Posted 2w ago by @Lithopslover

Do not bonsai jack, if your looking at growing succulents do not buy this crap
1)it’s expensive
2)it’s killed 4 of the 5 echeverias I’ve put in it so far (I’m sure the fifth one will die soon)

No matter how much water you give them they will slowly dehydrate and die. I’ve noticed dehydration and increased my watering to as much as every other day and still they die. To show im not over watering below are the roots of the latest victim. I used miracle grow for succulents on a different echeveria and it has been doing BEAUTIFULLY it’s full it’s growing and never looks dehydrated. #GregPSA #SucculentSquad
Best Answer
What was it you bought from them? I bought pumice and just repotted my babies with it.
@EarthlySoybean their succulent soil I think it’s called bonsai jacks gritty mix #111
Yep! @roxyvivien, @vvvelo and I have used Bonsai Jack’s gritty mix and we can all collectively agree that it is completely terrible to use as 100% medium. I would suggest mixing with regular mix to give it something to hold moisture, if you have any left.
@kscape When you suggest combining Bonsai Jack with regular mix, do you mean regular succulent mix?
That’s a good idea @kscape I’m trying to hold back on spending more for rest of the year 😭, not sure I’m gonna win the battle
@vvvelo mentioned that you're supposed to fully submerge it for 24 hours when you water your plants that are potted in this junk... Mixing it with something more moisture retaining seems a lot easier tho.
Oh also, you should add #gregpsa to your post (: and maybe #succulentsquad #succulentlove so more succie people will see it (:
@WickedValkyrie I did 16 hours with no improvement
🥺😩 tragic
@TruthfulApricot Yes! I mixed succulent potting mix (or any potting mix, really) with Bonsai Jack after it wasn’t working well by itself. I tried finding a potting mix that has more coco coir, coco bark, and perlite than organic soil, though. I also used it as a dresser for aesthetics.
@Lithopslover This gritty mix is honestly perfect for water-sensitive plants such as lithops, though, not for succulents such as echeverias, sedums, etc. they need a little moisture
@kscape brilliant idea on using it for decorative soil!!!!!!! I hope your right with lithops because all 15 of my lithops are in it and I am going to be extremely upset id it kills all of them :(:(:(:(:(
I switched back from bonsai Jack to miraclegrow soil mix. Bonsai Jack is a very gritty mix and it may work for succulents but, to keep your plants hydrated you have to deep the whole pot into the water and keep it there for several minutes while your plant is “drinking water”. This watering method does not work for me.
@vvvelo i don’t think any of my plants are taking water :( I top watered my echeveria then let it bottom water for 16 hours and it continued to dehydrate miracle is working amazing well my echeveria Lola
@Lithopslover @vvvelo Ive always had terrible fungus gnat problems with MiracleGro. Do y’all have the same issue or no? And do you use systemic granules or anything else in the soil to prevent pests?

I’ve been using regular potting mix with a handful of perlite and coco coir to make my own succulent mix, but unsure if it’s working for me or not. I used to use MiracleGro but it killed a few of my succulents due to pests and bacterial issues.
Oh wow good to know! So sorry about your plants, that sucks. 😢

I just moved my succs into a similar gritty mix.. but it has more food stuff. I think Jack’s is just bark and rocks. Hopefully it’s okay but I’m gonna watch them very carefully now
@kscape I only started using miraclw@gro after thinking my plants dying wasn’t my fault after the first three died, I have had 2 fungus gnats that I would virtually guarantee came form having orchids (they love humidity which breeds algae which bring fungus gnats). I bought some physalis 20 and im told using a teaspoon per gallon of that once a month should kill algae which should get rid of the fungus gnats (and acts kinda like a vaccine for plant bacteria and viruses) I think i@haven’t had a lot of gnats issues yet because I grow inside and I keep my house very very clean, and use distilled water (stored In Garage away from the plants)
@ivysaur I think if you watch your plants closely and know what to do you’ll be ok, i probably@should’ve realized soil was an issue sooner and repotted them
@Lithopslover Yeah, I grow indoors and also store my soil in tight-lock containers and use distilled. MiracleGro doesn’t sterilize their soil so they have fungal spores in them which attracts the gnats. Actually, MG killed my Echeveria Lola :’(
@ivysaur cocoon plant is gorgeous!😍😍
@kscape how’s it kill your Lola you have me scared no soil is safe my babies!!!! 😭😭😭. I’ll try to remember to let you know how the physan 20 Works for me (what might be helping me is as well is I have fewer plants than you I’ve only got 20)
@Lithopslover lol thank you that cocoon plant is one of my favorites 💚
Thanks for the tag @kscape you know I was going nuts trying to figure out watering with Gritty Mix...
@Lithopslover I experimented with a couple plants in just 100% Bonsai Jack. My crassulas didn't like it at all. The crassula Springtime is still recovering and I lost my SOB Ivory Towers 😭

