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Gritty mix potting question.

Posted by derft1 none (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 15:48

I started 12 cuttings with a mixture of 1/3 potting mix, 1/3 sphagnum peat moss and 1/3 perlite two weeks ago. After reading the forum I decide to try the gritty mix too. The gritty mix is 1/3 Turface MVP, 1/3 Repti bark and 1/3 Chicken Grit. All were screened. I potted three cuttings two days ago. Today I checked the moisture content with a meter I have. I have not watered anything since the initial potting.

Now from what I've read I know not to water the cuttings until leaves are well formed. The 12 read about 2/3rd's wet on the meter. The three planted in Gritty Mix read dry after two days.

I was surprised by the difference. Should I be watering the three planted in the Gritty mix? Are the 12 in the potting mix to wet? This has me confused. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Fred.

This is the first time I've tried to root cuttings


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Derft,
I think moisture meters are not accurate in gritty mix. Its related to how the meter attempts to read the moisture content. Could the other ones be a bit too wet considering you watered them two weeks ago and not since. I think that may be the case. It's your call to make if you want to replant them or just find a hot sunny spot to get them dried out.

If you choose to replant them...I would recommend to double your perlite and drop the moss or just use perlite. Good luck with them.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hi Fred,

You have a lot of cuttings rooting right now.. Good for you!

First... Where do you live? That always gives us a good place to start. It can depend on this info because people who live in a zone 5 or a zone 10 can relax a bit when they have warmer temps.

I would be concerned about the amount of moisture in the potting soil mix. This is really the problem when trying to root and then end up with root rot. Did you let them callus up properly ? If i were you, I would buy a seedling heating mat and somehow secure your cutting on the matt as best as you can and keep them close so they can all stay warm. As far as the gritty mix cuttings, I do the same as all of the others, water once and leave them alone. Since I live in a zone 8 and I like to root in the spring and summer, I may give just a little spritz to the cutting once in a while. The ones in gritty, I will do the same. The roots will be pushing and looking for the moisture so it isn't all that bad if you feel they are really dry. We also water lightly around the rim of containers. We call that the rim method. Bill has talked about this and I use it quite often and it has helped. If you pot your cutting in a container or bottle, you can lightly give just a little water around the outer rim of the container. Stay away from the stem and you should be fine.

I did an experiment with two cutting from the same tree
, cut at the same time and potted up to root in the reg potting medium with half perlite and the other bottle in the gritty mix.

I will go and find that pic for you... This iPad has been acting strange, so I might close this out and then come back and show the pics for you. I tried to do this last night on another forum and when I came back to post pics, everything I wrote down vanished... Sheesh!

I like to root in the Gritty Mix. It gives the cutting more stability as well. I can give a little water and not worry, but I will say that the other cuttings need to dry out like k mentioned. Place them on heat and give them sunshine thru a western window if you can..

Oh... Forget the water meter.. Using the gritty mix.. It isn't accurate and the best way to read moisture in any container is to use a wooden skewer and poke it into the middle of the container and if it is moist or wet.. Don't water.. If it is dry.. Water. This is used for trees established in the containers and rooted. I wouldn't try and use this technique while rooting. Water once and leave them be. But.. Keep them on the dry side not moist.

Good luck..

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

K and Laura

Thanks for your detailed response. I'm in Fort Worth, Tx. Zone 8a I think. All but two of the cuttings are in one gallon black pots. The two larger cuttings are in two gallon black pots. I believe all cuttings were callused correctly when I bought them. I do not have a heat mat and to cover all the pots it would need to be about four feet square. For me cost prohibitive.

I have been setting them on the cement driveway on days when the temp is above 70 and bringing them back in the garage at night. Some days they just stay in the garage as the weather has been just crazy.

I can repot them in a better potting mix as K suggested or repot them in Gritty mix. On Monday, six will have been potted for 3 weeks and six will have been potted for 2 weeks. I think I prefer the gritty mix. I can use either the 1-1-1 or the 4-3-2 as I have nothing mixed at the moment. I will get some sticks tomorrow so I can see what the gritty mix wetness looks like.

I saw your picture of the two different potting mix's you tested when reading the forum. Of course it was after I potted everything. I want to save the cuttings, so, I don't mind doing what is best for the cuttings.

It still amazes me that the Gritty mix holds enough water to get the job done as it drains so well.

Thanks again, Fred

This post was edited by derft1 on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 0:20


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I just started using the Gritty mix. I repotted all of them in it over the past couple of months. We had 2 days of rain here in Florida. It stopped yesterday morning. The sun came out and has been out all day. It's about 78 degrees today.

I had an Elsie that was on my watch list since it didn't look too good when it came out of the garage andI repotted it. Shriveled and not many roots at all. I was checking on the 7 or so on my watch list today and noticed Elsie was really soft. I began surgery and discovered massive rot. Both tips rotted from about 4" from the tip all the say down the base of the plants. No new roots at all either.

