What is the gritty mix in Florida?

abbsforeverJuly 23, 2014

What is the gritty mix in Florida?

Where do I get the materials from?

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plumejunkie(9a SF Bay Area)

Turface, pummice, & fir bark I believe.

I've actually been experimenting a couple different mixes. One being high quality garden soil, tons of volcanic rock, a pinch of sand, pinch of finely chopped moss, & some rice hulls. Threw in some cal mag, & other amendments for mineral diversity. It is very fast draining, & also offers the benefit if having organics. Living bacteria feed your plants for you which means you don't have to fertigate. Less cost on fertalizers is great, plus it's more inline with the natural order of things.

Anyway, just some food for thought. Hope I've been a small help.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:15PM
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SHhhhh(9 Central Florida)

You should check out Lukas nursery in Oviedo. I use their potting mix for my mature plumeria and it is great. My plumerias have never been happier. It is fast draining for all this rain we are getting, and it has a lot of perlite in it. For cuttings I do a mix of Lukas soil, cactus potting soil, and perlite. I also use pea gravel at the bottom and use only clear plastic bottles to keep an eye on the roots. Using this mix, I haven't lost one cutting.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:30PM
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That's funny you mention that cause that is what they are in now.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:18AM
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Do you Know Matthew Holmbeck?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:21AM
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SHhhhh(9 Central Florida)

No, I don't know him. Should I?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The basic mix is equal parts of screened Turface, screened pine or fir bark, and grower size poultry grit. You can vary the water retention by keeping the bark fraction at 1/3 of the o/a volume and playing with the amount of Turface and grit

Basic mix:
3 parts screened pine or fir bark
3 parts screened Turface
3 parts grit with the dust rinsed or screened out

Less water retention:
3 parts bark
4 parts grit
2 parts Turface

More water retention:
3 parts bark
4 parts Turface
2 parts grit

Being able to use a soil that doesn't hold perched water is a significant advantage. The soil remains fully aerated and a provides from top to bottom a healthy environment for roots, even at container capacity (when holding as much water as it can hold).

See the link below for answers to all your questions, including ingredient substitutions, and reviews from people who have actually used the gritty mix.


Here is a link that might be useful: Click me to see what he was talking about.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

John Deere Tractor Supply store usually carry Turface. You want..
Turface Allsport. Or Turface MVP. If you can't find it there.. Google " Turface". It will give you a Turface locator to find in your area. Another substitute Is Napa Floor Dry. You can find this at Napa Auto Supply stores. part # 8822.

Turface is use in baseball parks.. You can keep that in mind when searching..

Grit. Aka Granigrit. Mined in North Carolina.. It's crushed granite.. No fillers.
You want " growers size". Or you can find Manna Pro ( poultry ). No crushed oyster shells.. Only granite..

Cherrystone size 2. Crushed quartzite. Mined in the Midwest. Love this.. Looks beautiful.. But hard for me to find.. I use Grani grit..

Helpful hint.. It's used for poultry to feed chickens or other poultry to help aid in digestion.. So check feed and seed stores.. Southern States store.. Tractor supply stores..,

Fir bark.. Pets smart has Reptibark by zoo med. I screen mine to get the right size.. Or check for local orchids dealers.. I think I have a place in Florida that sells perfect size.. I'll look and send a pic of the name.. I think it is in Orlando! ;-) you want 1/8-1/4 inch size pieces...

Or use Pine Bark. Sometimes you can find this as soil conditioner. It's small pine bark fines.. Need to get right size and take out small particles.. No dust. Unless you are making the 5-1-1 mix

That's a good mix as well...

Good luck!!

Love this mix.. I use it on small Plumeria and then on all adeniums. Once my trees ( Plumeria) get large and in large containers, I change up my mix.. Once you learn about how roots work.. Aeration .. it will become easy to change up your mix for your moisture retention needs..

I'll post a pic of the place I'm thinking about the great orchid bark.. Love this stuff.. I have large bags.. It's awesome..

Hope this helps!!!

