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Pumice

Posted by bonsaigai NY Zone 6 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 8, 12 at 12:07

Hey Greg and All,

There was a mention of pumice earlier.

Which size are you using? I've been eyeing the 3/8 size but think the larger sizes may be valuable also.

Is the ebay quality good? Do you use 'fines" for anything?

Thanks,

M.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pumice

Bonsai, I use the same size 3/8 about the size of a dime and I get mine at Home Depot. I've nver ordered off of E-bay. And no never have used any fine grade.

What are you trying to do, or mix for?

Greg


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RE: Pumice

Hi M!

I really like the pumice sold by sierra5565. I purchased from another seller before and the pumice had probably been bleached and had a scented trash bag smell to it. Sierra's pumice are a cream color and no odor...

I have never used anything under 3/8 M. I am using the larger size now. The good thing about using the larger pumice is that the roots have more room to breathe, but it does dry out faster.You might have to tweak you're watering routine with this one. The 3/8 gives roots the aeration and you'll need to water less often. It all depends on what works best for you M...


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RE: Pumice

I can't find pumice, so I'm using perlite. At least my large pots are not so heavy. Use what you have. So I use cactus mix/perlite about 50/50. I recently found some fur bark nicely ground up to about 1/4 inch size. So I started using this also in my mix.
My large sans in the orange pot got blown over a few days ago. Put it back up only to find it blown over. So it was time to repot anyway. To my surprise, I used garden soil for the mix. I could not have got away with this if it was one of the highly variegated ones. In that pot for 30 years or more. I just can't remember. Well it's in a better mix now, and a little lager pot. (that weights less). I swear I can notice it smiling.


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RE: Pumice

Great suggestions on the pumice. Thank you.

Stush, I too, use perlite. I like it for most plants, but when it comes to certain things, I like to add pumice. It doesn't break down like perlite for plants that transplanted only every... um... ack... a hem... ten years or so. I also can't find coarse enough perlite to give the same effect in the mixture.

Going to be 90 today! The succulents are going to start to jump!


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RE: Pumice

M, The largest size sierra sells is about 1/2 inch. If you're interested in this size though you have to let her know when you make the purchase that that's the size that you want. The usual size she sells is about 3/4 inches, I believe...


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RE: Pumice

Bonsaigai - try an orchid nursery. They'll often carry large grades of perlite.


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RE: Pumice

Thanks menschen. I've also found that the hydroponic stores carry good perlite and also have DYNA-ROCK. It like that especially well. It is a calcite-ish-like rock product used in orchids and hydro stuff. I've been using it with the succulents for a few years and they seem to like it.

I will mention that the D-rock is cheaper than pumice from ebay. IF you get enough of it delivery is free, always a good thing.


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RE: Pumice

Other good drainage material includes chicken and other poultry grit. If you have a poultry or feed store, check them out for their coarse grades of chicken and pigeon grit. It is cheap and can be used very well in potting mixes and such.


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RE: Pumice

Oh Fi! The free shipping didn't apply to the Dyna-rock. The best buy appears to be pumice on ebay. Grrr.

If I drive to the store where the rock is located, it would be cheaper. Bummer. I've tried three local stores and none carry it. The drive to the other one is quite a distance. Gas vs shipping... there's the rub.

The chicken grit is a great option, but heavy in a pot. A large specimen gets unwieldy.

A friend gave me a huge masoniana in an 18" Asian ceramic pot. Beautiful! It takes two to tango with that puppy. The friend put lots of granite stone in the pot...


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RE: Pumice

Hi Bonsaigai,

Have you been in touch w/ Brooklyn Bonsai? Last I knew, they did handle pumice.

Also, some time back here at GW (not sure which forum, likely here) there was discussion of 'Dry Stall' I believe a product used in horse care/culture (to line their stalls?) which is a pumice product.


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RE: Pumice

It is always interesting to read what concoctions people make up for their potting soil - and yet the plants themselves seem to ignore the various hardships forced upon them and thrive. Pumice is not readily available out east so we use perlite to improve aeration and drainage. I use a potting soil that comes in compressed bales made by Pro-Mix. I only find it at a local nursery supply business. Its just peat and perlite. To this I add Osmacote 14-14-14 twice a year. I have attached a'Gold Flame' Futura class Sansevieria with this message grown this year with a potting mix of peat and perlite. I know nothing about growing plants in southern California, so if any reader is satisfied with their plants they should do what works for them.


