Vivid Root soil mix is back! I have tested and tested lots of recipes, and I have settled on 2 mixes to meet different plant needs.
Why the change?
While I loved my old soil mix recipes, it was increasingly difficult to keep the ingredients in stock as I was needing larger quantities of them. So, I have found new sources for my ingredients in larger quantities which means way less work for me, and a lower cost too.
These are the soil mixes that I use for all my succulents and cacti in my greenhouse. Once I started getting into rare plants, I found that store bought mix was not working for the more specific needs of these plants, so I set out to create my own. I'm confident that these new mixes are great, just like my previous versions.
My new mixes use bark instead of coco coir (shredded coconut fiber). While both are an excellent source of organic matter for soil mix, bark has the advantage of absorbing less water, which means it dries out faster.
2 new soil mixes
Both soil mixes are chunky - the particles are larger to allow air space between them. This helps to prevent rot, and keeps the mix from compacting over time.
Mineral mix - This mix has mostly pumice, sand, and turface, with some bark as well. It dries out very quickly so it is great for plants that are extremely sensitive to extra moisture and rotting. It’s a great cactus soil mix. Because of the bark, this mix dries even faster than my old 10% soil mix which used coco coir as the organic matter.
Bark mix - This mix has just enough bark, with some pumice, sand, and lava rock as well. This mix dries out fast, but not as fast as the mineral mix. It’s perfect for most succulents. It takes just a little longer to dry than my old 30% mix.
How To Use
When repotting a plant, take it out of its pot and gently shake and massage the old soil out of the roots. You want to get the majority of the old soil off, but it's ok if a little bit is still on there. This is a great chance to pick any dead leaves or branches off your plant too.
Start off your new pot with a layer of soil on the bottom. Do not add gravel or anything as a layer of drainage, this actually keeps the water higher in the pot and does not help. It is helpful to add a small piece of mesh like window screen over the hole to keep the soil in. Next, hold your plant in the pot at the level you want it and carefully pour in your new soil, keeping the roots of your plant as spread out as possible. Leave 1/4" to 1/2" of space between the rim of the pot and the top of your soil. This helps water collect and drain into the pot instead of running off the sides.
For those that like to get botanical, here is a list of plants I would put in each mix by genus. Of course there can always be exceptions, but this is mostly how I use the mixes.
Mineral Mix - plants that like to stay very dry
Cactus (most except rhipsalis and other tropical ones)
Stapeliads (Orbea, Huernia, Stapelia, etc…)
Bark Mix - most succulents
Ceropegia (string of hearts)
Echeveria (and hybrids)
Graptopetalum (and hybrids)
Sedum (and hybrids)