Temperature and Gritty Mix Questions

spapaApril 3, 2014

In anticipation of repotting and moving my plants outside this spring, I have a few questions that I'm hoping those of you with more experience can answer.

I had initially planned to move my succulents (echeverias mostly, some pachyphytum/pachyverias and graptoverias) outside in May; however, nighttime temps in May here are around 40 degrees, and some of the online care sheets I've seen for some of my species say to not allow them to get below 50 degrees. I don't get those kind of temperatures until June, which won't give the plants much time outdoors. Is 50 degrees a hard rule, or are nighttime temperatures in the 40's acceptable?

Also, after hearing so many good things about Al's gritty mix for months now, I think I should give it a shot this spring. My questions are:

1. Can you put some kind of decorative cover over the mix, and if so, what kind would be acceptable? I see a lot of red lava rock these days, as well as mixed small gravel.

2. I was planning to use a slow-release fertilizer for the first time; is that compatible with the mix, or will I not need it?

3. When sifting the turface and gran-i-grit, how large should the holes in my sifter be? I don't have anything fancy so I'll be purchasing a kitchen strainer of the right size if I can find one.

Thanks in advance!!

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nomen_nudum

1) Tempatures have an effect toward the entire pot not just the top An open soil warms quicker and cools faster, my opinion your night time lows in 40ish F could be okay as long as the day temps reach higher toward 55 ish by day. Thinking cautions rains might not do any favors as they tend to be cooler.

2) Yes slow relase feeding is a good idea, in a container there isn't alot for plants to use for nutriants, would also suggest a lower dose than what is on the label ( better under feed and add more later if need be than be overly feed )

3) http://www.crateandbarrel.com/strainer-sifter/f30177
Some folks have differnt applications for mixes this one is sometimes too small to but would work for the plants on your list

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:19AM
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Mark234(3a)

I too heard about Al's Gritty Mix a while back and started using it last year. I found this resource to contain some good info on screening size and product selection:
http://www.etenix.com/gardening/grittymix
I screened using 1/4" hardware cloth (mesh) from home depot. That removes the large particles. Then run that over a screen of 1/16" (aluminum window screen or similar). This removes the fine particles and dust.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:15AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

I had initially planned to move my succulents (echeverias mostly, some pachyphytum/pachyverias and graptoverias) outside in May; however, nighttime temps in May here are around 40 degrees, and some of the online care sheets I've seen for some of my species say to not allow them to get below 50 degrees. I don't get those kind of temperatures until June, which won't give the plants much time outdoors. Is 50 degrees a hard rule, or are nighttime temperatures in the 40's acceptable?

Those plants will easily handle temps into the 30's, it's not even an issue...BUT...they will not be active at low temps, so transpiration and water usage would be effectively zero, making the plants much more prone to spoilage from moisture in the soil mix. Also...roots in a pot get much colder than roots in the ground. Dead roots = easier rot as weather warms and you think it's OK to water. Take these things into consideration.

Also, after hearing so many good things about Al's gritty mix for months now, I think I should give it a shot this spring. My questions are:

1. Can you put some kind of decorative cover over the mix, and if so, what kind would be acceptable? I see a lot of red lava rock these days, as well as mixed small gravel.

Yes you could, but it would be best to try and keep the size of substrates uniform so don't go overboard. Shiny gravel has a tendency to hold onto water because of adhesion/ cohesion so avoid that.

2. I was planning to use a slow-release fertilizer for the first time; is that compatible with the mix, or will I not need it?

Keep the amount low, and don't use something that lasts more than 3-4 months...fertilizers release salts into the mix which can be toxic without frequent leaching. During the growing season it's not an issue as you will be watering well...but if the pot stays on the dry side in the wintertime...not good

3. When sifting the turface and gran-i-grit, how large should the holes in my sifter be? I don't have anything fancy so I'll be purchasing a kitchen strainer of the right size if I can find one.

IMO, not that critical. You can fill a bucket with turface/ grit and add hose water to disperse the dust and just spill it away. Kind of like cleaning starch from uncooked rice.

Thanks in advance!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:34PM
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