Posted 3w ago by @strawberrymoon

orchid bark in succulent soil
anyone have experience with this? just mixed up a new bag for the succulents i ordered but added some small chunks of orchid bark because my pure grit mix seems to dry out a bit too quick for the smaller succulents (probably due to grain size but i’m not gonna waste my 10kg of medium grain akadama lmao). so rn the main component is a mix of akadama + kanuma (2/3) and the remaining 1/3 is black, porous lava rock (seems to be basalt?) + zeolite + orchid bark. would the orchid bark cause any issues? #SucculentSquad
Best Answer
@vvvelo what do you use in yours?
@strawberrymoon I also use orchard bark in mine as well. But I use in my houseplants a well draining soil, perlite, worm castings and orchid bark.
I do this. I put some bark in all my soils!
I do this, too! Great minds think alike! I think the orchid bark retains enough moisture. Sometimes, I put a handful of peat moss in there instead - just enough to hold on to water.
@KikiGoldblatt that’s basically what I use too. Except I use coco coir with worm castings, orchid bark and perlite. And a little bit of regular bag soil.
@KikiGoldblatt I don’t use extra additions in my soil mixes except perlite.
I used it and it has tremendously some you might want to break up bc some bags have huge pieces! @RJG I do the same!
Omg I've been wanting to try akadama. Fo you us it by itself and what plants do you use it with? I've been dying to try it out. I have bonsai Jack's gritty mix. I'll mix a little coco coir that has perlite mixed in it for some succulents bc it drains so quickly
@KrunchyWrap I always see the experienced growers of cactu and succulents using akadama soil as a think top layer on top of the cactus soil. Looks really cool and won’t hold water too long. I want to eventually order some. The cactus nurseries in Japan look so awesome with that top soil used
@SirLiquorice they do don't they!? I didn't know it was just top soil though I thought they used it as soil or soil additives.
@RJG @KikiGoldblatt @sarahsalith @vvvelo @TJphilobsessed @KrunchyWrap @SirLiquorice thanks for y’all’s input!! glad i don’t have to pick out bark pieces from my bag of substrate lmao
@KrunchyWrap akadama is great for root development, and i grow haworthia which are a genus that really depend on their root health to look good :) i use it for all my succulents except kalanchoe, because my kalanchoe is very thirsty and akadama would drain too fast for them. btw if you’re gonna buy akadama please keep in mind that there’s different grades! if you use low grade akadama it will crumble easily and the dust from that will compact the soil. hope that helped :)
@SirLiquorice i think most of the time they use akadama as the main substrate too! ofc there’s people who use it as a top dressing but it’s a great medium to use as the main component :)
@strawberrymoon thank you so much!! Which grade would be the better one that's not too costly? I love haworthia, they are some of my favorite. At least the fasciata and few others. Lol
@KrunchyWrap i think akadama will be a bit pricey in the states bc it’s imported from japan :( for the best type, i think over there is labeled as hard grade akadama? in japan it’s known as 硬質 or 上質, basically hard grade or high grade. this is my go to brand ^^ brand name translates to ‘three lines’, hopefully some bonsai stores in the US might carry it!
@KrunchyWrap oh another thing! hard grade akadama is fired to increase hardness/durability and for sterilization. so things labeled as fired/heat treated will generally be better than the untreated kind! btw just a heads up don’t mix akadama with soil, if you do that it becomes weird and loamy and stays wet for too long. pumice is better for mixing with soil :)
@strawberrymoon yeah you should be able to use it instead of a cactus mix but then you will probably have to occasionally use fertilizer more. The cactus mix I use has compost and some nutrients added. But cacti have evolved to grow in soil that doesn’t have many nutrients if any. I have seen cacti here in the city growing really large on a concrete bridge 5 stories off the ground. No soil at all. Just industrial strength concrete on a highway overpass way up there. It’s starting to put pressure cracks in the concrete from the roots. It’s a opuntia the one I’m talking about and its probably 4 feet tall or more. They can grow in anything it seems. Most people I know use akadama as a really thick top layer so the perlite and soil doesn’t come floating to the top. But would be good to use all akadama especially on a cactus that’s really rot prone. Then it’s would be one of the best mediums I bet. That probably would kept a couple of mine from rotting.
@strawberrymoon east Austin succulents uses akadama here in Texas, but they don’t want to sell it. They always keep it to use at their nursery and they don’t have enough extra that they are willing to sell it unfortunately. I have been using some other bonsai soils as a top layer and it looks okay but not as good as akadama
@KrunchyWrap @strawberrymoon This is some cheap bonsai soil I tried as a top layer. Since they sell it nearby. I guess it looks ok but I still would prefer to have akadama
@SirLiquorice i use slow release fertilizer for my akadama pots :) and akadama breaks down as the roots penetrate the grains so there’s some added nutrients from that (though it’s not NPK, more of the minor nutrients like silicon or calcium). the fertilizer takes care of the NPK though! i also use zeolite for nutrient retention. i think pumice is a pretty good substitute for akadama if you can’t get your hands on it. obviously it isn’t exactly the same but i hear it works out nicely for most growers ^^ btw where do you live that has wild cacti? here in japan the only native succulents we have are either caudex or teeny tiny sedums.
@SirLiquorice akadama is hard to ship bc it’s crumbly and heavy… i understand :( i hope you manage to get some! it’s an awesome medium and really brings out the green color of the plants when used as a top dressing or throughout the pot. this is my haworthia ‘green flame’ in a mix with mainly akadama.
@SirLiquorice everything looks like bonsai jack except the last 2 photos. That looks like brown rice. Lol I love the way the bonsai jack looks but akadama, being all the same light color, does seem better in comparison but I still like the bonsai jack look. Pumice does look really nice too but it's just so light colored. I like to mix it with certain succulent soils but it's really dusty even after washing it.
@SirLiquorice if you ever think twice about it I'd love to see a photo of that cactus and any other cacti growing naturally in the ground (especially the bizarre places) you can call it *I did it my way* like the sec pistols song! Lol
@strawberrymoon thank you so much ♥︎
@KrunchyWrap np! btw just a heads up, akadama is also quite dusty, you might have to sift before using

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