PLEASE Clarify a Soil Question

treehugger101May 5, 2014

I have read the prior posts that came up on the Search but I am new and not sure of something (well, a lot). I have Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus Potting Mix. One poster said to mix 50/50 that and Pumice which he got from a feed store for horses. This soil will be going in pots for succulents. Is this right? Please help me! I have about 30 succulents coming any day.

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You could probably grow your plants in straight pumice if you wanted to..

But it is all dependent on your location and weather...You live close to my area..
I would use hardly any of that M.G mix..
If anything, that mix would be a tiny fraction of my mix, like let's say 25 percent and the rest being 1/2 perlite and 1/2 pumice..
It's a must for my mixes to dry out rapidly..


    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 7:33PM
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I can't find that Turface MVP anywhere nor are there any distributors within 30 miles. And then there is the whole process of making it and screening everything... I work the equivalent of 2 full time jobs so it is a bit unreal to think about the time and gas it will take making this up. BUT. I love my succulents. The bottom line is I caved and bought you know who's Gritty Mix on eBay for a fortune. Yes, I did. Next, I have to solve my source for correct sized, terracotta pots with drainage holes... and paint them. Once I do that, I can go back and figure out how I will replace the crazy expensive mix. I hope that sounds like a plan to you, Mike.

Here is my experience so far: Cute little succulents at BBS! = Online research = Wow! They come in all of these colors! = Pandora's Box.

Will I get happy again?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:10PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Treehugger and Mike :-)

Mike didn't mention Turface....he mentioned Perlite and Pumice. If you can only find Perlite, then just use that for the portion that Mike specified. As a general rule, it takes about 70%+ Perlite to redeem a peat-based mix (like Miracle Grow, et cetera).


    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:31PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

50% perlite & cactus & succulent mix will do just fine for many succulents grown indoors (works in my home 15+ yrs. now).

Sometimes for the beginners, I think it's easier to start them out w/ this.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:44PM
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Josh/Mike, Where do you get the pumice? No feed stores here carry the horse product. That is why I bought the ready made mix for round one.

Sorry Josh. So 30% cactus mix and 70% perlite? Got it. Thanks.

Fertilizer for indoor plants? Succulents only and indoors.

This post was edited by treehugger100 on Mon, May 5, 14 at 21:00

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:57PM
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Crenda SWFL 10A

Yes - as Josh said, more is better in cutting C&S soil with perlite. This is the soil I removed from a jade that wasn't doing well. The roots were meager, and as you can see the soil held too much water. And in deference to Pirate Girl, I must mention that my plants are outside. It does make a difference in humid rainy Florida.

This is the 50/50 cactus soil - perlite mix I removed.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:04PM
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This is very helpful. Thanks for the great comments and pic. I am in PA. Two of mine are outside, hens and chicks which is about 10 years old at this point. I don't think you can kill those things. The other is an Echeveria I just purchased at a BBS. It is in some kind of white sandy soil in a glazed pot with no drainage. It is on my porch so no rain. It is rather chilly, in the 40's at night here. Should I repot this one, too? The plant has three flower spikes.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:12PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Thanks Crenda, I missed that they'd be outdoors, I'm sorry. Good catch. Esp in humid FLA. My Dad lived in Ft. Lauderdale area for his last 10 yrs. or so, so I know what you mean. I visited sometimes & he often commented on the weather & the humidity.

Interesting to actually see that mix, that even 50/50% wasn't enough, humph!

Hi TreeHugger,

Good for you for wanting to do right by your plants in their mixes. Let's start you off right by suggesting don't use containers w/out drainage holes, that's never a good idea & puts one's plants at disadvantage.

Perlite is used by many folk instead of pumice which seems difficult to get in the North Atlantic, our part of the woods. I've had a friend who kept me in pumice for a few yrs, but I also use perlite for the same purpose.

Sandy soil sounds like a bad idea, I'd let that plant bloom first & then change it to the suggested mix.

Sounds like you're off to a good start!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:37PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I haven't purchased pumice in a while...instead, I buy small bags of Scoria (red lava rock) from a local nursery. It's expensive to make a large batch of mix with Scoria, so I go with Perlite for the larger volume.

Perlite is good stuff. It displaces water - meaning, it reduces the overall water-holding capacity of a mix. However, it *does not* improve *drainage* until the Perlite makes up a significant majority of the mix.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:35PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Josh, you need to find a place that sells scoria in bulk. We have a place down here that sells 1/4" cinder for $55 for a half yard.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 10:58AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Some feed stores carry a product called Dry Stall (pumice) maybe try asking for it by that name.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:24PM
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