Take care,


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:39AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Lucky you! It is in Orlando!! ;-)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:42AM
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SHhhhh(9 Central Florida)

I think you guys are making it more complicated than it really is.
Here is your check list for cuttings:

-Cut off all foliage
-Allow cuttings to dry out for two weeks
-Apply rooting hormone to cut end
-Plant in a clear bottle (to see the roots)
-1/2" of pea gravel at the bottom
-The rest I fill with a good draining potting soil (I use Lukas Nursery mix) and add 25% Cactus mix and 25% perlite.
-Keep them in indirect sunlight, and out of the path of rain.
-Do not water, and keep them out of the rain until you see new growth.
-Spray the tips every day with a spray bottle.
-Check out the growth after a few weeks

I have not lost a cutting using this method! When in doubt, leave it alone and do not water.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:46AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


I agree with you, but I was trying to help the OP with questions on where to find it.. I was just answering their questions.... They asked...


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:12AM
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SHhhhh(9 Central Florida)

Sorry! I read my post again and it does sound harsh. I did not mean to come off that way. I realize everyone has their own technique, and I am not trying to sound like I know it all. Again, I apologize!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 4:07PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

For those looking for Fir Bark...a friend and I split a bag of Orchiata (small sizes) makes a great 'gritty mix' perfect size with no sifting...just rinse a little to remove some light dust.
She orders it from her local Orchid society Club she belongs to...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:41AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Here's a picture...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:42AM
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OK. I made the mix on Sunday. How often should I water them? They dried really fast in the hot Central FL sun.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:12AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

After rereading this thread.. I'm not sure if you are asking about rooting cuttings? since " shhh" was mentioning this about cuttings and wanted to share his or hers method.. its not clear in the OP ....but im talking as if you repotted your trees into this mix... about After repotting I would keep them in the shade for a few weeks and then slowly acclimate them back into the sun.

Watering with the gritty mix , you have to get used to it a little. It's ok to water it in an let it get wet. The mix will drain fast. I water all my plants then circle around and give them a little more to make sure the mix ( bark. ) has soaked up the moisture.

In the first weeks , I would give water every other day. Then check with a wooden dowel ( like the wooden , then skewers you find at the grocery store for kabobs ) to check the moisture level. If it's wet, it's ok. Moist to Dry , water. I really don t worry about over watering In the summer

I will tell you in the hot months you can really water every day in the gritty.

Especially newly potted trees. The gritty mix won't make your plants sit in water .. It does drain Quickly let the mix drain freely.. Don't put any saucers under the container.. Just my opinion.. .

You will get used to this new mix.. Just keep your plants under shade to avoid shock. Any plants needs rest after repotting.

If rooting.. Keep them with good bottom heat. I am careful about full sun, since I have had sunburn.. I place them in partial sun but use lots of bottom heat... Water once, mist if necessary..

Hope this helps.. Again, just trying to answer the original posters questions!!

Good luck! ;-)


This post was edited by loveplants2 on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 14:53

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:44AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

In many cases, soil choice determines how much frustration you (used collectively throughout) either face head on or sidestep, so a little front-loaded effort can pay big dividends. Yes, it's more complicated than just grabbing whatever's on the shelf and planting in it, but the rewards can be significant.

We all have different priorities, and no one should presume to order those of another, but we can all agree options are a good thing. In many cases, I've seen neophyte growers adopt a quality soil right out of the chute and leave more 'experienced' growers standing in their slipstream. Experience isn't worth a whole lot if it's gained at the expense of repeating the same practices over and over, giving no credence to the idea there might be ways to improve ones lot, because there always are. Experience is most valuable when it's used to validate something you've already learned, so knowledge is the fastest route to a green thumb.

Abbs - what mix did you make? used what ingredients? screened the materials to an appropriate size?

At first, you'll think the gritty mix doesn't hold much water, but if you establish a herbaceous planting in a properly made gritty mix, you'll be surprised at how long it will go between waterings w/o wilting. If I get a volunteer weed in one of my pots, I often leave it as a 'tell'. I don't need to water until the weed shows signs of wilting.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:38PM
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I created the basic mix. I has been raining like crazy in central fl and I wasn't home to move my plants out of the rain.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 3:58PM
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