I removed it from the pot and the roots were soaking wet, and I mean soaking. Saturated. Since there were no live roots to take up the water, it was really wet. The top looked very dry.

One thing I have learned over the past 2-3 weeks is that Gritty mix stays much wetter than you think in the bottom half. I'm getting skewers and will use Laura's(thank you Laura) suggestion. I'm worried about what will happen when the torrential rains come this summer for days on end.

I still say, if you live in Florida, the best way to grow them and not lose them is in the ground in well drained soil. I have never lost a Plumeria that was in the ground. I've rooted them in the ground, grown them into big trees in the ground, never a loss unless it was due to salt water intrusion during a hurricane.

I'm seriously considering putting a lot of mine in the ground for the summer. You just can't control mother nature's faucet and I'm afraid the mix is going to stay too wet during those times when we get 3 days if cloudy weather and 5 or more inches of non stop rain.

Color me worried. After my huge losses this winter, all in pots, I'm getting very leery.

ALL of my trees in the ground in our Keys home are growing like crazy and doing fine.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Fred, I think it's still just a bit cool at night to get the best rooting results outdoors. Just for future rooting, at this time of year in Ft. Worth, I would wait until your nights are warmer before trying to root outdoors.

Mine cuttings are inside in their clear plastic bottles, secured together in a 3-gallon black pot, under a light that is running about the same length of time as our daylight outside. The pot is set into a bin along with some seedlings. Because I'm too lazy to get a heat mat, I just use some Christmas lights wrapped around the pot, which keeps the whole bin a nice, warm 80+ degrees. Then I just mist everything a couple times a day.

This keeps the conditions stable, and keeps the cuttings stable as they try to root. Moving them everyday can stall the rooting process as there is some wiggling from being picked up and set back down.

It seems like you've done a lot of research and are well on your way. These are just some suggestions for you. Good luck!


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hi Powder,

Sorry to hear about Elsie.. sounds like it was having issues before you potted up in the Gritty? I think the Gritty mix drains really well if you have no fines that are blocking the bottom of the container. You have to eliminate those fines to have a consistant even structured mix. did you have any saucers under the containers? This is not a good idea if anyone thinks it is best for the trees. They need to drain and not sit in water. (just for others if they do.. ;-)

It sound like Elsie was very weak when you repotted her and im sorry she didnt do well. I will agree about planting in the ground. That is the BEST way for our trees . But, for some of us that have to only plant in containers.. we just have to continue on. The gritty mix is a great mix that allows proper aeration and proper water retention with no pertched water . That is important to check with the wooden skewer. I really dont worry here in Va about watering in the summer sometimes everyday. i know it will drain properly. Last night when i got home some of my other plants were wilted because i was gone for a 4 day trip. I was bummed because they looked soo pitiful. These were not Plumeria, but still importnt trees to me. They love the water in this mix and i guess i didnt water well before i left on this trip. ;-( Oh well, they will back bud and come back strong.. im sure!!!

Good luck and please let us know how you are doing. Did you protect the drainage hole with anything that would limit the flow of water? Just a thought. I was talking with a friend and remined him that it is important to put mesh or screen around the bottom of the pot to keep the tiny mixture inside and to allow the proper flow of water when draining.. You dont want to plug up the holes with peanuts or anything to stop the flow of water.

Fred.. I like what Jen mentioned about not moving the containers back and forth.. believe me... we all have done this, but it does interfere with the fine roots just developing from these cuttings. They are so fragile and can break so easily. They like to be left alone, but i know it is difficult when the temperatures drop in the evening. When i didnt use the heating mats, i cut up an old grill cover (black) and placed it on the concrete and placed the cutting on this and then protected them from the rain while they were rooting by using an umbrella.. i know.. it looked funny, but it worked. I didnt have to keep running in an out when it rained. The concrete is really wonderful for bottom heat and i understand the cost factor if you have to by a few heating mats for al of your pots. If you go to the garden center and buy a roll of that weed protector that is heavy but more importantly, black.. this may help. You can cut a square piece and place it on the concrete. Have you ever noticed at the garden centers how they have their palms and other tropicals sitting on black tarps? This is the same. Using the natural heat to boost the growing process.

I also used a drip saucer (plastic) and cut it into the center.. cut a hole in the center and placed it upside down and around the stem and taped it to be secure. (at the top of the continer to protect the soil from the rain... this kept the rain from soaking the cuttinng while it was sitting on the black tarp. Just be careful that you dont burn the cutting with the sun bearing down on and thru the plastic. Just a few ideas for you.

I have my cuttings in small plastic bottles that are placed together in a black commercial dish pan (black) and they sit on a heating mat inside the dish container in the greenhouse. They are all snug and warm. I bought my black container at a local hardware store. it is the same kind that you see busboys use at the restaurants to clean off the tables.

Hope this helps and please keep us updated.. I have a few rooting right now and im keeping my fingers crossed.

