jessie_l24

Is there a problem with my terra cotta pots?

Jessie L
last month

Hi, I recently took interest in succulents and started propagating them. Since I was just starting off, I got some terra cotta pots from the dollar store. I noticed that after the first day of watering, there was a white powdery film on the pot! I googled that and found out that it's salts/minerals leeching out, but all the info i read had the white film build up over time and not after one day of watering. I thought terra cotta was terra cotta.... any guesses as to if it's the pot or the soil? (soil is miracle grow potting soil, builders sand and perlite in a 1:2:1 ratio). Worried if my succulent plant will die... Thanks!

Comments (46)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Unfortunately, there are more salts in less expensive pots...not all terracotta is the same! Most of us have this experience! Really good terracotta pots are quite pricey, and not all stores carry them. What you got is probably quite inexpensive clay pots, made of soft clay (I have purchased some in dollar store - just once...). Even better terracotta pots will have some salts leaching, but usually it takes longer. Lots of leaching is from fertilizers, but also from minerals in water and clay they are made of. Also method they are made: high-fired pots are better. Leached salts should not harm plants, since they accumulated on outside of pot. There are pots that are sealed to prevent this - but then you are losing breathing of the porous clay...

    I have some terracotta pots, but use mostly plastic. One reason is leaching, other reason is weight.

    You mentioned using builders sand in your mix - is it coarse? If so, I would made mix probably in 1:2:2 ratio - coarse sand (grit) and perlite in more or less equal amounts. What plants are you propagating?

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
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  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you for replying rina! i propagated 2 types of echeveria from leaves. Also, I cut some chicks off a hen and chicks plant and one baby cut off of another type of echeveria (i think); for these ones, I'm trying to get roots to grow on them. I am trying the method of no watering or direct sunlight for 2 weeks, keeping my fingers crossed that it'll work.


    Do u think my cheap terra cotta pots will kill my plants? They have some at Lowes that I could go buy too, a couple bucks a piece, not that much more. I just read that it would be better for the succulents because it decreases the chance of overwatering problems and water retention.
    Other than water propagation, I'm not getting much luck since starting this new hobby. lol. It makes me wonder about my soil too. I'm just using regular miracle grow potting mix with the sand and perlite, is that ok, do u think? Will the fertilizer in this particular mix kill the plant?

    I think the sand is coarse, I'll get a photo tomorrow. Thanks!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    No, I don't think "cheap" pots will kill your plants. Terracotta is supposed to be better for plants because it breathes. But I would not relay on it to solve water-retention problem. Making well draining mix is more reliable. I sort of wonder if you are over-doing it...cuttings will root in any container. I have used mostly plastic containers, saucers (plastic or terracotta), any pot and also paper egg cartons. Some leaves will root without any medium:

    Most ppl use Cactus & Succulent soil mixed with sifted/rinsed perlite or pumice, in 1:1 ratio. Most of us do not use sand, unless it is coarse. IMO, if it passes thru kitchen sieve, it is too fine. Using grit sized similarly to perlite or pumice makes very well draining mix. While cuttings do not need fertilizer to root, amounts in the soil, especially if mixed with other substrates, should not hurt them. Many leaves will root - most will grow roots and plantlets, some will grow only roots, some will grow only plantlets, and some will not grow at all.

    Hens & chicks (sempervivums) grow very easy. I just pull them away, cut stolon (if long) to about 1-2", and push them into mix. Stolon is not the root, they grow from bottom of the rosette. Here are some I propagated last fall (they were really long). Bottom photo is few months later (now they are really crowded and need to be separated - I'll take photo tomorrow):


  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here are pots with above "chicks"; they were separated and potted las August. They are really crowded now - have to make a new garden for all of them. Click on photo to see 4 pots:


    I planted 9 bigger rosettes in this pot - 7 of them decided to boom...good I have so many young plants to replace them:


    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    Wow, looks great! U make propagating seem so easy. Makes me think I must be paying too much attention to them... haha.


    I checked my soil and I actually did : 3 soil : 2 sand : 1 perlite. I took a photo of the sand i used, i think it's coarse builder's sand. would u adjust this ratio?


