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A Vendor to Check Out!

posted by: elucas101 on 03.13.2013 at 09:36 am in Plumeria Forum

Hi everyone! I just wanted to share a great source of plumeria with you all - Michelle, or some of you may know her as the Plumeria Patch has an outstanding selection & if you're looking for something in particular just email her and she'll tell you if she has one, or even make recommendations if you're not sure what you want. Her email is: She sells mostly rooted plants I think (but also has cuttings) and I have found her pricing to extremely reasonable, especially on a rooted plant, frequently with multiple tips.

I've already gotten a rooted 2 tip Polynesian Sunset, a rooted Sunny Delight & a Butterfly Gold cutting from her and they are awesome! The Polynesian Sunset has already put out a few small leaves, the Sunny D. is clawing really well starting new leaves & the Butterfly Gold is a big, beefy cutting!

And today I have a 4 tip Lava Flow, a 3 tip SunDance and a 2 tip Katie Moragne being delivered, along with 2 freebie cuttings!!! WOO-HOO!!! I'm SO excited, especially since I can get them going right away! I'll post pics asap!


This is 'plumygirl' in Florida
clipped on: 06.02.2013 at 12:53 am    last updated on: 06.02.2013 at 12:53 am

RE: Lowering pH with vinegar, again (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: tapla on 05.12.2010 at 10:29 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Plants in containers do best at about a full pH point lower than plants grown out, but container media has low bulk-density and low buffering capacity in relation to mineral soils, which makes the pH of the soil solution the more important consideration.

Yes, some plants that have difficulty limiting uptake of Fe, Mn and a couple of other minor elements might prefer a media pH or soil solution pH that is higher than 6.0, but if you make the nutrients available in the soil solution, you needn't be so worried about media pH. It's been years since I've given any consideration to trying to maintain any particular media pH ..... just don't worry about it - and I have posted a ton of pictures of perfectly healthy happy plants .... and my irrigation water has a pH that hovers around 8.5. After you determine what your media pH is, how do you intend to manage it? It changes by the hour. ;o)

I know the pH of the 5:1:1 mix with lime will come in around 6.0, and the gritty mix with gypsum about the same. Beyond that, it is what it is because I'm not going to hover over every container & micromanage. I wouldn't have any time to spend here!

If you're worried, figure out how much vinegar it takes to bring a gallon of your irrigation water down to around 6.0. Add that amount to your water every time you water and forget about it. I sometimes do that in the winter when plants show some chlorosis (a pH induced FE deficiency), but the vinegar clears it up in short order.

Alice - if you want to fertilize with lime without increasing pH, fertilize with gypsum. That supplies the Ca that lime supplies w/o a pH increase. You'll then need to add a small amount of Epsom salts to your fertilizer solution each time you fertilize to keep the Ca:Mg ratio favorable. THAT is an effective safeguard against BER caused by an ACTUAL nutritional deficiency, but adding nutrients to the soil can't correct BER caused by deficiencies due to cultural issues (high humidity and cloudy cool days, excess water/lack or aeration in the soil, excess P or Mg are some of the other potential causes of BER).



clipped on: 08.20.2012 at 03:26 pm    last updated on: 08.20.2012 at 03:26 pm

RE: Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition (Follow-Up #97)

posted by: tapla on 04.11.2012 at 07:48 am in Plumeria Forum

Gritty mix =

1 part screened Turface MVP or Allsport
1 part Gran-I-Grit in grower size, #2 cherrystone, or equal
1 part pine or fir bark screened to 1/8-1/4"

The Turface should be easy in SoCal (try any Ewing Irrigation outlet). The grit and bark may take some sleuthing on your part, unless someone comes up with some advice. There are whole threads over on the container gardening forum dedicated to finding & helping others find ingredients, so you might also check there. LOTs of Ca growers use it, so I know they're getting the materials somewhere.

The 5:1:1 mix is also a free-draining, well aerated soil. Use:

5 parts pine bark of appropriate size
1 part perlite
1 part peat (sphagnum peat moss)
1 tbsp dolomitic (garden) lime /gallon of mix



clipped on: 08.15.2012 at 04:04 am    last updated on: 08.15.2012 at 04:04 am

RE: Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition (Follow-Up #51)

posted by: tapla on 11.29.2011 at 09:41 pm in Plumeria Forum

You can use it to replace the Turface with no problem, but it does hold more water than Turface, so you might want to use a little less floor dry and a little more granite or cherrystone than the recipe calls for.

