An experiment with sand vs potting soil.....

Joined: February 20th, 2014, 11:41 pm

November 28th, 2016, 2:51 pm #1

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



Burke Baker
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
We are right next to Sandestin Resort between Destin and Panama City.
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

November 28th, 2016, 6:06 pm #2

A friend of mine takes the middle way using 50/50 sand and potting soil. I have thought of trying that. One thing I quit doing was using potting soil with fertilizer.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: February 20th, 2014, 11:41 pm

November 28th, 2016, 7:09 pm #3

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



Ward, I used what I had handy and it just happened to be, Sta-Green moisture max potting mix with fertilizer. At first I don't think the cuttings liked the fertilizer but now probably need it. I have a salvia in the sand tub that is starting to bloom. Have you ever noticed a relationship between the distance of the light from the plant cuttings and plant growth?
Burke Baker
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
We are right next to Sandestin Resort between Destin and Panama City.
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

November 28th, 2016, 7:47 pm #4

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



Not a whole lot of difference although I try to keep the cuttings as close to the light as possible. Another consideration is your climate requires a different approach than mine. Because spring planting is a long way off for me I try to keep the cuttings as small as possible in order to conserve space. So while I do feed the plants it is as lightly as possible. Ideally I like to have just a few of each type I am growing because I know by the end of January these plants will yield plenty of additional cuttings and probably another set by March.

I often use whatever is handy too. But after experiencing a couple of bad years with a famous name potting soil I became much more careful about what I will use. While the next spring's planting is somewhat dictated by my choices the previous fall failure also plays its part.

You may want to transplant your stuff into individual pots soon, before their roots become a massive tangle.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: January 10th, 2016, 12:32 am

November 29th, 2016, 1:52 pm #5

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



My experiment with sand went horribly.....All my B&B withered away to just sticks....
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

November 29th, 2016, 2:02 pm #6

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



It may be hard to keep the cutting moist enough with pure sand. While you don't want them soggy they do need to say moist through the root process.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: February 20th, 2014, 11:41 pm

November 29th, 2016, 3:45 pm #7

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



Ward, the technique I use is taking cuttings, dipping them in a rooting hormone then sticking them in sand or potting mix. Then I water them in real good. The whole container is then placed inside a kitchen bag and tied off tight sealing the moisture inside the bag and container. I then place the container in a shady place in the yard and leave it alone for several weeks. The container I use is a 17"x13"x6" plastic dish draining tub you can get a Wal-Mart. It's worked real well for me.
Burke Baker
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
We are right next to Sandestin Resort between Destin and Panama City.
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

November 29th, 2016, 4:05 pm #8

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



I never tried bagging the cuttings, maybe I will. It is good to discuss our propagation work. We learn from each other and perhaps folks who visit this site learn something useful even if they don't become members. To follow up, I use a heat mat sandwiched between to of those standard plastic trays which helps a lot with root formation in a cool winter home and also use rooting hormone. The heat does tend to dry things out fairly quickly but since I do my early propagation on a spare kitchen counter with a hanging shop light I can keep a close eye on things.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 3:18 am

November 29th, 2016, 5:46 pm #9

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



Burke, OK, I am back from an amazing adventure in Portugal with my whole family and I'll be much more available to comment on matters of concern to us on this site.

I only use sand for growing and propagating if I am dealing with a xeric species. Pure sand is seldom my choice because it has little to no nutritional value for young plants, which if I guess correctly, show signs of deficiency too late to indicate the problem.

Last month while I was in California, I purchased a stunning Salvia 'Ultra Violet' in full flower. It suffered a bit from being cooped up in the car for a full week before we got it to its new home in Louisiana. In spite of giving it some 'time-released water' each day, the plant lost every flower and it appeared to be stressed. So, as soon as I could, I repotted it in a large terra cotta pot with a thick layer of shredded tree fern, then rich Baccto potting soil cut by half with playground sand.

Just as northern Florida is suffering drought conditions, normally rainy southern Louisiana desperately needs rain. The plant looks to be quite happy and it is again in full flower. Hopefully, once the heavy rains of winter set in, the plant will be able to manage without drowning.
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, LA
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Joined: May 18th, 2013, 9:33 pm

December 5th, 2016, 4:26 pm #10

I planted some cuttings in two different containers one with sand and the other with potting soil. Initially the cuttings in the sand looked more productive after three weeks, but the cuttings in the potting soil slowly began to look more lush. Several of the cuttings in the sand actually died after looking promising. I sprinkled some potting soil with fertilizer in with the sand to give the cuttings some nutrients. The first picture is the tub with potting soil. Various salvias, altheas and some I forget what they are. They'll have to bloom for me to identify them.



I have used sand before for rooting cuttings and for some things it does ok but it is not my preference and sometimes I mix with potting soil or peat , but only for the rooting process. There are many different ways to achieve said goal and a lot could depend on your local environment. I dont use any fertilizer for the rooting process.
Steve W.
Martinsville IN.
Zone 6
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