bayarea_girl

Potting Soil Mix

bayarea_girl_z9ca
last month
last modified: last month

This topic has been mentioned before so I just want to revisited it again. Potting soil mix is relative to each specific area (little rain vs. too much rain) so I'm guessing the companies that sell potting soil will have different mix percentages for different areas. At the last count, I have 111+ roses in pots, lol, so understanding about potting soil is important. Please share your knowledge.

My area doesn't rain from April to November so I often use potting soils that have water storing crystal. I have been using Miracle-Gro Moisture Control 50qt (Home Depot: $15.47, Lowes: $14.48). If the Miracle-Gro without the moisture control is on sale, I buy it and mix in some Miracle-Gro Water Storing Crystal.

This year I tried out Lowes exclusive Sta-Green MoistureMax 64qt ($12.98). I noticed the Sta-Green mix is a bit heavier than the Miracle-Gro mix. I potted the newly received Edmund bare root roses in this mix and will report back if there is any difference between Miracle-Grow mix and Sta-Green mix. If they are the same, I'll go with Sta-Green mix because it's cheaper. Helen







Comments (35)

  • roseseek

    Hi Helen, good luck! It will be interesting reading your observations. I've chosen to remain with the MG Moisture Control in the bag you posted because it takes the longest of anything I've used to break down, and I have used MANY different brands and types over the past thirty-plus years. Of course, it has to be appropriate for your climate and conditions, but where it's difficult to keep things watered sufficiently between the rains, if there ARE rains, this stuff works great.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked roseseek
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Thank you Kim. I hope the Sta-Green has the same quality as MG. Helen

  • roseseek

    You're welcome, Helen. I hope it doesn't break down into "muck" as quickly for you as it did for me.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked roseseek
  • BenT (8a Dallas, TX)

    Sta-Green Moisture Max is primarily ground bark, while MG Moisture Control is primarily peat moss, both contain moisture crystals.. I find roses do very well in either, of course they must be watered and fertilized often and evenly. My guess is the MG would retain water longer ( just my observation), but the SG, being coarser might let in more aeration. The SG is significantly cheaper and that adds up if you have a big pot ghetto. I like to add expanded shale to my potting mix because that stuff lasts for decades without breaking down.


    The one I stay away from is Miracle Gro Organic, which has sadly replaced Miracle Gro Moisture Control at Costco. It’s coconut coir based. My roses hate that stuff and will almost commit suicide when planted in it!

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked BenT (8a Dallas, TX)
  • Protoavis z

    I mix my own, about 1/3 coconut coir/pine bark fines, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/6 zeolite, 1/6 compost. With slow release fertilizer, rock powder and seaweed pellets mixed in.


    I wasnt a fan of how quickly premade potting mixes sunk, half the mix disappeared in a year. Coir takes years to break down and verimiculire and zeolite don't, add in the high caution exchange and water holding capacity its been fairly low maintence.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Protoavis z
  • roseseek

    Miracle Gro Moisture Control ORGANIC is "landfill material". I used it the first season Costco brought it in. It is HORRIBLE. Not only does it stink, but it produced weird growth with everything I planted in it...roses, tomatoes, herbs, everything had deformed, strange leaves. Thankfully, it broke down VERY quickly, which was a waste of money and labor, but the adverse effects wore off by the end of summer. I have primarily used the blue bag, coir based MG Moisture Control Potting Soil for everything, roses specifically, and all of my rose seeds (I even germinate them in it exclusively) for many years and in my arid conditions, both extreme heat to now cooler but excessively windy ones, it still produces the best, easiest results. I have never found roses to have an issue with it.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked roseseek
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Kim and Ben, thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge. We now know to stay away from MG Moisture Control ORGANIC.

    Protoavis, thank you for sharing your own mix formula. Is your mix formula working for a low rain or heavy rain area?

