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enthearch108

Rocky cacti mix ins

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Im just about to do some repotting and all that...

 

Im getting the standard washed sand, perlite and standnard soil mix, but dont know whats the best rocky option. I usually mix in 7mm bluestone (basalt) and ive tried dolerite (I think) before, but heard scoria is good too (my local place stores 20mm but i could pulverising it a bit). Granite is also available in rocks and in dust form (rockdust?). 

 

Any recommends / hard NOs?

 

 

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I don’t fuck with perlite. At all. Personally I’ll use whatever I have on hand or can get a hold of. My local landscape yard had 5mm riverstone that i bought in bulk so I always add that. Scoria from bunnings is a nice addition. (Best to give it a good rinse first) and in the pool section at bunnings is a product called zeochlor which is 3mm zeolite. Woolworths cat litter in the orange bag is 100% zeolite (it’s very economical) but also needs a thorough rinse. Only ever use sand if it’s coarse and sieve and rinse the Jesus out of it.  

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For trichos, most specialty cactus mixes are probably overkill. You can grow trichos very happily in straight potting mix if you like, as long as it drains well and doesn't contain large pieces of bark/wood.

I go pretty heavy with composted manure in my mix for trichos. I usually use a third potting mix (the mix I get is quite fine, no big chunks of bark, if your mix has big chunks, sieve them out), a third composted chicken manure and a third perlite. If I'm feeling fancy I'll add a bit of dolomite, and some palagonite (volcanic mineral).

You'll have to work out what suits your climate though. My mix is probably too rich for places that have a long winter. My winter really only lasts for maybe 2 months where the plants go dormant. If you have a long cold wet winter, I'd probably lay off the manure a bit and add more drainage grit.

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i dislike perlite too.  I confess I usually get the Scotts Osmocote from Bunnings and sieve it for smaller cactus.  (The sieved bark is great for mushroom substrate :) ).  Theres another cactus mix made by Brunnings that has less bark but much more sand - better for seedlings.  Whichever I get, I mix it with my own compost.  Final mix is usually 25% compost, 50% cactus mix and 25% whatever else have at hand - which might be seed raising mix, dirt from the garden or just general organic potting mix.

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Posted (edited)

I love perlite, just bought a 100L bag of the stuff.

If I could get more pumice, however, that'd be my go to and I'd mix it into everything I could. Only reasonably priced pumice I've found in Perth is ~70mm though (bunnings landscaping lava rock), which I'm forced to break up and sieve into different sizes myself.

Going to buy some zeolite off the web soon I think, seems decently priced and I hear good things.

EDIT: Unless my trichos are in absolute full sun I always make the mix significantly grittier. It doesn't seem to improve growth but in my experience it certainly helps prevent oedema and fungal issues.

Edited by totemgoat
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Thanks for all the advice gang, much appreciated. @Enjaytee will defs try the kitty litter! @Glaukus compost sounds good, ill probs use that mainly with some scoria and zeolite :)

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Mine is very basic just thought Id add that I use searles cacti potting mix and add about 1:4 coarse sand:pottingmix.

Searles is so much better than osmocote, sometimes that stuff is just a shredded tree in a bag. 

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Posted (edited)

Zeolite is a material that has high cation exchange capabilities and is used to increase the fertility potential in growing media.

In the case of the kitty litter it is simply baked clay. Coles also sells baked clay based kitty litter.

I use it in my high mineral loph mix and they loooove it.

 

Osmocoate potting soils used to be my go to, especially the cacti flavour but the last time i purchased some it was bulked up with tea tree mulch. Could smell it as soon as the bag was cracked. Terrible stuff. Not even good as a mulch. Hydrophobic and knits down together to form a water tight seal.

I guess material availability changes with locality and other factors so it probably isnt always on the ingredient list but its something to watch out for.

 

Another thing to watch is potting soil with ferts added. Seems to be all of them these days. Controlled release ferts arent in themselves a bad thing, i actually prefer and reccomend them. However, when they are pre mixed into potting soil, bagged, stacked on pallets, wraped in pallet wrap and then left sitting in the sun you end up with bags of poison. The mechanism that controls the release rate of fert in those small balls is temperature. The warmer it is the more porus the resin that is used to encapsulate the fert prill. Those bags get might warm inside sitting in the sun and all that fert dumps into the mix.

There can also be a heavy burden of fungal pathogens in those commercial potting soils and often come with fungus gnats.

 

You can still use the potting soil you just need to wash all the excess fert out. I usually find a fert ball and crack it open to see how much fert is inside. If it is mostly hollow then the fert has dumped and you need to wash the potting soil then add fresh fert.

 

Edited by ENtiTY
Typos
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