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Name: Kei
Canada
wintermelon
Jul 21, 2016 8:06 PM CST
Hey guys i just started having an interest in plants (succulents in particular) And i have a few questions for you.
1)What is the best soil to use?
2)How many times do they need watering?
3)How much sunlight do they need?

I dont know what type of succulents they are as of right now, but i did post called "what type of succulents are these" and maybe you guys can look there to help me answer these questions. Thank you!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 21, 2016 9:07 PM CST
Hi Kei, Welcome! to NGA

I looked at your succulents and I recognize of them (I own two of them!) but names aren't jumping out at me right this minute.

Your questions:

1. Soil: my favorite is Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus with a couple hand fulls of perlite mixed in. So if I bought an 8 qt. bag of each, I would add about 3 parts soil and 1 part perlite.

2. Watering depends upon the plant, the pot size, the growing medium.... If the leaves feel soft, water, if they feel hard, don't. For succulents and cactus, less water is better than too much.

3. Lots! But when you buy a new plant, chances are good they were grown in a greenhouse or under shade cloth. Acclimate your plants slowly to whatever their new growing conditions will be. Most succulents do well with very bright indirect light and a little sun.

Daisy
Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Jul 21, 2016 10:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

I moved your other thread to the Plant ID forum, I add ID's to the first two but am drawing a blank right now to #3

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Name: Kei
Canada
wintermelon
Jul 21, 2016 10:33 PM CST
DaisyI said:Hi Kei, Welcome! to NGA

I looked at your succulents and I recognize of them (I own two of them!) but names aren't jumping out at me right this minute.

Your questions:

1. Soil: my favorite is Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus with a couple hand fulls of perlite mixed in. So if I bought an 8 qt. bag of each, I would add about 3 parts soil and 1 part perlite.

2. Watering depends upon the plant, the pot size, the growing medium.... If the leaves feel soft, water, if they feel hard, don't. For succulents and cactus, less water is better than too much.

3. Lots! But when you buy a new plant, chances are good they were grown in a greenhouse or under shade cloth. Acclimate your plants slowly to whatever their new growing conditions will be. Most succulents do well with very bright indirect light and a little sun.

Daisy



Thank you so much for answering! But i saw this mix and do you think its good?
http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/miracle-gro-cactus-potting...
And also saw this and I dont know which one is better? http://getbusygardening.com/diy-succulent-potting-soil/
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jul 22, 2016 2:34 PM CST
I have used the Miracle-gro, and it's ok. Making your own would also be an option. Your preference/choice. They'd both work. Smiling
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jul 22, 2016 3:12 PM CST
The Miracle Gro with added perlite is just the lazy version of your recipe. I would use a gritty sand or small gravel (like decomposed granite) that won't pack down or sift out.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Jul 22, 2016 6:30 PM CST
I don't know the commercial products, but ask yourself: "sure, it's coarse and gritty, but is it coarse ENOUGH?"
Whatever you buy or start with, you'll have to grip a handful and decide whether to make it drain faster (yes) or hold more water (for succulents, no). I think that killing a few plants is how most people learn what "feels right".

I think that starting a succulent out with "too-fast-draining" mix is no problem, because you can fix that by just watering more often. It might annoy you, but the plant will be happy. And if you go too far, the palnt will only slow down until you re-pot it.

But if you start it out "holding too much water", you won't have to water it very many times before the roots rot and almost kill the plant, before you're sure it needs to reported with faster-draining mix.

I remember that "fast-draining is safer" by asking myself: "Which kills a person or plant faster: being thirsty, or drowning?"

Like "which is safer, to much fertilizer, or too little?" Too much fertilizer kills in confusing and hard-to-interpret ways, too little will slow the plants growth and make it send up a message with yellowing leaves. Recovering from too little fertilizer is just adding a little more fertilizer. Recovering from fertilizer burn is probably best done by buying or starting a new plant and starting over.

Adding coarse grit like #2 chicken grit, or Perlite, is a very widely-followed practice, depending on how fast-draining your starting mix is. Very coarse sand, if you can find it, is great, too.And they never break down, so you won't have to re-pot until it out-grows your pot.

I haven't yet found "coarse sand" anywhere that had less than 50% fine and medium-fine sand.
But "crushed stone" can be the correct, gritty, around-BB-size-or-a-little-smaller size, without a whole lot of fine and medium sand. But you might have to buy the more expensive double-screened crushed stone unless you screen it yourself, or if your mix can tolerate adding as much sand, powder and rock dust as your particular bag of crushed stone contains.

But I don't like any of that. I have a major bark fetish. Conifer bark, pine fir or balsam. It is super cheap, and it CAN be found dry and clean/ But I have to screen it myself, which (sigh, sob, NOT!) requires that I fiddle around with it.

In fact, if you start with clean bark mulch , the coarse chunks you reject can become mulch in an outdoors bed, the fines can be a soil amendment outdoors, and the middle grades can either lighten or "wet down" a mix, depending on how fine you screen it. Or you can run a (clean) lawn mower over the coasre rejected chunks, and re-screen those to harvest the finer stuff.

Cheap bark won't last as long as grit or Perlite, but it lasts much longer than coir or woody shreds of the same size. Even coarse bark holds a LITTLE water, and it rehydrate MUCH easier than peat after drying.

Did I mention that bark is really cheap? And long-lasting?

But most people use Perlite, grit, or sand to lighten commercial mixes.

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