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Old 19-05-2008, 12:26 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
Tom Tom is offline
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Default cactus compost vs compost / sand mix

Hi, I ran out of cactus compost a while ago. Someone at the local garden
centre advised me to use a 50/50 compost and sand mix instead (they had
no cactus compost in stock).

I did that but I notice that I watered all my cactii today and the 50/50
mix is already dry(ish) while the pure cactus compost I've watered is
still very very wet.

Is there a difference between the two? Any pros and cons of either?

Cheers,

Tom

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Old 19-05-2008, 09:00 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default cactus compost vs compost / sand mix

Tom wrote:
Hi, I ran out of cactus compost a while ago. Someone at the local
garden centre advised me to use a 50/50 compost and sand mix instead
(they had no cactus compost in stock).

I did that but I notice that I watered all my cactii today and the
50/50 mix is already dry(ish) while the pure cactus compost I've
watered is still very very wet.

Is there a difference between the two? Any pros and cons of either?

Cheers,

Tom


Depends which sand you used. You need some grit in with the sand ("sharp"
sand), or mix the sand with fine gravel (3 - 5 mm) in a 2:1 ratio.

I don't know what is in cactus compost, but if it is "very very wet" it
sound too water retentive to me. Then again, in the wild some cacti remain
under water for days on end after flash floods, and it does them no harm.

--
Jeff
(cut "thetape" to reply)


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Old 19-05-2008, 09:32 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default cactus compost vs compost / sand mix

Tom wrote:
Hi, I ran out of cactus compost a while ago. Someone at the local garden
centre advised me to use a 50/50 compost and sand mix instead (they had
no cactus compost in stock).


You generally want something like JI No2 and sharp sand 50:50 or 40:60
depending on how hard you want to grow things. If you have a fast
draining mix for species that are sensitive to wet feet they live
longer. You can also water more freely if you know the excess will
quickly drain away (no good if they are on a windowsill though).

I did that but I notice that I watered all my cactii today and the 50/50
mix is already dry(ish) while the pure cactus compost I've watered is
still very very wet.

Is there a difference between the two? Any pros and cons of either?


You will pay a lot more for the "official" cactus compost and it is
easier and more controllable to mix your own.

Generally cacti and succulents can tolerate drought, but they don't like
being waterlogged and will rot from the roots upwards.

Having said that an error in my automatic watering system once left
several trays of lithops unde an inch of water for a week and it did
them no harm at all. Apparently in nature they have to tolerate this too
when there are flash floods (but I wouldn't recommend trying the
experiment for yourself).

Regards,
Martin Brown
** Posted from http://www.teranews.com **
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Old 19-05-2008, 10:36 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default cactus compost vs compost / sand mix


In article ,
Martin Brown writes:
| Tom wrote:
| Hi, I ran out of cactus compost a while ago. Someone at the local garden
| centre advised me to use a 50/50 compost and sand mix instead (they had
| no cactus compost in stock).
|
| You generally want something like JI No2 and sharp sand 50:50 or 40:60
| depending on how hard you want to grow things. ...

Or even grit. I sieved some sharp sand, to make some cheaper fine
sand for filling holes in patios, and it left a fair amount of grit.
You can also buy that, expensively :-)

If it remains actually wet for even many hours after soaking, it
doesn't drain freely enough - probably not even enough for plants
like Stelitzia!

| Generally cacti and succulents can tolerate drought, but they don't like
| being waterlogged and will rot from the roots upwards.
|
| Having said that an error in my automatic watering system once left
| several trays of lithops unde an inch of water for a week and it did
| them no harm at all. Apparently in nature they have to tolerate this too
| when there are flash floods (but I wouldn't recommend trying the
| experiment for yourself).

Being under water is less damaging than being saturated and NOT
being under water, for all of live plants, dead wood and steel.
The reason is that there is less oxygen, and so fungi don't thrive;
most decomposition happens just below the soil/air boundary,
because it has ample water and enough oxygen.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.


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