i am planning to make soil for adeniums with the following mix - manure, cocunut husk, ground nut shells and clay. will this suit the adenium obesum?
and also wood charcoal maybe?
I am not sure of your location, but I question using clay?
The others ingredients would work with some quincan (lava rock) or coarse river sand (not beach sand, too fine),
Not sure of what is available to you?
I agree with Rick definitely not clay and not to much coconut husk as it holds water once sodden, nut shells, dry manure, dried leaves, and dead wood and sand are used in Thailand for there mix .
As you know these succulents are originally from African deserts so they need very little moisture .
I think your ingredient mix is very likely a recipe for trouble because the fine ingredients are certain to ensure excess water retention. Look for ingredients that are coarse - very few or NO fine material at all is best. All of my succulents, houseplants, and woody material I use for bonsai are grown in a soil that looks like this:
Because of the coarse particles, it holds no (or very little) water between the particles. It holds all its water inside particles and on their surface, which makes for a very healthy root environment. A healthy plant is impossible w/o a healthy root system, so choose your soil wisely. Soil choice is the foundation on which every planting is built.
If you want more info about soils so you can get a better understanding of the big picture, just ask and I'll link you to something more in-depth.
Keep CHCs or coir to a small fraction of the o/a mix if you must use it. Because of high pH issues that preclude the use of dolomite as a liming agent (for Ca/Mg), and a very high K content, professional growers usually limit coconut products to less than 10% of the o/a mix. They can also be very high in soluble salts, which could easily create problems on several fronts.
i think ElliotSwan is using clay or garden soil to give little bit of water retention capacity to soil in summers when there is lot of heat
just a thought and also my doubt on al gritty mix .
even in al's mix there is turface wich will retain a lot of water but those people who cn't get hold of turface what can be its substitute ? surely it should not be loose clay
The key to building soils that provide healthy homes for roots centers around using coarse ingredients that hold water internally and on their surfaces instead of between the particles. Imagine rigid little sponges the size of BBs in a pint jar with a drain hole. In your mind's eye, you can see all the wonderful little air spaces between each BB. When you saturate the sponges, there is no water between the sponges except where they touch - the water is held internally. Perfect! Now add a cup of peat, or sand, coir, compost, clay .... to the sponges. Instantly, the valuable air spaces disappear and a soggy layer of soil appears at the bottom of the jar. We went from a healthy root environment to one that is inherently limiting, just by introducing enough fine material to clog the macropores and ensure that perched water will be held between the soil particles.
You can use combinations of Turface, calcined DE (floor dry), Dry Stall, Axis, pumice, grit, pine/fir bark, perlite, haydite, lava rock, and others that can be screened to an appropriate size to build soils that hold plenty of water but are almost impossible to over-water in. They make growing soo much easier, and increase the margin for grower error considerably.
Thank you for the email!
The proper balance in a mix of soil is the key to any plant that will continue to grow and flourish In its container. It all starts with the health of the roots to promote the best possible growing conditions. IMO.
I did at one time just take a little of this and a little of that and combine it thinking it will be good for the tree or plant I was working with until I started learning about why roots need a balance of air for proper circulation and gas exchange. This all comes from a balance of ingredients that allows the roots to take In moisture but not to be drowning or sitting in a mud bank. I did this with some of my trees and I learned why they died... To much water. ( root rot)
People have many opinions on Gritty Mix. Al has gone to great lengths to explain why it works and the science behind it. Thank you, Al... I have learned so much from you!
Finding a proper moisture retentive soil can be found if there are issues in the heat of the summer by changing and adding more Turface to the mix. Lets say a 4-3-2 ratio on 4 parts Turface, 3 parts Bark and 2 parts grit. I can adjust the mix to help keep it from drying out to fast if needed. The Turface helps retain moisture as well as the Firbark . By adding more Turface I can make the mix hold a little more moisture than if I used a 1-1-1 ratio on my mix. I personally use the 1-1-1 ratio for my Adeniums.
I was asked about substitutes for Turface... Napa auto parts sells Floor Dry part number #8822 which is a great substitute for Turface. Also some of the other materials mentioned by Al are wonderful too. We all live in areas that items are hard to locate so we have to find what is available.
When Al mentions about the BBs and having a good amount of air around the particles in an even distribution it makes for a better living condition for the roots. If you add something smaller, all it does is sink to the bottom and settle In The container and cause the roots to be in a muddy mess. This is the cause of problems..
Thank you for asking my opinion. I wasn't aware of this thread, so thank you for sending me here. I hope I have helped answer some of your questions...
This post was edited by loveplants2 on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 21:20