For Jessica and anyone else that is interested 1.1.1 gritty mix.

meyermike_1micha(5)February 27, 2011

I thought I would post some pictures of the ingredients that I used for the 1.1.1 gritty mix for many who have asked me in private.

I hope these pictures speak volumns with any who are interested in trying, and anyone else that has experience with it, your comments would be so welcomed here.

What have you done to in cases where you could not find these exact ingredients?

What have you substituted certain ingredients with after learning the concept of my this mix is used?

If you couldn't find turface, do you use pumice?

If you couldn't find granite, do you use perlite?

Please tell us for those who really want to come as close as they can to the 1.1.1 mix I use.

What's your 911 if need be?

I think this is needed for many I know that are getting ready to search for these products and prepare for teh growing season, especially re-potting coming up very soon!

As I have been told many times over.

"I can't wait to get my plants out of the bagged mixes I have had to watch them struggle in all winter".

Turface: MVP. This batch must be sifted...

Crushed Granite: Grower size

Fine "Fir Bark" in which Repti-bark in comprable: I found just a few pieces to be a bit to larger than I wanted, so I hammered the bark with a sledge hammer like crazy in a plastic bag to break it down ever further.

Screen to sift: I sifted out the dust from the bark and granite. You could also rinse teh granite off.

I also sifted teh tiny bits of turface and dust out with an insect screen and at times my Bonsai sifter.

Gypsum: I added a tablespoon per gallon of mix when I used any fertilizer but Foliage Pro. Now I have to need, since my Foliage Pro fertilizer has the Calcium already in it. So far so good.

Screen for holes on the bottoem of pots: I use needelpoint screen from Michael's to stop the mix from draining through the holes on the bottom.

Finished product: Last summer. I planted Chalamondin tree.

Same tree today in my room.

I am sure many others will add to this thread with their great ideas and wonderful thoughts.

If there is any other idea's or corrections needed, than I am sure that many whom have been growing in this mix can will share:-)

Al:::Thank you for taking the time to teach many this wonderful gidt, creation,valuable knowledge, and support shown me and many others for this wonderful mix.

I hope by now, I have it ok, since my plants are showing me I might.

With his knowledge, and the help of many others at the container forums, I would of never known!

Now my citrus can live in peace and in vibrant health yet, another year.


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Mike, that is so wonderful of you to post pictures and provide step by step instructions. Now I know at least what the gritty mix should look like! I never knew Gypsum came in bags like that. That needle point screen from Michael's is such a good idea! Thank you so much! I have had at least two expensive citrus plants died because of the wrong mixture.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:58AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Mike!
Great thread, and so kind of you to take the time to put it together!
I need to get my 3 babies potted this week, and one other out of the yard soil junk it's in. ;)

Where did you get that screen for sifting?

and what size pots are your plants in.? They look to be maybe 10-12" ? I need to get a few.

I'm good to go with gypsum! The only bags I could find last year was a 25lb bag! ROFL!

I found small bags of orchid bark and love it(8 qt), going to look around for bigger ones!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:18AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Awesome Thread Mike...a picture is worth a thousand words! You did an excellent job showing what ingredients we need, how and what to use to accomplish it. Excellent...I'm a very visual person...I'm sure there are many here that appreciate this very helpful and visual thread. Thanks for taking the time to show everyone that might want to try this GREAT potting mix Mike!!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Hello all!

I am glad is is of use to you.

Nancy: Thanks for coming and sharing your kind comments as always! Also, I am so proud of you, nursing your meyer tree back to health after all that damage from the weather..BRAVO!

Jojo: I think I typed in "sifters for soil" on Google, and came up with a Bonsai supply company and I ordered it. What a useful tool to have. Just as useful as the wooden
You are right. They are 12 pots and higher, since I don't like to keep re-potting year after year, I decided to put them in much biiger pots than the root ball is, so they could grow in the same pot for years to come in the gritty mix, which gives them the luxury and flexability..
Many say that citrus will not give off fruit or many blossoms if potted in too big of a pot, but that is just not so in my case.
Thank God for a mix that does not break down, allows me to pot a plant into any size I want bigger then the rootball, and holds its structure for years to come. I just love it!