Take care all..

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Thanks you all for your input. If I had a do over I would wait until the temp at night was at least 65 for a week before I started the rooting process. The weather has been crazy this year. The four rooted plants I have started to leaf out in my garage in early February. They are now in my bedroom in an east facing window. Leaves are 6 to ten inches and one has two inflos. Their early start got me going on the cuttings.

I think I have decided to repot next week with 4-3-2 gritty mix. Still have not decided whether to use one gallon black pots or clear plastic bottles. Either way I will leave the pots in the garage until I can set them outside for the year so I don't disturb any roots. I don't know if this is going to work or help but I have an old electric blanket that I am going to put on the floor and cover with a tarp. Maybe that will warm the pots some. We shall see.

Any other advice would be appreciated.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Fred, put something down on the floor to insulate under the electric blanket or it will suck out the heat. Anything you have on hand, like newspaper, cardboard, styrofoam, or better yet pallets. Keep a close eye as the electric blankets are not made to run 24/7 and I've seen them start fires. Maybe just a heater like they sell for greenhouses. Peg


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Thanks Peg. Good advice. I have a 8 foot square carpet on the floor now. I only plan to have it on when I am in the garage. I build banjos and mandolins so I'm in the garage about 10 hours a day working.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Sorry for some reason I double posted.

This post was edited by derft1 on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 14:34


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

First off let me say thanks to all of you that contribute to this forum.

I am a newbie with plumeria. While visiting friends in Tampa two years ago, they took a cutting off a tree in their yard and I brought it home to Michigan and potted it... It is doing great and I just brought it up from my basement last week. It is sitting near my south facing doorwall and has 3 leaves about 1".

I ordered 10 more cuttings to try. I have been reading everything I can get my eyes on including the Gritty Mix. When the cuttings arrive I will set them up in the Gritty Mix and have located some heating grids that will hold a 35' reptile heat cable to set the black plastic pots on. I have the cable from past projects and the grids are 16"x16"x 1" and they can be interlocked. Each they are around $5. As I have read this should speed the rooting process.
Our courtyard is blocked on all four sides by privacy fence and garages, and is all pavers. This area gets HOT and is sunny... My plumeria loved it. Now if only I would have fertilized it properly it might have bloomed last year. This year I am hopeful that it will.

Thanks again for the sharing of information and I will send pictures as things progress.

Bill


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

First off let me say thanks to all of you that contribute to this forum.

I am a newbie with plumeria. While visiting friends in Tampa two years ago, they took a cutting off a tree in their yard and I brought it home to Michigan and potted it... It is doing great and I just brought it up from my basement last week. It is sitting near my south facing doorwall and has 3 leaves about 1".

I ordered 10 more cuttings to try. I have been reading everything I can get my eyes on including the Gritty Mix. When the cuttings arrive I will set them up in the Gritty Mix and have located some heating grids that will hold a 35' reptile heat cable to set the black plastic pots on. I have the cable from past projects and the grids are 16"x16"x 1" and they can be interlocked. Each they are around $5. As I have read this should speed the rooting process.
Our courtyard is blocked on all four sides by privacy fence and garages, and is all pavers. This area gets HOT and is sunny... My plumeria loved it. Now if only I would have fertilized it properly it might have bloomed last year. This year I am hopeful that it will.

Thanks again for the sharing of information and I will send pictures as things progress.

Bill


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Sorry for the double post.. not sure how that happened or how to delete one.

Bill


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Derft, another option could be old acoustical ceiling tiles from office buildings to put below that heat blanket. Sometimes the maintenance guys will let you have the ones that are water stained or broken. they are in most instances flame retardant (not fireproof) or buy a piece of sheet rock (also resistant but not fireproof). In about a week or two you should be OK to leave them outside on warm concrete. I'm in the San Antonio area and have mine outside until they root or rot...whichever comes first. Good luck and keep us posted.

Pigeon - glad you found us. Everyone here has a similar story on how we got started. Bottom heat is perhaps more critical than sunlight when it comes to rooting. I think using a smaller rooting container is helpful as its easier to keep warm. Hot and sunny is exactly what it takes.

There is a wealth of information on making gritty mix on this forum. I would recommend reading just as much on how users had to adjust their watering routine/technique to the gritty mix as how its engineered/mixed. Good luck and when they bloom post pictures.

This post was edited by kms2 on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 21:24


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hi Laura,

I agree, it was definitely having issues prior to re-potting it. It was on my "doesn't look great, keep and eye on this one" list.

Some that are doing great now also had some damage in the garage but only on one tip. I cut those off and sealed them. The strong will survive. :) I know one grower who I will not be buying any more rooted cuttings from. I won't mention names but almost all that I lost were from that one grower.

I sifted out all the fines and powder with insect screen. No saucers ever. They are all in standard black nursery pots and draining REALLY well. I detest those black posts, they get so hot in the summer that I have to sink them. I wish they made them in white.