My Echeveria Pulidonis did adapt but I have to water her every 3 days, which is annoying but I don't wanna repot her right now... My Hoya Sweetheart leaf is fine with every 6 days... BUT I use a mix of top and bottom watering to really soak the rocks & get the Gritty mix to absorb the water.

I'm not a fan the Bonsai Jack either! It's just too much work and the particle size is too big to use alone - But I'll never go back the peat moss based pre-mixed soils — they just don't work for my plants & my style of plant care.

I mostly make my own soil now with coco coir + pumice or lava rock and sometimes zeolite.

BUT I have been experimenting with Superfly Bonsai Succulent Mix (see my Aloe I planted in it) just because it's sometimes easier than having to buy 3 different bags of the various rocks I want and mixing them...

The particle size of Superfly is smaller and I don't use it alone —I mix it with coco coir 4:1 or 3:1 Gritty Mix to Coco Coir for my indoors 3:1 or 2:1 ratio for my outdoor ones, depending on the variety. I also add about 5-10% worm castings... and I still use the top and bottom watering method to get a good soak for the rocks esp if it's potted in terricotra or cement.

Hope that helps! I was going crazy over my Echeveria trying to figure out how to water with Gritty soil and I definitely won't be buying Bonsai Jack again, I much prefer Superfly! 👍🏼
[edited for typos 😉]
@Lithopslover Oh, also you might be interested in something I heard on YouTube video from a Korean succulent grower. They mentioned that growing in pure Gritty Mix is called "hard growing" and it keeps the succulent small and compact —
📸 🌱☀ Check out my Darley Sunshine I have growing in mostly rocks... See how the newer growth is different? I water this one every 3-4 days and it just sprouted a baby!

BUT... the crazy thing the Korean Succulent grower mentioned is when you change the potting medium drastically it's recommended to cut off the roots and start from scratch as the roots have memory of how to survive in a certain environment! 😯

I thought about that for a while and now am careful about repotting... I often trim the roots, treat them with sulfur before switching soil types... to encourage new growth — So far I've had less leaf loss and repotting shock than before!
@kscape ever since I bought three different types of MG soil back in June, I've had an outrageous gnat problem that I haven't been able to get rid of even with letting my plants dry out between waterings... 😒 And I tried storing it in a sealed container but then it went moldy so it all just got stuck outside with the lid off to dry out in the sun. Then it became hydrophobic. Lol 🤦 Now when I use it, I pour boiling water into it and mix in a bit of cinnamon. Then I wait for it to cool down before potting my plants/seeds/pits...
@WickedValkyrie Ugh. I’ve tried everything, especially the boiling water method but it’s too tedious for me…and freaking annoying that my potting mix is infested with gnats AND larvae. I hate that their soil is not disinfected, hence why it contains fungal spores (they claim it’s to make it healthy). The problem with MG is that when it’s not ass (LMAO) my plants love the contents in it and thrive, but the gnats start to slowly kill my succulents (along with bacterial infections due to infected soil).

