tia for the advice
No. Organic practices don't work in the small world of potted plants.
I disagree - I've gotten phenomenal growth on Cyphostemmas when their potting mix contained 25% or so manure.
Are you talking bagged manure , or right from the good ol' farm?
I don't have access only to the bagged variety from the local stores.
Avoid manure and any other fine particulate in container culture,
if you want to net the best results.
Yes, we are talking about bagged herbivore excrement (aged). I can get only steer, but chicken is better. You do want to be careful what plants you're growing the pumped-up soil in - it's not everything, by no means. We have friends who have a ranch - I sometimes go there to get horse manure that's been mucked out and sitting in a disused pasture for a year or so.
Yes, in general, that is correct, but, as noted, there's at least one exception - there must be more which I have no personal experience with, but I think it might be particularly effective with tropically succulent plants. I thought I wanted to bet the nest results myself, but that's just me.
I've used aged chicken manure on my hoyas with great success. Its the only thing I use manure on but I'm sure certain other plants would benefit also. can't advise you on which others...
Phenomenal, I say phenomenal...
I like to use organic practices outside in the lawn and garden. I've tried various products in potted plants, and it doesn't work for me. On the Peace Lillys and Chinese Evergreens, the organic products just made a mess and smelled. I've used fish emulsion, manure, grains, and even compost from my pile in the back yard. Clearly, it works for you, but I've never had luck with it.
I have a few bottles of FE which I've not yet used. When you say it made a mess and smelled (the second I would expect), did it last many months and was activated each time you watered? I'd think I'd use it as an initial fertilizer into May or June and then stop using it the rest of the year. What's your experience?
I use just a little bit of eathworm manure with my aloes but not with my slow growing succulents.
Chica - From another perspective, there is nothing in manure you can't get from a complete fertilizer. It breaks down quickly into very small particles that tend to find their way into extremely valuable macro-pores, turning them into water-holding micro-pores, which is already a prevalent problem for most growers even before anything like manure is added.
It's difficult to improve on a fertilizer program that supplies all the elements essential for normal growth by supplying something that yields a little of this and a little of that. The reason is, manure is not a complete fertilizer, so you still need to fertilize anyway to achieve normal growth. Those elements you duplicate when you DO fertilize are an excess and limiting to growth and vitality (Liebig's Law of the Minimum). The same is true of using aquarium water or any other partial source of nutrients. You'll achieve the best growth when all essential elements are in the soil in a favorable ratio to each other and o/a fertility (EC/TDS) is low enough that it doesn't inhibit uptake of water and nutrients and high enough to ensure no nutritional deficiencies. You can't make up for a lack of X by supplying extra Y, which is essentially what using manure in containers attempts to do.
thank you all for the tips. i'm still new and learning. glad i didn't purchase the bag @ HD. Thank you all.
When I used the fish emulsion, it was in the summer outside. The smell returned well into winter every time I watered. The mess came from a white crust that got on everything. The soil, the pots, the table the pots were on. When I used FE, it was in my earlier days before I used porous soil. Results with the gritty mix might be different.
I don't use FE for a couple of reasons, not including the smell. It seems to promote algal growth on and in soils, and algae is known to inhibit root health. It encourages increases in the populations of soil organisms that break down soils faster, so soils don't retain their structure as long. It also seems to be an aphrodisiac for fungus gnats - they always seem to arrive in volume and have their way with each other in a cloud of delirium (exaggerated, of course - they seem to find it a favored food source with the algae often formed adding to favorable conditions).
Thanks for that - I'll save the FE for only the perennials and shrubberies, I guess. I would hazard a guess that, no matter how gritty one's soil is, the smell would be there for a while (and wouldn't that be delightful when you have to bring in your plants for the winter!).
An aphrodisiac for fungus gnats - that's chuckle-inducing, and what you wrote also confirmed my not-gonna-do-it with potted plants and FE.
Musing - I think there is often a tendency for people to believe that the 'all organic' practices they have good results with in the garden are juxtapositional and readily applicable to container culture, but trying to grow and fertilize succulents and cacti in containers adds a difficulty factor we don't have to deal with if we keep things simple - coarse soils with large inorganic fractions and synthetic fertilizers offer beginner and expert alike the easiest and arguably the most productive path, and are difficult to argue against for any type of container culture, again from the plant's perspective.
I've found that 90%+ of the issues people bring to the fora for suggestions remedial can be traced back to ill effects resultant of a less than ideal soil choice. Often, growers cling to the idea that soil A or soil B has to be what my plants need because it says 'cactus and succulent soil' or AV soil, or some such thing on the bag - or 'I've ALWAYS grown in brand-X, so it must be good stuff'.
