Al's gritty mix

nearpassMarch 27, 2013

I apologize if this is something that has been hammered on, but I've read through many of the threads here, and on other parts of Gardenweb, and can't come up with anything definitive for adeniums. But, I may also be blind or looking in the wrong places.

Do any of you use Al's gritty mix, or a variation thereof, for your adeniums? Reading about it, it sounds like a fantastic medium, but I'm sure has some quirks that go along with various types of plants and climatic conditions.

If anyone can point me to threads where this has been discussed, or your personal ideas, I'd be very appreciative.

Thank you!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Dagmar,
I use Al's mix in regard to the quantities of each ingredient, but it varies depending on what is available to me. I believe that this mix is best for me in my climate and what I can give these plants.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Dagmar, you wanted a thread for Al's gritty mix.
Here is a link that might be useful:Al's gritty mix

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks very much! Very interesting and educational read.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Dagmar,

All of my DR's are in Gritty

Mix and they are very happy.

I posted a thread showing how I repotted a DR into the mix.. I'll look and see if I can find it for you.

Here are some pics from last year... Hope this helps..


From the original pot..

Soaking off the soil...

Gritty mix ready...

Used the hose to help get the rest of the original soil off of the roots..

Barerooted and ready to pot up in Gritty Mix..

Sizing up the tree to the pot and where I want it to sit properly...

Finally in the container with the Gritty Mix!

I did cut the limbs back and it did bloom last summer... I have blooms right now they are white blooms...

Good Luck!!!


This post was edited by loveplants2 on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 2:07

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the pictures. I'm a visual person, and they make it much easier. Your plants are beautiful, by the way. I wish I could be as successful up here in NY. We'll have to see.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been looking through the gritty mix recipe again. I've visited the idea before but it's near impossible to find anything nearby but I think I may try again this year, especially with a desert rose now.

For the turface, bark, granite mix - I looked around for substitution ideas and people suggested Floor-Dry #8822 from Napa Auto Parts instead of Turface. Then there was poultry grit from a Tractor Supply Co for the crushed granite. And then at Lowe's, a bag of Greensmix mini-nuggets bark mulch. I think I might hop around and try to find these parts if the stores are carrying them.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Dragonstone , I am using Leca (Hydroton) instead of turface.

Here is a link that might be useful:Leca

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone!!

I just wanted to add that Fir Bark can be found at Petsmart in the Reptile dept. It is called Repti Bark by Zoo Med. If you only need a little.. It is a litttle more $ to buy it this way, but if you have a hard time finding Pines Barks. I screen this over a 1/4 inch screen and use what falls thru. The other larger pieces can be used as a top mulch or in an orchid mix.

Gran-i-grit- is 100 % granite and you can find this at Tractor Supply stores and Southern States Stores. Feed and Seed stores carry poulty grit for their chickens. This is used in the digestion process, so you might keep this in mind when searching.. (stay away from anything with crushed oyster shells) Sometimes it is called Manna Pro and is Size # 2 Same as Gran-i-grit ( Growers size ) They have three different sizes, so you want Growers Size.

Cherrystone is also used, this is Quartzite and is sold in large bags in the # 2 size.

When looking for Turface... John Deere Tractor Supply stores is a great place to look, they sometimes can order it for you too! Turface is used on Baseball fields and used by many athletic depts. SO you can ask your local parks and rec depts if they use this. Turface MVP or Turface Allsport is the proper Turface.

Napa does carry the # 8822 Floor Dry that some use as a sub for Turface. It is alright in my opinion, but i prefer the Turface. Remember to screen the fines from the Turface using a strainer or insect screen. I also save the fines from the Turface and use them to start wonders!!!

Strainers are easy to find at Walmart in the kitchen Dept.

Hope this helps!!!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was hoping to tackle the bark first to make sure it really is small. I stopped by Lowe's and as usual they said they don't have it and I must order it online in order to have it shipped to the store (I shouldn't be surprised at this anymore, now that I think about it). I wasn't going to order it because I wanted to check to see if it really was small pieces but... I guess paying a little more than 3 dollars for the bag online isn't a big price to pay. I can just throw it out in the garden if it does turn out to be too big. It was a suggestion by someone that said it was good to use but reviews say that some pieces were really too big to be considered 'mini-nuggets'.

Thanks for the suggestion, Laura. I will keep the repti-bark in mind if the mulch from Lowe's turns out to be a dud.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 5:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dragonstone - I used Repti Bark, the small size, right out of the bag. The pieces are small enough and virtually dust free, worked well for me...


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dragonstone - I used Repti Bark, the small size, right out of the bag. The pieces are small enough and virtually dust free, worked well for me...


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Laura,

Do you start your seeds in 100% Turface fines?
I'm trying a batch in this as well as a batch in the perlite that I screen out for 5-1-1'. With the amount of gritty mix and 5-1-1 I've made recently, I'm figuring there has GOT to be something to do with these remnants.

No problems in germination or roots growing down? I was a bit concerned that the fine Turface was too small and too heavy for seedlings, but given that a few have sprouted, I'm hoping for the best. Then with the perlite fines, I'm thinking the opposite -- too light! It's like Goldilocks around here!

