So far, they seem to be doing good in Al's Grittly Mix

powderpuffApril 29, 2013

They are all potted except for a couple new ones that are in the pots I bought them in, and those two are in well draining soil of some sort. They were rooted last summer so I am going to let them grow for another summer before potting them in the Gritty next year, and a couple that are still growing roots in bags or bottles. Several have inflos beginning. Makaha Sunn may be getting ready to bloom for the first time, not sure on that one.

I have about 3 that I'm not sure are going to make it. Lurline.. I got summer of 2011 and it has never done much. It's still hanging in there but no leaves, hasn't grown. It just never got good roots and I don't know what to do with it other than send it to be grafted or just let nature take it's course. Another is Lutea Aurea. Have no clue what it's doing. It's supposed to be compact?? Seriously? Well I got it in spring of 2011 as a rooted cutting and it's about 40" tall still with one tip. It got one leaf which never grew much and fell off yesterday. I am so tempted to cut it and try to root the top part and a center cut, and leave the bottom part in the pot and see what it does. It's not happy. Suggestions welcome. I can take photos but it's just a tall, rather thin, ugly stick. It looks fine, no soft spots, no dehydrated shriveling.

In the photos, toward the back, right against the back fence, there are about 12 that were looking iffy or were slow to start putting out leaves, but all except Lurline are putting out leaves now but I'm keeping them a little on the dry side until they get bigger leaves.

Now I have to make a pretty grove area and sink the pots, also I'm going to put 4-5 of the taller ones in the ground.

Some recent pics:

The newest ones, these are under a a triple palm so they get filtered light until they adjust and leaf out some more.

3 tips, one is hiding behind the other:

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Man this is an awesome time of year! claws are growing, inflo's are pushing. Love the pics.

I have never heard of Safari and Tbred tracy. Ill have to look them up.
edit- those are nice ones. Didnt know JJ had them.


This post was edited by mksmth on Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 15:25

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Very Nice. Are the "iffy" ones in gritty mix?

The gritty mix is of limited value if you were to plunge the pots in the ground. You might be able to economize and save your gritty mix for other containers that are not plunged.

I would replace the gritty mix in the "to be plunged" pots with a fast drain soil and take the gritty mix and raise the soil levels with the left over gritty mix in some of the other containers that were not plunged. The purpose would be to give more media for root development.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:56PM
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They all look extremely happy and healthy!

Don't stress too much about Lurline....there is simply no pleasing her. I have read countless posts stating her unwillingness to do anything at root growth, no leaf growth and certainly NO blooms.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 4:43PM
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mkSmith- Tbred and Safari are from JJ. Safari has about 8 tips. All of the ones I have gotten from JJ have been extremely nice and done very well. Tangerine Dreams was only available newly rooted in a 1 gallon pot. It had a decent amount of roots but they were new roots. I potted it in Gritty and put it with the ones to keep drier for a while. It's doing well and pushing out lots of new leaves.

kms2- If I told my husband that we had to re-pot those 80 some plants again after all the trouble we went through to get them all in Gritty he would file for divorce. Just kidding but he would NOT be happy about it. All the lugging of 50# bags, the sifting, the endless trips to get more turface, grit and bark. They are staying in the Gritty mix.

I'm not sure what you mean, maybe you could explain it a little better please. I don't have to plunge them. Some I am planting in the ground. Removing from the mix and putting in the ground. The reason I like to plunge is I believe Plumerias do not like their roots hot and come June, July and August the sun will heat those blacks pots and they will be so hot you can barely touch them. They don't like their roots that hot. Why they don't make those pots in white is beyond me. I guess I could let the grass grow up around the pots to help protect them. Why is it any different plunging them with Gritty or with soil? The object is to keep the roots cool.

Pharaoh4- I'm not stressing about Lurline. I gave up on her long ago. I'm concentrating on the ones that are hardy and doing well.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:24PM
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To help the black pots in the summer, I use white contact shelf paper. Just cut some strips and wrap it around the pots. It's self adhesive.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:44PM
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FWIW I didnt recommend repotting all of your plants just repurposing your your hard earned mix to any containers you will not be sinking into the ground. I think what you call "sink the pots" is what I was referring to as "plunge the pots." Understood you dont have to plunge them but i was merely responding to my understanding of your statement of making a pretty grove area and sinking the pots.

