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Mar 10, 2016 5:04 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Yesterday, when visiting Longwood Gardens, I purchased three tender succulent plants in very small (2 inch diameter) pots: Echeveria prolifica, Echeveria 'Blue' and Pachyphytum compactum.

Each plant covers the entire surface of the pot, and one extends over the edge, so I am wondering whether I should re-pot them.

If repotting is advisable, does anyone have a recipe for a home-mixed potting mix? I would like to avoid purchasing yet another specific planting mix if possible. I have on hand a lot of sand, vermiculite, peat moss and planting mix used primarily for trees and shrubs.

Thank you.
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Mar 10, 2016 5:40 PM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Hi CS, unfortunately all of the above you mentioned I do not use for my succulents. Each grower has their preference. For me I just typically use cacti/succulent mix and I add some more perlite and pumice. I have to do that here since I leave most of my succulents outdoors and we get rain in late Fall to early Spring. Well, there is sand in the cacti mix, but it is already there ready mixed. I would not use vermiculite since that holds too much water, and will be bad for succulent roots. Lately I have added stuff to really make my mix very well draining. But basically these three: c&s mix, perlite and pumice works well for my succulents. I don't really like the regular potting mix just because at times it has fertilizer incorporated in it, and these succulents are not that fertilizer hungry, plus it holds too much moisture.

Some people like to combine succulents in a container, some like them stand alone per container, it will be up to your preference. I prefer to use shallow and wide containers, and have good drainage holes. I often watch first for about a month or so and observe the growth habit of the plant, whether it is just mounding, upright or trailing down, that way if I plan to mix them I have a better idea how to arrange them in the container.
Last edited by tarev Mar 10, 2016 5:41 PM Icon for preview
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Mar 10, 2016 8:10 PM CST
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Any regular potting soil plus extra perlite or pumice (not vermiculite) to about 50% total should work. Use pots that are wider than they are deep.
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Mar 10, 2016 8:55 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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I agree with Baja. Try to find perlite that is large. Some of the stuff they are selling recently is like sand. I often mix 50% perlite into cactus mix. Its all too soil-ly.

Daisy
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Apr 29, 2016 1:02 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Did you decide to repot your new plants yet?
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Apr 30, 2016 5:00 AM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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purpleinopp said:Did you decide to repot your new plants yet?


Tiffany,

Yes, I took the advice in this thread and re-potted them in a mixture of equal volumes of succulent potting mix and perlite above a two-inch layer of white gravel. I had not watered the plants beforehand, so I was able to tease the previous mix away from the roots before planting. I waited a week before watering with five ice cubes per pot. That was two weeks ago, and they seem very happy (growing).

Now I would be grateful for advice about fertilizing (or not). I have MiracleGro all purpose mix. Do I need a special fertilizer for cactus/succulents, or will MG work?

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the suggestions posted in response to my original question, and thanks to you, Tiffany, for following up!
Last edited by csandt Apr 30, 2016 5:01 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 30, 2016 5:45 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Thanks for the interesting update! The ice cube watering sounds risky. I don't do much with fertilizers so hopefully somebody who does would have some input about that question. Good vibes for continued happy plants!
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
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Apr 30, 2016 9:39 AM CST
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Help! I've seen where several people here have mentioned using pumice. What exactly is it and where does one find typically find this locally? I'm in the southeast and few vendors know what it is. Is it much different in composition from granite grit?
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Apr 30, 2016 11:03 AM CST
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Yes, pumice has a lot of air trapped inside and is volcanic in origin. In terms of function in the garden, I would imagine granite grit works just fine as a substitute. Pumice comes from the SW US and is much more available in CA and AZ compared to the rest of the country. You might look locally for a product called Dry Stall (for horses) which is pumice by another name. Also consider scoria (lava rock) which comes in red or black and is very similar to pumice.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Apr 30, 2016 11:18 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 30, 2016 11:09 AM CST
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Plumerias
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OK, now I understand. Thanks for the heads up Baja and Thijis.
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Apr 30, 2016 4:38 PM CST
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
Growing under artificial light Foliage Fan Daylilies Butterflies Bookworm Aroids
purpleinopp said:The ice cube watering sounds risky. I don't do much with fertilizers so hopefully somebody who does would have some input about that question. Good vibes for continued happy plants!



Regarding watering with ice cubes, I got that idea from the instructions that came with an orchid plant I was given. Now I know that 1 ice cube = 1.5 tablespoons, so I will plan to use water instead of ice cubes next time I water. Would 6 tablespoons of water once a month be about right? No fertilizer???
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Apr 30, 2016 6:57 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
My general watering regime is 1/4 strength fertilizer at every watering during periods of active growth. Your mileage will vary depending on how much more than what kind. In other words choose a fertilizer that is balanced (nothing special required for succulents) but measure it so you don't overdose the plants. You can save the leftovers for the next watering, just leave them in a closet or a dark place.

Be sure you flush some water out the bottom every time if possible so that the salt does not get out of hand.

Another related issue is the pH of your water, which may be close to neutral and just fine... but our tap water is groundwater and it comes out at pH 9 or so, which is quite alkaline. The plants are much better able to make use of nutrients when the water is neutral or slightly acid. So I acidify the water that I use for my plants (using aquarium chemicals, not rocket science), and they thank me for it. Smiling
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