I didn't put anything to obstruct the holes but wish I would have used some screen because when water some of the ones with bigger holes lost a lot of the mix the first time I watered. They are draining very well, better than any medium I've ever used before. I like that! It's too late to put screen or mesh in the bottom. No way am I disturbing them again and I haven't noticed much coming out when I watered them. Only the first time after potting them.

Almost all of mine are leafing out and look good now. I have about 7 that are pokey but they look ok so far. I'm concerned about my Golden Pagoda. It's strong and healthy, nice and plump but no claws. I'm hoping it's not sealing over but it seems to me it did this in 2011 too then got leaves. I wasn't home last summer so I don't know what it did and I don't recall if it had leaves when I uprooted it in October. It clearly did not bloom last year because it's still a single tip.

Thank you once again for all of your wonderful, detailed advice!


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 22:24

I didn't read through the entire thread, so this might have been covered by someone (Laura?). Those of you who are concerned about how much water the gritty mix retains, should be advised that the gritty mix is easily adjustable for water retention over a considerable range. By keeping the bark fraction at no more than 1/3 of the o/a mix, and varying the ratio of Turface and grit, you can increase or decrease water retention.

First, the gritty mix holds a lot more water than it appears to, but for cuttings, it's important to make sure you water frequently enough that the soil remains damp enough to support new root growth, so for cuttings, plants that have been root pruned hard, or plants whose root systems occupy only the upper part of a deep container, don't be afraid to water. It's really hard to over-water a properly screened gritty mix - you really have to work at over-watering.

If you want more water retention, instead of 1:1:1, bark:Turface:grit, try:

4 parts screened Turface
3 parts 1/8 - 1/4" bark
2 parts grower grit, #2 cherrystone, or equal

That will significantly increase water retention w/o having to sacrifice aeration or suffer the ill effects of a PWT.

You could just simply add extra screened Turface to the mix, too. You can't go too wrong if you're using ingredients of approximately the same size and in the favorable size range (3/32 - 3/16" - bark slightly larger).

Best luck!

Al


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

It is a BAD idea to frequently and actively water a rooting plumeria cutting in any media including gritty mix.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Thanks Al, great advice.
kms2, I tend to agree. I have never lost a new cutting by it being too dry, but I've lost several when I left them outside and the rain got to them, followed by more rainy and cloudy days when they didn't dry out quickly.

This post was edited by powderpuff on Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 19:44


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 15:08

The mediums most forgiving of a heavy hand on the watering can are those that are highly aerated and/or those that don't support perched water. We always need to use common sense to ensure that existing roots have an environment that discourages the damping off diseases associated with root rot, but a rhizosphere (part of the pot where roots grow) devoid of moisture is not conducive to good root health either. Not that a grower should be trying to see how much he can get away with in the area of over-watering, but when it comes to what many growers would consider to be watering overly frequently, the gritty mix is extremely forgiving.

In most cases, what rots cuttings and recent transplants is a soggy/airless medium that promotes the growth of anaerobic rot organisms - and the gritty mix just doesn't support those kinds of conditions, which means you can afford to err on the side of watering frequently enough to be sure the upper parts of the soil remain moist - especially when the upper part of the soil is the only fraction of the soil colonized by roots.

The original point is, if we put ANY plant in any well-aerated soil, and the roots of that plant only occupy the upper part of the soil, our water management needs to focus on the fraction of soil in which the roots grow. It just doesn't make sense to manage water at the bottom of the soil mass when the roots are all growing in the top of the mass.

I grow a wide variety of plants whose roots don't tolerate soggy conditions, and it's not at all unusual for me to water daily or even twice daily after repotting if it's hot/windy - until the roots have started colonizing the lower parts of the container - and to treat cuttings the same way. We just can't appropriately apply the same rules to, or make the same assumptions about, a soil that's 2/3 inorganic and doesn't hold perched water as we would to other more water-retentive soils. The difference in how they perform and how far the forgiveness factor in the area of over-watering extends is vastly different. As I mentioned - If it's made well, you have to work pretty hard at over-watering anything in the gritty mix.

Al

This post was edited by tapla on Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 15:28


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Tapla,

Thanks for the info and thanks to all that have commented with great suggestions. I had these questions early on in this thread.
"The 12 cuttings read about 2/3rd's wet on the meter. The three planted in Gritty Mix seemed dry after two days. I was surprised by the difference. Should I be watering the three planted in the Gritty mix? Are the 12 in the potting mix to wet? This has me confused. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Fred."

I was going to repot the 12 in wet mix but changed my mind. I have supplied heat to the bottom of the pots and have decided to take the approach root or rot. I will get them outside as soon as I have a week of 65 plus night time temps. I may have to chalk this up as a $60 learning experience.