    When you push your Semps into the soil, do u wait a few days for callous or not? and, i guess the most important thing for me is... what do u do for watering? I read that u should wait a couple weeks before watering and they will root on their own, but i find my soil is very dry and i get zero roots in 2 weeks when i check.... makes me wonder if they need some water? do u leave yours outside the house or inside? shade or sun?


    Is it the same with the echeveria (the one with the red rim, i'm not sure if it's echeveria)? i just push them into the soil and wait 2 weeks before watering.... still no roots...


    u see those guys on the plastic tray? they're all shrivelling up and dying instead of growing roots... the first batch i tried, i sprayed them with a little bit of water and they turned yellow and died.... now this second batch, i'm trying the no water for 2 weeks route... doesn't look promising either. maybe its my climate... haha... i guess ur in ontario, i'm in alberta... it gets pretty cold in ontario too...







  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    BTW, where did u buy those white rocks u layer at the top? I couldn't find those at Home depot, lowes or canadian tire.... =)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    The white 'rocks' are chicken grit, and I buy it in a farm supply store here in Canada, in 50lb bags. You should be able to find it in Alberta too. Stores you mentioned do not carry it. I use that grit to make potting mix, mixing it in equal amounts with sifted perlite. It looks like this (black is also grit - I just happen to find some black. It is same as white):

    To that, I add small amounts of either turface, or soil or cocopeat. No more than 20%, sometimes as little as 10%. Very often, I use just layer of grit for top-dressing. That could be bigger size, I have used some pea gravel too.

    I think you are using too much soil. Sand in the photo looks good, personally I would still sift it to get rid of dust and also get rid of bigger stones. From materials you have, I would use smaller amount of soil - maybe 20%, and split difference equally between grit (builders sand) and perlite. So that would be just about same as I use...in either case, I wouldn't use more than 1/3rd soil (so that would be 1:1:1)

    I do not callous semps on purpose I do not think they need it. OTOH, those in photo were left as you see in 2nd pic for about a month...but not because they needed. it, I just didn't get around potting them! You can stick them right into mix, or do it later. The stolon can be cut off but I leave 1" or 2" just so they stay in the pot, and I don't knock them out. You can just lay rosette on top of mix, and it will root.

    I do not water rootless cuttings for a while (10 days, 2 weeks), and I do not spray them either. Some ppl do and it seems to work for them, I prefer dry. I tried spraying, and many rotted. There is plenty of water stored in a leaf or stem cutting to supply moisture for quite some time. I rooted many, and the same way, with very good success rate. You are probably worrying too much - I usually say: stick them in and ignore for a while after. Here are some more examples:

    I also see some water propagation - I never propagate succulents in water. Again, some ppl do but I do not believe succulents should be in water.

    Cuttings may take longer than 2 weeks to grow any roots, it depends on many things (health of cutting, temps and so on). I never check for roots, pulling it from the mix could damage fine roots. New growth or over-all good looking plant signals there are likely roots growing. If you really, really need to know, just give the plant very gentle tug. If there is any resistance, roots are already anchoring themselves. Just give it some time - and remember that watched pot never boils, lol. I keep them inside or outside, but start with shadier location for about 2 wks or so. Eventually, move them slowly into some sunlight - best is probably few hrs of morning sunlight. I forgot to move these, they got really etiolated in few weeks! Now I have to behead all of them again (or just dispose of them):

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    You have quite the collection! I'm so jealous! =) There's some types I can't find here. So it's chicken grit! I'm glad I asked!


    I made a new batch of mix according to your advice, 1 soil: 2 sand: 2 perlite; thanks! I will push those semp cuttings into the soil now! (this time, i'll just use a plastic tub with holes, lol)

    After the dry 10-14 days, how much water do u give them? do u start off with a little water and then more? or full soak and let dry? so if it looks well after about 2 weeks, and they're stable with a gentle tug, i can start giving them water without checking for roots. I've killed plants from overwatering before, so i'm just a bit wary. i need to learn to water... lol...


    you have so many plants, do u bring them inside during the winter? ontario's not as cold, but there's still lots of snow...


