Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Amending soil for potting/planting succulents

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Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
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jojoe
Apr 17, 2014 6:44 AM CST
I have been getting ready to add on to my rock garden and also need to mix more potting medium to re-pot succulents. I have had a hard time with getting the correct size grit or sand.If i go to my local feed store and ask for turkey grit is that big enough? Last night i seen a bag of broken oyster shells/oyster grit.I couldn't see the pieces but through the bag the pieces felt big,would that work as well.Is there anything about oyster shells good for succulents?

I have been adding pea gravel to my rock garden but have been lucky enough to be planting on a hill.The parts i'm adding on top & to 1 side of the existing bed aren't on as much of a slope.I'm going to have to build up with amended soil.I really need to make sure it drains good.Pea gravel works but would grit or sand work better? I have asked for the sand and i'm always shown play sand even when i tell them big grain,for good drainage etc... even lowes say they didn't have anything "like that".

I do want to use the best for drainage but looking for best price as well.
The 1st. photo is on the side of the bed so it's still on the slope but you can see in the 2nd photo i started the bed on top of the slope and now want to go a little further up but the ground is leveled off up there.I want to wrap the bed around the stump that has all the sedum on it.It's really spectacular when it blooms & the angelina is great in the winter.These plants spread so fast i won't have to wait long for the stump the be covered in both summer & winter!! Hurray!
Thumb of 2014-04-17/jojoe/1e5a70 Thumb of 2014-04-17/jojoe/28e593

Any advice appreciated, i still have some cleaning up to finish to get the bed ready for the addition of some new plants.
Thank You! Thumbs up
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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webesemps
Apr 18, 2014 10:30 PM CST
JoJoe, I don't have experience with or know much about oyster shell, but it seems to be an "extra thing" that might not be needed if you can find chx grit of the size and price you want to help with drainage.

DO NOT USE Play Sand as it is too fine for drainage and will contribute to compactness of soil. If what you are using is working, available and affordable, then just stick with that. That way you only have to worry about your expanding landscape planning and your planting and watering chores for the specimens you already have out there.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Apr 19, 2014 4:12 AM CST
I agree
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
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jojoe
Apr 19, 2014 7:33 AM CST
I mixed some small pea gravel that the hubby uses at work in the part of the bed that i've already finished.My hubby works doing concrete construction and adds things to the concrete for Shrug! (looks maybe).This pea gravel was tumbled or a river rock type of pea gravel it's very smooth,small and a nice brown & tan color,it's also expensive.

I don't have any of it left so now i need to find something to add to the compost to assist in drainage. I know not to use play sand,i am just trying to figure out what size grit,sand etc... i need to use. If i go to the feed store is turkey grit the biggest or is it big enough? The crushed oyster shells was just a lucky find,if it's big enough then great but i'm sure it's more expensive.

If i go to Lowes what exactly do i ask for? Last time i explained what i needed it for and they still said they only had play sand?? Grumbling Where in the store is it? In case the store's aren't set up the same, what other products is it sold with.

I hope i was more clear this time. I have a sedum 'tri-color',2 jovibarba heuffelii hybrids, 4 semp's, ('oddity','tectorum','green apple' and arachnoideum 'cebenese') they need to be planted soon so i need to get at least one side of the bed built up & finished.I am putting them on the side that is on a slope,the top is very flat.I want to put maybe ice plants or something that doesn't need the soil to be as fast draining as semp's.

A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Apr 19, 2014 7:58 AM CST
Jelinda, ask for horticultural sand. It should be in the garden dept.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Apr 19, 2014 8:16 AM CST
Just be aware that shells will change the pH of the soil.
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
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jojoe
Apr 19, 2014 8:25 AM CST
I have asked for the sand in the garden department and i they look at me like i'm crazy you (lady you need potting soil not sand). Actually told me they didn't have it and didn't know what i was talking about.

I have heard to look for construction sand,it's black and they use it for sand blasting, cars,remove paint etc...
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Apr 19, 2014 8:40 AM CST
Horticultural sand?
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
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jojoe
Apr 19, 2014 8:43 AM CST
will do and will let yall know what happens!!

Thank You!
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: Mark Mallon
seattle wa
Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Region: Southwest Gardening
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a2b1c3
Apr 19, 2014 8:06 PM CST
Use drainage rock, sold as drainage rock or gravel, its what you would use to build a french drain if you dont have rocks or broken cement/ masonry.
speaking of, if you can put that down then cover in drainage rock then put any soil of any sort on top it will drain faster then anything else will
DON'T PANIC
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Apr 19, 2014 11:41 PM CST
Yeah, masonry sand is always what I was told to use. You just have to be careful not to add it to clay soil or you can make your own hardpan. Angry

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Perlite - it is kind of double duty - helps with the drainage but still keeps some moisture without exposing roots to actual water. I've been using it (successfully, at 100%) to root cactus that I've had rot in a light soil mix. Something else that I'm seeing more of is lava rock.

I'd be a bit nervous about the shells, too - alkaline soils are okay for a lot of C&S, but if it was harvested from the ocean, the salt intrinsic to it will kill most plants.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Apr 20, 2014 5:06 AM CST
I root plumeria in 100% perlite too.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Apr 20, 2014 5:58 AM CST
Horticultural sand is (or should be) sterile, salt-free and coarse enough to aerate the soil properly.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
Image
jojoe
Apr 21, 2014 5:02 AM CST
Thanks for all the help, if i can't figure it out not i never will. Thumbs up

Tee, taking your advice i googled horticultural sand and found the best site.
http://repotme.com/garden-center/potting-medium/index.html
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Apr 21, 2014 5:06 AM CST
That's a great selection they have there, joejoe. Shipping might be prohibitive though?
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
If a door closes look for a window!
Heucheras Plant and/or Seed Trader Hostas Hummingbirder Region: Georgia Cactus and Succulents
Sedums Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Tropicals
Image
jojoe
Apr 21, 2014 5:18 AM CST
I agree
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!

themessengercatalyst
Oct 4, 2016 2:27 PM CST
[Last edited by themessengercatalyst - Oct 7, 2016 1:57 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Oct 4, 2016 2:56 PM CST
From that website, "Turface MVP" is an expanded rock that absorbs water into each grain, but is coarse enough to allow air flow around the grains.

#2 Chicken Grit is coarse enough for most of my purposes, but I don't grow cacti. I would think that turkey grit would be plenty large for most horticultural uses.

I agree that anything called "sand", even "coarse sand" is actually going to be entirely or mostly much too fine.

If you can find a place that sells to people who mess with concrete, look for different grades of "crushed rock" or "crushed stone". If it isn't hugely expensive, it may include some fine stuff that you will have to screen out or blow away or put up with.

I think you probably want grain sizes around 2-3 mm. Around 1/10 inch. Like, between 1/16th inch and 1/8th inch. Grit much smaller than 1 mm probably increases water retention, instead of decreasing it.

But once again: I don't grow cacti. I'm just aiming for very fast-draining potting soil.
Name: Paul
Antelope Valley, S. California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California
cahdg6891
Oct 4, 2016 8:34 PM CST
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Oct 4, 2016 8:35 PM (+)]
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themessengercatalyst
Oct 7, 2016 1:53 AM CST
[Last edited by themessengercatalyst - Oct 7, 2016 1:58 AM (+)]
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