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question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

Posted by donnas 7 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 11, 12 at 21:25

Sorry, but I had trouble trying to find exactly what I was looking for under the forums section, and I saw Indoor Plants Forum, so I thought I could ask my question here. Do you fill your pot with just Miracle Grow potting soil or do you mix something else with it? Do you also use top soil? I've tried potting some flowers a few times using Miracle Grow only, but my plants end up dying. Don't know if I'm over watering them or what. I would like to try again. Also, can I use Miracle Grow from the same large bag that I bought last summer? Wondering if it is still ok to use. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

Donnas, you'll find all kinds of information in the Container Gardening Forum...but you will still obtain some good advice here.

First of cannot use top soil, no matter how great you may think it is, in a container. Garden/top soil turns into an ugly monster when confined in a container....muddy, mucky, slow-to-drain, etc.

Millions of people have successfully used MiracleGro potting soil for their container plants, but a whole lot of us do not like it. And frankly, if you have ANY idea whatsoever that you might tend to over water your plants, then MiracleGro is not for least not without a great deal of amending.

May I suggest, first of all, that you visit the Container Forum and spend a bit of time reading some old threads that sound like they might be pertinent to what you are asking about.

I use a bark based potting mix, rather than a peat based medium. Mine is also directly out of a bag (you don't have to make your own with several different ingredients).

Here is a link that might be useful: C'mon, let's go to the Container Forum

RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

I would suggest you try the Container Gardening Forum. But be aware that the question of which soil, for reasons unfathonable to me, can be a hot button issue with some.

I have used Scotts products for a long time on outside and inside potted plants with no problem. Sometimes amended with coarse (stressing "coarse") perlite and sometimes not.

I have successfully grown potted tomatoes, petunias, sweet potato vine, green peppers, begonias, pansies, etc., outside in straight MG.

It depends on where you kept your bag from last year. If outside and open I would say "no."


RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

Posted the above at same time as Rhizo who is correct: If you tend to overwater, you'd have to amend Miracle Gro or any peat based soil.


RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

I'm glad that Linda commented on her experience with the MG. LOTS of people have terrific success with it. But the consistency of peat based mixes make it a bit challenging if you don't pay close attention to your watering practices.

RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 12, 12 at 7:47

Donas - I think that because nearly all of the experienced gardeners shy from most commercial soils based on fine particulates is a good indication that they recognize them as inherently flawed. Some growers feel they are salvable, and others don't feel they're amendable in the sense that you can effectively add a little of this and a little of that and come up with a soil that performs as well as one would if you recombined the ingredients on hand in a different ratio.

For example, many growers amend soils like Miracle-Gro with pine bark and perlite to help them drain better and hold more air, two characteristics usually less than ideal in most prepared soils. If you envision a jar of fine particles, like sand, that represents a soil like Miracle-Gro, in your minds eye you can see that adding ;large particles like perlite or pine bark in small fractions isn't going to improve aeration OR drainage. The small particles simply surround the large particles and continue to work against what you're trying to accomplish ....... until, the larger particles become a very large fraction of the whole.

Dori uses a bark-based soil because when you START with large particles, the drainage/aeration so conducive to good root health is already there. Many others see the same advantage and use soils based on large particulates instead of fine particulates like peat, compost, coir, sand, topsoil ....

The soils with reduced water retention, better drainage, and more aeration allow you to water properly, so you can flush the accumulating salts from the soil at will without worrying about root rot, and they offer the grower, especially the growers that aren't as experienced, a much wider margin for error - they're simply easier to grow in and make it easier to consistently bring along healthy plants.

I'll leave a link to a discussion about soils for containers that's been active since '05. There is a lot of information in it. Feel free to join the discussion if you wish. You'll get a good perspective of how a large group of growers approaches the container soil issue.

In the end, you could still use up your MG soil in combination with some other ingredients (pine bark/perlite/garden lime). You'll end up with something much easier to grow in, more conducive to root health, and much less expensive than purchasing a commercially prepared soil.

You can even watch a video (compliments of Josh) that shows how easy it is to make.

Also - see link below. There's a LOT more info there. Understanding the water:air relationship in container soils is probably the largest step forward an aspiring container gardener can make at any one time.

Best luck!




Here is a link that might be useful: More info

RE: question about outside potted plants (not house plants)

Al, nice pics

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