I may have to keep mixing my own for now 😩
@kscape I have not yet had any of my plants die because of it, thankfully... I only use it because it seems to be the cheapest on the market and I can't afford anything else... 😅
You can use gritty mix but the suggested ratio is 50/50 for water sensitive plants, 60/40 for plants that need faster drainage. I’ve gone up as high as 75/25 for the crested variety because they really don’t need a lot of water. I use volcanic pumice at 3/8s inch for premium drainage and water retention. Going with all grit requires constant watering which I don’t have time for. The hotter it is, the more water they will need outdoors. Indoors not so much. I just take a water hose and spray down my plants every week because of the blend of volcanic rock and miracle gro cactus soil I prefer. Using any grit alone slows their growth since there’s no organic matter in it unless you add it and then it’s not just grit at that point.

If gnats are a problem, take mosquito bits and mix them into the soil along with any pumice or stone or grit you use with the soil. Every time you water, you activate them. Or you can use a layer of stone as a too dress for your plants. About 1/4 inch and no less. The gnats can’t lay eggs and the babies can’t come up out of it. You can also treat your soil with a soap spray to kill off larvae. Of open it and spread it out in a hot area in the morning and let it dry out before zing it.

A mini u/v bug zapper does wonders with them too.

Plants I wouldn’t put in anything with more than 50/50: Sedums, Echevarría, Kalanchoe, Crassula, and water loving succulents. They’re too tender and need the moisture more than a standard succulent.

Plants I wouldn’t put in anything with more than 60/40: Aeonium, Aloe, Jade and Euphorbia.

75/25 pushes very little growth so I use this for my larger agave that I don’t want to accidentally fertilize and get a death bloom from. This is reserved for the ones that grow 3-6 feet wide but take forever to mature. Opuntia also fall into this mix. Crested varieties are also in this range. They don’t like water but need a good occasional soaking. Please note that this helps me water once a week lightly if it’s hot out with a high index, once every two weeks if it’s hot with a mild index, and once every three to four weeks if it’s a bit cooler out.
@Lithopslover I’m sorry you had to experience that. I’ve lost plants to bad products but learned how to address their requirements the first time. We learn as gardeners. If soaking all day isn’t something you can do because of time or the quantity of plants you have, I’d stay away from straight grit even if it has some organic products in it. These plants need moisture retention despite they not living water. Letting them go a too dry compromises their root system and they cannot take up any water. A good ratio of mix and succulent or cactus soil is so important to your plant health. And your wallet’s.

When you read my ratios, the first number is the volcanic pumice. One last thing I will say is that many plants are Summer or Winter Dormant. While dormant, they require little to no watering so I like to add a tag to each one with either SD of WD on it. The African Milk barrel gets a WD and NW tag because we aren’t supposed to water them at all while dormant. I think labeling them helps as does grouping them together. It helps us manage our gardens whether indoors or out and prevent loss.

One plant -just because it is classified as x - May be dormant while others in the same classification are not dormant. I learned this the hard way and it’s why I tag my plants. It’s extra work but well worth it. Again, I’m sorry you had to go through that. It’s always awful to see one die.
@kscape I had the same. I’ve switched almost all of mine over to bonsai Jack and have several that are thriving, 1 that is on the struggle bus but she was on the bus when MCG sent her to me. And a few that I’ll let soak tonight when I go to work.
@roxyvivien I don’t think I’ve seen superbly I might check it out but bonsai jack is so expensive and i feel like im@having so much better success with miracle grow( my Lola is actually alive!). Also…I love big rosettes and I can not lie, I did not realize they were water hungry I thought all succulents were relative to other plants water haters It is very good to know about the changing medium when repotting I would never have thought of that! It’s funny you mention the size of@the medium as I grow orchids in repotmes soil and their bark and other media are wayyyy bigger than bonsai jack but thats probably because orchids love airflow (their such premadonnas compared to succulents). I just started gardening this year so I don’t think im adventurous enough to try to make my own soil yet
These are the last pictures I took of my Lola before it completely just got mauled by bacterial infections. Not even the props made it 😭😭😭 @Lithopslover not to mention, I also had a scale outbreak 😩
@FitSedum what do you think of using physan 20 mixed with water once a month (q1 teaspoon per gallon) on succulents ? It’s recommended for orchids
@kscape she was so pretty!

See more content like this

Growing healthy plants can be intimidating, but you’re not in it alone. Get inspired from other Greg users!
Discover the Community