    Kim, I agree with you about MG mix. I needed to plant some newly rooted cuttings a few days ago, but felt the Sta-Green is a bit heavy for the cuttings so I used MG just to be safe. I'm glad you also use MG mix for your rose seeds. Helen

  • K S 8b Seattle

    Just the other day someone shared an article with me that pointed out the dangers of potting soil. Apparently people can and do get Legionnaire's disease from it? Apparently we are supposed to wear masks when working with it? I had never heard that before, and certainly never treated it as a potentially dangerous substance.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked K S 8b Seattle
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    When I've used water crystal potting mix, once it starts raining in the summer, all the gelatin swells up like golf balls and displaces everything. Definitely for drier climates lol.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • Magnus - England

    DA told me to mix 50% John Innes number 3 which is dense and stores moisture/nutrients well and 50% peat based compost aka miracle gro or whatever is cheap to provide aeration and loosen the mixture.

    I've used this for only 1 year but have had very nice results!

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Magnus - England
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Thanks KS. Here is the article from the CDC. Anything is possible so if one's immune system is low, one needs to be extra cautious. Helen

  • Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca

    Helen , if you have a sams club membership they sell the blue bag for 12.98 for one cubic foot . That little extra adds up ! Especially when you have so many pots , I’ve already bought close to 15 bags . Yikes . Lol I actually need more but it shows out of stock , hope they get it out in Thursday! I have a tub full of roses that need potted

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Sultry, thank you for sharing your experience so gardeners in heavy rain area can adjust their mix formula better. Helen

  • roseseek

    Lilyfinch, $13 a cubic foot is a rather high price. I find the 2 cu ft blue MG Moisture Control bags for $14 - $15 each at Miner's Ace Hardware (sale priced); and regularly at Home Despot for $14.97. My limit had long been not paying more than $5 per cu ft, but with more recent price increases that's gone up to $5.50 a cu ft. in 2 cu ft bags. The one cu ft bags are no bargain, but if you can't lift the larger ones, that's what you have to handle.


    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked roseseek
  • Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca

    Kim , maybe I’m getting it wrong then . My recycling has already been taken so I can’t double check either :( I assumed they were larger than the big box stores! I am so mad if I am wrong. Not at you of course at myself for wasting money ! The sams club website is says it’s one cubic foot or 55 quarts . But I don’t have an empty bag to verify :(.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Lily, I agree with Kim. I wonder why Sam's club price even higher than Lowes or Home Depot. I need to pull out the conversion table every time I need to deal with US measurements, lol. I miss the simplicity of scientific measurements.

    Here is the rough dry quarts table:

    1 cu ft = 25 quarts

    1.24 cu ft = 32 quarts

    1.94 cu ft = 50 quarts

    2.49 cu ft = 64 quarts

    $12.98/cu ft => $12.98 / 25qt = $0.52/qt (Sam's Club)

    $14.48 / 50 qt = $0.29/qt (Lowes)

    Lowes also has the 1 cu ft (or 25 qt) MG Moisture Control mix for $10.98 => $0.44/qt, which makes sense because the bigger bag 50qt is often cheaper ($0.29/qt). Helen

  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    There's some weird information on Sam's club website. The pic shows 1 cu ft bag ($12.98/25 = $0.52/qt) but the description mentions 55 qt ($12.98/55 = $0.24/qt) .

    I have a feeling the pic is wrong and it's a 55qt bag which makes it $0.24/qt which a bit cheaper than Lowes at $0.29/qt. Helen


  • seil zone 6b MI

    I use the Sta-Green mix from Lowes all the tome and I've never had a problem with it. The roses seem to grow just fine. I've gotten the Miracle Gro too when it was on sale and have not noticed a difference in the roses. I tried the moisture control mix and have used the crystals and did not care for those at all. I had big lumps of gluey mess in the soil. Not good.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked seil zone 6b MI
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Seil, it's great to hear to Sta-Green mix works well for you. I'm guessing you are in a heavy rain area which turns the crystals into gluey mess like Sultry's area? Helen

