Green Mantis
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What kind of sand can I mix in for transplanting Hoya's?

I think it's getting way too late to get Playsand for mixing into transplanting soil, I have everything but the playsand, What other kind of sand might work? I need to make up a mixture to transplant my Rope hoya's. Any ideas, would be much appreciatted. Thanks.

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Kisal
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You want a sharp sand, or a coarse river sand ... either will do. Fine sands compress too tightly, not leaving large enough spaces between the grains for good drainage.

Avoid fine river sand and the kind used for mixing cement. The latter is part clay, and both pack too firmly.

I've heard that some people buy the kind of sand that is used in some swimming pool filters. There are also some coarse sands that are sold for use under the gravel in aquariums, which would also work. I've used the aquarium sand for some of my cacti in the past.

I can buy small bags of sand at the independent nursery I frequent, and even at a couple of the local department-type stores that sell plant containers and potting mixes year round. I haven't ever looked at the big box stores, like Home Depot, simply because I don't shop there ... unless I absolutely must. :lol:
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Green Mantis
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I asked hubby about the sand, and he is going to bring some road crush home for me. I told him I didn't need bigger rocks in it, just the smaller stuff. He said they had 2 different types, so will bring home a wee bit of both. I think that should work. Got their new clay pot yesterday, so now just waiting for the road crush and then for it too warm up. I will give it a wash, before I use it.---I have potting soil, plus vermiculte and perlite, do I need any peat? Which should I use for the mix, the vermiculite or the perlite?------They don't seem to stock much here in the winter, so I bought most of that stuff earlier, before they took it off the shelf. Usually I miss out! I am getting better at this being prepared stuff! :lol: Thanks in advance.

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Kisal
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It depends on what you intend to plant. Desert cacti and those that grow in the mountains want an alkaline soil made up of mostly sand and very small gravel, with maybe a tiny bit of clay mixed in. I wouldn't add peat moss, which adds acidity. If you feel compelled to add some organic material, you might toss in a bit of coir.

The next time you have an opportunity to visit a desert, stop and pick up a handful or two of the soil. You'll find very little organic material ... maybe a few bits of dried up cactus, but almost nothing in the way of bark or leaves. You'll see that the soil is primarily rock, weathered to particles of various sizes from clay, up through sand of increasing coarseness, and finally small gravels.

Jungle cacti need a coarse mix of organic material, so a little peat moss would probably be good for them. They like things a little more acidic. They grow in bits of deteriorating bark and leaves that have been shed from the trees in which they grow, and which has accumulated in little nooks and crannies.

Both mixtures are made up of coarse, rapidly draining material, but one is mostly inorganic, with a high pH, while the other is mostly organic, with a low pH. :)
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The soil mixture would be for the Rope Hoya's, that I want to transplant. Just want to be sure before I make a mistake with the soil. As for cactus soil mix, what they sell here really isn't very good, that's why I am asking. Thanks so much---in advance. :D

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Kisal
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Okay ... the Hindu Rope plant (Hoya carnosa compacta), is a jungle epiphyte, so it will need a rapidly draining mix of coarse organic materials. In their native habitat, they grow in crevices in the tree branches, in the jungle where it's nice and humid and warmish. Bits of bark and dead leaves accumulate in small areas, such as where branches meet the trunk or other branches. Epiphytes grow in these little natural "containers", so they actually prefer to be somewhat root bound.

They will grow and bloom much better once their roots have filled the container, so you don't want to repot these species any more often than is absolutely necessary. When you do repot, be careful not to go up more than one pot size, or the plant will stop blooming and will grow only slowly until it's roots have once again filled the container.

The plants like high humidity, because they evolved to grow in the rainforest (... well, they grow in the trees that are near the edges of the rainforest, and near clearings, not in the deepest, darkest depths. ;) ) It's very humid in the rainforest, but except for drenching rains ... think monsoons! ... water doesn't actually penetrate the thick canopy very frequently. As a result, epiphytes have evolved the ability to store water in their stems and leaves. So, water them thoroughly, but make certain the planting mix drains rapidly, and don't water too often. Let the roots have some dryness and air between waterings.

Holiday cacti are also epiphytes and require the same sort of conditions. :)
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So I should use potting soil, and ????????? as a mixture? I understand about the humidity, but not sure what to use now? Do I put any perlite or vermiculite and sand in now????---- I seem to be lost on this mixture now? Sorry!!! :oops:

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applestar
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Don't want to take this too OT but -- so would the epiphytes prefer bark chips sold for orchids? When I repot my holiday cactus in spring, which is still trying to recover from my ill treatment last year -- I repotted it as if it were cactus, in sandy soil mix and put it in a 1/3 day full sun (which, I now know from your other post kisal, was not the right thing to do :roll:). Should I treat it like my orchids and use mostly 50/50 mix of ground up bark and soil/sand?

I sometimes buy patio base sand and use the riddle to separate it into larger particles and smaller particles depending on what I'm using it for. I like using play sand because it's pre-washed, but my home made container soil mix will include larger bits and pieces like bark and sticks, gravel, etc.

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Kisal
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I start with regular potting mix and stir in some cactus mix, so I have approximately a 2 parts to 1 part mixture. Then I mix in a little perlite, maybe a good handful or two.