I now believe I have the knowledge to root the cuttings correctly from callusing to potting in grit mix 4-3-2. Not sure my original cuttings were callused enough. Still not sure that I'm comfortable with watering only once with the gritty mix. I may water once a week around the outside edge of the pot. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Fred.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Al,
I'm rooting some cuttings in your mix. So far they are doing good, I watered when I potted them and haven't watered them since except for the ones putting out leaves and I very lightly watered those, and only around the inside edge, away from the roots, of the pot. Are you saying I should water as I do the ones already rooted?

That scares me but I'll give it a try with a NOID.

This post was edited by powderpuff on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 10:44


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 18:28

Derft - I'd put more faith in the accuracy of a wooden dowel inserted to varying depths in the pot as a tell for moisture levels than the moisture meter. The meter actually measures the level of electrical conductivity, rather than the moisture level. If you put the probe in a cup of distilled water, it will read DRY. Add a little salt or soluble fertilizer to the same water & it will read WET.

In a 12" deep pot, the top 3-4" of gritty mix dries out fairly quickly. This is because gas exchange in a chunky soil like the gritty mix is much greater than in heavy soils. The soil deeper in the container dries slower because the deeper the soil the greater the reduction in gas exchange. If your root mass is contained within the top 3-4" of soil, or the base of the cutting is within that depth range, you need to monitor moisture levels THERE - at least until enough roots colonize the lower part of the container to support the plant when the upper 1/3 of the soil is dry. Eventually, the roots in the part of the soil that dries frequently will become useful only as anchorage and plumbing, serving to secure the plant and as conduits for the flow of water/nutrients and photosynthate. Then, you can monitor for moisture deep in the pot and water accordingly. The object should be to keep the plant's parts viable and healthy.

If there aren't any roots in the bottom of a pot of gritty mix, who cares how wet it is? We know it's not soggy, and there is still plenty of air there, so roots will eventually colonize the lower part of the pot w/o reluctance. If there are roots there, manage the water retention in the root zone.

General consensus is to water on an 'as needed' basis, but that advice streams from the assumption you're using a soil in which it's dangerous to water on a schedule. I water everything on a schedule. It's easy on me and the soil is forgiving enough that it doesn't cause the plants to suffer. Again, I can do that because of how forgiving the gritty mix is of over-watering.

Powderpuff - I think I answered your question in what I said to Derft. If not, I'll be back later - leaving to do a talk/demo on long term maintenance and care of succulents. Do you think soil choice will be a significant part of the talk. ;-)

Al


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I am sure its very forgiving and a well engineered media. I take no exception nor praise to the concept of gritty mix. The simple fact is frequent watering will significantly reduce the margin of success in rooting a Plumeria in any media. It should not be routinely/actively watered. My experience is Gritty mix or one of its many "blessed" variants is usable for rooting plumerias. Its a poor assumption to think I use an organic, water retentive soil for rooting or apply the same rules to gritty mix. I don't and that is reflective in my statement encouraging the original poster to also read how other users adapted their techniques to gritty mix to help him get the best out of it. So that assumption is debunked.

Fred Identified he was using 1 gallon pots to root. We can safely say the cutting is about 4 or more inches into the media so it is well past the top third if not past most of the rhizosphere. Therefore it would be in the area of gritty mix which would retain more moisture without being soggy and without requiring watering.

I have no interest in changing someone's mind that cannot accept how a general model may actually have a small variance or exception. Not a big exception. Just a small one that doesn't impune reputations or render gritty mix ineffective. In fact its the opposite...the media keeps the plumeria cutting dry enough to reduce the risk of rot and allows the process of developing its FIRST roots to start. Emphasis on "first" is an important discriminator.

For those that do want to keep an open mind and are willing to decide for themselves please research the hundreds of posts in this forum related to most successful Plumeria rooting techniques some of which do include using gritty mix for rooting. I am sure anyone researching will consistently read the technique of water once and then keep it warm and dry until it has leaves and roots. Then keep to a light watering schedule along the inside rim of the container with no fertilizers until the plant is established. Its even in this thread very early on by other forum members. We can safely say experienced plumeria growers will keep cuttings on the dry side. Good luck and I hope they root.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I bought some heat mats for the 12 rooting in the potting mix. I have stopped using the meter and have bought skewers to check wetness. None have been watered since the initial potting and I do not plan on watering until leaves are well on their way. I will only move then one more time to the back yard. I have one cutting that I water rooted as a test. I have one cutting that I am bag rooting as a test. I have some potted with an egg. I think I have read everything about soil mix and cuttings on this site and others several times. The information is wonderful and a little overwhelming. I am experimenting.

I think my biggest mistakes were not reading more before I started and the potting mix I selected as it holds to much water. For the life of me I cannot remember why I chose that mix. Senior moment I think or a DA attack. I hope this thread helps someone else who is doing cuttings for the first time.

I have ordered 10 more cuttings and will do these correctly from the start. If all these root (by some miracle) my friends and family will be getting some presents. I always jump in to new adventures with both feet. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. PS. I have 25 seedlings growing like weeds. LOL Fred ....I am having fun. Right?


