Wednesday 24 June 2015



  1. Hi there, I just stumbled upon your blog when I was looking online for succulents- and you have the most amazing collection. Im sincerely in awe of your growing talents. I also had to ask what medium/growing subtrate are you using with your plants- there seems to be some uniformity but would appreciate any more info.

    Thanks so much

    1. I use John Innes [ a loam based compost ] mixed with gravel and sharp sand. About half to two thirds of the mix is John Innes depending on the drainage needs of the plant. I am not sure if John Innes is available outside the UK. I also top dress with gravel. This is mainly as I like the way it looks.

    2. Thank you so much for your information. Unfortunately I dont have access to that loam based compost here :/.
      Im struggling to fully understand/achieve potting needs for these plants. Im coming across one argument which is to exclusively use an inorganic mix (to prevent breakdown, pests, rotting) using components such as pumice, perlite, lava rock, granite chips, calcinated clay chips etc. While I think its a good medium, all the succulents I've read about also have some organic medium mixed in it to offer nutrients etc.
      How frequently or infrequently do you water your plants and how do you make sure they're not rotting due to their mostly organic soil?
      I found some sellers selling sandy soil from Arizona, do you think that would work as part of a larger mix?

      Sorry for taking too much of your time but greatly appreciate all of your help!

    3. I know people who use an inorganic mix. In a lot of countries I understand it is difficult to obtain good quality loam but in the UK most of the time the John Innes is OK. I have got used to it and it works so no reason to change. I wrote about old mixes on 23/6/2013 but recently attended a meeting where lime for some plants was advocated which could come from crushed brick.
      Watering depends on the plant, weather, tine of year etc. I probably slightly underwater so the plants are dry before I water again so rotting is not a big problem.[ Tempting fate? ]

    4. Hi again,
      Just went to check out your older post on soil, and if something isnt broke, why try to fix it? Clearly your growing method works and is successful, so definitely no need to change it! I'm trying to source sharp/coarse sand but I've hit a wall, but will continue to look for it.

      Im fairly new to succulents so I have much to learn. For example I've grown orchids for almost a decade and I understand them a little bit, but succulents seem very different and less tolerant.

      Do you grow in a greenhouse? What advice would you have for someone who is somewhat new to this ?

      Thanks again

    5. For me sharp sand is available from garden centres or DIY stores. Find what is available and works for you. I know people who use cat litter which makes the mix lighter than mine.
      I have a few orchids [ the sort sold in supermarkets ] which seem quite tolerant. More than in my post of 18/3/2014.