Desert Rose with Al's gritty mix

FLadeniumApril 28, 2014

Hey guys well I made 1 out of 3 parts of Al's mix here's a few pictures the DR. This plant was dieing due to me not knowing what sort of soil to use and the leaves were yellowing within a few days. I know better than to use Miracle Grow on anything so I opted out of the cactus pre-mix. I live in South Florida so I have only been able to locate the Repti Bark from Petsmart, and I am getting the Turface on either Tuesday or Wedsday. Can anyone tell me why Silica sand is used in place of the granite ? Also, how much of this sand is needed in the mix and how much Turface as of now I am only using the Repti bark with some Epsoma Gypsum for calcium. The plant seems to be doing much better already!

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Here's a pic of the root system after misting I also added stones on the bottom of the pot for drainage

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:31PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Congratulations on working on a better draining mix for your Adenium!!!

Al's Gritty Mix is a 1:1:1 ratio of Pine or Fir Bark, Turface, Granigrit ( Growers size) or Cherrystone ( size 2 ) All based on being similar in particle size. When you speak of silica sand instead of Granite, Sliica sand basically is smaller particles of crushed stone or granite . Coarse sand can be used as long as its in the right size.

Here is a pic of my Gritty Mix...

Once you make the mix, you don't need a layer of gravel on the bottom of your container.. It's a good idea to put a small piece of screen or plastic mesh ( used for cross stitch available at Michaels arts and crafts) to cover the hole. The mix will come out of the hole because of the small size, so its a good idea to protect the drainage hole.

I'll link you to the info that Al has posted and you can see the sizes needed for the Gritty Mix!

Gritty Mix

1 part uncomposted screened pine or fir bark (1/8-1/4")
1 part screened Turface
1 part crushed Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil (eliminate if your fertilizer has Ca)
CRF (if desired)

I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts (MgSO4) per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize if the fertilizer does not contain Mg (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg. If I am using my currently favored fertilizer (I use it on everything), Dyna-Gro's Foliage-Pro in the 9-3-6 formulation, and I don't use gypsum or Epsom salts in the fertilizer solution.

This link will help!!!

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: Containers Soils -Water Movement and Retention XVIII

This post was edited by loveplants2 on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 20:12

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:05PM
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Your display of components of Gritty Mix is like Art Work. So well presented.
FLadenium, nice plant. You will see a big difference in time using this mix.
Watering frequency will depend on location, time of year and conditions we each apply.
Nice to have you join this group.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:45PM
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Thanks to everyone for the follow up I'm hitting Silica sand company either tomorrow or the following day, and Laura I'm adding a screen on the bottom hole of the pot like you said, and maybe a little Dyna-Gro's Foliage-Pro too from a hydroponics store. Thank you all

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

FWIW - particle size is a critical consideration when substituting granite and silica, or any other ingredients in the gritty mix. Though both are inert ingredients and hold no water internally, if the size or size range varies, the way they interact with the rest of the ingredients as a fraction of the whole changes. IOW, you can't substitute silica sand about the same size as coarse salt for #2 cherrystone or grower size grit and expect the soil to perform as it would if you were using the larger components.

If you're interested, the link that Laura left above offers a detailed overview of how water behaves in soils. An understanding of the information in that link probably represents the largest step forward a container gardener can take at any one time. Once you understand it, I promise the proverbial 'light' will go on.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:57PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

fL...Good luck!!!! You will love the Foliage Pro!!!

Thank you, Rick ! , so kind...

Al, always a pleasure! Thank you for sharing....

Take care,


    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Vikki(7b / 8)

What exactly is turface? I've never heard of it before.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:37PM
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Turface is a calcined clay used for improving drainage. Many Ball fields, Soccer fields use for this purpose.
I get mine through a wholesale company here that sells fertilizers, etc.
Many substitute Pumice (used in some masonry work) or Quincan gravel.
Use what you can find and is readily available to you. Many people use Perlite if they need to and some for the purpose of keeping the weight down on pots.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:01PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

This is copied from a thread searched here Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on Sat, Sep 3, 11 at 11:03

Turface vs Napa Floor Dry

Turface is calcined Montmorillonite clay, while the Floor Dry is calcined DE (diatomaceous earth). Both are very internally porous, but the calcined DE getting the nod for most water retention. Because the DE is more porous, it has more surface area and more attachment sites for nutrients, so it's CEC is better than that of Turface. Turface comes in at a pH of about 6.2, Floor Dry around 7.0.
There is a thread floating around somewhere that discusses a floor-dry product OTHER than the NAPA that has a larger avg particle size and very little waste. Though I do lean toward Turface over the DE, and perhaps it's because I don't NEED the extra water retention, I think I would take a serious look at switching to the larger DE product if I could find it (I think I cut myself too much slack there - I should have said if I wasn't so complacent and too lazy to make the effort.) ;-).

I think I'll go try to find that thread & reread it. If I locate it, I'll share.


Thought this might help!!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:10PM
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