You probably saw my recent response on the "Addicted Newbie" thread; I see you posted after I did, but I'll copy paste it here too, just FYI:

Not all calcined DE products are created equal. Some are fired at temperatures too low for them to remain stable in potting media. To test, half fill a plastic cup with the calcined DE or calcined clay product & freeze overnight. If it still maintains its structural integrity after thawing, it's fine in container media - with the additional proviso that it contains no perfumes or other phytotoxic additives.

You can skip the test if you're using NAPA part #8822 ..... it's stable.



clipped on: 08.15.2012 at 03:49 am    last updated on: 08.15.2012 at 03:50 am

RE: Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: tapla on 11.04.2011 at 06:46 pm in Plumeria Forum

Dave - My foray into plumeria growing has so far been limited to the establishment and a season's growth of two plants from cuttings that I received from Laura in VB .... in sort of a "cuttings for soil & stuff" swap. I sent her soil and probably a few other goodies, and I received plumeria & peanuts in return. I believe I got the better of the deal, and a new friend to boot. ;-)

Someone is bound to ask directly anyway, so if you have a question about whether an admittedly inexperienced plumeria grower is qualified to offer advice to those who have been growing them longer, let me answer directly by saying that I grow a very wide variety of plant material in containers, and the many hundreds of pictures I've shared here on GW illustrate I do that well. My focus is on bonsai because it's what challenges me. While I don't claim to be a seasoned plumeria grower, I am a seasoned grower who has been teaching others to grow in containers for a very long time. Just recently (Aug), I was invited to lecture a large group of specialty growers at U of M's Matthaei Botanic Gardens, and the topic du jour was soil science. One thing I've found is that you don't need to be the bus driver to understand how the wheels go round & round. Essentially, >90% of what applies to growing 1 type of plant in containers applies to growing ALL plants in containers; and if you have the ability to grow one type of plant well in a container, you probably have the ability to grow almost anything well in a container.

I grow everything containerized in either the 5:1:1 mix or the gritty mix. I have used no other soils for more than 20 years, and I have been tinkering and experimenting with soils for even longer than that benchmark. I simply haven't found or been shown anything that works better. The REASON these soils work better is very simply because they are highly aerated and structurally stable, providing the healthy root environment that is absolutely critical to the o/a health of the organism. You cannot have a healthy plant w/o healthy roots.

Any accomplished bonsai practitioner is a superlative container gardener by default. He cannot be accomplished if he doesn't understand the intricacies of container culture, or if he is unable to deal with the added difficulty added by small pots, small soil volumes, and the constant manipulation of the plant material. You might think of bonsai as container gardening taken to a different level, with a considerable difficulty factor added. Like the diver that regularly performs dives with difficulty factors of 3.5 and above, the dives with low difficulty factors are much easier by comparison.

KMS - a mix comprised of primarily organic ingredients can be very good, very bad, or anywhere in between. What determines a soils suitability for conventional container culture is its ability to anchor the plant and hold favorable volumes of air and water for the intended or reasonable interval between repots. Its nearly impossible to water properly and have the soil remain well aerated unless the soil is comprised of primarily large particulates. We can add to that 'large particulates that break down slowly', so we don't lose the favorable structure we started with. Pine/fir/redwood bark fines are excellent as the primary fractions of container media because of their stability and large particle size. While I prefer the gritty mix for all plantings that will be in the same soil for more than a single growth cycle, the bark-based 5:1:1 mix is still a very healthy soil. The bark ensures very good air porosity and breaks down at about 1/4-1/5 the rate of peat.

I guess what I'm saying is that throwing out pine/fir.redwood bark with the rest of the organic components is throwing the baby out with the bath water. ;-) While your offering might be anecdotal, other than the bark thing it squares very nicely with the way I think.

I like your thoughts about putting 'wicking', to work too. You can employ a wick that dangles below the pot bottom after watering thoroughly to help you grow more effectively in soils that would otherwise be too water-retentive to ensure best vitality/growth. While it's not a cure for a soil too heavy, it can be something good to add to your tool box.

Here is how i set up my wicks, using 100% rayon strands from mop heads:

The wick 'fools' excess water in the soil into 'thinking' the pot is deeper than it really is. When water moves down to the wick (driven by the sudden increase in gravitational flow potential the wick provides) 'looking' for what it 'thinks' is the bottom of the pot, it gets pushed off the bottom of the wick by water moving down behind it.



clipped on: 08.15.2012 at 03:38 am    last updated on: 08.15.2012 at 03:39 am

RE: garden mix (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: kimisdad on 08.21.2008 at 03:25 pm in Plumeria Forum


I began my post clarifying the mix as this:

"The following is an excellent mix for the Southern California area."