One thing to keep in mind, that will make a difference when you decide on your soil mixture, is your preferred method of watering. I water rarely, but very deeply, forcing all of the air out of the soil. My holiday cacti are watered maybe once every 3 weeks. (I'm a rather inattentive gardener, I'm afraid. :lol: ) While I want my potting mixture to drain rapidly, I also like to include the perlite to help retain a little moisture, just in case I suddenly realize I haven't watered the plants for more than a month. ( :oops: ) If you are a person who is careful to water your epiphytes more often, say every week or two, then they might be happier without the added perlite.

I haven't grown orchids, but it stands to reason that the bark mix designed for them could be a good addition to a mix for other epiphytes. The difference I see in the way the plants grow in the trees is that plants like the hoya and the holiday cacti tend to grow in spots where debris has collected, and their roots are embedded in that debris, which consists primarily of shed bits of bark mixed with decomposing leaves. The epiphytic orchids, OTOH, seem to grow more on the surface of the bark, with their roots exposed to the air. The little pockets of decomposing vegetation would be more on the order of very coarse compost, I think, so a regular potting mix with materials like orchid bark or coir ... or even, as I've been using, commercial cactus mix ... added to improve drainage ought to be a close match to what the plants prefer in their native habitat.

The next time I repot my large holiday cacti, they'll be going into 12" containers, so I think I'll get some orchid bark and mix that it. It would definitely make a big improvement in the drainage when using a large container. Good idea, AS! Thanks for the hint! :D
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Kisal, I think I am going to mix a bit of orchid bark into my Rope Hoya transplant soil. Also am I re-potting at the right time of year? Or does it matter? They really look like they need transplanting.---I have 3 plants to do, ( not all Rope Hoya's) so i decided to get busy and do them all at once. --Still waiting for that road crush from hubby :roll: He keeps forgetting! Hopefully today, he took a bucket with him, so I hope he remembered to fill it, and get it home! Will find out shortly. Thanks so much for all of your help! :D

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:oops: Well I mixed the soil, and after Hubby brought home the sand...would you believe I forgot to put it in!.... Can't believe I did that. I did mix cactus soil I had here with regular potting soil, plus some perlite and orchid bark. They really needed transplanting badly, they were so pot bound. After I planted them I gave them a pretty good watering. Then will really watch so I don't over water. I don't want to lose them. I am hoping they do well and grow good this time. Over watering these cactuses is a death sentance unfortunately!.....Was fun digging in the dirt anyway! :D

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Kisal
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I believe they will do well, as long as you are careful not to water too often. Learn to feel the difference in the heft/weight of the plant, so you'll be able to tell when the soil needs moisture. I heft the pot in my hand before and after I water the plant. Every so often, maybe once a week, I'll lift the pot to see how the weight compares to what I remember it being immediately after I watered it. You'll be able to tell when it needs water.

The reason I go by the weight of the potted plant, rather than by touching the soil, is that the surface can be quite dry and the soil in the lower part of the pot still be quite moist. For many plants, that doesn't matter a whole lot, but it is an important issue for plants like your hoya, which are extremely sensitive to too much water. :)
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That's a real good idea Kisal, I will check the weight, I water from the bottom normally, and this time put them in a clay pot ( the red kind) It has slits in the sides, so I filled up the watering tray under the pot until it was full. So now will keep track of the weight, as I don't think they do like being watered from the top. Hopefully I have good luck with these ones!

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:( Well I don't think Rope Hoya's and I get along at all!, I transplanted them, gave them a good watering from the bottom, and left them alone. Now they seem to be shriveling up. Leaves throughout the plants look terrible. Looks like the whole works are on the way out???? What would I have done wrong? I didn't put them in too big a pot. They got a good soil mixture, and now look crappy???? If I had a camera I'd take pictures, but the shriveling up throughout the plants leaves, pretty well says it all! Here I thought they would do really well??? Haven't moved them anywhere else. Just the transplanting. Any ideas anyone???? Would appreciatte it very much. Thanks.

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Kisal
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Hoyas actually prefer to be root bound. It is an adaptation that enables them to grow in small spaces and crotches in trees. Was something going on with the plant that made it appear to be in immediate need of a larger pot?

Also, fall/winter is not the ideal time of year to repot any plant. It's better to repot when a plant is in active growth. Hold off on watering now, to give the roots a chance to adapt to their new home. Adaptation may take as long as 2 or even 3 months, depending on how much the roots have to grow to become snug in the pot again. I think the plant will probably survive, as long as you let it become dry before watering again. Be patient with it, and give it some benign neglect. :)

I apologize for not warning you not to repot at this time of year. I thought you just wanted to know what kind of planting medium they liked, so you could get it ready for when you needed it later on. :oops:
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Green Mantis
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Oh goodness, you don't need to apoligize!!!! I should have been reading posts better! But they were terribly root bound when I transplanted them. That was the only reason they got transplanted. Guess now I'll just leave them alone, pick off the dead leaves, and no watering for quite awhile. Hopefully they won't all die, time will tell I guess. Here's hoping they live.

adobo
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you can try using chopped coconut husks as growing mediums for hoyas or even crushed fern slabs.

Green Mantis
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Where would you get chopped coconut husks from? Is there some sort of blend you can buy? Thanks.

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Kisal
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Look for a product called Coir. It's sometimes used for orchids, I think, and maybe in bonsai. Plants in those categories require rapid drainage, just like cacti. :)
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adobo
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Green Mantis wrote:Where would you get chopped coconut husks from? Is there some sort of blend you can buy? Thanks.
its actually a dried coconut husk chopped into small pieces. Yes it is also used in orchids.

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:D Thanks very much. Next cactus I transplant, I will get some coir before I am ready to transplant.

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