25 pounds! ROFL.....
That bag should last you a century. Why don't you sell small bags to people who can't find it, via E-bay and make your money back.?lolol

Congrats on the Bark find! Like fine Gold for plants, isn't it?

Malibu: Your very welcome and thanks. I can't wait to see how your plants do once you get them in this stuff. I know they will grow so well for you. Don't give up on searching. It is so worth it.

Have a great day all and hopefully more will come by and learn, even if they are lurkers..:-0)


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 3:52PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Mike,
Your right, maybe I should sell the gypsum. LOL! I do have an account. ;-)

If any of you guys run low, yell! lol!

I have some 14" and 16" pots. I guess I could bring the tree in come winter for a few seasons. lol. I think i'm going to keep the meyer small to be able to bring in and let the others do as they please and protect them from frost.

""Many say that citrus will not give off fruit or many blossoms if potted in too big of a pot, but that is just not so in my case. ""

Seems silly to me! Our trees around here in the ground put out so much fruit, people can't give it away fast enough!

I know yours bloom like crazy! That's part of why I was interested in the size pot you use. ;-)

A Pink Variegated Eureka followed me home today! I'm so excited!!!! Gosh, it smells good!
5 gal. has a few fruit, and getting more buds. A little beat up due to them packing them in the greenhouse, but a little TLC and were good to go! ;-)

Hello!! so good to see you! I hope your well and now that spring is nearing we see more of you! Your missed !!!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:16PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Mike, great Thread...and well worth the headache of arranging all the pics!

JoJo, welcome to the variegated Pink Lemon club! ;-)

Heya, Nancy!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:24PM
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Jojo!!!! You kidding? YOu bought a Variegated Eureka?

Yahoo!!!lol. Now, who influenced you to get that one? That is just so awsome and what else is, is that many of my friends including you are getting the citrus fever. This just makes my day. You gotta love the fragrance and the more the merrier..

I wanted to share a thread with you and others about why I can plant in bigger pots with better results and what benefits one can derive from this. It is a rather short thread, so I thought it easier to just paste it here for everyone's convienence. It has changed the way I grow my plants, and has givin me much rewards and great results!

If you can post a pics of your trees in the gritty mix, that would make my day when you do:-)))


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Posted by meyermike_1micha 5 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 9:40

I was curious, would you plant a 4 inch tall citrus tree, or plant, into a 15 inch pot?
Or would you keep your plants in an almost root bound state by only upsizing one pot size everytime your plants need transplanting?

I for my part like to give my plants plenty of root room to grow no matter how small they are.

Someone once told me though that if I use pots too big for my citrus, I can be certain that I wll get no flower or fruit production for years, until the roots finally fill the container? Do you believe that?..

So far in my case, I have proved that misconception wrong. I can also plant something small into a big oversized pot because of the mixes I use. This is what I prefer on many plants. They seem to grow like weeds..

My friend likes to keep his plants in undersized containers because he says, his plants produce more blooms and stay small..

What about you? What do your prefer and why?

Thank you


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RE: Do you prefer big containers or small for smaller plants? clip this post email this post what is this?
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Posted by greenman28 Nor Cal 7/8 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 10:09

Hey, Mike...
(Still no e-mail from you, man!) ;)
As you know, I prefer larger containers.
There is virtually no limit to container-size as long as the proper media is employed.

If I want to grow a Jade big, I give it free run of its roots in a large container.
Then, when it is of a size I like, I can reduce the roots and put it into a show-pot.

I'm totally content with healthy growth - as opposed to stress-induced blooms.

I also like the weight of large containers.


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Posted by jojosplants Az Z9 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 10:51

I prefer large.
My yard being gravel, alot goes into containers. I also combine food and flowers, so I really need the larger containers.

And like Josh, I prefer the plant be healthy and worry about blooms later.