To purchase these products in most counties of So. Cal. is not burdensome. For east LA County area inclusive of the San Gabriel Valley; Whittier fertilizer with a more complete selection than OC Farm. As do some larger garden suppliers in Gardena and other communities. Most Counties in Southern California have a Western Farm supply and I could go on and on.

The exact brand of ingredient in not necessary as there are several manufacturers of these supplies. This is why I supplied the photos. Even many Armstrong Nurseries are carrying pumice and large perlite.

I find it not a big task to mix soils in smaller and medium amounts with a small amount of improvising. A wheel barrow or garden cart takes the back ache out of the work and one can mix for a small container or up to five 5 gal. nursery containers or one 15 gal. nursery container. A four part mix if you choose to make may sacrifice as much as two more minutes of your time per 2-3 cu. ft. lol We replant up to three thousand or more plants a year with me over seventy years of age doing over 75% of work by using a 3 cu. ft. electric mortar mixer. And I have survived this for many years unscathed LOL.

Out of California is another issue and I specifically addressed that "excellent mix for the Southern California area."

If anyone is interested in a horticulture science lesson I could elaborate on the superiority of this mix over any brand of cactus mix + perlite. This is the short version; In our own side by side trials the superiority was hands down easily noticeable and lab testing confirmed a superior storage of usable nutrients in the the plants after the growing season. As I have stated many times prior there are thousands of ways to grow plumeria, root cuttings, start seed and so on. However, there are superior growing techniques mostly used by professional growers that have been proven year after year. Even cactus and succulent growers do not use a commercial blended cactus mix. The percentage of sand in professional growers mixes becomes less and less as years go by because of negative issues from the sand! "Sand holds nutrients poorly; properly tested amendments can help". This quote is from a scientific article on golf course maintenance. It continues "Adding cation exchange capacity is more effective with amendments that have higher CECs in smaller volumes. For example, 40 liters of sand has close to the same cation exchange capacity (CEC) (1,000 meq) as 10 liters of forest humus a four to one ratio( of Turf N Tee or Kellogg's Big R)". So it takes 1/4th forest humus to the volume of sand to hold the same amount of nutrients as sand. Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)is in simple terms the ability of a potting mix/soil to hold and deliver nutrients to your plants.

My Dime, Jack


clipped on: 08.14.2012 at 03:51 pm    last updated on: 08.14.2012 at 03:51 pm

RE: Bill: Please mentor me to bloom my plumeria?:-) (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: tdogdad on 02.16.2011 at 01:35 pm in Plumeria Forum

Andrew and Laura- I need to correct an error in calling the mix of equal parts 1-Kelloggs Big R; 2-Turf n Tee; 3-#4 Perlite; and 4-Pumice as Bill's mix. It is a mix I got from Jack Morgan at Kimi's Plumerias. Jack has been an excellent mentor to me and I do not want to take credit for his work. The knowledge I have is a small fraction of that of Jack who has done some wonderful research in the area of plumies. Please call this mix the Jack Morgan Mix. Thanks,Bill


clipped on: 08.14.2012 at 01:36 am    last updated on: 08.14.2012 at 01:36 am

RE: Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition (Follow-Up #91)

posted by: tapla on 04.09.2012 at 06:17 pm in Plumeria Forum

I can see what his reasoning is, even if I don't agree with it. I'll explain. First, your plant needs nitrogen (N) to bloom, and since N is mobile in plant tissues, if there isn't a current supply of N entering the plant through the root pathway, the plant will borrow it from other tissues and then likely shed the parts. Most commonly you would see a N deficiency evidenced in the chlorosis and eventual shedding of older leaves as the plant robs them of N to support new foliage, roots, and blooms.

N is an essential element in all living systems, and is needed by all cells. It occurs in the living substance
(protoplasm) of all cells, and is a major component of
protein. It is also a major component of chlorophyll which converts sunlight into plant energy. Since container media, with their low bulk density, aren't very effective at holding on to nutrients, a constant supply of N is more a requirement than a luxury that you can simply deprive the plant of w/o consequence.

Onset of the bloom period occurs as a result of changes in specific wavelengths, intensity, and duration of light. A pigment called phytochrome is the light receptor responsible for helping the tree determine when to bloom. Phytochrome exists in two forms, depending on the wavelength of light absorbed. The change in the ratio of these two forms of phytochrome occurs and can be measured on a daily basis (you can look up photomorphogenesis for a better understanding) and will cause the tree to enter the bloom phase.

