Jump to content
The Corroboree
Sign in to follow this  

Drainage material for potted cactus plants ... or not?

Recommended Posts

The Myth of Drainage Material in Container Plantings: "Add a layer of gravel or other coarse material in the bottom of containers to improve drainage". https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/container-drainage.pdf


I found this info while researching the issue of mineral scale build-up at the (external) base of some of my potted plants. Also some terracotta pots I have that seem to be degrading quite rapidly, again with scale build-up. I thought it might have been fluoride accumulating from the municipal water supply -- but not all of my pots seem to exhibit this mineral leaching. 


I have always used coarser material for drainage in planters and pots, now I'm not so sure. 




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh, I used to do it, now I never worry other than a piece of gravel just to keep the drainage holes open. I think it’s more the soil mix than the layer of drainage gravel. If the soil is mud, it’s gonna hold water no matter how well the drainage layer is done.  
in larger pots, I add worms and worm castings, they help to airate the soil. 

other thing is when it rains, get your pots out to be flushed through with the rain water. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use coarse forest-mulch for trichos ( mainly in plastic pots) and it works pretty fkn brilliant. The reason is that the mulch turns kinda spongey and soaks up a lot of water which seems to make my trichos really boom.


Took me a couple years to understand just how fat n fast trichos grow with heaps of Sun, Ferts and WATER. Ya gotta get the triple combo happening and then BOOM! That's just for trichos though. And prickly pear I guess  LOL


Ok so this is going a bit off topic now, but you wanna design your whole system around what trichos love. Not try forcing the other way round.


Just imagine how you'd  grow the maddest monster weedy plants you could ever grow, and grow your trichos in the exact same conditions. You can't skip one element, -you need hot sun, high nitrogen, and heaps of water


Now, the best thing I ever did when I had most of my trichos planted in your same drainage conditions was to place water trays under all the terracotta pots.  They drink it up fast in terracotta pots, so the deeper the tray the better. It's just the whole wicking thing again.


Don't worry about the terracotta pots too much, the trichos will soon explode those.


Just keep them dry in winter. 


Plastic pots are pretty different and don't need the trays as bad as terracotta pots do from experience. 


I only really do it for terracotta that have lots of drainage crocks. For plastic pots I use the mulch which ends up as nice moist, fibrous sponges, but still very well oxygenated. The roots go full-monster down there.











Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this