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Potting Mix suggestions

Hi Folks,

What is thought to be the best commercial Potting Mix?


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Green Thumb
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:38 pm
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Potting Mix suggestions

The "best" is a relative thing. What are you trying to grow? where are you? what kind of containers?

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Potting Mix suggestions

Allyn is right it depends on the plants, your pots, the climate, and your watering habits.

If you are growing cacti in plastic pots the media would be different than for watercress. For growing vegetables in pots. I like MG potting mix but do not get moisture control. It is available most places in the U.S.

Other good mixes that is probably easier to get at an agricultural supplier would be
Promix which is a premium mix which contains micorrhyzzae
Sunshine mix no. 4 which is a nursery mix which is basically peat moss and perlite with dolomite to balance pH
Both of these come in 3.8 cu ft bales. It is more expensive than buying the peat moss 3.8 cu ft and perlite 4.0 cu feet and mixing you own. You would get peat moss and perlite from the agricultural supplier as well as fertilizer in 50 lb bags.
These potting mixes have a little fertilizer but only to get seedlings past the first few weeks. Additional fertilizer will be necessary.

If you have a lot of pots with a lot of different kinds of plants then it actually cheaper to mix your own

Mel's mix will work in pots too

1/3 peat moss
1/3 vermiculite or perlite
1/3 good compost made from at least 4 different sources.
I add to my potting mix about 2 tablespoons of slow release fertilizer (osmocote) for each 5 gallons of mix. The fertilizer is good for the first couple of months.

If you want to be organic then use Promix. It has micorrhyzae, but make sure it is a fresh bag and has not been stored in the sun. If you try to do organic in pots you will need to supplement with fish emulsion, and kelp meal weekly.

If you are water heavy or it rains a lot 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite + 2tbl osmocote in 5 gallon bucket
1/4 cup dolomite lime can be mixed into each 3.8 cu ft bale of peat moss to raise pH to aboout 6.0. This mix dries quickly and needs to be watered daily. Good for a cactus mix

If media is too dry
2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite + 2tbl osmocote per 5 gallons of mix.

When I have it, I add a couple of handfuls of vermicast to each 5 gallon bucket

Citrus trees in 20 inch pots. Media is pure black cinder. It provides lots of air space and good drainage. Pot is heavy so put the pot where you want it before you fill it. Citrus can be watered daily, but must be fertilized as cinder will contain minerals but no other nutrients. The plus side, I do not have to repot once the citrus gets into 20 inch pots. A plus then the tree is 18 years old and 5 ft tall. Tip the pot occasionally to make sure the roots have not gone to ground.

Orchids require an orchid media. You can plant orchids in no media at all. Vandas in hanging baskets just need to be secured to the basket and styrofoam can be used to wedge orchids in place until the roots becomse established. Orchid media: long fibered sphagnum moss for young plants and bog orchids, cinder for terrestrial orchids. Fir bark or NZ bark for orchids in pots. Orchid pots require good drainage and orchids need to be watered as needed maybe once or twice a week with humidity around 80% and good air circulation. Orchid pots can be made of plastic, wood, plastic or wire baskets, cement, ceramic, or terra cotta. Orchids can also be mounted on some trees like plumeria and hapuu fern, or mounted on cork, driftwood, or wood planks usually redwood or cedar since they are more rot resistant. But I have seen people use wooden roof shingles that work well. Orchids are mounted with a little sphagnum moss for moisture.

Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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