Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Growing Mediums for semps in pots

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Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
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sandnsea2
May 18, 2012 10:56 AM CST
This year I experimented with a few growing mediums. Some I used just because I had an overabundance and wanted to see how they performed.

I tried
1) Orchid mix & Miracle Grow potting soil
2) Miracle Grow potting soil alone
3) Cactus Mix & Miracle Grow potting soil
4) Cactus Mix alone.

I think #1 has produced the best results.

What have you tried?
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
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pardalinum
May 18, 2012 11:29 AM CST
I mix some sand and pumice in with the potting soil (usually Black Gold). I don't keep track of proportions... I just kinda of stir it up and "eyeball it". Right now I don't have many semps in pots but am planning for more, if you call "table gardening" a pot. This is where you don't really use a pot, but plant right on a surface using rocks or whatever as a container. Big plans going through my brain now.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 18, 2012 11:55 AM CST

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Can we see photos of your results Janice? Very interesting experiment/observation.

Would love to see what you are doing with your table planting Connie. Maybe you could start the new thread with photos, etc. This would make a great topic. Maybe you can title it
'Table Top Planting'? Look forward to seeing your projects.

I just bought more potting soil the other day. Two bags of MG w/moisture crystals, 2 bags of Black Gold cactus mix and 2 bags of pumice. The bag with the moisture control will be used for hanging planters and some larger type pots for coleus. The rest will be used for succulent containers. I have some aged forest compost that will be mixed with the Cactus Mix and pumice.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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pardalinum
May 18, 2012 12:19 PM CST
I'll start a new thread when I actually get going on this (very soon, I hope!)

Here is a link to my reference book for my ideas:

http://www.amazon.com/Gardening-Pavement-Tables-Hard-Surface...

Do be careful using the moisture crystals and keep them out of your regular garden soil. When they are dry little birds can mistake them for grit or otherwise ingest them when they are pecking around for food. It will kill them when it expands in their body.
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
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sandnsea2
May 18, 2012 12:23 PM CST
Lynn, I don't think you will be able to see a difference in the pots, because I don't have a photo of the "Before" for you to see.

I noticed that the growth rate was worst with the Cactus mix #4, and best with the combo in #1.

So I am going with #1 going forward.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 18, 2012 12:25 PM CST

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I will only use them in 3 pots. Thank you so much for the heads up about the birds. I had not thought about that.

Wow, what an awesome book. I might have to get that one. : )
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 18, 2012 12:26 PM CST

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Good plan Janice. I will take photos of my experiments. : )
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
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sandnsea2
May 18, 2012 12:30 PM CST
As you have said , Semps are Alpine succulents, not desert succulents, so cactus mix is probably too lean for them to thrive with. Just a wild guess. Hilarious! Hilarious!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 18, 2012 12:42 PM CST

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But they sure can grow in some very harsh rocky areas within alpine climates. Rocks, gravel and almost no soil.
Which makes me think that over all they are very forgiving of growing conditions, as long as they have good drainage.
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
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sandnsea2
May 18, 2012 12:56 PM CST
Thumbs up Thumbs up
Name: Michelle Lester
Yukon, Oklahoma (Zone 7b)
hemhead in zone 7
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keyi
May 18, 2012 5:06 PM CST
Thumbs up thanks for the tip on mix. I'll give it a try when I get some more babies to plant.
Hugs, Mich and Crew!
My Photos, Pets and Garden

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twitcher
May 18, 2012 9:50 PM CST
I have grown semps in pure chicken grit, pure gravel, pure NAPA FE and even grew some in an empty pot without media. Here in this area, the three lean mixtures mentioned pick up dust, dirt, blown grass from lawn mowers, blowing leaves, etc. That means that they are not "pure" and lean for very long. The plants did well. Quick drainage and regular moisture will usually do the trick. Adjustments need to be made for cactus-like climates (lots of sun, heat and little or no rain) or dry winters without snow cover (they dry out). Otherwise, they are usually not too fussy.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
May 19, 2012 12:19 AM CST

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Connie, that does look like a great book! Yes, please show us pictures once you get going!
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