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RE: Pumice

That is a beautiful gold flame. hope mine does as well.

Rainforestguy, great to have you back. Missed you. Will you post pictures of your collection?

I have got to post pictures of my collection now that they started to improve. I was embarrassed to do so in the past.


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RE: Pumice

Still comparing prices. The coarse chicken grit runs about $12. For pumice, delivered, it's about $26 for the same amount. I actually like both for mixes. Now about that Dyna-rock. I think I will just have to travel for it. Ugh.

I checked Brooklyn Bonsai, PG. The prices are about the same all over. I think the pumice ends up being a little higher than other sources.

Stush, I understand about the embarrassing collection! Having moved about 10 times in as many years, my collection is only now coming out of it. Summer is a good time for collections. All the succulents are doing well in these (drought) conditions. Ok time to get the cameras out folks!

Michael


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RE: Pumice

I wonder Micheal if one breaks down faster than the other though...


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RE: Pumice

Good thread! I mix up my soil a bit differently each time. I usually add perlite, a handful of garden compost, a commercial cactus potting mix, and usually some very coarse "sand". The latter I get from a small stream behind my work. It dries during period of drough leaving some areas of nice, very coarse sand.....perfect for the mix. Pigeon or chicken grit, eh? I may have to try it, though they add minerals to the pigeon grit I use.
Photobucket


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RE: Pumice

Woodnative! Look at your beautiful little guys! Very fun.

The chicken grit is crushed granite without minerals added. I really like the very coarse feeder/layer as an addition to mixes.

Lovemysans, I've had both pumice and Dyna-rock last indefinitely. The perlite lasts quite well in the succulent mixes I've been making, but breaks down much more when I use it for the general indoor houseplant mixes. That being said, I have not had a problem... as long as I don't wait ten years to repot... (Sometimes it's even worse than that.)

Michael
NY Zone 6


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RE: Pumice

Michael, what's wrong waiting 10 years? (ha ha). Also some 20 years or more when I first potted up those Sans trifasciatas I used regular garden soil. They can take it. This would not have lasted in my other sans. Learning here about different soils and drainage. Getting 02 to the roots and all.
Question for the experts. Just what soil was sans growing in the wild. I saw the Florida USDA report about soil requirements but wondered about the original soil they grew in.


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RE: Pumice

I picked Schultz Premium Orchid Mix in Walmart. Contains 30-40% volcanic rock; 30-40% aged fir bark; and 30-40% horticultural charcoal. Absolutely no peat. i added 50% of perlite. i potted 5 newly acquired Sans. Lets see how they'll like it. I grow Sans in gritty mix. Its difficult to gather all the ingredients,so now want to experiment. Does anyone have experience w/this product, PLMK

Thanks
Inna


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RE: Pumice

Inna,
That's just what I just used myself when repotting my big Sans. trifasciatas. Looks great compared to what they were in. Also using for all my other plants. Only I used some coarse sand due to needing weight and substrance. Looks more like tiny coarse rocks more than sand.


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RE: Pumice

Stush,

thanks for replying. whats the name of that coarse sand you using and place you got it from. i'm currently in PA w/my kids so maybe I'll have a better luck.
Thanks
Inna


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RE: Pumice

Inna,

I've found two types of sand I like. One is coarse silica sand from Ohio, called Best Sand. I pick it up when I visit family out there or have people bring it when coming to see me. The other is more readily available. It's the fine version of the crushed granite used for chicks, called chick grit. I think the brand is Speedy-Mo. That is generally available at any feed store. Definitely do not use play sand. It holds WAY too much water.

I really like the idea of using the orchid mix as a base, but I would have trouble with watering. I just repotted mine into a slightly tighter mix because they were just sitting there. It wasn't holding enough water to develop a good root system. The plants survived, they just didn't thrive. I'm already getting very good growth on a hallii that had not grown... I'm embarrassed to say... in four years.

I think it was Norma that mentioned she didn't use pine bark because desert plants don't do well with it. That may be a consideration also. I've used it in the past, still do for some. They seem to be Ok, but it is well composted.

Stush, I've seen pictures of the places in Somalia of sites where Sanses were collected. Can we say DRY? Amazing. It looked like pure sand with a little gravel. Of course, that's simply conjecture, it could be nearly anything. I think there are soil maps on line of nearly everywhere. That may be a start.

