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My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was best

Posted by tweathers none (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 4:13

My soil has been staying more damp than before the extra perlite any idea why?


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

What is your soil made up of? Adding some perlite to a poorly drained soil doesn't do much, unless you add enough perlite that it becomes the main ingredient. Otherwise, you have balls of perlite surrounded by soggy soil.

Joe


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Joe's right.
In my experience, you have to add at least 1/3 perlite to your mix before it makes any real difference.
The same goes for pretty much anything you add to your soil, unless it actively absorbs water.

What plants are you growing?

- Sparkey


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

The size of the perlite could be the issue as well. If the particles are to small you will have to much perched water. Also perlite often has to many fine dust like particles which can be a problem. I prefere pumice or scoria (lava rock) for my soil.

You do want your soil to hold some moisture you just dont want it to be soggy.

This post was edited by CDCFRMS on Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 10:45


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Perlite holds a LOT of moisture on its outer surface.

Joe is correct - unless you add somewhere around 70 percent Perlite, the *drainage* characteristics of your mix will not change. Adding less than that will merely *displace* moisture in the mix, meaning that water won't be able to occupy as much of the volume - however, the other ingredients will still hold onto water as before.

CDC is also correct - if you added unrinsed Perlite that was mostly fine powder, you could very well have increased the moisture retention of the mix, due to such a radical increase in moisture-holding surface area.

Josh


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

The best? Pumice is the best, but many of us can't get it, so perlite (filtered as per above) or poultry grit are OK. I've not used scoria myself, but many experienced growers do, so there's that.

Don't text and drive, please. We'd like you around, even at a distance.


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

My soil is cactus succulent soil. I have 50% perlite 50% C&S soil mixed really good maybe I overwatered cause it was brand new mix and there hasn't been sun out in a week and not suppose to be out for another week idk what to do now cause without the sun my soil won't dry it's pretty damp


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 14:54

I have a feeling you were not fully wetting the medium before and now you have and that is why it seems so different.how quickly do you think it is supposed to dry out? The nice thibg about the added perlite is that it will allow a damp mix to not cause rot because of the extra air. This is not supposed to be as stressful as you are making it out to be. Your mix looks a lot better than it did. Take a deep breath and relax and let the plants do their thing. You don't have any plants that are going to melt just because the mix wasn't perfect.


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

We'll there not swampy wet just damp still usually when in full sun they dry out in a day maybe 2 but like I said it's been really cloudy past week and just worried it's hurting them not getting that full sun like there use to getting


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Just for reference, the "cactus soil" sold around here from a couple of big name companies is nothing more than standard potting soil with sand and some bark chips thrown in it. The problem is that sand is so fine, it just clogs up all the air space, creating perched water.

Joe


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Well this soil did an amazing job with draining before it's very good soil in the drainage aspect it just has extra perlite sand ect it dries fast im sure my it's just not drying because there hasn't been any sun and isn't gonna be any for another week is that gonna hurt my plants? I'm not gonna water again for awhile till the storms are all done. Yes I do bring my plants in during rain and I bring them in at night time


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Some cacti tolerate damp better than others. Some cacti even like to stay a little moist (like Chritsmas cacti).
A week or two of cloudy weather certainly won't hurt your plants!

What plants are you growing?


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Oh whoops! I just re-read my comment and it's misleading.
What I mean is, cloudy weather won't hurt your plants, but dampness might, though it depends what kind of plant it is.

Bottom line, if the mix is staying wet too long, you put too much water on it in the first place. Don't worry about the ingredients of the mix, but make a mental note to use less water next time.
Somebody's probably going to get mad at me for saying that, but it works for me. Rather than change the potting mix, I usually change how I water my plants.
... unless the soil is really bad, but it sounds like your mix is OK.

- Sparkey


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

I have aloe vera aloe minnie belle aloe zanzibar aloe carmine some other hybrids and a tiger jaws also a climbing aloe "ciliaris"


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

The only thing I'd be concerned about is the "tiger jaws". I've killed several Faucaria, I have to assume from overwatering. Part of the last one survived, and I am just letting it chill in it's pot. The soil seems impossibly dry right now & it's happy as a clam.


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Oh, nice! Those plants look great.
I don't think you have anything to worry about.
I have an aloe vera which is growing like wildfire and it's kept indoors where it only gets morning sun, it's growing in regular potting mix, and it's always damp.

Some of your smaller plants are technically "over potted", I suppose, but if you expect them to grow bigger, then it's no problem.
Again, just make sure you don't water them too much, and they should be fine!

- Sparkey


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Just curious - what kind of cactus soil are you using? I know there are several, but around here all they have is MG.
Thanks!


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

As mentioned by others, most C&S soils are simply peat moss, which is inappropriate for most C&S applications.

Josh


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Soil but I mixed a lot of perlite


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Idk if u can see pic cause I can't but it's miracle grow cactus,citrus something soil how long should I let my plants be completely dry they are a lot more dry today but I can still punch the soil and it sticks together which means it's still moist


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Pinch the soil not punch hahaha


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Ah - that is the exact cactus soil that I used. I started with some K. blossfeldiana that my mother gave to me. They did very well in that soil - for about 6-8 months. Then the soil got very hydrophobic and I could not get water to the roots and the plants began to fail.

As I branched out to more succulents I remembered that soil getting hard. So I watered more often and rotted some plants. So I moved to the 50/50 perlite mix. In the end, that was still too soggy for some of my plants. Now I am strictly gritty mix, and that has worked well for me. I even fill the holes with gritty mix when I plant in the ground.

Bear in mind that my experience may not mirror yours. I am in SW Florida and we are pretty soggy at least 6 months of the year. Good drainage is a must for me. I also don't have to transition my plants from inside to outside.

Anyway, you are off to a good start. Don't be surprised if you need to change soils in the future. It's all part of the learning curve!


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Ok thanks for all the help!!


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

Oh - BTW I find it better to remove my plants before I punch the soil. LOL


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RE: My mix isn't drying out at all i though extra perlite was bes

I tend to sift ALL the heavy meterial outta that soil before i add the perlite And then pot them up after i mix it up


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