Your tree will also make another automatic transition that hinges on the length of the dark period. Around Father's Day (summer solstice), the dark period begins to increase in length. This is a powerful signal, and causes physiological changes in the plant that causes the plant to begin a change from spending it's energy on branch extension and leaf growth to energy storage. Instead of growing branches & leaves, the plant will automatically begin to produce layers of carbohydrate rich cells in roots and cambial tissues. These reserves will be what the tree uses to keep its systems orderly over the winter and to provide the energy for the spring flush. Nitrogen is a very important part of that process as well.

Some of us know that intelligently managing N supplies CAN be an effective tool for increasing the number of blooms & fruit if used correctly. Usually, it entails a reduction in the NPK ratio to 2:1:2, and a grower knowledgeable enough to be able to tell when there is an intentionally induced mild N deficiency. The mechanism by which this works: After the photosynthesizing machinery is in place, a slight reduction in the N supply curtails vegetative growth; but since the photosynthesizing machinery is already in place, energy creation (food making) isn't much affected. Since the plant can't channel the energy into producing vegetative growth, it channels it toward reproduction - blooms & fruit. This isn't something the casual grower can easily manipulate, and withholding N by fertilizing with 0-10-10 is probably going to result in shed foliage and a decrease in energy stored that will impact the tree and blooms in the subsequent growth cycle.



clipped on: 08.13.2012 at 12:57 pm    last updated on: 08.13.2012 at 12:59 pm

RE: Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: tapla on 11.02.2011 at 04:01 pm in Plumeria Forum

Ohh - thank you both for the kindness. I appreciate it.

Here is a picture of the soil I grow all my woody material in, as well as my houseplants:
Growers on the forums have hung 'the gritty mix' on it as their chosen descriptive name.

Size of the particles in container media, as well as their stability (ability to resist the microbes that want to break down soil particles and make sure you're growing in soup) is what determines their structure for the immediate and the long term. Keep that word in mind (structure). It's a key word when it comes to making a determination about how readily a soil will support good growth and vitality.

Here you see pine and fir bark that is excellent as the primary fraction of 1 type of soil that growers on the forums have tagged with the label 'the 5:1:1 mix'. The dry 5:1:1 mix is in the middle.

If anyone is interested, and hasn't read it, there is a thread about container media that describes how water behaves in container soils. I hope you'll take the time to read it, not because I wrote it, but because I think an understanding of the information in it probably represents the largest forward step a container grower can make in the short time it takes to assimilate what is in it. Plus you have the opportunity to ask questions if you aren't quite getting something.


Here is a link that might be useful: Click me and I'll take you to MUCH more about container soils!


clipped on: 08.13.2012 at 12:17 pm    last updated on: 08.13.2012 at 12:18 pm

Container Soils and Your Plant's Nutrition

posted by: tapla on 11.02.2011 at 10:42 am in Plumeria Forum

A short while ago I was asked by a friend to comment on thread. I followed it for a while & found a few other threads on the forum that I thought afforded an opportunity for me to be helpful. Rather than spend time debating the merits of certain practices on other threads, I thought I would start a thread where anyone with an open mind can come to discuss all aspects of container culture, but particularly growing media and nutrition.

While some aspects of the plant sciences are open to interpretation and 'individual creativity', a considerable amount can be nailed down solidly. I often run into the phrase, "It works for me", used as though it is a debate ender, but how well something works is extremely subjective. For example, if someone is practicing methods that are quite limiting, then suddenly changes practices to something less limiting, the perception is all is well or, "This works great", never allowing that the new or even the preferred practice is still limiting and can be improved upon with a little better understanding of what's at work.

I've never read this approach to growing anywhere, so you may find my perspective unique: All plants are already pre programmed (genetically) to grow well and look beautiful. The only thing that keeps them from growing well is our inability to provide them with the cultural conditions needed to do so. In most cases, our habits are the factors most limiting to growth and vitality. This is particularly true in the areas of soil choice - nutritional supplementation - light. Light is pretty much a settled issue, but soils and nutrition are very confusing for many. You become a better grower by eliminating or reducing to the greatest degree possible, the limitations under which your plants are growing.

Good growing, like most things done well, does take a little knowledge and effort. If you're happy with the way things are going - there is no need to make the extra effort to read further in order that you might review another perspective; but if you're questioning whether or not there is something that might be done differently to help your plants grow better, this thread will, provide a place to come for suggestions for growing practices rooted in science instead of anecdote.