    Just want to thank you again for sharing your experiences with me, I really appreciate it. My plants will surely be happier. =P

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    Yeah...unfortunately, they have to spend almost 6 months indoors. I take them all out when nighttime temps stay close to 10*C consistently (actually, I probably do it often at about 7*C). That is usually at the end of May for my location. They go inside in late fall, at same temps. Usually, around late November. Indoors, I keep them under lights. Some lower-light tolerant succulents spend winter on windowsill, no supplementary lights. Those are various Haworthias and Sansevierias. Some other plants may end on windowsill even if they should get more light, but space is at premium. I have approx. 300 pots that go inside...most are in basement which is dark, that's why lights. Lights are n timers, 12hrs on, 12hrs off.

    I usually start watering after about 2wks or so (if really hot, t may be bit earlier). I do not check for roots, just water. I do it thoroughly, and let them dry up in between watering. Use bamboo/wooden skewer to check for moisture deep into pot before next watering (as I described in other threads):

    Check how wet or dry mix is before watering plant next time: use a bamboo/wooden skewer or chopstick (or even pencil). Stick it deep into pot and leave in for few minutes. If dry when pulled out, you can water plant. If damp, wait another day or 2, and check again. Eventually, you should be able to tell how often to water. Lift pot every time before and after watering to feel its heft. If mix is dry, pot will be lighter; if wet - it will feel heavier.

    I have killed plants by overwatering - I think many do. That's how you learn.

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    I got everything planted today! I'll forget about them for 2 weeks n then water them thoroughly. I think it'll be successful this time, thanks to your advice! =)



    Great tip about the chopstick / bamboo to check moisture, i've been sticking my finger in there and kinda disrupting things a bit.. lol.


    I was thinking u might know what these two types are below, I posted on reddit last week without luck. They came from a succulent mix bowl of my friends, she didn't really take care of them and this is almost all that's left. The 2 on the left are of the same type and have woody stem that has tree branch texture, the one far left i put in water and it grew 2 long-ish roots and etoliated after 2 weeks or so... n the one in the centre just closed up after i let it dry for 2 weeks in soil, thinking that maybe the water method was better, I just put it in the water. The one on the right has a softer woody stem, it got a couple roots also after putting in water for 2.5 weeks. I have no idea when and if I should move them into soil....



  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    300 pots in and out of your basement every year must give you some workout! I might have to dig up the hen and chicks to bring in... they say they're hardy... but i dunno about the alberta winter... unless i put something overtop... my first year planting them.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sempervivums are Alpine plants, very hardy, most to z4 and some z3. They are few less hardy, but I have some supposedly hardy in z6, and they overwintered outside in my zone. But they don't like cold & wet - just as any succulents. If that is the case, they will rot. Snow covering them is np, it actually insulates them. If you really worry, bring the pot somewhere where it is cold (-10*C to - 20*C shouldn't be problem at all).but sheltered (like a shed, or unheated porch or garage). Maybe every 6wks or so, throw a handful of snow on potting mix so they get some moisture. Many ppl overwinter them inside of their houses, but they are really perennials and appreciate some dormancy in cool conditions. They shouldn't be growing during dormant period (winter) - but will survive if they do. If grown in hot climates, some ppl have problem growing them well in zones 9, 10 and higher.

    I really do not recommend rooting succulents in water. Many will grow roots, but they are 'water' roots. Weaker than roots grown in the soil. Besides, many plants will rot. Transferring cutting rooted in water could set the plant back, since roots need to 'change' - harden, to grow in a mix. Sure, things may work - but I prefer to stress plants as little as possible on purpose, and also keep things simple for me. I stick it in a container with a mix, and let it grow. Re-pot only when needed - that depends on if particular plant is a fast grower or slow. Could be a year, or even more before re-pot. Having few different containers, transferring plants all the time , having bigger chance of rotting etc. - seems to just complicate things, adding extra work.

    Plant on left is very etiolated, and pic is not clear enough for me to see everything. Clear and close-up pic for ID please...I see leaves are jagged, looks like one of the kalanchoes but am not sure. Plant on right (large rosette) could be one of Graptosedums, but not sure. I can't tell anything about the middle one, photo is way too unclear and small...

    It really doesn't matter much to have exact ID (but we all want them! :) to grow succulents well. Pot them in well draining mix, in a container with drainage holes and give them good light. They should be acclimatized well to it. There are some that will grow well in less sunlight, but all need god light. If you get your plants growing and give them good light so they are not 'deformed' by lack of it, post photos again and maybe we can ID them.

