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Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
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CDsSister
May 12, 2013 5:01 PM CST

Is there such a thing as too fast draining soil for semps? I am looking at the soil from last year which I think was a mix of regular MG and orchid mix plus a bit of pea gravel and it seems to have stayed pretty soggy through the winter.

Today I mixed MG Orchid mix about 2 parts to 1 part pea gravel and now am worried
that it might drain too fast.

I have some regular potting soil that I could use, even some perlite. I have no sand.

Thanks for your input.

Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
May 12, 2013 9:16 PM CST
You can throw some potting soil in it 'til it feels right for you or looks right to you.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
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CDsSister
May 13, 2013 8:10 AM CST

That's the way my Mom used to give me recipes... I am afraid I need a recipe to cook and to pot. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing


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 13, 2013 9:20 AM CST

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Marilyn, talk to Sandi or Cheryl about what will work best in your area. I think both of them have some semps in containers. Your conditions are very unique and very different from mine.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 7, 2013 12:31 AM CST
Just found this thread, I'm assuming you got your answer Marilyn?? Doesn't orchid mix have mostly wood chips in it? That seems like it'd retain water, which maybe for your summers you'd want, but it seems that it might be too wet for winter?? I'm curious what you came up with Marilyn!
Thanks I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jun 7, 2013 9:36 AM CST
I have just put some together and have just kept adding a bit of this and that until it feels right. Mostly the Orchid mix and the little MG moisture and quite a bit of a product called squeegie which is a mix of sand and pebbles.

So far the semps seem to like it OK. Will keep an eye on it as the summer heats up (this weekend in the low 90s)

[Last edited by valleylynn - Jun 7, 2013 2:41 PM (+)]
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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
Jun 7, 2013 2:42 PM CST

Moderator

Keep us posted how it does for you Marilyn. Would love to see photos of the mix.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 7, 2013 5:34 PM CST
Lynn at first I giggled at your request that Marilyn take photos of her dirt, but then I got to thinking...for me when I think of orchid mix I think of large chunks of soft porous wood chips. Which for me here in (usually) wet Seattle, that would be too moist. So it is good to know what people are using (with successes) and what they've tried!
Thanks Marilyn!
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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CDsSister
Jun 7, 2013 5:55 PM CST
My product and what it looks like combined and after it has drained overnight

Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/47d400 Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/bd8dbf

I am using --- Who knew it was hard to photograph dirt and sand


Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/dfb511 Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/dab656
Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/ad64a5 Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/169fd9
Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/2560b7 Squeegie (sand used in road construction recommended by Timberline)

I will add more pea pebbles to top, put in the plants , and then top dress it

Like a cake with no recipe it tends to vary each time I do it..... Blinking Blinking



Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/fe8d49 Thumb of 2013-06-07/CDsSister/cbc484
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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CDsSister
Jun 7, 2013 5:57 PM CST

Oh sometime I used the larger poultry grit to top dress as well.

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twitcher
Jun 7, 2013 9:53 PM CST
The one concern I have is the moisture control soil. I prefer the stuff that will not go the extra distance to retain moisture.

You may find it interesting that I have tried growing semps in pure chicken grit in a container. No problems outside of it didn't get as large as some of its kin. I use the cheapest topsoil I can get, then add some Perlite, some sand, some sifted pine bark and some NAPA OilDry which is 100% fired Fuller's Earth. I add as much Perlite as I can without it being so much that it rises to the top and gets messy - that's a judgement call from experiences with it. I also add maybe 20% sand and maybe 20 % NAPA FE. Pine bark of the right size is a little harder for me to find, so I add what I can up to about 20% of that if available. The sand I used is as coarse as I can find, which is normally construction sand that has been rinsed. Lately I have been using sifted quartz gravel as a minor component. I use this as a top coat to help display the plants, but some of it gets worked into the soil.

A pointer on how to judge your mix: If weeds break off rather than pull out when you are weeding your semps two years from now, then the mix was not right. You need something that stays loose over time.

Avoid fine sand, such as play sand and peat in your mixes. Fine sand will compact too much. Peat is hard to re-wet if it dries out.

IMO
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jun 8, 2013 7:13 AM CST
I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.

will continue to experiment. Thanks, I tip my hat to you.

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
Jun 8, 2013 9:32 AM CST

Moderator

I love this thread. So many ways to mix our favorite soil for our plants. Hurray!
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jun 8, 2013 9:39 AM CST

I agree I agree Maybe that is why they look different when raised in different environments.

Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Jun 8, 2013 9:44 AM CST
Yes this makes some difference for sure!!
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Kate
S Wales UK (Zone 9a)
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Eviesmummy
Jun 8, 2013 3:12 PM CST
Interesting read Thumbs up
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Jun 9, 2013 11:42 AM CST
I agree I'm still working on a good mix.
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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
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 9, 2013 12:41 PM CST

Moderator

My beds are different from my container semps (very few of these). But I do add a lot of sand and pea gravel/chicken grit to the beds.

In Marilyns very dry conditions a small amount of the moisture beads may help keep her semps from dehydrating. I know she had that problem last year. It will be interesting to see how it works. Thumbs up
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gg5
Jun 9, 2013 2:22 PM CST
Good point Lynn also pots will dry out faster than soil so in a dry climate she may have to water more than what one would expect from a semp - maybe treat it more like other potted plants??
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
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
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jun 9, 2013 3:29 PM CST

Moderator

She is doing a great job of sorting all the information out, and finding what will make her semps happy. Thumbs up
[Last edited by valleylynn - Jun 9, 2013 9:45 PM (+)]
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