Adding potting soil and perlite together to grow root cuttings

Katie0317

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I know this is a simplistic question but I'd rooted some cuttings using a new bag of potting soil and root hormone.

Noticed the pot would NOT dry out even though I was watering reasonably. I'd bought a small sapling from a bonsai nursery and it was in dirt and was drying out fine every day.

Finally I realized the new potting soil didn't have perlite it it so bought a new bag of soil and a bag of perlite to be safe.

How much perlite would you add to Miracle Gro potting soil for your cuttings?
 

Katie0317

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Thank you, I'm going out now to repot. Bad timing to do it at high noon but that's how it is.

So 30% to 50% perlite. Glad to know that as I wouldn't have guessed the perlite could be as high as 50%? I'll stay at 30% so it doesn't get compacted as you mentioned.

I appreciate your response. I've never had this issue with potting soil before but it was probably cheap potting soil with no perlite.
 

rodeolthr

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I've noticed that much of the Miracle Gro potting soil has additives to hold moisture. Is this the case with yours?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Thank you, I'm going out now to repot. Bad timing to do it at high noon but that's how it is.

So 30% to 50% perlite. Glad to know that as I wouldn't have guessed the perlite could be as high as 50%? I'll stay at 30% so it doesn't get compacted as you mentioned.

I appreciate your response. I've never had this issue with potting soil before but it was probably cheap potting soil with no perlite.
Perlite cab be as high as 100% even, but it's so light weight that this poses it's own challenges
 

Katie0317

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I've noticed that much of the Miracle Gro potting soil has additives to hold moisture. Is this the case with yours?
The Miracle Gro potting soil I bought does not have perlite in it. It looked like straight up dirt to me. I used a container to scoop it out of the bag with and it worked out to be one part perlite and two parts potting soil. I wasn't trying to measure but when I mixed that with my hands it felt like the exact right consistency.

It's hotter than blue blazes here but it went fairly fast. I had 8 or 9 pots to do. One was a 1 gallon pre-bonsai elm I bought at Artisan's bonsai and I'm leaving it in dirt to grow. He hadn't used any perlite and it wouldn't dry out. It surprised me that he sold it like that but maybe that's normal for him.

We get rain almost daily in the summer so we need soil that will not stay soaked.

Thank you for the answers because I really wasn't sure where to start with it. I got lucky in that I seemed to have the right tools for the job and a large new planter that needed to be filled. I dumped the wet potting soil from the starter plants in it and added perlite and it will do fine with a new nursery plant.
 

penumbra

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I use a 50/50 mix and only use coarse perlite. The perlite available at most stores is not coarse. I buy it by the 4 cubic foot bag at Southern States garden supply.
I do not use miracle grow soil, I use a growers mix like Pro-Mix.
Often my first watering for cutting or seeds is 80/20 to 50/50 water and 3% peroxide.
 

Katie0317

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They sell Pro-Mix at Lowes but I used Miracle grow soil and Miracle grow perlite. I'll keep the coarse size in mind. I used a large bag of perlite already.

We get hard core heat here so things will be dryer by nature. It may be best they're not in as dry a mix as where you are? During the summer I may need to use more perlite due to rain but that season is over for the next 9 months.

The elm I bought was in a 3 gallon pot and pure dirt. Artisan's Bonsai grows a LOT of plants so it surprised me that he pots them like that.

The cuttings I'd put in pure soil were already starting to root but I know they would have rotted if they'd stayed that wet much longer.

I bought a small pot of shohin purple bougie from Schely's Bonsai and it's in about the same mix of perlite and soil as what I used. (He's 25 miles away from us.) My husband bought a large pre-bonsai there and it was in the same type mix. When we go there again I'll ask him about the course perlite and the mix of soil and perlite he uses. He sells a lot of trees!

I'll try the Pro-Mix though and find out what growers are using. We mainly go to D&L bonsai. I think it may be like other soil substrate. Everybody has a different formula. I can't say yet but I'll find out. Thanks for sharing that though. If the courser perlite is right for this climate I'll definitely use it.
 

penumbra

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They sell Pro-Mix at Lowes but I used Miracle grow soil and Miracle grow perlite. I'll keep the coarse size in mind. I used a large bag of perlite already.

We get hard core heat here so things will be dryer by nature. It may be best they're not in as dry a mix as where you are? During the summer I may need to use more perlite due to rain but that season is over for the next 9 months.

The elm I bought was in a 3 gallon pot and pure dirt. Artisan's Bonsai grows a LOT of plants so it surprised me that he pots them like that.

The cuttings I'd put in pure soil were already starting to root but I know they would have rotted if they'd stayed that wet much longer.

I bought a small pot of shohin purple bougie from Schely's Bonsai and it's in about the same mix of perlite and soil as what I used. (He's 25 miles away from us.) My husband bought a large pre-bonsai there and it was in the same type mix. When we go there again I'll ask him about the course perlite and the mix of soil and perlite he uses. He sells a lot of trees!

I'll try the Pro-Mix though and find out what growers are using. We mainly go to D&L bonsai. I think it may be like other soil substrate. Everybody has a different formula. I can't say yet but I'll find out. Thanks for sharing that though. If the courser perlite is right for this climate I'll definitely use it.
My comments were regarding cuttings and seeds.
I use 0% perlite in my bonsai mixes.
 

Katie0317

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My comments were regarding cuttings and seeds.
I use 0% perlite in my bonsai mixes.
I was referring to cuttings only also.

The elm though...I'm leaving it in organic soil to thicken.

As far as what other bonsai nurseries are using in pre-bonsai and smaller trees I noticed they are in different types of potting soil when sold...Some with perlite and some without.
 

hinmo24t

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30-50% mixed in bagged soil has worked well for my cuttings and in general.

If I don't do 30/30/30 oildri perlite and a form of organic then it is 30-50% perlite to bagged soil (orange bag MG)

Everything I use get a top dress of mosquito bits


Just got hammered w downpour last night and I had to spend a long time this am supplementing kicked out soil. I am probably buying a bunch of crushed granite or similar for top dressing all my trees in the future. Itll help w watering and keeping things together for downpours. Today just topped them all w oildri
 

Katie0317

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1/3 perlite to 2/3's of potting soil worked exactly as I'd hoped. The pots were bone dry today and that's a good thing after seeing them in soaking wet soil all week. The heat is still on where we live and that has an impact...If anything I'd add a little less perlite next time. Thank you to whoever it was that suggested the 2 to 1 mix...It worked just the way I'd hoped.
 

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