Gritty mix has a limited value in pots sunk into the ground. I was suggesting you take the plants which you plan to sink in the ground out of gritty mix and use that gritty mix to fill up some of your other containers which from the pictures seemed to have about 2-4 inches of room for more mix. More mix means more room for roots. Rather than waste it on pots sunk into the ground. And it saves you from having to make more mix for the time being.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:19PM
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DelWH- Great ideal and thank you! Wrapping over 80 pots does not sound like fun but it's easier than digging 80 plus holes.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


They are looking great!!!

I will take my containers and place them inside another container with mulch when i worry about the heat.. I just posted on the other thread with pics...

I understand what K is trying to say...

P.. i know you have done alot of work and i know you have lost alot in the move.. I know you were so upset.. I also know the Gritty isnt the cause of the loss.. we have talked about that. I hope you continue to have success with your trees. When you sink the trees, the earth acts as a giant wick and will pull the moisture from the containers more so than if only sitting on the deck. I think K was trying to say that sinking the pots with the gritty would work better with a more retentive mix. Since the Gritty is made to drain really well, it is made for containers up on the deck. Now.. i will say that i have partially plunged my pots that have Gritty Mix and also some with "my" mix that i like to experiment with.. they do well..

You have done a great job!!!

Cant wait to see more pics.. love the ones you posted!!!

Take care,


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:35PM
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kms2- I'm still confused. I say sink, you say plunge I guess they mean the same thing. Basically dig a hole big enough for the pot and leave 2-3" above ground,. Keeps them from tipping over and keeps the roots cool and the sun off the black pots.

If I remove the gritty that means re-potting them ... again and disturbing the roots when they have new, tender roots all over the place down in the pots. I have plenty of the mix left and more bags of everything so I can mix more. Some of the pots are lower with mix because some drained out the holes and it has now settled. i will top them off in a couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:02PM
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Powderpuff, that's an amazing collection! How many tips on your Safari? That one's on my list, but I had no idea JJ's would ship a set of "antlers" like that, lol. And where did you find that Kapalua? Beautiful!

I second Pharaoh on Lurline. I've never heard of anyone NOT having issues with her. Maybe grafting will make her more robust for you.

Like your Lutea Aurea, I have a 40" tall single-tip "compact" My Valentine that's wearing out my reserves of patience. Gonna have to down-graft her when/if she finally blooms. I just don't get why some of these so-called compact ones take so long to bloom!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Laura- I think in Florida, with all the summer rains here, especially in central Florida which is not as dry as extreme South Florida and the Keys, wicking is a good thing. I don't mind watering them, the problem is the heat on the roots in black pots and getting waterlogged when it rains for 3-4 days straight with no chance at all to remotely dry out.

In the Keys, there is less rain and after the rains, the sun comes out plus it's almost always breezy. In central Florida that isn't the case. It's MUCH hotter, very little breeze and after it rains there's never much of a breeze and it can stay cloudy and damp for a good period of time. The weather in the Keys is far superior than central Florida for growing Plumerias and all of the huge, old trees there is proof of that.

The Gritty mix was not the cause of the winter losses for sure. They were not in the Gritty, none of them. I re-potted them all in the Gritty this spring. I put my 5 new ones from JJ in the Gritty. I have not put the Kapalua or the Toba's Fire aka Embers in it yet. I'm going to let them get their 2nd summer of roots before I disturb them. I want them to be well rooted and strong when I re-pot them.

Jandey- I think some the so called compact single tips that get so tall are just not well cared for when they were little. Perhaps the mother tree wasn't well cared for, who knows. ALL of my JJ compact trees have done very well and they came with several tips. Perhaps the need to be forced to bloom early so they don't grow too tall before they bloom and put out more tips.

The Safari has 8 tips I believe. John at JJ's has always sent such nice trees. He's really good at picking out what you want if you carefully describe what you want. if he doesn't have it, he says so and doesn't send less just to make a sale. At least that is my experience with him. When he sent my Divine, Thumbelina, J105, Sangria, Delightful order 2 years ago it took 2 huge boxes because I had him ship in pot. They weren't rooted cuttings, they were small trees with many tips and they were gorgeous! He also packs them very well. They lost a couple of leaves then took off and bloomed a couple of months later. Sangria is one I really love. It is a blooming machine and the last so long. It bloomed on one tip for months, well into late fall, early winter(In the Keys).