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    I knew the water roots were weaker, but i didn't think about the possible rotting when i transfer... .I will stop water propagating then. =P


    See, the etoliated one on the left is the same type as the guy in the middle, but the middle one, I placed in soil with no water for 2-3 weeks, and the plant closed up like that... so that's when i put it in water. Since it grew no roots, plant closed up and looked more dead than alive; i suspect that this type cannot root waterlessly... I will let them dry for a little bit and plant them in the soil mix. and give it some water.... sound like an ok plan?


    ur right, it doesn't matter what it is, we just want them to grow... haha... i thought if i knew the type it would help me make it grow better... when it's a bit more revived I"ll take another photo for you to see.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    There are very similar rules to grow succulents successfully. Some may like little more watering, others may like more sunshine, but in general requirements are quite close. Some difference would be in growing summer-dormant succulents. There are some, and they should be resting as most do in winter.

    I didn't mean the water-rooted plants could start rotting when potted in a potting mix; there is more of a chance of rotting if they are immersed in water.

    I disagree about succulents..."cannot root waterlessly"...I rooted hundreds, dozens of different plants, either from leaves or stem cuttings - and not one in water. BUT I am not trying to convince you, just sharing my experience, and what I learned from lots of reading (and yet, I know so little - there is so much to learn...too much for a lifetime :) And you could be lucky enough that no plants, immersed in water, will rot. So, you decide.

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    Lol, i can see u have rooted many many many plants... i trust your experience.... i am rooting all my new leaves in soil now... I don't want to risk having rot =)


    i was just wondering why that when i placed that particular one in dry soil for 2 weeks, the whole plant just closed up into a ball... but, it didn't seem like it died... so I don't know what that means... maybe i just had to wait for longer or maybe it's a summer dormant plant as u were mentioning? I'm potting it tomorrow, i left it to dry now. Guess we'll see how that will turn out! I really hope they survive, they're types i don't have yet... XD


    There is indeed so much to learn, after i started this hobby, i've been reading and watching youtube videos, experimenting and killing some plants along the way... haha...

  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    last month

    @jessie_l the builder's sand you showed a photo of includes the fines, and a purist would say that is not good coarse sand for a container planting. Technically, you would be better off using the poultry growers grit #2 (which you already have in your 50 lb bag) as a replacement for the sand.

    That said, I have had a lot of luck using soil mixes with finer sand for succulents that like moister soils. The "string of" plants like "string of pearls" seem to appreciate shade and more moisture. The sand might also work for some succulents for propagation only. Rina would know more about that. For raising mature succulents, your soil with builder's sand might have problems working outdoors in the rain. And indoors you would have to pay very careful attention to not over water. There is probably a significant perched water table in such a soil mix, so using shallow pots might also be very problematic.

    Jessie L thanked westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    last month

    Is there any way for us to treat a pot with soft clay to prevent it leaching as described above? Could we for example soak the pot in a large tub of water for a few days?

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    Clay pots should be soaked in tub of water with some bleach added, and scrubbed with stiff brush. That is a common technique that is used to clean up leached residue. But, very often, leaching will occur again sooner or later, from fertilizers used. Also, some clay contain minerals that just do not wash out completely by soaking and will keep leaching again. And there are minerals in water...try it, I did...

    I mentioned 2x that I would sift that builders sand to get rid of dust and fine particles...and also would get rid of large stones...it is in posts above.

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    last month

    @rina my comments on the sand reinforce yours

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    last month

    Yes, and thank you. I just wanted to make sure I am of same opinion - some ppl do not read whole thread and miss what was said. Re-reading how I wrote what I wrote , I realize that it may sound different...hard to put "feelings" thru on a computer, isn't it?

  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    last month

    @rina I would not argue with anything you said. We were just covering slightly different aspects while agreeing on the main idea.

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you rina & westes for pointing out the issue with my sand. As rina originally suggested, I did make a batch with sifted sand and the particles r much much larger, closer to the poultry grit from her photo. And I sifted again to separate the larger rocks which i can use as top layer. I have alot of finer sand leftover, i guess it'll be good for sanding my sidewalks in the winter.. lol.


    For rooting those hens and chicks (in the previous photo), I used an old batch i had made up already and just added more sand and perlite; because I didn't have time to sift yet and I didn't want the plants laying around. I will definitely note for those to watch the water carefully!


