Tecophilaea/plant mixes, etc.

Rodger Whitlock totototo@pacificcoast.net
Mon, 01 Aug 2005 10:23:58 PDT
On 30 Jul 05 at 22:04, Alberto Castillo wrote:

> ...not long ago I explained that the solution to drainage
> problems lies in making good sized drainage holes in the
> containers' sides close to the bottom. Now that Rodger moved
> his T. cyanocrocus to an 8 litre container they will explode
> into growth but unless he makes better drainage holes, the
> drainage will be slower and the core of the mix will remain
> wetter for long. In other words, the bigger the containers
> the better the results but drainge must be gradually more
> substantial as the pot size grow bigger.

It might be worthwhile to do a few quantitative measurements on 
these matters. Anybody interested enough to make it all worth 
my while?

Phil Pearson and Steve Doonan, previously referred to, did 
something along these lines at one time.

Further thought: Phil and Steve's Grand Ridge Nursery (now
closed) is situated in the Cascade foothills, with something
like 100" (2500mm) of precipitation a year, mostly rain. For
successful growth of *alpines* in these conditions, they
devised very lean, very open, non-retentive mixes. I've heard
more than one alpine gardener here, after adopting their soil
mix formula, lament the number of deaths that resulted. The
difference is that here in Victoria, we only get about 20"
(500 mm) of rain a year, and such lean, fast-draining mixes are
not appropriate during our long summer droughts.

Moral/conclusion: whenever one reads a given recommendation re
potting or planting, keep a close eye on the conditions the
recommendation emanates from. In the present instance, I
wonder if what works very well for Alberto in Buenos Aires
might not be off the mark in other climates with different
temperature/precipitation patterns. 

Stay tuned.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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