It's as simple as this: Roots come first. Roots are the heart of the plant & you have to be able to keep the roots happy if you want any chance at all to have the plant growing at anywhere near its potential. Focus on providing a durable soil that provides lots of aeration and little to no perched water, + good light and nutrition, don't forget to water, add a measure of common sense, and all will be surprisingly well, even for beginners.
Common sense is not so common. Nor does it make sense to the nonsensical. Hence these "fora" will continue to exist in perpetuity.
I know. ;-) I once wrote a rant based only on the phrase "It works for me" because it's so often employed as an 'end all' resolution when there is divergence of opinion, but never had the starch to post it.
This forum is actually one of the 'good ones' because there are a number of growers who know their business & tend to keep forum members grounded in a growing world that can be justified ('justified' in the sense of checking information against what we actually know to be horticulturally sound). Some forums are so polluted with misinformation, usually disseminated by only a few yet widely accepted on blind faith by nearly the lot, that it's difficult to make any progress in trying to overcome the voodoo.
Sorry for getting off the rails, Chica - .... beg a pardon?
Please continue doing the voodoo that you do so well.
Right on, Al!
Some very excellent posts, Sir ;-)
I agree. Thanks for the wisdom, Al!
No apologies needed. I appreciate all the POVs.
Be careful not to burn the young roots with too much love. Use redwood chips, or decomposed granite, or Oak leaves, I would not use pine leaves, beause it a substamce used to make paint-tinner. This is what I was told by other growers. Norma
I have been gardening over 30 year flowering & vegetables, but I no very little about succulent.
My book said 9 parts of gravel & sand mixed together with 1 part of soil & peat, mixed.
I have stone the size of split peas down the rice size.
They are removed from green coffee bean from 5 or 6 country & are clean. I only have about 200 pounds of them & would like to use them in succulent soil mix with sand, loam soil & a little compost.
Will this work of should I use some other mix?
Jolj - what you mentioned might be workable, but I'm certain you can do better. Rather than provide you with a recipe to follow blindly (or not) I'll beg you to do yourself the favor of gaining a grasp of the concept explained in the link below. I often dangle the bait that the largest step forward a container gardener can take at any one time occurs when you add a good understanding of how soils work and their impact on the health of your plants to your repertoire. So far, no one has made that thought a point of contention.
To put things in the proper perspective, you need only realize that a healthy plant is not possible w/o a healthy root system. One of the most important things a human can do for himself in terms of health is to 'think heart smart'. The appropriate parallel between grower and growee is for the grower to 'think root smart' - the roots are indeed the heart of the plant, so it pays big dividends if you're able to keep them happy.
Best luck. If you decide to do the homework, please be sure to ask any lingering questions or for explanations to clarify anything that might seem cloudy.
Here is a link that might be useful: Click me and I'll show you what he was talking about.
Do not listen to anyone that tells you organics are good for containers. Tapla, Greenman, and others are trying to help new gardeners get started in growing in containers and they have good advice. I learned a lot and one big thing is that when you want results organic is not the way to go for container growing.
What he is talking about ( with a-lot of wording) is a well drained soil If asking Can organic matter provide a more nutrient soil yes it can and does.... Are organic materials a complete fertilizer ? Not always but yes organic matter as a fert is also a good choice.
I often ask readers on forums to consider what all people say in there growing experiences and opinions and allow the readers to make the choice on there own I also encourage to to read the books and also use search engines to learn more about the plants they may have or later get.
In short toward Garden master The adventures person is not new if they knew enough to buy a book about a plant type they want to know more about Please GM Keep in mind a lot of those books are written by PLANT AND WRITING doctorate degrees.
'Do not listen to anyone that tells you organics are good for containers. '
OK, but don't you want to qualify that?
'What he is talking about ( with a-lot of wording) '
Oh, the irony is thick and delicious.
Before coming here, I used regular garden soil in several of my plants with ok results. I know now that I can improve using a fast draining mix. Now, plants eat dirt just like we eat food. We can't directly eat the food with-out help in our micro-bacteria world. Plants also need help in the same way. So fertilizer is good but the plants need help with it. My best guess is where the manure comes in. Micro organisms to help break down and feed the roots. But in pots the mix changes some. I use a compost tea that helps in this area. No manure to break down and have a more control of usage.
Al, help me out here. Am I on the right track or still learning?
I think people try to over-complicate this container growing thing. It ain't that hard. ;-)
If you could buy a perfect fertilizer, one that supplies all the essential nutrients plants get from the soil, in the same ratio as that in which the plant uses the nutrients ...... how in the world would you improve on it? Anything else you would add would have no potential to increase growth or vitality, only the potential to limit via the mechanism of it being an excess - that is as long as you're remembering to fertilize properly.
