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Can I use 5-1-1 mix without Lime?

Posted by GrnThum NY (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 17, 11 at 12:51

Hi, I'm new and read about Al's mix. I love this site and I finally decided to join! By the way I have the ingredients for the 5-1-1 mix ready, minus the garden Lime, I don't know where to find it.

Before I make my mix, I would like to know:
1-What the purpose of the Lime is and if it is necessary for repotting gardenia and Jasmine plants I just received from an online vendor (they are currently in the small pots they were sent to me in).

2-After I make the mix, should I clear the rootball of each plant of any soil or plant it with the small amount of soil containing the rootball?

3- Should the mix be moistened and left to sit for a number of days before planting the gardenia and Jasmine or could I plant them right away then water the mix?

Thanks for your help!

I tried to search for this topic but there is so much info to browse through!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can I use 5-1-1 mix without Lime?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 17, 11 at 13:49

Almost all nurseries, garden centers, and big box stores will have dolomitic (garden lime) now or soon. The purpose of the lime in the 5:1:1 mix is twofold. It raises pH to what is a more favorable level for most plants, and serves as a source of both Ca and Mg. You CAN make the 5:1:1 mix w/o it for plants that prefer a more acidic medium, but it's not necessary. The best way to control pH is via the pH of your irrigation/fertigation water. If you DON'T use lime, you need to be sure you are supplying both Ca and Mg in your fertilizer (most soluble fertilizers lack both Ca & Mg) or by including CaSO4 (gypsum) in your soil and including some MgSO4 (Epsom salts) in your fertilizer regimen. Gypsum and Epsom salts contribute Ca ans Mg (respectively) w/o any significant impact on the p[H of the soil or soil solution.

I remove ALL of the old soil from everything I pot or repot in the gritty mix. I sometimes do it over 2 repotting sessions in consecutive years, but I do try to be sure I don't leave any of the old soil on the roots.

No need to let the gritty mix rest under any circumstances. The 5:1:1 mix would be better left to rest for a week (if it's moist) so the Ca can get through the reactive phase to where there is a residual fraction that is more readily available for uptake. That said, I very often plant in 5:1:1 I made the same day. I do try to use soil that I made a week earlier for anything prone to BER, though.


RE: Can I use 5-1-1 mix without Lime?

Thank you Al for your input!

I also wanted to know whether it would make a difference if I used Sphagnum moss instead of the sphagnum peat? What effect on the mix, would the Sphagnum moss would have?

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