Return to the Cacti & Succulents Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Amending Native Soil

Posted by uscgardener USDA 9 Sunset 20/21 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 4, 12 at 16:25

I would like to convert a flowerbed next to my house into a succulent garden. The soil is not too bad (not clay); it is pretty easy to pull out weeds and such. I am not sure if I should amending the soil in the flowerbed by adding perlite or something else to make it more appropriate for growing succulents. I've been reading all about Gritty Mix (which I plan to use for my succulents in containers), but need a bit of advice about growing in-ground. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I add grit in the form of decomposed granite , expanded shale and scoria to my dirt. pea gravel chunks of rock, builders sand. And lots of it. Some people do 1/3 native soil 1/3 peagravel and 1/3 decomposed granite.I need to add some humus because my native soil lacks in it.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

You should be able to find pumice (in place of perlite) - I'd guess 3/5 pumice, 1/5 organic matter, and 1/5 decomposed granite. That'd be a wonderful canvas to start with.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

Thank you wantonamara and cactusmcharris for your answers! Do you think the size of the decomposed granite and pumice would matter much in this application? I am thinking it wouldn't matter too much as long as they are not huge chunks, but would like to hear your opinions too. Would love to be able to just buy some and put it into the garden without sifting and all that.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

1/2-3/4" is ideal. The DG's also a great top dressing.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I would say, 1/4 (- 1/2)" is better and easier to find.

Jordi


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I'm no expert at amending native soils, but those sizes sound way too big. Wouldn't sand do a better job of increasing drainage? With coarse gravel I'd think the native soil would simply pack into the large pore spaces created by the gravel, leaving you with the same drainage characteristics as when you started. That was my experience when mixing native soil with gravel anyways. I imagine a bit of fine gravel may be useful after sufficient sand has been added, but it seems pointless to mix soils of vastly different particle sizes.

-Chris


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

Chris,

Not my experience in San Diego, that's for sure - we never, ever used sand as a drainage element in planting someone's garden plants (C&S), for the same reason that it's not recommended for a potting soil ingredient anywhere- it sucketh mightily in that regard.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I had a girlfriend that used sand and pea gravel and a little bit of compost to break up OKCity clay gumbo and she used lots of sand and pea gravel and it worked for her . She successfully grows cactus and xeric natives very well. there was very little native clay soil in the mix when done with. She did use a coarse builders sand.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I forgot to say that she used 1 part 1 part 1part formula so the native soil was the minority and what was a packed gumbo became a loose soil that grew things very well. I traded with her and some plants came in the soil and believe me , if you add enough gravel it makes it loose.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I definitely agree with not using sand in containers, but growing in the ground is a completely different situation. Sandy soils are known for draining quickly and holding little water and nutrients. This is typically a bad thing for garden plants, but probably quite good for many succulents.

-Chris


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 10, 12 at 15:51

My soil is non-clay, it's categorized by the Ag map as "silty loam" and I've planted everything in the straight native soil, unamended. I live on a hill, though, so drainage is rapid. Years later, everything is growing well.


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

I am experiencing LOAM envy. Any Loam. I want and dream of loam, even "loam on a slant". Do you think there is anything called Caliche loam?


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

Can anybody explain to me the difference between loam and clay?

Jordi


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

My understanding is that loam can be from clay, sand or silt based but has been mitigated by other factors combining characteristics. I am not an expert . When I hear clay loam or Sandy loam I think of two different things. I see that a stream has brought in silt, sand or clay sometime in melenium to moderate the pure state of either element. I really don't know too much about geology and soil mechanics. I need to go back to school.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deffinition of Loam from Wiki


 o
RE: Amending Native Soil

Loam = porous
Clay = not porous


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cacti & Succulents Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here