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

You are going to have your own grove soon. Bottom heat is your best friend. It was chilly enough and light rain in the area that I brought my rooters inside since last Wednesday. They will go back out on the sidewalk tomorrow.

Best of luck to you and post pictures when they start to develop.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I bought some heat mats for the 12 rooting in the potting mix. I have stopped using the meter and have bought skewers to check wetness. None have been watered since the initial potting and I do not plan on watering until leaves are well on their way. I will only move then one more time to the back yard. I have one cutting that I water rooted as a test. I have one cutting that I am bag rooting as a test. I have some potted with an egg. I think I have read everything about soil mix and cuttings on this site and others several times. The information is wonderful and a little overwhelming. I am experimenting.

I think my biggest mistakes were not reading more before I started and the potting mix I selected as it holds to much water. For the life of me I cannot remember why I chose that mix. Senior moment I think or a DA attack. I hope this thread helps someone else who is doing cuttings for the first time.

I have ordered 10 more cuttings and will do these correctly from the start. If all these root (by some miracle) my friends and family will be getting some presents. I always jump in to new adventures with both feet. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. PS. I have 25 seedlings growing like weeds. LOL Fred ....I am having fun. Right?


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I bought some heat mats for the 12 rooting in the potting mix. I have stopped using the meter and have bought skewers to check wetness. None have been watered since the initial potting and I do not plan on watering until leaves are well on their way. I will only move then one more time to the back yard. I have one cutting that I water rooted as a test. I have one cutting that I am bag rooting as a test. I have some potted with an egg. I think I have read everything about soil mix and cuttings on this site and others several times. The information is wonderful and a little overwhelming. I am experimenting.

I think my biggest mistakes were not reading more before I started and the potting mix I selected as it holds to much water. For the life of me I cannot remember why I chose that mix. Senior moment I think or a DA attack. I hope this thread helps someone else who is doing cuttings for the first time.

I have ordered 10 more cuttings and will do these correctly from the start. If all these root (by some miracle) my friends and family will be getting some presents. I always jump in to new adventures with both feet. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. PS. I have 25 seedlings growing like weeds. LOL Fred ....I am having fun. Right?


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Posted by mistake. Sorry

This post was edited by derft1 on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 22:34


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

One other important aspect to container growing that I didn't really see mentioned is temperature. In a pot, the soil gets much warmer in the summer and much cooler in the winter than the ground. Roots of all plants, regardless of their origin, prefer to be in a temperature stable situation.

On a hot summer day the roots in a pot can cook. On a cold day, the roots can get too cold and die. In the ground, roots are safe from temperature extremes.

If you are growing not only Plumeria but pretty much anything in a pot, you must take this into consideration. Where possible, you can submerge a pot into a bigger pot to help overcome this problem.

Certain plants can tolerate this better than others. Cycads and other succulents can put up with lots of abuse. Plumeria are more "fragile".

x


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Very good point and I would agree from the context of a rooted plant. Its my experience warmth on the rooting media of a cutting is wholly beneficial to the rooting process.

I would say that some varieties may be more fragile than others but I rarely have problems with plumerias and too much heat. Some of mine are in full Texas sun dawn to dusk on a 4 story building rooftop.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I hope this does not hijack the post, but are Christmas cacti considered "more fragile" like plumeria? I have some new cuttings I would like to root and am debating whether they can handle the mostly-inorganic gritty mix. I know they are not a succulent, despite their name, but I'm wondering how hardy they are and what the best soil might be for them. Should they also have bottom heat while they root? Any suggestions out there?


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

xerophute- You said "On a hot summer day the roots in a pot can cook" and you are so right. I cannot stress this enough. My experience in using the black plastic pots, at least in Central FL and the Keys is that it is best to plunge that pot. That black pot gets so hot you can't even touch it. Imagine how the roots are cooking in there.

One thing I do wonder is if the Gritty mix gets hotter than soil would. I wonder how the granite behaves, cooler or hotter? Regardless, I'm getting shade on the pots one way of the other. I believe Plumerias like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, and shade does not mean a 140 degree black plastic pot.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

I root Christmas cactus in water. Just put them in a glass or container with water and roots begin to grow within a week or two. The segments up out of the water even begin to grow roots that grow downwards towards the water.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hello Everyone!!!

Just wanted to add my 2 cents here!! ;-)

Powder.. I have tried to figure out a plan for keeping those roots from frying in the summer as well. During the month of August here in VA, We can have temps in the triple digits and my containers on the deck can get pretty hot. I first experimented with taking shelving paper from Lowes and placing it around the outside of the containers.. Like you said, white containers would work well at this time of the year. So i tried this method... it worked well, but i didn't like the look.. Here is a picture of that experiment and then my other solution to taking the black containers and placing them inside another container with mulch around (in between) to act as a barrier and it worked well.

