Lady Bug Brand Vortex Potting Soil

santamiller(8b TX)July 26, 2014

Has anyone with pots tried the Lady Bug potting soil? I listen to a local garden show host who really pushes organics and he is not at all a Miracle Grow fan due to the buildup of salts, the added fertilizers and the fact that it doesn't promote microbial activity as Lady Bug does. I have done well with Miracle Grow so far and am not one to jump off a healthy horse, but I do respect this guy's opinion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lady Bug link

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

marketing.. is marketing... heck.. they even convinced us the human waste is wonderful ...

buy a bag.. give it a try ... no other way to find out... let us know ...

but for me... marketing aside.. cost would be determinative ... if its two or three times the cost of any alternatives.. pshaw ...

was this gerry baker ..???

ken

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:20AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Very interesting, Santa. I checked the site and found a source locally, or so they say, but it is an "auto detailer"???? not a nursery supply spot.

I have not heard of Lady Bug before. It might be one of those Texas brands, like Blue Bell Ice Cream before it came to Alabama, a fantastic product but you had to pick it up over there. With the ice cream (Homemade Vanilla) I've hauled a lot of it home back in the day. Some things are simply that good.

Can you do a test with the potting mix and let us know if no one recognize the product?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:39AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

I looked it up and there's a local place that's about 10 minutes from me that carries it. Apparently, this place has been around since 1914 and they sell hoop cheese, plants, repair lawn mowers, and sell seed by the scoop in the drawers, bulk pricing, like they used to. Sounds intriguing, never been there, might go and check them out. I'll ask them about this mix and see what they say.

Maybe bkay knows something about it. I'll bet it's a pretty penny, though.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:06PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Yep, Blue Bell is that good. Homemade vanilla is my favorite, too.

Although several sources in Dallas are mentioned on their website, only one is a real nursery - Nicholson-Hardee. The rest are some other kind of business.

Santa, I don't think build up of salts is a problem. When I raised house plants, it was. I had to occasionally put them in the bathtub and soak them to dissolve the salts and then pour water through to flush them. You generally don't water indoors like you do outdoors. You water just enough to get them wet and not make a mess.

I always water my hosta enough to get it to run out the bottom. Then you have the rains that do a thorough job of washing the salts away. I can't say I've ever noticed a salt buildup in my hosta "dirt" when I'm repotting them. I could actually see and feel it my African Violets, though.

If you buy some, let us know how it is.

bk

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:23PM
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santamiller(8b TX)

Lady Bug is from Texas. I posted a link below about the owner and the company. My favorite nursery here in town carries it and I plan to pick up a bag from them. Don't know the price but I see you can get it online for $11.99 for 1.5 cf so it must be within reason compared to other products. I don't guess I can do any hosta testing this time of the year since I know this isn't the proper time to do a re-pot, right? I have a few hostas that I planted this spring in Miracle Grow Moisture control before I knew that was a no-no that I plan to repot when the time is right. I will use it for those.

bkâ¦..I don't know anything really about salt buildups in plants. When we lived in Mexico I had a ton of orchids that grew in bark. I was always told to run 2-3 gallons of water through them a month to flush any salts out. I had never even considered if that was problem with dirt potted plants. You usually get a lot more rain in the DFW area that we do here in SA, so I'm not sure I can depend on that to cleanse my salt buildup.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Lady Bug

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 4:14PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

If you think it's a problem, buy a bus tub. They have them at Sam's and at all the restaurant supply stores. It's just a shallow plastic tub used in the restaurant business. They're about 14 X 18. Set your hosta in there and let them rest for several hours, so that everything is good and wet. Then, just run water through them. I just went to measure mine and there was a fern sitting in mine soaking. They're really good for something you can't get to take up water (for me, it's hanging baskets, mostly).

If you're having problems with salt buildup in your hosta, changing potting soil might not solve the problem. It's could be the water or fertilizer instead of the potting soil.

Also, $11.99 for 1.5 cubic ft. of potting soil is pretty pricey. You could end up spending as much on soil as you do on hosta. Of course, being organic is not at the top of my list of requirements. I don't use many pesticides, but use chemical fertilizers. If organic is on the top part of your list, it might be worth it.

