Month: March 2017

Skipping the Plant Show and Spring 2017 Seed Orders

This past weekend was the big Midwest Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale in Cleveland, and due to some inclement weather, I opted to not get up super early on a Saturday morning and drive two hours there and back this year.  I wasn’t entirely ready to brave the roads, and I knew from the prior year that if you weren’t there early, things would get pretty picked over– even though last year, I think the massive turn out caught the event organizers by surprise and I knew (as I have a Facebook friend from the group that runs the show) that this year they were a lot more prepared.

Still, though, from the sounds of it – the crowd was so huge that the space they were holding the show in couldn’t accomodate everyone, and many folks had to wait outside for their turn just to enter the building.  The stories didn’t make me regret my decision to stay home too terribly much.  (Although I’ve seen a few pictures of plants from the sale that gave me slight pangs of regret.  Just not enough regret.)

So try to stop myself from focusing on my FOMO, I spent some time… (more…)

“Mexico Mix”

Its been an interesting week.  I think I peaked, internet fame wise, when an older post of mine got picked up by some Facebook gardening groups; my phone started sending me alerts that I had a huge spike in traffic, and at one point I had 5.5k visitors in a day.  I typically consider it a good day if I break ten!

So welcome, new followers.  Glad you find my information occasionally helpful.

One of the items I talked about in the post that circulated was how most commercial succulent mixes aren’t great right out of the bag.  I have a couple different formulations that I’m working on most of the time, but I have a general mixes that I stick with depending on the categories of plants.  The three main mixes I keep around are: my “Mexico mix” (for Crassulaceae), “Gritty mix” (for Asphodeloideae, aka South African plants), and “Mesemb Mix” (for the family known as ‘ice plants’ or ‘mimicry plants’ that are more finicky).

The “Mexico Mix” is the easiest, and is probably the default mix to use.  Ive had best results with crassula, echevaria, and graptoveria, graptopetalum, etc, using this mix, and its also what I use for starting leaf propagations and stem cuttings (once they have started rooting).

As a rule of thumb, you can take bagged cactus/palm/citrus mix and cut it down 1:1 with inorganics – perlite being the cheapest and most common.  To fill my bin, I use about:

  • Eight scoops of peat-based cactus/succulent mix
  • Five scoops of perlite
  • Two scoops of shredded pine bark
  • Two scoops of gravel or crushed granite (“chick grit”)

I might tweak a little bit here and there, until my finished mix looks close to what you’d see in the video above.

Do you have a ‘recipe’ that’s working well for you?  Share in the comments, along with where your plants live (what part of the world, indoor/outdoor, etc.)


Leaf propagations that go nowhere

The irritation that comes with a leaf that sends roots through your entire propagation tray but never puts out new vegetative growth.  Times up! You’re evicted. It’s fine to start making room for the spring seed trays. You had all winter to get your act together.

Echevaria Nodulosa are notorious for this for me. I’ve heard some people swear that you can’t propagate then from leaves, and I have pictures to prove you can, it’s just going to take a lot of attempts and rejects like this guy.