    I actually tried soaking the clay pots overnight 2 days ago, I didn't know about the bleach though. I am using some plastic tubs and egg carton for propagating =P... i got a couple nice clay pots from canadian tire yesterday, from italy... so i'm thinking must be better quality than made in china.. lol. Probably still will get frosting over time because the water here is very hard.



  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    I use rain water since my water is also very hard. In a garden, I have 9 large barrels set to collect water from the eaves. You could also buy filtered water - it is bit of $... But Canadian Tire here sells reverse osmosis water, 18l for under $1:50. I buy it to use in coffee maker :) Worth considering...

    Good idea to use leftover fine sand!

    Why do you wonder about using bleach to clean pots?

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    I have a rain barrel too! I could use that water then! yay!


    what i meant about the bleach was, I did it before you wrote your post, so i didn't know of the method of adding bleach. I would try it if i soak the pots again. just a little bit?

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    I bought a couple echeverias 2 months ago and they're growing out of their store bought plastic container.. so i am going to repot them ... do u remove all the original soil? mix it with my soil? or keep the whole thing and just add new soil around? =)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    No adding soil around...always get rid of old soil from pot and the rootball...and do not overpot. Some mix could be reused, but not the peat plants usually come in, nor wet, soggy soil.

    How about your worrying about bleach (I asked the question previously)?

    ETA: when I say some mix could be reused, it should be mixed thoroughly with other ingredients, not just added on top or around. Any mix should be well mixed so there are no layers, making it as uniform as possible.

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    OK! Got it! =)


    I answered previously about the bleach (i made 2 posts this morning), i was not worried at all, but I didn't know that I should or could have added bleach to the soak, since i did it before your post.


    I will try the bleach method with my next new pots or when i unpot to clean them! Do I just add a little bit? Thanks!! =)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Sorry - I didn't see that post. My bad...

    Use as much as you would for anything cleaned with bleach...I even poured bleach directly on pot and scrubbed with brush. Rinse after and let dry..

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    Ok got it! Thanks for your advice @rina!

    I guess I'll just have to wait for everything to grow now =)


    A last query I have to pick your brain on is for the future... when do u know to fertilize or do u just do it automatically? I was just reading about using coffee grounds as fertilizer... what do u use and recommend?

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    I didn't fertilize my succulents for years, so am not so good in giving advice. But if you want to, get proper balanced fertilizer, and use 1/2 recommended dose. Over fertilizing may give growth spurt, but makes plants more attractive to pests too. And, salts build up, it is like overeating for ppl...:) You can fertilize young plants, but not while they do not have roots.

    There are lots of ideas on net to use all kinds of things...while some could work, they are not properly suitable - you are never sure what and how much you are giving to your plant. I throw all organic waste (not meat and bones and grease) on the compost heap, where everything will blend and 'decay' and turns into compost, a great amendment for gardens. But it is not same for containers. Some ppl believe in using small portions in the mix for containers - I think this could be better than using just one thing (for example, coffee grounds are high in nitrogen IIRC) that may supply one or few things, but it may be short on something else. Still, it is too much work for unsure result - JMO. If you get fertilizer, it tells you exactly what is in it. Next to impossible to measure at home, in all kinds of organic matter.

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    28 days ago

    @Jessie L The motto that @tapla uses is to "fertilize weakly, weekly". So once every week or two you can use a 1/2 dose of the synthetic fertilizer.

    Do not use compost, manure, or organic fertilizer in a container that is using structured soils. It defeats the whole purpose of a structured soil to introduce microscopic particles that hold water tightly.

    Jessie L thanked westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    Thank you both for the tips. =)

    I'll go to the store and see what kinds of fertilizer they have.


    Didn't think I would learn so much from my first post on Houzz. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. I have better confidence in keeping all my new succulents alive and propagating more. =))



  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    28 days ago

    @Jessie L For most succulents, Dyna-Gro 9-3-6 is an excellent choice. For cactus and Euphorbia a balanced fertilizer like Dyna-Gro 7-7-7 or 7-8-6 works better.

    I am still trying to figure out which plants get which fertilizer ratios.

    Jessie L thanked westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
  • milton_zone6a_ontario
    27 days ago

    Hi Rina,

    I live in the GTA too and was wondering which store you buy your white granite grit from?