I am switching all my plants over to Gritty mixes this year, as Josh said, the proper media, so have more confidence in larger pots too now.

Oh, and with our monsoons, weight is a big plus..LOL!


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Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on Fri, Apr 23, 10 at 15:03

Someone once told me though that if I use pots too big for my citrus, I can be certain that I will get no flower or fruit production for years, until the roots finally fill the container? Do you believe that? No, I don't. It's hooey! ;o)
We measure our own age in years - chronologically. WE also tend to measure the age of a plant chronologically, but the life stages of a plant depend on ontogenetic aging. Roughly, that is how fast cells divide and the faster cells divide the faster the plant moves from embryonic stage to adulthood (sexually mature so it can flower/fruit). Anything that reduces cellular division and associated ontogenetic aging, INCREASES the length of time it takes the plant to become sexually mature. SO, since growing your plant tight inhibits growth and cell divisions, it also slows ontogenetic aging and delays the onset of flowers/fruit.

If you want fast growth, highly aerated soils and very large provide it - even when planting very small plants in large pots. It's virtually impossible to over-pot in soils that hold no perched water, but easy to over-pot in heavy soils. The problem with that is, when root congestion gets to the point where the soil and root mass can be lifted from the container, growth is being negatively affected. Since you need to plant in smaller containers and use smaller volumes of soil when using heavy soils to guard against over-potting, roots become congested and growth negatively affected much faster than if you used a greater volume of fast soil in a larger pot.

It really is difficult to make a case for growing in heavy soils, unless you make it from the perspective of perceived grower convenience. Even then, you should be willing to admit that there is a sacrifice in potential vitality and other potential issues that come with that perceived convenience.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:30PM
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How do we post pictures here?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:38PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

w2p2k...I'm not the best person to give instructions on posting I will let others help you.

Hi Jojo, congrats on your new variegated lemon tree! Enjoy it!

Hi are you :o)

Hey Mike, I'm so envious...I wish I can find the 50 lb bag of crushed granite here...but 5 lbs is all they sell for almost $6...big rip off! Silica sand is the best substitute I can find for the larger bags of crushed granite. I'm so excited my Meyer is doing so really did look like it was on its last leg, very happy its recovered nicely...thanks!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:16PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi W2,
to post pics here, you need to upload them to a hosting site. many are free. Most of us use Photo bucket. That's what I use.

after you have it in photobucket, you just copy and then past the html code right here in the box where your posting. when you see it, the code will be a long jumbled mess.

But when you view your message in the preview it will show the picture , if not , something went wrong.

I hope this helps, if not, ask more questions and we'll as a group effort get you posting.

Mike taught me, so if all else fails he should be able to help you. ;-)

We'll be looking forward to seeing some pictures!

Hi everyone!
Yes, got the Variegated! It is so cool!
We have a nursery here that is 5 acres of goodies!! you name it they have it!
Also got 2 very small (4" pot) Bay leaf tree's, the herb for cooking. ;-)

I still haven't found grit other than the small bag you mentioned Nancy, and not much luck on the silica! Grrr...

I gave up over the holiday's now it's back to the phone book. lol...

Just made gritty mix a few minutes ago with perlite, I really hate the stuff and hope to find grit. LOL!

Mike, I need to replace the charge cord for the camera, maybe i'll get it ordered this week, no pics until then. :-(

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:48PM
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Thank you so much for posting photos Mike! I am a very visual person- these help allot! I appreciate your taking the time to put them out there. I am sure I am not the only newbie grower that is curious about what the key elements to 1:1:1 gritty soil look like.

I am having a heck of a time finding Turface here in the Pacific Northwest (Washington) this time of year. :( I had to settle for Napa Floor Dry #8822. Thank you- Amy for also posing photos on your "First time using Al's Gritty Mix... in an emergency" forum for the rest of us! I never would have been able to find a substitute for the Turface without it!

