Anyone using Al's gritty mix in a terrarium?

pkozulOctober 25, 2011

Hi there,

I've mixed a big batch of Al's gritty mix (the well-known soil mix from the Container Gardening forum, made up of bark, turface and granite). I recently repotted our house plants into this mix, and have some of this mix left over...

I've been planning on setting up my first terrarium, and was wondering whether the gritty mix would be suitable. Has anyone used this, or a similar medium, in their terrarium?

Thanks,

Pete

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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
I find most every media you can name works to some degree lol.Depends on what you want to grow . i prefer a "false bottom "setup if for mostly terrestrial plants either sphagnum or coir for aquatic . Cork or hard driftwoods for epiphytes. My large (150 gallon ) i'm using crushed lava rock over a false bottom. Mostly selaginellas and tropical ferns though some flowering plants. Would think the gritty mix would work best for high light terrestrials with lowered humidity?? gary

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 4:09AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Never tried it myself, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a very good idea. If you decide to experiment, let us know how it turned out!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 10:54AM
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succulent_succotash

How about using the gritty mix for succulent terrariums?

What if I chose to layer crushed glass as draining bottom, layer a bit of cactis soil, then layer mix to create a tierd effect? In this scenario, the gritty mix would be majority and where roots will be.

I made three succulent terrariums as gifts using crushed black glass on bottom, MG C&S soil, plus white river rock on top for aesthetics. I kept for two weeks and they were fine with light misting. The gift recipients haven't told me anything. To me, no news is good news. I think they would tell me if they are shriveling or, worse, dying/dead.

I'm planning on making a larger terrarium arrangement soon, so any advice would be great. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:53AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

MG C&S soil is actually pretty "crap"-tacular. I won't use it even for my regular potted cacti/succs.

All a "drainage layer" is likely to do is create a perched water table (Al gives a good run down of this if you do an overall forum search ... Can't remember if it was originally posted in the C&S forum, or House Plants forum.) Better would likely be to use a very gritty mix with little or no organic matter for attempting long term terr culture with cacti/succs.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:39AM
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succulent_succotash

Paul_, are you using gritty mix solely for your terrariums? Any other type of soil mixture?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:20PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I'm guessing the bark component would grow a bit of mold and/or fungus.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:17PM
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plantcrazed101

bark grows TONS of mold! I highly un-recommend using bark!

I have african violets that I grow in domed containers and they never had problems with the peat based mixture until I tried a couple with 5-1-1...got mold instantly it seemed. Not to say I don't think the mix is fantastic! just not for terrarium use unless you're prepared for the mold risk or know how to eliminate it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:23PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

â¢Posted by succulent_succotash
Paul_, are you using gritty mix solely for your terrariums? Any other type of soil mixture?

Actually for all 3 of my large terrs, It's a 2-3inch layer of sphag over lava rock. Reason being is it makes for a lighter weight tank should I need to move it, and the plants I have in them are more moisture lovers. I don't do succulent terrs as they do not make good long term terr inhabitants.

IME, any organic material will grow mold -- especially in a terr. You may not notice some types as not all are light colored, but they are there nonetheless.

What will greatly reduce the presence of many fungi -- at least the white fuzzy types -- is good air circulation ... something many terrs lack. Once I installed a couple pc fans in my 90gal terr, mold issues abated.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:58PM
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