Michael


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RE: Pumice

The idea of the stones/grit/perlite are to increase drainage and/or add some aeration to the mix. The plant roots can not use that space occupied by a stone or piece of perlite. Sans seem to be susceptibel to overwatering at times. However, when warm and actively growiing they seem to do ok in a finer mix. The local Home Depot has S. t. 'hahnis' in little 3" pots...obviously well grown and bursting with pups. the pots are packed with roots.....growing in a peat mix that would probably eventually kill them in most homes. Probably raised in a greenhouse or climate with ideal conditons and given a lot of water and fertilizer (and heat!). I also notice that when I bring my plants out in the Spring they often have very little root. This is more apparent in smaller plants that don't have pups. Now, after being outside for a good two months, they are very firm in their pots.


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RE: Pumice

Inna,
When I purchased the Orchid mix at Wal-Marts, they had the sand gravel there on sale. A large heavy bag for $1.98. I think it is used as a top dressing in pots.

Michael,
I once told a friend to use cactus mix on his plants. He said "Isn't that's what in the desert?" I tried to explain to him that there is a difference. I saw some pictures of Sans in Africa that looked similar to our own soils here as well as some from the dryer regions like our own deserts. Thanks for the input. Will have to check out that lead.

Chris, Lovely birds. Can you use the manure for your plants? Is it too high in Lime?


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RE: Pumice

Thanks for sharing your ideas. the search is still on. I will let you know if my Sans like this mix. They pretty much don't grow in a gritty mix. leaves are folded. Maybe I should water more often in winter, but my room is only 65F so I'm afraid.

Inna


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RE: Pumice

I've had some plants for 13-14 years and they've barely grown. In the last year or so, I repotted and watered more during dormancy - more meaning once or twice a month. The difference is pretty dramatic. Good root systems maintained over the winter give healthier growth during the summer. My place is even colder Inna, at 55 degrees, I can still keep things pretty happy.

The folded leaves have bothered me in the past. I really kept an eye on the hallii. As the leaves started to come together this past winter, I watered. I was able to keep it from happening and now have TWO pups this year!

I'm also shifting everything into plastic pots. This seems to help regulate the drying process in the winter. Plants are drying out less and I can really control how much water they get as opposed to having the pot soak up most of the moisture. I actually use less water but the plant is maintained in better condition.


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RE: Pumice

What really helps me out is my compost tea mixture. I have a 32 gallon garbage can with the lid on the bottom to catch the water draining out (drill holes in bottom). I fill the can with grass clipping or any weed stuff. I also pure in liquid fertilizer and let it seep thru the mix. This is then used to water my plants. I also use a clay mud mix. I mix regular clay dirt from my yard into a muddy water mix and then feed my plants.
Remember plants eat soil. They need soil.


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RE: Pumice

Hi Michael,

I too started to water my Sans. more in winter last year, having learned here that a leaf folded lengthwise is from thirst. I left those in clay pots though, they're heavier leafed Sans. & I thought if I water more, best to have the clay pots which can absorb some water just to be safe.

I too have noticed more growth than I used to, particularly in some smaller Sans. I have (1 seems a miniature after 10 yrs. or so).

Photobucket

The mini is on the left year, I've had it since 2001, it seems to have put on about 3 new leaves in the center.


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RE: Pumice

Stush, Interesting idea with the clay/water mixture. I think it would provide micronutrients that may not be available through regular fertilizers. Clay also increases the cation exchange rate in soils making nutrients more available to the plants in that soil. Like everything, too much just gums up the process.

PG, I am having folded leaves on new plants. As they unfold, I am aware they are fully rooting into the medium. I think if the plants are too dry in winter, I think, that is when the root systems die and the plant is set back. At least this is what I can tell from what has happened to mine in the past. It seems to make sense from the reading I've done also.


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RE: Pumice

One of the reasons why pumice and (even chix grit ) is used is for a balast, heavier mix. Using these mixes allows you to grow your plants in a smaller pot. I like stunting them in small pots yet still allows them to be characteristically compact yet your pots don't fall over at the slightest breeze or movement of your plants.
Pumice and grit also falls off nicely when repotting keeping the media friable and loose. Peat breaks down too fast and roots can be rotten in it. Use a more basic media for sans as they like the high pH for growth and acidic media for flowering.
Fertilizers make the media more acidic and breaks down rapidly. try using coco peat instead of peat next time.

I like fine broken down bark media and orchid mixes with lots and lots of pumice, chix grit and even use styrofoam peanuts at the bottom drainage holes when using these mixes.


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