Please do let me know when you get a chance. Thanks!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Grace,

Seeds can be sowed n the Gritty Mix as well, but i have found it quite easy since i have the finds on hand to sow in the fines first. After they have matured for a few months, i will repot them int the gritty mix. Yes.. 100% fines!!!

I did two bareroots today on two Arabicums and i snapped a few extra pics for you showing the box of fines i have collected as well as the steps that i used again.

Hope this answers your questions..

I think if you even asked on the other forums, you will find that lots of seedss can be sowed in the Turface fines. I use them for the C & S cuttings, Plumeria seeds as well as the DR seeds. no problems with the root system at all in the Turface Fines.. ;-)

Good Luck!!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Laura! I do root most succulent cuttings in gritty mix or straight up Turface, but it seemed inconceivable that veggie seeds roots (like shiso?) would push through Turface fines! I know they're stronger than they appear, haha, but the sheer weight of each cell was unnerving, making me feel there was no way. Not that it stopped me from trying!

Since my question to you, almost all of the shiso have sprouted with cotys peeking out. I had actually put seeds in the fines, then after a week became really concerned, so laid a thin layer of screened potting soil on to actually have seed in contact with "moisture". Then I threw all of 'em under a dome to get hot. Now they're all outside in the sun.

I started some new tomatoes, peppers, petunia, bacopa and salvia last night but used my soil + perlite fines mix instead. Oh, and I also started a few corkscrew vine seeds -- which I guess would have been ideal for Turface fines! I'm kind of regretting that, haha! Have you started vegetables in Turface fines too?

I have quite a few gardenia cuttings rooting in screened Turface; they look to be hanging in there nicely!

Thanks for your confirmation!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Grace,

First,, YOU are most welcome!!!

I usually use the Turface fines for the Plumeria Seeds and Adeniumm seeds ,but others use the fines for many things. It is such a wonderful medium to use and it is perfect to me to sow any seed in this great stuff!

I also grow my Gardinias in the Gritty Mix and they do great. I water root cutting, then stick them into the gritty...

I am so glad you are enjoying this mix. I love it and make it all of the time!! ;-)

Have a good night.

Oh.. I also like the foliage Pro.. if you havent heard about this fertilizer, it has all of the essential minerals and nutrients that the DR's need as well as most other plants and trees that i grow. I have over 100 Plumeria.. Sheesh!

don't tell anyone!! LOLOL

Have a good night!!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just ordered the foliage pro. Do you use it with every watering?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Laura, how often do you water your adeniums in that gritty mix? Especially if they are outdoors in the summer?

I'm a little nervous to use the gritty mix on my adeniums as I would never know when they are dormant when they need a tiny bit of water. Not to mention when they are outdoors in the summer sun/wind etc.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can understand the dilemma, but I think for anyone growing these in a cooler climate such as mine ( Zone 7a. - 8a. ) it is the safest and most reliable way to grow them. The weight of the pots is how I check.
I think by following the plants lead is good. In spring when new growth commences from higher light levels and temperatures, new growth starts and then your watering becomes a bit more frequent. If you can have them outside where you live and have in full sun for most of the day. Then watering and fertilizing will begin.
Soon temperatures and light is less intense and the watering is reduced until we are into fall/winter.
Different for all of us as some have much longer growing seasons.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone!

Grant.... I use the foliage pro in the summer as recommended on the bottle once a week I use it to fertilize. I will water in between and not worry about how often I do feed. Sometimes I will go every other week. Even in the winter , under lights I will dilute it to 1/4 tsp per gallon when watering my trees . They love it and they get the nutrients that they need. You can feed weekly . That is what I like to do. So easy to use.. Hope this helps! Just to clarify. .. This is on other trees in the winter that are growing under my T -5 lights and are still active . My dormant DR's get watered once a month in he winter or when I feel they need it. Just wanted to make that clear. ;-)

Lady.. I love the Gritty Mix and I highly recommend it especially on the DR's. they love this fast draining mix and do just fine in the summer. I water my trees about every three days or so. You don't really have to worry about them getting soaked and their roots sitting in water with a fast draining mix. Some use other mixes and it works for them, but don't be nervous about this mix . I have so many trees on my deck in the summer and I water all of them sometimes every two days or so including all of my DR's. they are actively growing and are in full sun for most of the day . If you have any questions, please ask! ;-)

Hi Rick! You said that perfectly ! I also can lift my containers and see if they need water.. Using the wooden skewer method for those who are unsure is another good way to check for moisture levels. I'm in a zone 8 and the temps can get into the triple digits so I will water daily then . It does depend on your climate and how high the temps are, but my trees love to be watered in the summer. The trees can handle if acclimated correctly . Mine were just put outside yesterday.

Hope this helps ! If I made any mistakes. I m sorry. I'm stuck in Newark in this storm and posting from my cell. Lol. This is hard to do. Lol

Take care ,


This post was edited by loveplants2 on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 19:38

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol - Laura suggested I look in on this thread, but you guys are doing great. I'm giving a talk tomo night (3rd one in 3 weeks) about maintaining succulents for the long term in containers. The gritty mix will be a big part of the presentation, but I'll also be doing a full repot of something (haven't decided yet) and talking about pruning timing for a lot of the leafy plants.

