Was I'm New to PBS...now, growing mixes

ds429@comcast.net ds429@comcast.net
Sun, 31 Mar 2013 10:47:49 PDT

Jane wrote that she grows many things in "pure sharp sand over a layer 
of loam, nutrients from soluble fertilizer" 

Jim Duggan recommends something like this: growing bulb s in a layer of sand within a pot of fast-draining potting mix. 

I had good luck with this strategy for lachenalias. Could any of you share your experiences with these techniques? 

Best wishes, 


Dell Sherk, Southeastern PA, z 6/7 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Jane McGary" <janemcgary@earthlink.net> 
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org> 
Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2013 1:23:06 PM 
Subject: Re: [pbs] I'm New to PBS... 

Luis wrote, 
>1.  Is it OK to ask horticultural questions about "non-bulbs"? 

In my opinion, it's best to stay with bulbs. There are other forums 
for other kinds of plants. 

>2.  I realize that potting soils should be tailored to each 
>individual species.  I don't like using "pre-fertilized" mixes which 
>are so prevalent these days.  I have a large bag of Kellogg's mix 
>which is organic forest products (not too chunky) along with worm 
>casings and guano. I also have a large bag of horticultural sand. 
>Since most of my bulbs will be planted in the fall (due to where I 
>live), I am concentrating on succulents and other plants right 
>now.  I will have many bulb questions in the fall! What ratio of the 
>above ingredients should I use for your average bulb in a pot?  Your 
>average succulent? 

The recommendation for tailoring potting mixes to species is 
exaggerated. Very few growers actually do it. I think all you have to 
do is ensure that your soil has appropriate drainage and nutrients. 
When I was growing my bulbs in pots, I used the same mixture for 
almost all of the more than 1200 species. Admittedly, these are all 
"Mediterranean" cycle bulbs that are summer-dormant -- I don't grow 
subtropicals or plants such as Hippeastrum and Crinum. Now my 
collection is entirely in the same soil (pure sharp sand over a layer 
of loam, nutrients from soluble fertilizer), except for those growing 
in the garden or rock garden -- and the last, as well as part of the 
lawn, are populated by a completely random assortment of extras, 
often in a situation far from what one would expect them to enjoy 
based on their native habitat. Without knowing what Luis is growing, 
I could not evaluate his soil product, but "organic forest products" 
usually means composted ground bark, which I would not put in a soil 
for summer-dormant species, though apparently it is fine for Lilium, 
Eucomis, and other summer growers. Also, worm castings are bad for 
drainage, but if Luis is growing plants that like wet, warm 
conditions, they might be OK. 

Jane McGary 
Portland, oregon, USA 

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