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Can we grow anything in the gritty mix? Watering regimen?

Posted by true-blue Zone 4 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 17:10


It seems a dumb question to ask. But, I need some guidance about the watering regimen, for the gritty mix:
I chose the gritty mix as I had good results with my Osmanthus & Spider plant. But now, I'm having doubts as my experience with Pachira aquatica, wasn't so good, due to my ignorance about the water regimen. I watered every 2nd day from mid February as a result the plant has droopy leaves, but I'm getting some help with that in another thread.
Anyway, back to the watering regimen.
I recently planted a small greek myrtle (Myrtus communis) plant, a small Jasminum sambac, and a pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) in the gritty mix. As I plan to bring them in during the winter.
Now it seems that I made a mistake.
It seems that Greek myrtle needs water all the time, though I wonder why as it is a Mediterranean plant.
And the others I'm not so sure, as I am not familiar with them.
Now, my confusion is the watering regimen.
Lets start with spring/ summer, then as I understand the logic, I can adapt it for fall and winter.
The pots are clay, and they receive 5 hours of sun. From morning till noon,
I live in Montreal, where depending the days are hot and humid.

So, my question, is what is the watering frequency for these plants? Twice a week, three times a week, every day?

Thanks a lot,


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can we grow anything in the gritty mix? Watering regimen?

Bob, I am watching this thread closely. I just constructed my first clay pot (16 in) with gritty mix and a Meyer dwarf lemon. My understanding is the turface retains the moisture for the mix. Maybe a heavier dose of turface might hold more water???

RE: Can we grow anything in the gritty mix? Watering regimen?

You sometimes need to water daily when a plant has just been put into gritty mix and its roots haven't started to fill the pot. And, if your plants are in small pots in full sun, they probably will need to be watered every day. I use gritty mix on dozens of different plants, and almost all of them are in large pots of one gallon or more. I don't water any of them more than once every other day even at the height of summer. I have a couple of succulents in very small pots growing in my office under flourescent lights and I only water them once a week.

RE: Can we grow anything in the gritty mix? Watering regimen?

Fireduck, actually the gritty mixed saved my Meyer Lemon, which was half dead last year.

Ohiofem thank you for your prompt response.

Am I correct to assume

1) Water new plantings every day until a month/or until their established.
2) Other plants (i.e. established plants in gritty mix) - every 2nd day, spring, summer, autumn, unless it rains.

Water plants every week every week (any season)

RE: Can we grow anything in the gritty mix? Watering regimen?

I'm sorry, true-blue, but it is not that simple. I know it is frustrating to hear, but you must water as needed, which is determined by the environment (temperature, humidity, light), the plant (how old it is, what kind it is, how well its roots fill out the pot), the size of the pot, and so on. I was only giving you examples of what I do with different plants. Here is a little more detail.

Let's take the plants I put into gritty mix yesterday. It's overcast and 70F today with the forecast for the week to be unseasonably cool (nights in the 50s and days in the 70s). These plants will all be situated under eaves close to my house with no direct sun for at least a week. If the weather stays cool, these plants will probably need less water than if it were in the 90s all week.

I transplanted a few mature clivias and a bougainvillea that had been in smaller containers with gritty mix for the past two years. The clivias were moved to 1- and 2-gallon containers and the bougainvillea was moved from a 5-gallon container to a 15-gallon container. I also planted a newly purchased two-year-old limequat that was in muck from the garden center and a fresh cutting from a ficus elastica into 1-gallon pots of gritty mix.

The clivias can go for a month or more without any water in the winter. And, if it rains a half-inch or more a week, they can go that long in the summer. I have dozens of clivias and have never seen one wilt. They are very tough plants. But, I have seen several succumb to root rot. So I will probably go three or four days between watering for the first week on these. After that, I'll treat them like all my other clivias and let them go dry between waterings.


Variegated daruma Clivia transplanted to 1-gallon container with gritty mix photo

My bougainvillea wilts dramatically when it needs water in the summer sun. Even though it's been in a very large container, I consider it my "tell" plant among the dozens of flowering containers displayed in my yard because it is the first to tell me when any of them need watering. Bougainvilleas also are much more sensitive to root disturbance than most of my other plants and can be killed by rough root pruning. Finally, this plant has just finished six months in the house, where it lost all its leaves, although it is coming back nicely now. For those reasons, I will watch this plant carefully and probably water copiously every day for at least a week.


Bougainvillea transplanted to 15-gallon container with gritty mix photo

The last time I transplanted this bougainvillea, it wilted the first couple days. This is a close-up shot 24 hours after transplant, and I see no signs of wilt. The gritty mix still feels damp on top, so I'm going to wait a few more hours to water. So far so good.

Bougainvillea leaves:

Close-up of Bougainvillea transplanted to 15-gallon container with gritty mix photo bougainvillea2.jpg

This is my first citrus plant, and I know they are sensitive to root disturbance, so I am really going to watch this baby. I will definitely water every day for a week. I will probably cut back on watering then, but won't move it into its permanent location until I see some sign it is growing. So far, I see no signs of wilting.


New 2-year-old limequat planted in gritty mix in a 1-gallon terracotta pot photo limequat2.jpg

In the above photo, you can see the ficus cutting I put into a one-gallon pot of gritty mix. I will definitely water this cutting every day until I see signs that it is starting to form roots. That is likely to take at least six weeks or more. I did this successfully once before, but it is no sure bet.

Clivia - Indicator

Hi Ohiofem,

Thank you for your detailed response and photos.
Yes it is frustrating. Last year, when I started with the gritty mix, I simply watered every day, and everything was fine.
I had a 5 of Acacias, which only one remains (curtsy of squirrels), a Meyer lemon, an Osmanthus and a couple of Pachiras and a Spider plant.
Of these, the happiest is the Osmanthus, Spider plant, Acacia and one of the Pachira’s.
The Meyer Lemon is static, but it flowered profusely in February.
I honestly won’t bother planting Clivias in the gritty mix. I know they’re subject to root rot in potting soil, but if I decide to separate the babies, I’ll just go with pure turface or normal potting soil, anyway in a couple of years there won’t be any soil left anyway. I’ve got pots, where what is left is roots. I love this plant, it thrives with neglect.

I like the idea of the indicator. Actually mine is the myrtle.
Greek myrtle - Myrtus communis photo IMG_1681_zpsdd8ae97c.jpg
It flops, every two days, even after heavy downpours the day before. So from what you said, as it is a newly planted shrub, it will need water everyday, until the time I see growth. Then I can ease off and go for every second day.

The reason you see, all those broken pot on top of the soil, is that squirrels, have a habit of uprooting potted plants from time to time, that how I lost my Acacias :(

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