I am going to transplant my Meyer Lemon into the 1:1:1 Gritty mix hopefully this weekend. I am just waiting for my Bonsai soil sieve and Foliage Pro fertilizer to arrive. I can't find those anywhere here, so I ordered them on line. (Both also recommended by Mike). Hopefully my tree will recover and have a good season.

I am glad that the subject of pot size came up. I was concerned that my 2-3 year old Meyer was in a pot that was too big for it. (18" diameter, I *think*). I was considering transplanting it into a smaller pot to keep the weight down, but at the same time I don�t want to restrict its growth. Here is a question for all you experienced growers out there: Ceramic pot, or plastic? Again because of the weight issue, I shy away from ceramic, but if there are significant advantages to them, I would gladly re-home my tree.

I can't say enough about how helpful this forum has been! A special shout out to Mike for all the additional guidance you have offered over the last week to help me sort out my tree's issues and share your years of experience with me so that I might have success growing citrus in the years to come! Such a great mentor- Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 4:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

a good place to look for Turface would be at Golf Course supply stores.
You could even call a golf course itself, and ask where they get their Turface
or soil amendments.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:26PM
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Thanks Josh!

There is a golf course near me, I will inquire.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:45PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

good stuff mike, as usual.

Baseball and softball field maintenance crews use turface as a way to dry the dirt quickly. You could also inquire with a school or organization that manages a similiar field.

Ewing irrigation is my go to store and they have many stores in your area. below is a map to their branches in washington

I have a similiar problem as I cant seem to find the granite. I havent tried any mom and pop feed stores yet.


how would this work as Im wanting to try the gritty but may have to change it up a bit.
1 part bark, easy for me to get
1.5 parts turface, easy for me plus I could benefit from a bit more retention during our 100 degree plus summers.
.5 parts perlite. no problem there either.

Im ordering some FP soon so I can not worry about the gypsum and Epsom salts anymore.

Here is a link that might be useful: ewing irrigation

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:50AM
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Thanks for the heads up on Turface. I will contact Ewing Irrigation.

As for the granite, I can in turn help out with that. I found crushed granite Chicken Grit at Keppler Feed in Renton. (link below) They have 5# bags for $5, or 40# bags for closer to $11 or so. They were out of the 40# bags when I was in there yesterday, so I picked up a few 5# bags and they placed an order for more 40# bags while I was there.

Hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keppler Feed & Recycle

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:33PM
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Jessica: How are you? You are so very very welcome. Anytime! We are all here for you and thank you Josh for your input too!

Josh, pictures of your mixes are very pleasing to the eyes, and fantastic for your plants, and would look good here too:-)))Anyone on the west coast is so helpful for each other who lives there.

You are doing a great job Jessica and the rest of you all!

The chicken grit concerns me though because there might be a reason you are suppose to use unadulterated grit, just crushed garnite.

Can you post a picture of it here along with the contents from the bag and amount of the calcium so maybe Al and others can give you better help than I. I have never seen this type grit, and I think Al would know better. I will let him know about this thread.

I am very happy you found the ingredients, and if you feel like it, please share the pics? Many would be thrilled to see how well you did!

Look at you helping others already. :-)))))
Many hellos to you.

Mike: Let me think of that. I will come back later and let you know. I have to get back to work, but I will be by soon for you..:-)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Hello all-

I have attached a few photos of Al's 1:1:1 Gritty Soil mix ingredients I was able to get my hands on here in Washington state:

Granite- My local feed store
Floor Dry- Napa Auto Parts
(See photo comparing size of granite and floor dry)
Repti Bark- Petco

Al- Do you think that the fact that the granite has calcium in it going to be an issue? I am having a heck of a time finding the proper grit :( I have attached a photo showing the calcium content in the grit for you.

My Bonsai Soil Sieve will be here on Friday and my Foliage Pro arrives today!

I am super excited to get my tree replanted in the 1:1:1 mix to make it healthy again. I am hoping I can get a good soil put together so that I can expand my citrus collection when my local nurseries start to receive their inventory in the next few weeks!!!

Thanks everyone!