  • Ken Wilkinson

    First off, I get my soil for my garden at Lowe's. It has taken me several years of trying everything and different mix's. 90% of my roses are in beds where I dug out the GA. clay and replaced it with light soil that doesn't turn into muck. What I use now is what I also use in my 7.5, 10 and 15 gal. pots. My roses are happy, I'm happy. Sta-Green potting soil for pots (blue bag) and Evergreen Soil Conditioner. Mix half and half. Soil stays light and fluffy and still stays moist but not soggy. I use to mix sand with it but it became "to heavy" of a mix. Now, no sand. I like thing that are simple and WORK.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Ken Wilkinson
  • Dave6aMO

    I completely agree that the Miracle Grow organic potting mix at Costco is junk. The low price and large volume always tempts me but nothing I have grown in it does well. Even their in ground bagged soil is awful.


    I really like Black Gold organic soil. It is lightweight and works well in my moist environment. I still blend in some perlite but is not needed like other potting mixes I have used.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Dave6aMO
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    I use Lowes Jungle Growth and MG potting mix and throw in a few scoops of my own animal compost. I have a lot of different types of plants from cactus & succulents to epiphytes, bananas, citrus, tropical fruit trees and other tropicals. I tweak this mix with other stuff depending on what plant it is.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
  • Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca

    Thanks helen for figuring out the mistake! I feel better now . I’m really happy with the beautiful pots sams is selling as well .

    i also have a Costco membership and that soil there smells putrid !! It’s only 9$ a bag and there’s no way I’d load that smell into my car !

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca
  • Ken Wilkinson

    Since you are in the Bay area, have you ever used the Kellogg brand soils. The price looks right and it gets good review's.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Ken Wilkinson
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

    I totally don't grow anything of substance in pots, but I do plant routinely with water crystals all over my yard since everything here is pretty dry for most of the summer (nothing like California of course though). I buy my water moist crystals online in bulk from Watersorb.com and I think I can get 10 pounds for about $60. At those very reasonable prices (SoilMoist runs about $20 per pound at its cheapest), you can buy whatever potting soil you like and mix in the water crystals at a rate that is good for your region and amount of rainfall. I prewet some of my crystals so I know how much room they'll take up when planting, if there's an issue in the places I'm planting.

    Cynthia

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
  • BenT (8a Dallas, TX)

    I woNder what causes the moisture crystals to coagulate into blobs, is it just moisture? First time I saw it I thought maybe someone sowed jellyfish seeds.


    Costco has a suggestions box, maybe we should all recommend that they go back to MG Moisture Control. I glad so many here have the same experience, the Moisture Control is great, the Organic is unbelievably bad for everything, not just roses, but tropicals, veggies, the whole garden will kamikaze. My mom insists she and her persistent ’suggestions box activism’ is the sole reason why Costco brought back Cranberry Walnut Bread, lol!


    Cynthia,

    Nice to know those crystals can be bought separately

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked BenT (8a Dallas, TX)
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Ken, a few years ago I bought the Kellogg Raised Bed and Potting Mix for my potted roses, and the roses were unhappy with it so I have been staying away from that brand. Has anyone used Kellogg brand with good result?

    Is the reason you mixed 1/2 soil conditioner with 1/2 Sta-Green because you think Sta-Green is too heavy and it needs the soil conditioner to make the whole thing fluffy? Helen

  • Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca

    Oh no helen I used that exact kind on my palantine roses ... it was a better value but I found I couldn’t handle the bags size and made such a mess ... hm . Hope my roses don’t mind it

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca
  • Protoavis z

    "Protoavis, thank you for sharing your own mix formula. Is your mix formula working for a low rain and heavy rain area?"