I'm over Lurline. I am beyond caring what she does at this point. For all I know she is rotting inside but I'm just leaving it alone. She will either get leaves or die. I really don't like grafts. I have about 4 of them that I got from Brad's before he when he used to sell mostly grafted. I just don't like the way they look, they aren't good grafts and are noticeable.The grafted are Mardi Gras, Salmon Pink, Duvachelle and Musk Rainbow. Of those 4, 3 of them have yet to really leaf out. Salmon has bloomed and it got leaves early, the other 3 are just now getting them.

The top of my wish list was Kapalua and Toba's Fire, plus to replace my Golden Pagoda that I lost this winter. It seems Golden Pagoda is going to be very hard to find. Matt doesn't sell JL trees anymore so have no clue where to get one. I looked, with no success. Kapalua I paid dearly for, but at least I can cross that one off of my list and it is a nice one!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:15PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Powderpuff - It's not that the potential or value the gritty mix offers in pot-in-trench (plunged/sunk pots) growing is limited, it's simply not necessary to be so concerned about the perched water that would normally be limiting in more water-retentive soils. Using the gritty mix in plunged pots doesn't limit the gritty mix's potential, it increases the potential of other soils that are more water retentive, making the gritty mix an overkill for that type of growing.

I agree that if you intend to sink or partially sink your pots in the ground, it makes good sense to use something that would normally be too water-retentive in conventional container applications to offer the best potential. I covered this in another thread, but for those wondering what to do with the screenings (fines) left over after screening the Turface, you can incorporate them with an equal fraction of pine fines and use them for your partially buried containers. You have the earth acting as a giant wick, so as long as you're not growing in clay and the water can percolate through the soil, you won't need to worry about having to suffer the effects of perched water.

If you saturate a sponge & hold it so the long dimension is vertical until it stops draining, then set it on a section of newspaper, a considerable amount of additional water will be drawn from the sponge into the newspaper. This is the same effect the soil surrounding the pots you partially bury has (acts like the newspaper), and why you can use soils for this type of growing that would otherwise be unhealthy in containers.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I'm more than happy to edit the words "limited value" out if there is concern it was intended to be derogatory towards gritty mix. I don't believe it to be an incorrect characterization based on the typical costs and labor invested into making gritty mix and the lack of much ROI in this instance.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

No need - it was a perfect springboard to a clearer understanding of why soils made with less attention to detail work well enough in this application (buried or partially buried pots) that it makes good sense to use them instead of the gritty mix. Even I wouldn't use the gritty mix in pot-in-pot or pot-in-trench applications ..... though there is no reason you couldn't ..... say if you already had a plant in the gritty mix and wanted to bury the container. It would work just fine.

If I was setting out to grow in pots set into the ground, I would probably choose a medium something like the 5:1:1 mix with a healthy fraction of A) unscreened Turface MVP, B) Turface fines, or C) unscreened calcined DE (NAPA floor dry).


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:41PM
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I must be doing something right and don't realize what it may be! I have three Lurline, one in the ground @ about 5'5" and two in pots. All are doing great and I love the bloom. Maybe it is the salt air and the weird sand/soil mix in this area but have never had any problems.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:07AM
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Powderpuff, you can get Golden Pagoda from The Plumeria World.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Plumeria World / JL Farms

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:02AM
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plumygirl- My Lurline was a small one tip barely rooted cutting when I got it. I just noticed that it now has 3 tips so it must have bloomed last summer in the Keys when I wasn't there because it has 3 tips now. Unless it just grew tips and didn't bloom which is also possible.

I took it out of the Gritty Mix today, after 4 days of drenching rains to see what was going on because it has no leaves, the claws are dark and shriveled up and this time of year that means it has issues of some sort and those issues are usually a problem with the roots or sunburn on tender claws. I knew it wasn't sunburn, there was no rot I could see of feel but it was a little shriveled and dehydrated.

It has zero roots except for some tiny little white hair like roots just starting, the others had rotted. I removed it from the wet Gritty mix, repotted it in dry mix and put it back in the garage in a warm place that gets some evening sun. It will either grow roots or it won't. MANY people that have grown Lurline state it does not like wet feet and her in FL it's hard to keep their feet dry unless they are in the ground. That is probably why yours did well and why mine did ok, not great,but hung in there when it was in the ground. Perhaps it is one that does not like it's roots in a pot period.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:46PM
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I ran across this thread while doing a search for something else so decided to do an update. Lost zero this winter, moving all out of gritty mix this spring, Too hot, too heavy, too hard to keep watered and too hard to feed.

This post was edited by powderpuff on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 16:08

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:36PM
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