

But if you figure out a way to do it, please post. Citrus is one thing I really miss up here at 42Latitude.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 3:16AM
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Since neither plumeria or citrus are hardy in Michigan, one can assume the poster is referring to a containerized growing situation. And one of the best things about growing plants in containers is they do not have to be suited for your area, provided you have the space to protect them over winter if they do reside outdoors the rest of the year.

Citrus need very freely draining soils. MiracleGro makes a cactus/citrus blend (available through most Ace Hardware stores) or any other commercially prepared cactus or succulent mix will work. If you are making your own, a 50-50 pumice/perlite and bark fines mix will work.

I'd have to take exception to the comment that most potting soils are just leftovers from some other operation. Since container gardening is the fastest growing segment of the garden/horticulture industry, quality potting soils are becoming increasing popular and quite diverse, with formulations for a wide range of specific groing conditions. For some reason, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about container plant culture on this forum - potting soils and other container mediums have extremely specialized requirements and comparisons to inground growing or "real" soils are meaningless. There should be little, if any, "real" soil in a container potting mix and only enough organic matter to retain some moisture. Soil is too heavy, not sufficiently porous and too easily subject to compaction. Compost continues to decompose and it too is subject to compaction. The bulk of the ingredients should be relatively inert and allow for very free drainage - pumice, perlite, coarse sand, turface or high fired clay. Contrary to garden soil, potting soil is used primarily to anchor the roots of the plant in question - nutrients are supplied externally.

I'd suggest you also post this request on the container gardening forum. There are many active posters (no doubt many that grow citrus) and some extremely knowledgable container gardeners. Look for any post from Al/tapla - he is pretty much the resident expert when it comes to container gardening questions and very much so when it comes to container soils and potting media.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 1:24PM
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The term "potting soil" is probably a real misnomer since very few of the mixes sold in stores will have any soil in them. Most all are either peat moss, shredded bark, coir, or some mixture of those and either perlite or vermiculite. That stuff is really a soilless mix of something. For large quantities you could purchase what you need in bulk, as the greenhouse up the road does, and mix your own. That greenhouse had the parking lot full of peat moss and other stuff and used a couple of front end loaders to mix their potting "soil" with perlite and some fertilizer before conveying the mix in to fill various pots and trays to start seeds and grow plants in.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 7:16AM
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Northern California has a lot of propagating nurseries and none that I know makes their own mixes. Spaced about 50 miles apart are landscape supply companies that have the equipment and manpower to make soil mixes for the nurseries. Locally my supply makes 10 different mixes for different specialty nurseries, all available to the public. Al

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 10:46AM
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I wanted to say thanks to all that responded to my question!!!Thanks gardengal for that mix of 50 perlite and 50 bark fines.. That sounds great since I live in Massachusetts and I need a fast draing potting mix that will work for me. I wish I could get the name of a place that would ship already made soil for citrus "calistoga". U said that some places around u make it for retail. Please fill me in. But if I can't get a name I can always try my own. I have learned from this webb that mixing in peat moss is not that constructive due to the fact that it breaks down over a short time and starts to compact and then eventually sqeeze the air out of the soil in which the roots suffocate....Not ony have many nurseries that grow citrus discouraged me using peat moss, such as Four Winda nursery which grows great tress , but from my experience in using peat moss I have lost at least 50 percent of my trees due to root rot from compacting of peatmoss after a couple of years on growth in same container. Also an inability for the trees to uptake nutrients has also occured due to poor uptake due to poor root growth from lack of airage. Lesson learned. The chunkier the soiless mix the better. This forum is a life saver and thanks to all for sharing and supporting my desire to do what's best for my home grown trees...:-). If anyone has anything else to add please do so!!!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 3:46PM
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Mike, if your roots have rotted, it certainly cant be put at the door of peat moss use. Cold water will cause the peat moss the shrink away from it but a simple use of warmish water will correct that.
As far as "Four Winds"

Quote: "Use a soil mix that is lightweight and drains well. If the mix is dense or contains peat moss, amend your soil mix with 1/4-1/3 volume of 1" redwood shavings". Unquote
I cant find anywhere that peat moss is recommeneded to be not used. In fact, quite the opposite is the case.

Any potting soil that drains well and can hold nutritives for a time is ideal for citrus growing.
The selection of a proper sized container and the soil within it seems to be the only necessary item.
The use of dwarf varieties of citrus, especially where lemon and grapefruit are concerned, does seem to be the best varieties for container growing.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 5:58PM
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