Gran-I-Grit is mined in NC, so it should be very easy to come by, if you look in the right place. Check out the link to the Turface locator below ....... be sure to investigate the links to the John Deere Dealers and Ewing Irrigation if there are any. For bark, you can screen uncomposted pine bark if you find it. Look for orchid growing ops or supply houses for fir bark - or find a bonsai club and ask where they get their pine or fir bark - they'll have sources.

There's just no getting away from the fact that succulents absolutely love the gritty mix ..... and you can't go wrong using FP 9-3-6 in combination with it. It really does add a lot of simplicity to caring for your rooted friends.


Here is a link that might be useful: Turface here .......... see

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenclaws UKzone8a

I have switched to my own UK version of the gritty mix and have found one problem. Bearing in mind I do not get the growth rate many of you do in better climates my plants are smaller in comparison and I have noticed that my 1yr old seedlings seem to be very lightly held into the mix. Only the other day I caught one and it up-rooted completely leaving no mix attached to the roots compared to if it was in a conventional mix. It had to have a total re-pot in other words. I use a finer mix for both these and the newly germinated seeds than I do for my 3 mature plants. Maybe when they have a bigger root system this shouldn't happen I guess.

In the meantime, I will have to be more careful and not knock them clean out of their pots! It does solve my problem with our house minder drowning the bulk of my collection though, as its impossible to do that with this formula!
Gill from the UK.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My brain has been circling this idea for months but only just now started wondering how to go about locating the ingredients.

After a cursory search online, I have concluded this is going to be like collecting Dragonpriest masks.

Here I go....!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

So where do you live?


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 1:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whoa Al. Thanks for the concern.This is like wondering idly about strings and then Ed WItten shows up, asking "So, what part don't you get" lol

Anyway, I was reading through your articles until the wee hours and I'm typing this down mainly to see if I had distilled the dense information correctly:

Potting medium is basically a delivery mechanism for water and nutrients that we have to provide since pots do not have the ecosystem that normally breaks things down in the ground into forms that plants can use.

Anyway I have been scouring the forums and found a thread where people shared information about where to find ingredients in their respective locales. Not much help since my area was not mentioned. But I Amazoned the heck out of Turface instead, because pumice was no longer available from the sellers there.

Today I shall venture to find crushed granite/pea gravel or other non-porous substitutes. Can I literally put plastic BB pellets then? Not that I would, I'm just paring it down to first principles so I understand it. I'm guessing it will depend on how much moisture I want my potting mix to retain? For adeniums, I might get away with just pumice and tree bark, for example? Or will my medium miss critical chemistry that fired clay bits and/or volcanic ejecta will put into my pot?

I will SO take advantage of your attention further! This is probably a long shot but is there a substitute for tree bark? If I were to mix this soil in Manila, for instance, where there is no pine or fir or indeed any sort of bark that is commercially sold down the supply chain from various illegal logging operations.

I know that this ingredient is necessary for both texture and the compounds found on the bark itself. Will the woody shell of the coconut fruit work, for example? I doubt whether it has the same compounds found on tree barks since barks are skin and serve a very specific function. All the other fibrous parts of the coconut plant is widely used in gardening as substitute for long-fiber sphagnum moss. The shell is commercially used mainly for charcoal and, well, bowls.

Thank you for your time. Also, you made a comment in one of your posts that I vehemently disagree with---you ARE doing something extraordinary. For the amount of work and attention you have spent on this subject as well as your patience dealing with questions as specific as mine, most people would have found some way to sell the output to buy themselves some Apple product. You have given it to us and are still giving it to us for free.I've never seen such a thing.

To quote George Carlin, may the forces of evil get confused on their way to your house.


This post was edited by fakechuchi on Sat, May 4, 13 at 9:09

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kodom087 z9a

OMG Pagan! Dragonpriest Masks reference = two thumbs up and total geek love! lol


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

^5 kirk lol

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:11AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Good Article - wanted to share
This is a good read and interesting article for Adeniumaholics. Rick...
Finally Joined
Greetings, After years of lurking and enjoying your...
First flower buds!!!!
Just got back from Orchids by Hausermann's open house...
Help with desert rose and gritty mix
Hey, guys n gals just hoping for a little help on a...
Adenium almost 'two meters' height
I have this obesum since 2010, she was one of the first...
Sponsored Products
Hampton Bay Bronze Table Lamp: Mix and Match 25.5 in. Restoration Bronze Graduat
$14.97 | Home Depot
Flower 5 Wall Clock by David Scherer
$98.95 | Bellacor
Campania International Provencal Cast Stone Backless Garden Bench - BE-106-AL
$639.99 | Hayneedle
Dovetail Wood Animal Set - Karl Zahn
$75.00 | HORNE
Capresso Froth Plus
$59.50 | FRONTGATE
Deluna Leather Single Arm Chaise - Brighton Energy Pink
Joybird Furniture
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™