    I bought some poultry grit at Sharpe Farm Supplies Guelph, but it turned out to be "cherry stone" grit, which is actually made of quartzite not granite. I'd prefer the white granite if I can find it!

    Thanks!

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @westes Zone 9a California SF Bay i found a 12-4-8 (miracle gro) and a 10-15-10 (schultz), nothing in the dyna-gro brand... which do u think would work?

  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    You could mail order Dyna-Gro? Are you in the US?

    This is the one for succulents.

    This is the one for cactus and Euphorbia (and not sure which other ones)

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    milton

    Sorry for delayed answer!

    I buy it from a feed store in Newmarket (NORTH YORK FARMERS

    1271 Gorham St Unit#14, Newmarket, ON L3Y 8Y7; 905-895-5172). Lately, they started to carry grit from different manufacturer. I believe both are crushed granite; recent one has tiny gray specks. Here is photo of my latest purchase:


    Sorry, I do not have name of the previous one, it was in a bag without any 'fancy' print on it. It had only small label sewn into top opening. IIRC, name of manufacturer started with 'S'...

  • milton_zone6a_ontario
    25 days ago

    Thanks Rina, I usually buy from Sharpe Farm Supply, but they now carry cherry stone (https://www.tccmaterials.com/cherry-stone/), which is made of quartzite, not granite. I'd prefer to stick to granite so I'll try the place you recommended. Thanks again!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    milton

    Just wondering why do you want only granite, no quartzite?

    Price is (was, last time I bought several bags) about $13/bag (I think). Call to see if they have it in stock. Sometimes I buy 1 bag of next size up for top-dressing. Bigger size is bit more gray, even has few pinkish chips (difference in size could be misleading bit, pics were taken at different times):


  • westes Zone 9a California SF Bay
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    It might help to see the different sizes of poultry grit with numbers on the image. Note that poultry grit #1 = chick grit. Poultry grit #2 = grower grit. @tapla uses #2 for the gritty mix. I want to experiment using #1 as well.


  • beesneeds
    25 days ago

    following....

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    #1 is bit too small. If you use pumice or perlite in the mix, use #2 as recommended by Al. Size of grains is best according to what he said, and all are very close - and that is what you want.

    I have used smaller size, didn't buy it, but from sifting. Too much work IMO since you should sift pumice/perlite to get similar size too, for no specific reason. If you don't sift pumice/perlite to same size, you are probably defeating the purpose.

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    24 days ago

    @westes Zone 9a California SF Bay i'm in canada, i'll try to get something similar here. thanx!

  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    24 days ago

    @rina_Ontario,Canada 5a sifting is indeed alot of work, I sifted 50lbs of sand! =) from your last post, am I supposed to be sifting my perlite too? there's alot of perlite dust and bits in there.

    what types of store do you buy your pumice?

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    24 days ago
    last modified: 24 days ago

    Jessie

    I use only perlite, since pumice is difficult to get here in Ontario, and I think it is more expensive. Some ppl do not like perlite since it is light and could be floating to top, and get blown away. I work with what I can get without going crazy, lol...and do not find perlite to be problem. I buy it in large bags because I use so much of it.

    You can shake brand new bag before opening, so dust and smallest particles settle at the bottom. Scoop perlite from top. Eventually, you start getting some dust, so at that point it may be best to sift. I made a large sifters using a screening, about 1.5x2.5' (I have 3, with different size mesh). I can sift more at the same time. Or, I just rinse it using same sifter. I do it usually outside, set the sifter on grass and rinse. That way, I do not have to worry about disposing of dust, just leave it on grass. Obviously, sometimes I have to do it indoors. If one lives in apartment, that could be bit limiting but could be done. I set sifter over plastic bin so all dust falls in. I have sifted many bags over the years...sometimes even grit! BTW, wearing mask protects you from inhaling dust.

    I use top-dressing of grit (usually larger size than I use for mix), or even pea gravel, so perlite doesn't get blown away. It takes some time for it to travel to the top anyway if you mix ingredients well, and by then - many plants need to be repotted.

    Jessie L thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Jessie L
    Original Author
    23 days ago

    Thanks Rina!

    The first time I just used a big kitchen sift. lol... i will have to make myself a screen sift too!

    i learned very quickly to wear a mask... =P