Here is a link that might be useful: Picasa web- Granite with calcium?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:46PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Hopefully it is not too late but just to warn you about the Napa Floor Dry - I believe it is calcined DE similar to Axis. You will want to wear gloves, full length clothing, goggles, and a mask when dealing with the dust from this stuff.

I did not do those things when I screened several bags of it and my hands are still raw - it just feels like dust settling on your hands but the dust is incredibly sharp and will create micro cuts - I had bloody knuckles for a week as a result. It doesn't bother me so much after it gets screened but the dust is pretty brutal so be careful with it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 4:11AM
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Yipes Redshirt, Thanks for the heads up! I would have hated to have found that out the hard way! I appreciate your sharing that with me!

I had planned on putting the soil together this weekend. I was going to just use the Napa Floor Dry because I already had it and did not want to store it in my garage if I was not going to use it, but now I think I will wait for the Turface.

It just so happens that I stumbled across a place that sells both the Turface and pure #2 granite. I picked up a bag of granite yesterday and they will have the Turface back in stock in a few weeks.

Josh- Thanks for the link to Ewing Irrigation, I called them and they had the Turface I needed. I had planned on going there to get a bag of Turface from them, but they do not have weekend hours this time of year so I was having a hard time figuring out when I would be able to swing down there to get it after work on a weekday and not miss their business hours due to traffic. This feed store I found yesterday does not have a web site (that is why I did not know they were there!!!) They are closer, have the exact granite I need and are open weekends.

The Feed store I found yesterday is De Young's Farm & Garden. They are right next door to Molbak's in Woodinville off of NE 175th st. Their phone number is: (425)483-9600 for any of you Western-Washingtoners out there that are in need of these two ingredients.

Thanks again for all your support everyone!!


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Hi everyone! I love this forum, everyone is so helpful and friendly. I caught the citrus bug recently and have been reading the postings here, to gain more knowledge.
I know about Al's gritty mix from other forums and found the small orchid bark & Turface MVP. No luck with the grit, but I do have plenty of aquarium crushed coral (I believe that is what it is, as there are some partial pieces in there as well). Is this a good substitute? There are some really small particles which I can sift and use as a top dressing for my cacti & succulent pots.The rest look about the size of the granite.
What do you think? And what other additions are needed for citrus, as far as this gritty mix goes? It looks like I would need gypsum if I use a citrus-specific fert, but not if I use Foliage Pro, right?

Thanks for any advice,


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:11AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hmmm - crushed coral is essentially CaCO3 (calcium carbonate). The problem is, you won't be able to add enough acid to your irrigation water to counteract the rise in pH associated with the CaCO3. If the starting pH of the soil solution is 5.0, it only takes a very small amount of CaCO3 to raise a quart of soil solution @ pH 5.0 to a pH of about 8.25, where it will almost flatline. This is much too high to be healthy as it will cause all the micronutrients + phosphorous to become difficult for plants to assimilate.

You're right about the FP fertilizer - no gypsum or Epsom salts required if using FP; but if not using it and your fertilizer contains neither, then use gypsum when you make the soil and add Epsom salts to your fertilizer solution each time you fertilize.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Thank you Al.

I have to humbly admit that I still have tons of things to learn from you, including the answer so kindly provided by you here.

I really appreciate you going through threads like this always willing to lend a helping hand to others when needed. You are a gift and I am very grateful for that!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 11:39AM
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I had a feeling it would not work, for what is coral if not calcified matter, right? Sigh, I think I was just desperate to use what was on hand. I called everywhere for chicken grit but the feed stores have never heard of grani-grit. Mind you, there are only aren't many feed stores in my urban city. Guess I will call again and ask what kind of grit they DO have, but from what I've read so far, not any grit will do. I think roofing companies were my next option if I remember correctly.

Thanks so much for your help.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:23PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Quartz or pea gravel (if properly sized) can work in a pinch.
I prefer quartz because it is sharp, but pea gravel wouldn't be too bad.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:30PM
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Gonna try this and see if i could save my poor meyer lemon. Thanks for the tips.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:30AM
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