I understand that statement seems very bold, but all I would ask is that you reserve judgement until you've had the opportunity to hear a little of what I have to say. Having studied soil science, nutrition, and most of the intricacies associated with container culture for more than 20 years, and the (literally) thousands of positive responses I've garnered here at GW alone, has left me pretty confident that anyone wishing to sharpen their growing skills will be able to take at least some things from this thread. If not, there's little lost, it can just be ignored.

OK - that was the lead in. I'll start by saying that you can probably squeeze the most vitality and best growth from your plants if you first concentrate on getting the soil right. Your soil choice is where about 9/10 of your limits arise. You must be able to keep the roots happy if you have any hope of keeping the rest of the plant happy. To do that, focus on the soil's structure, not its ability to deliver nutrients. Nutrition is very simple, most people make it hard on themselves by trying to incorporate too much anecdotal misinformation, shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

Hopefully, this is all I need to do to pique the curiosity of enough readers to get the ball rolling. If not, I can say I tried. ;-) If you knew me, you'd know I'm not doing this for glory or acclaim, I'm doing it very simply because I love to help others. I've maintained a significant presence in the GW community and in my own community for more many years. I lecture widely on the suggested topic(s) I introduced, and look at helping people as a natural extension of my affinity for nurturing plants - sort of nurturing the people who nurture plants.

Thank you for your kind consideration. .... questions/comments?



clipped on: 08.13.2012 at 12:11 pm    last updated on: 08.13.2012 at 12:11 pm

RE: Blueberry Leaves Turning Black (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: blueboy1977 on 08.06.2012 at 11:43 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

This time of year you should have lots of lush green growth if there is enough N2 (if the ph is okay). Also the color of the leafs are very light green which is normal for tender new growth but the mature leafs should be much darker green. With southern high bush, summer reddening leafs is a sign of low N2 also. If your ph is 6.5 that explains alot though. You need to be in the 4-5ph. If you planted in clay, regardless of soil amendments, you will run into trouble with blues.

If it were my plant, I would build a raised bed with 2X12 boards thats 4ft by 4ft. Fill the raised bed with 2/3 pinebark mulch and the other 1/3 spag. peat moss and sand or perilite. Add a 1/4 cup of sulfer, some organic fert(so you dont fry your plants) and if you can find mycorrhizal fungi, use it. The fungi helps the roots of blues in up take of water and nutrients. Really good stuff!

Even with all that, you will still run into ph problems if your water is high on the ph scale. With only a couple plants you really need to get a drum under a gutter and collect some rain water and only use it on the blues. You will be rewarded with berries for years to come if you do.


clipped on: 08.07.2012 at 02:43 am    last updated on: 08.07.2012 at 02:44 am

RE: alstroemeria from seeds (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: jennie on 06.11.2006 at 01:53 pm in Perennials Forum

I'm following the T&M directions, mine said three weeks around room temp, three weeks in the 'fridge, and three weeks at room temp again; but I got sprouts after about ten days. So far about a third have sprouted, but it won't be three weeks until day after tomorrow so I have hopes more will sprout. I've heard they're hard to plant out so I'm nervous about this next step.


2/20/11 - Will try this as well - seeds have been at room temp for storage, so nothing to do but soak and move them to the fridge. Pricked the seeds and soaked for 48 hours - put 4 in regular potting soil and 2 in seed staring mix in a cell pack (6).
2/22/11 - Moved to the Fridge.
3/19/11 - Remove from fridge and into room temp.
3/30/11 - Reminder: Spot check the seeds.
4/2/11 - I spot checked and do not see any growth. That said, the cell pack did fall over at one time, but with the bag on, there wasn't much apparent damage.
clipped on: 02.21.2011 at 12:55 am    last updated on: 04.03.2011 at 01:20 pm

RE: alstroemeria from seeds (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: jean-grow on 02.16.2007 at 10:02 am in Perennials Forum

I have started alstroemeria from seed for a few years using various methods. This year was no exception. In early December I placed the seeds in a moist (not wet) paper towel, folded it and placed it in a zip-top plastic bag. I placed this over very low bottom heat (approximately 65-70 degrees) for a month, then placed it in the rack on the door of the refrigerator. Early in February I removed them from the refrigerator and checked progress. Most of the seeds had tiny roots poking out. I then placed the bag on the north-facing kitchen windowsill for a few days to allow a little more development before placing them in potting soil.

In the past I have had alstroemeria bloom the first season from seed.


2/20/11 - Trying this method. Move to Fridge on 3/20/11.
3/13/11 - Changed the paper towel as it was getting moldy.
3/20/11 - Moved to fridge.
4/20/11 - Reminder: move to window, room temp
clipped on: 02.21.2011 at 12:56 am    last updated on: 03.20.2011 at 12:01 pm