I admit to not being as well educated about succulents and cacti as many others, but the plants I've grown have always been perfectly healthy and unblemished in appearance. I use the gritty mix and Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, often with a little supplementation of ProTeKt 0-0-3. That's it. I use it for ALL my plants, and the only supplementing I do is for hibiscus and tomatoes, for which I include a little KCl (potash) because they DO like K.
This is just me, but if you gave me all the compost tea I could use, I'd use it all on the gardens - none on the container plants. If you have a good supplementation program in place - run with it and trust it. It can't let you down unless you fall down on the job.
Yes well said Al.
"What he is talking about ( with a-lot of wording)"
There is NO reason to use organic fertilizer in containers.
1. You will have salt build up quicker using organic fertilizer in containters vs using synthetics that are in ELEMENT form.
2. Plants can't tell the difference between organics or synthetics.
"Plants do not differentiate the nutrients they absorb resulting from hydroponic or organic nutrient solutions. For example, nitrogen is typically available as NO3- or NH4+. It does not matter to the plant whether it came from guano or bottled nutrient."
O btw someone mentioned about using fish fertilizer and that is why I am talking about the reasons to never use organic fertilizer in containers.
cactusmcharris- "OK, but don't you want to qualify that? "
I hope that my last post above explained a little more. Science explains why synthetics are best fit for containers.
Someone did mentioned they have FE on hand but they also said they dont use it by reason of an unpleasing odor.
Science also explains the following : What goes up must go down. What goes in must come out Read ALL the laws of science not the one that one or two persons wants you to read Just in case if anyone wants to sound like a theorist tell them this E = MC2
if they got something better than this theory then they dont need to be on the forum
Trying to stay on topic here ;)
I use a mix that does have maybe 10% light compost in it. It acts as a buffer so the mix is not so delicate to the ph of the water I am watering it with. It holds water and nutrients which helps with not having to water in the heat.
With that said, I should bring up this very good point stated by Tapla.
"I think there is often a tendency for people to believe that the 'all organic' practices they have good results with in the garden are juxtapositional and readily applicable to container culture, but trying to grow and fertilize succulents and cacti in containers adds a difficulty factor we don't have to deal with if we keep things simple - coarse soils with large inorganic fractions and synthetic fertilizers offer beginner and expert alike the easiest and arguably the most productive path, and are difficult to argue against for any type of container culture, again from the plant's perspective."
I must say from my experience of growing very productive containerized peppers, I would never be able to achieve the results I do without synthetics.
The op asked: "should you mix manure in your cactus/succulent soil?"
Then some explained why manure would not be best for container media,and Using synthetics in containers is the most reliable method. I am backing that up with experience of trying both organic and synthetic methods in container culture. Growing in a high porosity mix organically is not easy.
"Some forums are so polluted with misinformation, usually disseminated by only a few yet widely accepted on blind faith by nearly the lot, that it's difficult to make any progress in trying to overcome the voodoo. "
I have to agree 100% on this.
I reiterate, I'm getting great growth on many of my potted plants with the addition of manure. Now, mind you, they're in a porous mix to which the manure is added. So I'd say it depends on the situation and the plant(s).
One of the most impressive plants I've ever seen was this Gerradanthus that looked like Jabba the Hut - it was easily the size of a large beach ball and its vines covered a good portion of a fence - it was potted in 50% manure and 50% pumice.
Like I said I use some compost in my mix, but that does not say it is the best for plant yield.
If that exact same organism was grown in a container with a high porosity mix, or hydroponics for that matter, the plant/organism would be even larger. There is no "magic" that manure or organics have. There are only macro and micronutrients that effect plant growth MOST. If you disagree with me, then you disagree hydroponics do NOT yield more then organic soil grown. I can say right now hydroponics yield more, a big reason is air porosity.
The 50/50 of manure and pumice- The manure holds water and buffers ph, and gives a little nutrients. If the grower used a auto watering system with 100% pumace, watering 3 times a day with ph balanced solution of water/ complete fertilizers ect, the plant would be 20% larger. Why? Because of increased air porosity.
For my peppers I use the compost in my mix because I want a water holding potting mix that will not dry in the heat. If I had a self watering or auto watering system then I could use a very light high porosity mix, but I need the easy to grow in, water holding abilty of potting mix, for my pepper plants that is. I understand if I use a auto watering system with a high air porosity grow medium- I will need to watch ph a little more, and need to be on top of fertilizing even more direct. With all of that will come a larger harvest per square foot.
I am not disagreeing, as I do too use compost im mix. I am just pointing out some things.
"If you disagree with me, then you disagree hydroponics do NOT yield more then organic soil grown. I can say right now hydroponics yield more, a big reason is air porosity."
I mixed up words here.
It should be-If you disagree with me, then you agree hydroponics do NOT yield more then organic soil grown. I can say right now hydroponics yield more, a big reason is air porosity.