Here's another random thought...If MG is using regular time release fertilizer, then it's already dumped all of it's fertilizer. Ken says that they are programmed to release all their fertilizer when it the temp hits 90 degrees. That's already happened.

bk

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 6:25PM
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santamiller(8b TX)

bkâ¦.I've never nor am I now necessarily worried about the salt buildup. I was only mentioning the fact that this guy had talked about it as a possible issue with potted plants. I agree, I always assumed the the salt buildup came from the water, not the media, so either I missed something or he was inferring that the MG caused a larger or quicker problem with that. I'm sure that his #1 agenda was the fact that the Lady Bug is on the organic list and MG is not. I'm not hard core into organics but I try to go that route whenever I can reasonably do so.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:36AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Santa, if my hostas were in moisture control media, I wouldn't wait until later to change them out, I'd go ahead and do that. It would be much less stressful to change pots/media than it would to sit in moisture and rot out. Just my opinion, but hot or not, they'd be making the switch at my house. It's 95 here today, so hot it gets here. Just sit them in some extra shade for a while and give a little extra water and they'll be fine.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:40AM
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esther_b

Miracle Grow potting soil isn't even soil! It is peat moss, compost and chemicals. I try to find Fafards, but since the main Queens plant nursery closed, it's hard. All you can find at HD and the remaining crummy Queens nursery is Miracle Grow.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:02AM
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santamiller(8b TX)

I don't plan to repot my plants that are in the MG Moisture Control until they start to go dormant. Our temps will be upper 90s to low 100s from now until mid Sept. My luck with transplanting anything under these conditions have almost always resulted in a dead plant, although I have never tried it with a hosta. I understand that I don't know what's going on with the root system, but with them healthy and growing right now I don't want to put them into shock in this intense heat.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Sounds like a plan to me, Santa. You will have time to let the mix settle into the pot, no air pockets around the roots, and they should make it through the winter without any trouble. Just AS they go dormant, because our dormant period is so brief, too much watering after they get dormant would not be good for them. Since the mix will still be rather soft to do any pot tipping, think about a white plastic top over the pot to keep out winter moisture. I'm thinking of old pieces of plywood for my larger pots that I cannot tip. The danged squirrels played in some of my hosta pots which caused a lot of minis to be lost. Only a few died of crown rot, withered totally away.

All they need is 40 days below 40 degrees. Whatever it takes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:55PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Funn, the Miracle Grow moisture control is not a problem in the summer. It's a problem in dormancy and spring.

Been there, done that, lost several hosta.

bk

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:05PM
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santamiller(8b TX)

moccâ¦..when you say "as they go dormant", do you mean just as the leaves begin to die back and just after the leaves finish drying off?

We get so little rain here in the winter I'm not sure that they would ever get wet and stay wet for long during a normal fall and winter. The area where most of my hosta are is watered by drip irrigation sprayers. Over the last two years, and I only had about 10 plants at that time, they got watered once a week with the sprayers. I'll have to learn more about wintering them before we get to that time of the year.

The plastic pot trays could be a possibility as a cover. Those are pretty inexpensive, especially for someone like me who doesn't have that many in my collection.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:00PM
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bragu_DSM 5

bk mentions a bus tub ⦠yet another alternative might be a cement mixing tub, available in several sizes at box stores like lowes in the lumber department (usually under $10) ⦠i also use them for oil changes (yet another container option) and my daughter uses them for kitty litter toidies ⦠the cement mixing tubs are durable and last for years. I just put a couple inches of water in the bottom and rotate the pots ⦠great for potting up plants in the smaller pots too ⦠can get quite a few in the tubs

dave

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Just as the leaves die back. I suppose that would be the time for you. Amazing how much variation in climate there is along the Gulf Coast. Of course you are not coastal, but I should have realized with talk of drought that you would perhaps have a drier winter too. Our winters here are rainy, foggy, sometimes around 40 but not always really cold--except last year was the worst in many years. With the sun low in the sky, it is easier to avoid sunshine on my garden--even though pecan trees lose their leaves to expose a lot of the garden area--by locating pots against fences, beneath evergreen shrubs, such as that.

Yes, a saucer over the top sounds perfect, and protected from any heat. You want to keep them below 40 for as long as you can, Shaded for sure. I don't have the problem of anything being totally dry, which is a factor you must consider. I've heard folks say that they put a couple of ice cubes in the pots now and again, but haven't resorted to that here.

Since your hosta in pots is a manageable number, it should be easy to keep tabs on them.

Perhaps BK can advise on the dry winters....not something I have to deal with.

I am amused with the image I'm getting of you going out to check your pots, picking up the saucers and asking, "How are you guys doing out here. Everything okay?"

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:21PM
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santamiller(8b TX)

I'm sure my wife would be highly amused over that also. I can already picture her rolling her eyes. :)

I lived in Dallas and East Texas (60 miles from Dallas) for most of my life and they generally get quite a bit more rain in the winter than we do in the more southern part of Texas. Maybe that's why I haven't had any winter looses, or maybe it's just dumb luck. Of course I also don't have many plants so my luck factor escalates from that. In fact I always watered my pots in the winter when they looked dry, just the opposite of what I should have been doing I guess. I'm still not clear on the over-wintering routine but I'll have that all figured out before we get there this year.

Actually, after thinking about it, the covers on the pots during the day could hold heat in them on a sunny day. It can be easily be 80 here on Christmas day, then it could be 28 the next day, then 2 days later 75. If I need to keep excessive moisture out it might be better to only cover them when I think it's going to rain. Just thinking out loud.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:42AM
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