Sunday, February 22, 2015

Re-potting With Proper Soil, I Hope

This post is going to be one that is more of a personal plant journal for future me, and presumably less useful for a worldwide web audience. But we'll see, sometimes I find it useful to dig through others' garden journals for bits of information on what does (and doesn't) work.

So it turns out the potting soil Chris brought me, left over from a school project, was about 2 years old. That might explain the fungus that started growing on the surface, and why the soil barely absorbs any water - it's very hydrophobic, when I water my succulents the water beads on the surface. So these probably aren't hallmarks of great soil!

plants in windowsill
I consolidated some of my windowsill plants with fewer succulent ramekins, a larger pot for my Jade [Crassula argentea], and much larger pot for my bamboo [Fargesia rufa 'Green Panda'] - which hopefully grows quickly so I can transplant it outside this Spring.

I went to the store and got some actual succulent soil, and some fresh potting soil. I picked up a larger black plastic pot for my bamboo to give its roots room to grow before the Spring. I could have bought another for my Jade, but I found a glass jar we used to keep a candle in.

potting soilcactus mix

I took the quartz chips from the bonsai tray and repurposed them as a top dressing for my succulents. I used river rocks we had from a candle tray to fill in the drip tray, and also in the bottom of the Jade plant's new glass jar.

bamboo in potting soil
Bamboo re-potted with layer of quartz chips on bottom, 1 inch of succulent mix, and the rest regular potting soil. The original root ball is in peat moss. Hopefully this mix works out!

quartz chips on top of soil
Cryptanthus bivittatus in succulent potting soil with quartz chips on top

quartz chips on top of soil
Baby Kalanchoe thyrsiflora growing on a plucked naked stem, also in succulent mix topped with quartz chips

I put some quartz chips in the bottom of the bamboo pot, and filled the bottom 1 inch or so with succulent mix. I read that bamboo loves loamy organic soil, so I put normal rich potting soil in the top part, but I figured the slightly sandy ratio of the succulent mix toward the bottom might help with drainage - but I kinda just pulled that idea out of my rear end. The soil that came with the bamboo certainly is loamy, and looks like it has a lot of peat moss... hopefully the fresh regular mix is fine for now.

succulent mix on top of bonsai soil
Golden Gate Ficus [Ficus microcarpa]. River rocks from an old candle display now in the bonsai tray, and a thin layer of succulent mix over the top of the bonsai soil. Hopefully this wasn't a major mistake! It looks a lot more attractive because before the perlite exposed on top of the bonsai soil looked like a tray of gravel.

So keeping in mind that the succulent soil is 'fast draining' I put a very thin layer of it just over the top of the bonsai soil because it cleans up the look a great deal. The bonsai pot had an entire layer of perlite on top that looked like gravel. It looked like they had been watering it and maybe all the top soil washed away over time. I'll keep an eye on it and hopefully succulent soil won't hold too much water to make it rot - these things are supposed to love damp soil after all. Instructions say to soak it every third day or so.

succulent leaves arranged in radial pattern
I also gave my succulent propagation babies some proper succulent soil and consolidated them into one ramekin. When I uprooted one of them, I noticed that in addition to little pink roots it had a fairly long white root growing down into the soil as well. I don't know how that compares with where they should be after 7 weeks, but hey!

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