Ask a Question forum: Succulent Potting Soil

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Anon
Oct 13, 2016 3:10 PM CST
Hi all, I recently got a baggage of potting mix intended for orchids but I was told I could use it for succulents, which i have. This is what I got. Lowes: BETTER-GRO-Orchid-Mix-4-Quart-Organic-Orchid-Mix-Soil

I was wondering if i should mix in aquarium gravel or something of a similar size to fill in the gaps. The bark is about half an inch wide and barely a quarter inch wide. The charcoal seems to be a similar size. If what i've got is no good, please recc me some soil from lowes or homedepot. Thanks for the help.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 13, 2016 5:30 PM CST
Welcome!

A lot of succulent mixes do contain some bark but I would be wary of making it any more than 1/3 of the volume of your soil. The other 2/3's should be a grit like perlite, granite gravel, clay pellets... (not sand) and potting soil (not moisture control).

My personal favorite is Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus soil (available at Lowes and Home Depot). I add perlite: 1/4 to 1/3 by volume, depending upon what I am planting.






Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 13, 2016 5:47 PM CST
Hello Anon,
If you are planting tropical succulents adding some of that orchid bark mix with cacti mix soil will be good, these types of succulents love just a bit more moisture than the others.

But for my other succulents, I just use super soil palm and cactus mix, I get them from Home Depot. Then I further add pumice or perlite in the soil, since most of my succulents stays outdoors and we get some rains during winter. Got to make my soil media very well draining. Recently I also top dress with chicken grit (insoluble crushed granite).
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
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madcratebuilder
Oct 14, 2016 9:27 AM CST
I've always used a local manufacturer, the product is called Filthy Rich Premium Potting Soil. It is a custom blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted bark fines, pumice, compost, and perlite. I add 30-50% perlite depending on the plant. I have 1 or 2 plants that has Orchid mix, it tends to hold moisture longer than I would like for succulents.

I'll buy Cactus mix when on sale. I think I'll try Tarev's top dressing, local hardware has chicken and turkey grit.
Spectamur agendo
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 14, 2016 10:17 AM CST
If you get chicken grit, make sure it is the insoluable kind made from granite. The soluable kind is oyster shell - good if you want to add calcium to your soil.

Anon
Oct 14, 2016 11:41 AM CST
tarev said:Hello Anon,
If you are planting tropical succulents adding some of that orchid bark mix with cacti mix soil will be good, these types of succulents love just a bit more moisture than the others.

But for my other succulents, I just use super soil palm and cactus mix, I get them from Home Depot. Then I further add pumice or perlite in the soil, since most of my succulents stays outdoors and we get some rains during winter. Got to make my soil media very well draining. Recently I also top dress with chicken grit (insoluble crushed granite).


Is there a way of knowing I've got tropical succelents? I've got Golden Sedum, Alepenglow, Aeonium'Kiwi', Crassula Candycane and Variegata. Im going to plant the CandyCane, Alepenglow and Variegata together and the Kiwi with Golden. I guess I'll be using 1/3 of the orchid mix and 2/3 of the cactus mix. Does that sound good???
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Oct 14, 2016 12:57 PM CST
Hi Anton, none of those are tropical ones. So just make sure your media is very well draining. Don't use too big, deep containers, go for shallow and wide. I would not recommend the orchid mix on any of your current succulents. Your plants will really hate getting too moist at root level, it will easily rot the fine roots or the base of your plant. I would rather add more pumice with the cactus mix.

In my area, where we get very long hot and dry conditions, some of my succulents naturally slow down and go somewhat dormant during the hot and dry season. Aeoniums and Crassulas do that here in my area. They resume active growth again here during Fall and cooler season. I also find Sedums like it cooler here, so if I can position them in some partial shade during the hot dry months it helps them a lot.

So depending on your location, got to consider the seasonal changes, temperature, light duration, rainfall to protect your plants. Are you going to grow your plants indoors or outdoors? Growing them indoors, you got to discipline yourself with watering, it takes longer for media to dry out.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 14, 2016 1:09 PM CST
I agree

Anon
Oct 14, 2016 2:39 PM CST
tarev said:Hi Anton, none of those are tropical ones. So just make sure your media is very well draining. Don't use too big, deep containers, go for shallow and wide. I would not recommend the orchid mix on any of your current succulents. Your plants will really hate getting too moist at root level, it will easily rot the fine roots or the base of your plant. I would rather add more pumice with the cactus mix.

In my area, where we get very long hot and dry conditions, some of my succulents naturally slow down and go somewhat dormant during the hot and dry season. Aeoniums and Crassulas do that here in my area. They resume active growth again here during Fall and cooler season. I also find Sedums like it cooler here, so if I can position them in some partial shade during the hot dry months it helps them a lot.

So depending on your location, got to consider the seasonal changes, temperature, light duration, rainfall to protect your plants. Are you going to grow your plants indoors or outdoors? Growing them indoors, you got to discipline yourself with watering, it takes longer for media to dry out.


Alright so about the ratio of pumice to cactus soil, the pumic should be 1/3 of the mix right?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Oct 14, 2016 3:43 PM CST
That should be good. nodding
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 14, 2016 4:47 PM CST
Or Perlite if pumice is not an option.

Anon
Oct 14, 2016 5:05 PM CST
DaisyI said:Or Perlite if pumice is not an option.


Do I have to worry about the sizing of either of those items? If i wanted to add calcium, can i grind up cuttlebone? I got some laying around for my snails.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 14, 2016 7:24 PM CST
Why do you want to add calcium?

Anon
Oct 14, 2016 8:16 PM CST
DaisyI said:Why do you want to add calcium?


Well, you guys mentioned it, so I was wondering

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 15, 2016 11:35 AM CST
That was a warning. Some soils need a good dose of calcium for one reason or another. Your potting soil will have enough. Adding more calcium will change the Ph of your soil and affect your plant's ability to utilize other elements in the soil such as iron and phosphorous.


Anon
Oct 15, 2016 11:54 AM CST
Oooh, thanks for the heads up! But today, i finally got everything together so fingers crossed this goes well! Thanks for the advice everyone! Thumbs up

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