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<a href="http://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1889&amp;entry_id=1720" title="http://www.contracostatimes.com/homeandgarden/ci_8304476?nclick_check=1" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.contracostatimes.com/homeandgarden/ci_8304476?nclick_check=1′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Ruth Bancroft</a> answers questions about cactus soil.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q: I planted a cactus using a standard bagged potting mix, and placed it on the porch in a sunny spot. Now it looks like it is rotting and I am afraid I have lost it. Could the soil mix have caused this?<br />
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A: Because cacti and other succulent plants require good drainage, it is best not to use a standard potting mix. Instead, use a mix with extra-good drainage. There are commercial cactus mixes available, but you can easily create one yourself by adding materials to promote drainage into ordinary potting soil. Sand, pumice, perlite or crushed rock such as decomposed granite can all be used for this purpose (do not, however, use sand from the beach, since saltiness may cause problems). At the garden, we use a custom blend that is about half sand and pumice, and the other half soil.</span><br /></div><br />They use a very different mix than we do. We don’t use sand at all. And we don’t start with a standard potting mix either since they all have either forest products or peat, and cactus and succulents prefer a more neutral blend while we prefer a more environmentally friendly blend. We start with coir fiber, some rice hulls. We add lots of pumice and lava rock (not perlite, which is a more energy intensive additive.) And nutrients, don’t forget the nutrients.<br /><br />


    
    
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