Return to the House Plants Forum | Post a Follow-Up

water retentive soil question! aka hello al and josh! lol

Posted by pinkgnome412 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 18:37

Before anyone yells at me, yes, I have read Tapla's absolutely wonderful explanation of soil and drainage and water retentiveness and how it affects roots. In fact I've probably read it 48 times and have switched most of my older plants over to the 5-1-1. They're all responding beautifully and I will have some awesome before and after pictures to share soon. So I do believe I have a grasp on this concept.

My question is basically concerning water retentive soil versus "standing in water." I understand the perched water level, but that's different from "standing in water," right?

For example, I recently received and purchased some new plants in what looks to be some peaty, perlite, and potting soil mix. It took literally a week to dry out. Does that have a similar effect on roots as "standing in water"? Will it rot them or at the very least, slow down the growth?
I'd love another excellent explanation for this!! I'm trying to make sure I understand before I go crazy repotting everything.

Oh, and if you're interested, the new plants are baby spider plants (these were gifts), a drenched Easter cactus saved from Walmart, and a wandering Jew from a greenhouse in a nursery. I also have a huge Thanksgiving Cactus I purchased back in December that must be in a peat mix because the top of the soil is hard as a rock, but the thing is putting on all kinds of new growth so I'm not sure if I should bother it since it appears healthy.

Thank you!!! I hope this question can help others as well!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: water retentive soil question! aka hello al and josh! lol


Yes, saturated potting mix will slow growth, even if the roots don't rot outright. As for the big Thanksgiving Cactus that needs a re-potting, I would re-pot from the middle of next month onwards. Begin softening that hard top soil a few days in advance, perhaps even soaking the entire root-ball in a container.


RE: water retentive soil question! aka hello al and josh! lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 22:35

If it was a perfect world, you'd be able to keep your soils damp - only about as wet as s sponge that has been wrung out. Soils that have larger particles and hold all or most of the water they hold inside the particles that make up the soil instead of between the particles, are going to offer you a much better opportunity to provide your plants with what they need to grow as close to their genetic potential as possible. Growing is just soo much easier and productive when you don't have to battle your soil on a daily basis.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the House Plants Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here