Here is the "ugly" look.. LOL.. This lasted for maybe three days.. then i had to change. This was two years ago and my trees were small.. They are much bigger now.. (VW's) in containers.. ;-)

 photo 012-2.jpg

Here are the continers that i go to in the middle of the summer. At this time of the year, they stay in the black and then when it get close to 100* i place them inside the other with the mulch...

 photo 007-7.jpg

the containers ( need to be larger) this will be the change this year...

 photo 008-6.jpg

 photo 009-5.jpg
 photo 006-4.jpg
just saw this DR in the Gritty Mix.. thought i let you see!!
 photo 004-6.jpg
 photo 002-8.jpg

one of my favorites.. Lani

 photo 003-10.jpg

Here is the pic from an experiment i did.. same cutting cut from the same tree at the same time. Potted up in half perlite nd cactus and the other cutting in Gritty mix. You can see the difference in the size of the roots. The gritty had bigger healthier roots.

Gritty Mix vs Cactus and Perlite photo 012-16.jpg

Some have talked about watering the cuttings as they root. I will spray my cuttings if i feel they need some moisture. I will also use the rim method to water if i feel they are way to dry. I know some water or give a taste of water every ten days.. But what i want to mention is that we All live in different climates. We all have had our share of loss when rooting. We know from past experience what they need and when they need it. So i may have to help them with moisture more than someone in Canada. People in Texas and CA, Florida have their own needs to water...

We all have to learn the way that our cuttings behave. I like to experiment with my trees and cuttings. I know what they need and how to give moisture when needed. SO when i give or spray water.. i give the cuttings that are rooting in the Gritty as well as in the perlite/cactus mix the same amount of water... Just wanted to share!! ;-)

I do give them the first intial watering and let them be.. i will keep an eye on them and when rooting in the summer and them temps are hot.. i will give them water. It aall dependss on how we know our cuttings and when to give them water. It is so hard to tell exactly how and when..

Miami Rose cuttings  one in Gritty mix and the other in Cactus and perlite photo 011-21.jpg

Jeannie Moragne
Jean Moragne photo 006-26.jpg

My trees havve grown so much since those pics on the deck.. i have tried to post another pic of them last year, but photobucket isn't being nice tonight.. i have to post before i lose all of this post. i will add if i can find a good pic!!!

Hope this helps...

Take care,

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 21:26

Well aerated mixes have better gas exchange. That means more evaporative cooling of the entire soil mass. All else equal, the highly aerated mixes provide a considerably cooler home for roots.

I always enjoy looking at your plants, Laura! Great job you're doing!

Al


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hi AL!!!

Thank YOU!!!

I have had such great results with the Gritty and wanted to share the experiment with the cuttings a few years ago.

I wanted to have a good control on this experiment, so i cut the cuttings from the same tree at the same time and potted up on the same day. You can see the difference..

This photobucket is so hard to find pics.. Grr.

But i did find a pic of my trees from last year and you can see the difference in the season. Here it is..

 photo 010-35.jpg

They have grown even more this year and they are all outside and loving the temps and the rain.

I do see several inflos and i have been on the "hunt" like Jen and Peg (Manuel) and i have been "staring" at them everyday!! Hopefully, this will make them appear faster..

;-)

Thanks for the compliments Al, i do appreciate them very much!!!

Have a great night!!

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Thank you Laura, you always explain in such graphic detail! Your plumies look very happy and the roots in the gritty mix bottle look fabulous! I tired sort of the same experiment with a rainbow I collect in the Keys. Same size cuttings, both in bottles, both in Cactus mix, beach sand and perlite and set both inside a black pot to root. The only difference between the 2 is that once I saw roots and a couple of real leaves, I began to use Root Excelurator and Dyna Gro on one, the other just Dnya Gro. The one with Root Excelurator was like a maniac. Roots all over the place. I've used it on all that I re-potted in the gritty mix and even if I'm not feedling, I give the root area a dose of that about every 10 days. It's working! I lifted one this evening and put it in the ground, It has loads of new roots coming off the mature ones.

As far as the pots, I think even that dark clay color would cook them down here. Our sun is so intense and so hot compared to up where you are. For example, there is a reason I almost all of my casual tops are white, ivory, light yellow, light pink, etc. Never ever black, navy, gray or blue. One reflects the sun and heat the other attracts it. I need those black pots out of the sun which means... in the ground, surrounded by grass or put white on them. I have seen black pots fry roots in the Keys many times. Not just Plumerias, but other plants as well. I always tried to keep my pots in the shade until leaves shaded them and protected them from that mid to late afternoon sun which is when sunburn is most likely to occur and when the temps are the hottest.

Why can't you sink them if they are in the mix? I don't see what the difference is iand why it matters if they are in gritty or soil as long as you don't bury the pot and leave 2-3" of the rim above ground. I really don't mind the white contact paper on them. I thought it looked pretty with the white against the dark green leaves. I don't know how long it will last with the humidity and rain here but the only other options are bury them, find 90 or so 5-10 gallon white plastic pots or spray paint them white and I assume that will peel off by mid summer.... sigh,,, so much work for these fussy plants If they weren't so spectacular I would give it up.

