soil not drying out!!

MamaRenea(z8 nFL)September 14, 2003

I'm new to sans but I have 3 babies in a pot, S. Cylindrica, S. Trifurcate Hahnii (Birds nest), and one unknown, also have a dracena in this pot. I bought the "Scotts" brand C&S potting mix & plunked them in it....well, they are in an area with bright indirect light, I think the pot may be to big, and I might need to give them each their own space....My concern is that this soil has not dried out, what should I do for these guys before they start to rot on me??? I'm sure I should have added something to the mix......

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I would probably remove them, shake off all the soil and let them dry on a counter for a couple of days. Then I'd pot up individually in pots just a bit larger than their root ball. I would add some perlite or chicken grit or clay soil conditioner to the soil to make it drain faster. Good luck!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 3:34PM
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Cena(S CA 10A)

Anything that adds texture to the soil AND DOES NOT RETAIN WATER is good. Folks sometimes add things like sand, well, because it is a succulent, and all succulents grow well in sand, Right??? Sand is NOT the answer. It often retains a LOT of water, compacts and add other problems too.

I mix my own soil, using cheapo Hyponex, cooked, crushed egg shells, lots of perlite, any pumice laying around, rocks, pea gravel, plastic bits of shatered pots, and odds and ends of just junk. Anything to allow that water to rush right on through.

I also have a collection of good sized rocks. Most sans are top heavy with long, tall foliage, and have teeny, tiny root systems. I pick a pot that is 'near' the size of the root ball, add in a great big ole rock on the bottom for ballast, fill in with dirt, pop the plant in, good to go.

Really, my dirt mix won't work for my good friend up in Yucca Valley, and probably won't work for you. You have to tinker around, find something that fits your watering habits most importantly, is locally available, and is affordable for you. The more inert, non absorbing material you can get into your soil the better drainage it will have. A good root system works well also. The water will follow the roots like little stream beds, thus explaining the danger of overpotting.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 12:58AM
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Oklahoma_Tim(z7a OK)

I'v got three questions for you: How big is the pot? Is it clay or plastic? and What type of dracaena do you have? There are just as many different types of dracaenas as there are sansevierias, if not more, and the different types require different care. Sure, most dracaenas will grow just fine in a neighboring pot near the sans, but I don't think they'll grow well in the same pot.

As for the type of pot, a clay pot will dry out faster than a plastic one of the same size. I've included a link to a site with good information on potting sansevierias. I hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brian's Garden's Sans site

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 1:51PM
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MamaRenea(z8 nFL)

Well, they have all been repotted into tiny (2 3/4 square)pots. Since the plants are so small and the roots even smaller I added stirofoam peanuts into the bottom, then a C&S soil with added perlite. I did this after I unpotted them from the original pot and let them dry about a day & a half on the counter. The soil was slightly damp and I didn't water, will wait until soil is DRY to do so!

OK Tim - I don't know what I was thinking but it is a Gasteria Lilliputiana that was with them, not a Dracena, he has his own home now also :) He's about the size of my thumb so he's in a 2 1/4 square pot!!

I will post pics of them soon, as one needs an ID.

Thanks all for the much needed help!!!!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 3:32PM
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Oklahoma_Tim(z7a OK)

Yes, there is quite a difference between Dracaenas and Gasterias! As soon as I saw your response, I did a Yahoo! Advanced Search for "Gasteria lilliputiana," and it returned exactly three sites, one of which is this GardenWeb page. At the bottom of the page was a link labeled "Did you mean to search for Gasteria liliputana?" I clicked on that and got a list of over 270 sites, so I believe the correct spelling would be "Gasteria liliputana." Anyway, I included a link to one of the sites that has a good photo of a blooming G. liliputana.

I also checked out's page for Gasteria, and here are some excerpts from the page: "Thay make wonderful houseplants because they will tolerate low levels of light as well as hot, bright indirect light.... In warm climates where the temperature stays above 40 degrees F, these plants can be grown outdoors; otherwise, they can be grown in a home or greenhouse. A mixture of two parts loam and equal parts of sand and crushed bricks is the best to use.... Keep the soil moist throughout the summer, but only give water when the soil becomes quite dry in winter. No shading is required except a little during summer when the sun's rays are the most severe."

Here is a link that might be useful: G. liliputana in bloom

    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 4:48PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

I live in a Semi-desert, I use a cactus mix 60 perlite or pumice, coarse construction sand 20@, 20@ Orchid bark. You can use egg shell, crush shells of any kind, crushed broken small pieces of red clay pots, pebbles, no sand from the sea or a sand box. Any of the above mentioned in the previous posts. I water heavily once a week.
You are in Florida, and I hope you are okay, I am concerned about my friends who live in the State. Because of the high humidity, you may need to water less, let the soil dry out between waterings, don't let the leaves wrinkle up. They can actually can go from Sept 15 to April 1 without water. I have a friend in Florida that is what happened to him by accident, and they all lived. No need to pamper them. The only thing that will kill them is too much watering or none at all for a year or more. They will need winter heat if it goes below 55 at any time. Norma

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 11:34PM
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The only thing that will kill them is too much watering or none at all for a year or more.

Can I quote you. I think most sans should enter their new home with that note.

I better think about my guys outside as wisconsin nights can be 55 almost any time of the year. I think it was below 55 last week and I don't see any problems.

As always, thanks for your great advice! Diane

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:58AM
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