Newby to forum w lots of questions on container soils

TinaMiB(8B)March 21, 2012

Hi All!

I live in Round Rock, Texas and am not new to gardening or containers but decided this year I need to devote more time to the containers. (I am also going to be scouring other areas of this site for other things that need a bit more attention outside)

In containers, I grow succulents/cactus, citrus, assorted flowers, some herbs, and plumeria. In the yard, I will not even name because we grow so many veggies, greens, herbs, and flowers - all organic - maybe another post)

We had a rough couple years in this area with very cold winters and harsh summers and over the last couple years, my succulent/cactus collection dwindled from approx. 40+ to 20. Some of these are full sun and some are in partial sun.

I currently need to transplant succulents, cactus, citrus, and plumeria. I have been reading and have seen Al's Gritty mix and other soils. I have even located most of the ingredients locally.... Turface MVP and Gran-I-grit. Now I have a few questions and probably will have more.

1. We are VERY hot in the summer and I am concerned about the pots in mostly sun drying out quickly. What would be the best soil mixture for what I need to transplant (succulents, cactus, citrus, and plumeria)?

2. Would I use the same mixture in part sun?

2. How often would I need to water in full sun?

3. I am also looking for a good time release fertilizer. Any Suggestions? I read about the Dynamite Citrus, palm and can't locate it? (I have palms in the yard - The citrus I am transplanting is a Texas Valley Grapefruit I started from a seed - now 4 foot tall)

4. Would same mix be good for flowering mostly sun plants in containers or would I need something different?

I know I have a lot of questions. I have been reading for a couple days and researching sources.

Thanks in advance for all advice. I look forward to sharing lots of info in the future.

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Mike Larkin

5-1-1 Al's Mix
5 parts pine bark fines (partially composted fines are best)
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred

this is a mix that you will need to make . Bagged potting soils are ok and will work ok , but Al's Mix is the best.
If you reed the link there will be lots of information. Maybe more that you would like - but it is all useful and most important ---- it works

Al's Gritty Mix is another mix that is described in the forum.
They work for all plants.

If you read other posts there is lots of good infromation, Al discusses regarding fertiliztion.

Here is a link that might be useful: container garden forum

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:11PM
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pinks(9A Houston)

2. I live in Houston and have to water everything except my most water-averse plants (i.e. sage) daily. Water-averse plants get watered every other day (and daily once it hits 100). This assumes the plants are in big containers. Small container plants need 2x daily. Disclaimer: I don't grow any succulants, so no direct experience.

3. I am concerned about your grapefruit tree. When you want to grow citrus outside of S. Texas, you generally need to graft the plant onto cold-hardy rootstock. S. Texas grapefruits otherwise won't survive a hard freeze. Even on grafted stock, it is hard to keep them alive in Houston.

My in-laws are avid gardeners in N. Texas, and the way they've kept their citrus (meyer lemons) alive is by keeping it in very large containers that sit on a cart with wheels, so they can wheel it into the house in the winter. The TAMU link below suggests the same approach with other citrus. But I don't know if it would work on something as large as a grapefruit tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: patio citrus care (they talk about satsumas, but generally useful)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 3:51PM
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