Community

Posted 1M ago by @ShinyBudew

Soilless Vs Soil Potting Mix?
Any of the #GregGang use a soilless potting mix? How was the transition from soil to soilless? Would you recommend it? Any tips or tricks to getting the right recipe? Or any basic recipes that would be good to start off with?

Or on the contrary, if you use soil, why do you stick with soil? How do you make your recipes? Or what’s a good basic recipe for tropicals and succulents? What amendments should I always have on hand and what is your favorite soil brand? I hear of Fox Farm all the time and I want to give them a shot for sure but I don’t even know where to start with their soil! Would I need to amend it? What’s the difference between Coco Loco, Happy Frog, and Ocean Forest?
#AskGreg
Best Answer
@ShinyBudew for tropicals? I mix premium orchid bark with charcoal and pumice, add Leca, add sphagnum moss, and tropical plant soil together. Moisten the moss before mixing and rinse the Leca before adding it to the mix. My plants are aroids and need to breathe in order to grow. They like moist but not wet mediums. I use clear orchid pots to plant them in so I can see the roots and moisture. The rainforest plants live inside greenhouse cabinets with grow lights and they are extremely heavy feeders so very little water is required but the humidity needs to be high for their foliage. I feed them orchid food mist as an additional food supply to the orchid bark decomposing and providing organic matter. They really like the chunky mix and when the medium drops, I top them off with fresh mix and a little fertilizer to give them a jumó start.

My trick is that I refuse to use tap water unless I’ve set it aside for 24 hours or more. My plants get water once a week. No more than that. Even if it’s just a sip.

For succulents and agave? Volcanic pumice at 3/8s inch and mG cactus soil. Majority are outside. They are also labeled winter dormant of summer dormant and kept apart so I know not to water the dormant ones as much.

All of my plants have new leaves. They don’t have their original leaves from their adoption date. When I say that, I mean that they went through a period of acclimation to our elevation (we are much higher than the rest of the city) and they had to acclimate to our provisions. I always expect a decline once they come home. I just wait for them to adapt and then they look good with the foliage that works for them at our current location.


For tropical props? I use 75% sphagnum moss, the rest an equal blend of premium orchid bark, Leca and tropical soil. I put it in a glass fish tank with led lights and add 1/4 cup of water sprinkled in it. Cuttings go in and after closing the cover, i Saran Wrap the lid to the tank to weatherproof it. Lights stay on all day and night. We check on the plants every month. After three months, they are usually fully rooted and ready to be potted. I take whatever mix the roots pull up with them and add a little of the mix I’ve made and kept in a bag for the aroids, add it to the pot, give it a spritz of rested water and put them in the greenhouse cabinet to follow the watering schedule.

The mix is just as important as the environment you place them in. I learned that recreating their natural growing medium and environmental needs really helps them root and grow.

Anything that is a vine needs neglect. Anything that is a vine should only be set to grow on the surface of the soil. The roots will bury themselves. Anything that is a vine is a heavy feeder with high humidity needs but requires little water. Everything else that is tropical needs more soil in the mix and even more neglect. Humidity has to be over 70%. Temperatures over 70°F at all times. 80°F is better but less than 90°F.

Rule of thumb is to research your plant’s origins and try to recreate that environment for them, from the sunlight to the growing medium. This is how I decided to make my own mix. Despite most being in pON when they were adopted, they don’t do well in it here. There’s something about the location. Whatever you do and whatever you use, you’ll find that you’ll adjust it accordingly to get the best results. I hope that helps.
@lazyplantparent and I were just talking about this! (I want to transition).
I’ve tried to use Bonsay Jack for my succulents. It is a cool looking mix, but it does not hold water. I don’t like it. It is only good for those who like to deep pots with succulents into the water and keep them there for some time. I don’t do it. I use top watering and I really like when the water stays in the soil for a bit and I do not have to water my plants everyday.
@vvvelo what’s your favorite mix then if Bonsai Jack doesn’t work 😂
@PlantMompy I want to transition too!!! I was reading the ingredients for Fox Farm Coco Loco, it states it’s a potting mix and it doesn’t look like it contains soil! Also Ko Ko Bop seems to be similar too but the differences between their blends confuse me 😵‍💫
@lazyplantparent do you have any insight on the matter? 🤔
For tropicals? I use very little soil. I don’t want my plants sitting in water and I want air to get to the roots so I use different mediums to help the roots get a good blend of air, water, and natural food.

For succulents, it depends on their needs. Some like more water than others but I start with a 50/50 mix of volcanic pumice and citrus/cactus soil.
@ShinyBudew tbh I don’t have favorite yet. I use standard cactus mix by Miracle grow. I just started adding perlite and some lava rocks to it, just to make it gritty.
@FitSedum what kind of mediums do you typically use?
@vvvelo someone else that uses miracle gro as well! 💀 I hear they have a mixed reputation though
@ShinyBudew @jcPlantProper has a good recommendation she gave me on a ZZ and it too doesn’t hold water. It’s not cheap either.
@ShinyBudew here is what it looks like.
@ShinyBudew I've been trying out a mix of pumice, sphagnum, stratum, & a little charcoal for propagating, but they seem to like it and have kept a few in it. I use clear pots so I can see the moisture on the side and water just when dry. Since most of my plants are aroids or epiphytic, they really seem to like it!
@ThePlantDadLife your recipes are to die for!!!
So ocean floor drains faster than happy frog. I use happy frog and add bark or perlite to the mix depending on how much water retention I want.

I'll often use sphagnum moss as a mulch of sorts to help hold humidity around my tropicals. (I also believe this helps w fungus gnats).
I use leca for propagating and then I mix my mediums for my plants. For tropicals and aroids you can plant in a no soil mix with bark, sphagnum/peat/coco coir with lava rock, perlite, or vermiculite to adjust your drainage and moisture retention. I have some orchids in just moss, one in an aroid mix that's mostly bark, and most of my plants get 40-60% soil amended with perlite/ vermiculite.
#jodisplace soil mixes and preferences
@FitSedum that was so thorough, thank you!!!
Can someone please like this comment so I can revisit this thread later?

Tons of great information in here!
@tmbryant37 I got you 😉
Thanks!
I thk about 10 of my plants are in soiless mix (peatmoss and ricebran) from the original seller. I like it chunkier so for some I added perlite, charcoal bits, and orchid bark.

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