    With how light and airy it is, excess water just drains through it but the vermiculite holds many times its weight (volume? One of those) in water, so drying out completely is unlikely unless actively choosing not to water. Its never soggy but hard to make bone dry. I often water only twice a week in currently drought conditions with temps going over 100F+. Some roses scorch badly (which seems to have some connection to RMV because plants with it really dont cope with the extreme heat) as would be expected with full day sun no shade in the 100+ temps. They rebound quickly though. Some pots havent been repotted in 5 years and have gone through flooding rains and drought no problem, so either extreme hasnt been problematic.


    Only thing I cant comment on is snow/freezing conditions, its not not a thing here in Sydney.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Protoavis z
  • Ken Wilkinson

    Helen-----I have found that all bagged potting soils are a little to heavy for my liking. Maybe I'm to picky. After last summers fight with cancer, I realized I'm not going to be around for 200 years. I want my roses to be happy and bloom the best they can be, without having to go bizerk to get what makes me happy. When I work in the garden, I want to put my hands into light, fluffy soil, even when wet. I don't want to stick my hands into a gooey mess. The 50/50 that I use is the best I've come up with. Not only that, it's a darn site cheaper then MG.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Ken Wilkinson
  • suebelle_neworleans

    We grow most of our roses in pots now that I have run out of room, but refuse to stop buying roses. LOL !! Last few years we have been using "Happy Frog" potting soil made by Fox Farm. We used to mix our own, but we are getting too old and so now we take the easy was out. We stay away from any potting soil that has fertilizer because we like to control the amount of fertilizer that each pot gets. The Happy Frog ingredients:

    Ingredients: Composted forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano, humic acid(derived from Leonardite), oyster shell and dolomite lime (for pH adjustment).

    Suebelle

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked suebelle_neworleans
  • bayarea_girl_z9ca

    Ken, I agree that the 50/50 mix is a lot cheaper, and it works great for you. Thank you!

    Evergreen 2-cu ft Organic Drainage and Aeration ($3.68 => $3.68/50qt = $0.07/qt)

    Sta-Green MoistureMax 64qt ($12.98 => $12.98/64 = $0.20/qt)

    50/50 mix of the two above: (0.07 + 0.20) / 2 = $0.14/qt

    At $0.14/qt, the 50/50 mix price is about half the price of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control 50qt ($14.48/50 = $0.29/qt) .

    The Evergreen condition isn't offered at Lowes in my area, do you know another alternative soil conditioner that I can use? Helen

  • junco East Georgia zone 8a

    I am also in Georgia and , like Ken, mix potting soil and Evergreen Soil conditioner 50/50. However, I prefer the MG moisture control over the Sta-green. I did an experiment years ago of two identically potted annuals in the two potting soils and MG won--at the time I assumed it was the coir. I don't have an empty bag on hand, but the MG I'm using doesn't have water crystals--or at least they don't bubble up the way I've had them do when I added them separately.

    And, just for FYI, the folks over on container gardens would have a field day with all of us using Miracle Grow anything. They are convinced it is poison. Oh well. They do have some interesting discussions on mixing your own media and on insuring that your pots are draining well.

    Good gardening to all!

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked junco East Georgia zone 8a
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    Kellogg makes many mixes, one of which was so bad for me. I have the bags somewhere so I could post that one to avoid. Years ago, Lowe's had a great soil called MetroMix. It's still available, but generally only sold to commercial concerns. Soil Conditioner is pine bark fines. My Lowe's no longer carry it which I'm so mad about as it's the best thing for rooting rose cuttings. Now I generally mix my own since I have everything for potting up small rose and I don't most roses in pots long-term. Here's what a friend made me from we both had taking up space to mix up everything. It's been a lifesaver! :0D


    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
  • roseseek

    I avoided Kellogg's products for years because their price was so high in comparison to the competitors at the time, and I refuse to put my hands in "bio solids". You flush your "bio solids" down the drain every morning.... I don't know if they continue using them, but for a while, most of their products contained them.

    bayarea_girl_z9ca thanked roseseek

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