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  Re: [Aroid-l] commercial mixes- get real, learn how to grow!
From: Ken Mosher ken at spatulacity.com> on 2005.12.19 at 04:08:30(13623)

I thought maybe you were just in a bad mood! That happens to me all the
time. I agree that too many choices in soil may be a bad thing if it
leads to too much confusion. Not to besmirch the advice of anyone who's
answered, because many of the answers have been as informational as I'd
hoped, but I'm leaning toward one of the bark-based mixes. There is
evidence from other northern growers that it doesn't cause the problems
here that it apparently does in the south.

As for your friend who grew cacti in peat with no drainage - I don't
doubt it. I've (mistakenly) grown cacti in all sorts of inappropriate
soils and had them live for a long time. One guy on another list grew
some cacti hydroponically just to prove a point! Like most genera, some
Astrophytums are easy and some are hard. I've killed multiple asterias
and capricorne. I don't know if I'll ever try them again, but I probably
will just because I persist in believing I'm smarter than they are.

Why do I give repeated waterings to a dormant tuber? The answer to that
question is too embarrassing for me to admit. All the gentle readers of
this list are voicing their own version of the same thought...

These last couple of days of discussion have reminded me of a
mini-lecture I gave last year about cactus soil during our club's annual
sale. There were some novices sitting there with great hope in their
eyes that I would import priceless wisdom unto them. There were also a
couple of much more experienced growers from my club in attendance (for
the chance to heckle me). I started the talk by saying that the longer I
grew cacti the less I knew on the subject. I admitted that I couldn't
possibly count the number of plants that I'd killed. Then I told them
there was no answer to the question "what kind of soil should I use."
Then I told them all about how their choice of mix depended on watering,
pot size & shape, plastic vs clay, weather, growing on windowsill vs
greenhouse, and of course the requirements of the species they were
trying to grow, etc.

The great thing is that when I take all the excellent answers that have
been posted in reply to my query and apply them to my conditions I think
I have a good idea which direction I'm going to go. I hope there were
some others who needed those answers, too, and benefitted as much as I did.


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