Thank you Al for answering the temp question!

Oh and Laura, Lani is gorgeous!


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Thanks Powder!!

I just love my Lani.. One of my favorites!!!!

Sinking, Plunging, I think it all means the same thing.. but some have different methods. Some people take their black containers and make holes on the side and bottom then sink them into another larger container that is already planted into the ground. They fill the layer between the two containers with mulch or soil and let the containers act as if they are in the ground. The trees think like they are and behave like they are potted moreso in the ground than in the containers. This can be seen by the way the roots grow and reach for the outer holes and they really like this. When they are ready to pull them in the fall, they will cut the roots between the pots and put away for the season by taking the inner container out after sawing the roots between the two containers.

Some "sink" or "plunge" into the ground by digging a large hole and putting the container in and filling the outer area with mulch. people try different methods and some even partially sink.. i do this with some of my trees that are by my fence. ( Including the ones in Gritty Mix) They are on a slanted area so i take the containers and tie them to the fence and then i cover the surface area with mulch to make it look even. I fine that when i untie them in the fall and move them, the roots are all growing into the mulch. They love it this way.

Sinking my pots is when i double pot on the deck. It really can mean the same thing..

I will let Al explain if he comes back to tell you about sinking with the gritty mix.. I really dont think it woulld be harmful if you make an area and dig out part of the area ( row) and place your pots and mulch around this area.. But sinking the whole container.. i will let him answer this.. He will be able to help you more so than i ;-)

I understand your concern about the temps down there. It can be so hot on my back deck in the summer and it faces the west... I do worry about my trees and that is why i double pot on the deck. I tie them to the deck so they are stable and wont tip due to the wind. The ones in the ground i will stake with rebar and or tie to the deck, This helps them from falling over and causing problems. (breakage)

I had this happen to my Divine and i gifted a cutting to Dave and he has had such success with his. Makes it worth the accidents when they do so well for others!!!

I hope i helped..

Al can answer best as far as putting the pots with Gritty in the ground... Hopefully he will come back and see this or i will email him to take a look!!!

Have a good night P!!!

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Derft 1..

I hope this answers some of your questions..

You were on my mind when i posted those two cuttings..

This is your thread and i just wanted to help!!!

Take care,

Hope your cuttings and trees are doing welll!!

Laura


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 13:38

I wouldn't spend the money/effort on the gritty mix if you're going to use something like the traditional pot-in-trench method of growing - what many of you refer to as sinking/plunging. The reason for that is, when you partially sink a pot, from a hydrological perspective the pot becomes a mini raised bed. IOW, the potted planting no longer behaves like a potted planting. The earth acts as a giant wick and pulls any perched water from soils that would normally be too water-retentive for best results. If you're going to sink your pots, something like Miracle-Gro soil or other peaty mixes can be used. You DO need to be cautious about sinking your pots in clay soils though. If you dig a hole 12" deep & fill it with water, it should drain completely within 2 hours. If it doesn't, you'll want to rethink whether or not you selected a spot that drains well enough for your partially buried containers.

If you are screening your Turface for use in container soils, your partially buried pots would be a good place to use the Turface fines. Equal parts of pine bark fines and Turface screenings would work very well in applications where the pot is buried or partially buried.

Al


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

HI Laura, Al, et.al

I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all the advice and encouragement you have given me. The Plumeria cuttings are on a snake heater on the table on the back porch. They have been potted for 5 or 6 weeks. Three are showing signs of leafing. None have been watered since they were potted. The three in the left front are in gritty mix (4,3,2) and topped with wood chips so I know which ones they are.

I have the ten new cuttings in pine bark mulch forming the callus. It will be two weeks next Sunday and if all is well I will pot them on Monday in Gritty Mix. I still have not decide wether to use 1 gallon pots or plastic bottles. I like the idea of seeing the roots, but, I also like not having to repot them and damaging the fragile roots.

I know I should have cut the inflo off the one. I just could not do it. Dah.

Thanks again, Fred


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

2nd pic. Still can't see how to post two pics.


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RE: Gritty mix potting question.

Hi Fred!!!

You have done a great job!!!

Lots of work and it shows... i know you will be happy with your trees. I also have rooted in the one gallon containers before when i didn't have any water bottles handy. If you can handle the "art" of leaving them alone, you have won the biggest part of the battle!! :-)

They all look great and i hope your cuttings callus well for you!!!

Strong work!!

You are more than welcome.. I try and help and give some advice, so i am glad you are happy!!

Thanks Al.. i appreciate you adding your voice to these questions. All of your helpful information is much appreciated!!!

Mahalo, my friend!!!

Have a great night everyone!!!

Laura


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