Your preferred soil mixes?

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Julie
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Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Julie » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:13 pm

I'll take an average mixture of everyone's responses.. :)

Imagine you have JI no. 2, and grit sand. (and peaty compost).

Which ratio would you mix up for the following plants?

1. Lithops.
2. E.obesa, symmetrica and meloformis.
3. Gymno.
4. Mamm.
5. Houseleeks.
6. Crassula leaf, which will grow babies on the end.

and for the babies in their plastic bags...

7. Forby seeds.
8. Gymno seeds.

Thanks for any feedback!

Happy carrier of Forby Disorder - an obsession with Euphorbia obesa.

NB. Anyone failing to provide a sensible name for me to address them will be called, or referred to, as Fred.
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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Bill » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:24 pm

I wouldn't.

I'd go out and buy a bag of horticultural grit, a bag of perlite and some cat litter from Tesco's and mix 5 JI, 5 grit, 5 perlite and 1 cat litter and I use that with minor variations for most things.

Good thread here



Post Edited (11-17-06 21:20)
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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Phil_SK » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:37 pm

This is one of those questions that will produce as many answers as there are respondents. Each will swear that their mix is the best and some might claim others' mixes foolhardy. What's useful to remember is that plants don't simply grow in a medium. What I mean is that if you water frequently your soil needs to be more free-draining than if you're cautious with the can. If you repot annually, you probably don't need as rich a soil as if you leave plants in the same pots for a few years.
The fact that I would probably kill half my plants if I cultivated them using another's mix (I exaggerate for effect) doesn't mean my mix is better, merely that it suits my style of gardening better. You have to get a feel for it, I think.
(Oh, and you don't want to bother with that horrible dirty JI, 60:40 J Arthur Bowers New Horizon and horticultural grit is what you need ;) )
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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Bill » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:59 pm

Most of what Phil says is very true, but you don't want to go using that New Horizon stuff it's rubbish LOL.

Actualy it's OK, my problem is I don't like to feed and I used to work at a gardens where we used both JI and trialed New Horizon and we found that plants in the latter needed feeding earlier.

Actually I don't think you exaggerate at all Phil. To a certain degree you can grow most plants in most mediums, if you adapt your cultivation techniques to match. Think most garden centre/supermarket cacti are grown in pure peat, no doubt they are grown in very warm dry g/houses to prevent rotting, as soon as they get to an outlet that waters regualarly with no time/heat to dry out, they soon start to keel over.

I have even seen Haworthia grown hydroponicaly, no doubt you could do the same with cacti.

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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by iann » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:15 pm

5 JI, 5 grit, 15 perlite and 1 cat litter

15 parts perlite! You got shares in a perlite mine, Bill?

I'm curious why only 1 part cat litter? Hardly seems worth bothering.

On the original question, Lithops and Mammillarias in more or less the same stuff, Gymnos the same but ericaceous. Euphorbias and Crassulas I don't know. Sempervivums outside in any old pile of gravel :)

Seeds in the same as the adult plant, not too much limestone and no big chunks of anything.

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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Bill » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:35 pm

iann wrote:

> 5 JI, 5 grit, 15 perlite and 1 cat litter
>
> 15 parts perlite! You got shares in a perlite mine, Bill?
>
> I'm curious why only 1 part cat litter? Hardly seems worth
> bothering.

Ooops bit of a typo there, well actualy a double one becuase it's normaly vermiculite I use now adays, doesn't rise through the mix as much.

Why so little cat litter, becuase I only want minimal additional water retention and after growing a H. cymbiformis, (offsets from the same plant) in 6 different mixes as follows:

5:5:5:5
5:5:5:4
5:5:5:3
5:5:5:2
5:5:5:1
5:5:5

Net result after 10 weeks was 5:5:5:1 did best. Simple experiment but it worked for me.

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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by Julie » Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:47 pm

Hehe, thanks everyone. What a can of worms I've opened!

I think I'll just stick to JI and grit mixes.. everyone seemed to think this was the way to enlightenment when I had insect problems... the forbies have managed so far in a peat bog (although I don't drown them) so anything had to be an improvement.

So... a gymno will not like JI and grit? Is there clay in it?

I guess I could raid some topsoil off my big yellow rhodey - potting it on took about 30 litres of the stuff, so it won't miss enough to fill a 6cm pot.

Oh.. do gymno's dislike terracotta pots?

Happy carrier of Forby Disorder - an obsession with Euphorbia obesa.

NB. Anyone failing to provide a sensible name for me to address them will be called, or referred to, as Fred.
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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by iann » Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:16 pm

a gymno will not like JI and grit? Is there clay in it?

Almost anything will grow in almost anything :)

There is clay in John Innes, a small proportion but a necessary one. A soil without clay is called a beach.

I use grit only as a top dressing. It is heavy, I prefer cat litter. Others use the even lighter perlite. One advantage of a lighter aggregate, other than just being lighter, is that it becomes easier to tell the difference between a wet pot and dry one.

Gymnos, and some of the other South Americans, appear to do better in a soil with more organic material and a more acidic pH. Don't panic about regular JI#2, but be cautious with hard water, don't add limestone, and maybe try the ericaceous to see if it works for you.

Terracotta pots? Does anything dislike terracotta pots? I think you can grow anything you want in unglazed clay. Or plastic. Or anything else that holds soil, preferably with holes but even that isn't essential. Clay is heavier, tends to take up more space due to the traditional shape, may be harder to find in a short wide shape, and is more expensive. Advantages might be a more pleasing appearance, but the ability to let through water is the big difference, so clay pots dry out faster than plastic ones. One thing you might not notice until several years down the line, roots adhere to clay pots and it can make repotting a bit of a nightmare.

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Re: Your preferred soil mixes?

Post by David_L » Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:46 am

Hi Julie

For the plants you are growing, and a small scale collection housed indoors or in a conservatory you are not gong to go far wrong with either 50:50 JI2 and grit for the forbs and Lithops or 2:1 JI2 and grit for the rest. Especially if you water with rain water and are not too heavy handed with the watering can. A lot of nurserymen I know use this mix for all their plants, adding a bit more or a bit less grit as the difficulty of the plant dictates. I do prefer horticultural grit to grit sand though. Silvaperl brand is widely available in garden centres and is OK. Don't let people bully you into over complicated mixes. They are great fun to argue about and I know plenty of people who can show you beautiful plants to prove their mix is best, and yes I do sometimes use Tesco's Premium and vermiculite and other stuff, but I've also seen some fabulous plants grown in the simplest mixes as suggested above.

David

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Mainly small Cacti + a few Mesembs.
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