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About soil mixes/recipes

Soil Mix Page

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SOIL MIXES For; Epiphyllum, Aporophyllum, Echinopsis, Trichocereus, Schlumbergera & Adeniums

First off, this first mix below is what i use for reasons it works for my climate and its fairly economical as i use in large quanitys weekly. Having said that you need to know theres no right/wrong way or perfect mix for all growers everyone makes theres a little different for there climate. Just keep in mind the general requirements you want rich but well draining soil. If your moisture is high in your location you might want more perlite,coco fiber, small rocks, sand or other amendments maybe are best for your situation and visa versa for a dry climate-forest humus,peat,compost,oak leaf mold etc. I will add more varieties of soil recipes later. If any other growers have some mixes that work good for there location. I will be happy to post it here to help others with the same situation but just starting out. Credit will go to the grower. Just send me your general location-gulf coast, pacific coast, Northeast-etc., weather-Hot/dry, coastal, indoors winter growing etc. and the soil mix recipe. Send to

Below is part 1 and part 2 on "How to repot an EPI" it has a close up of recipe mix #1.

This makes about 1 yd or about 27 cubic feet,about 8 wheelbarrow loads,so cut in half or 1/4 each for less soil mix.

1) 6 qty 3 cubic foot bags Kellogg's potting soil (some growers use miracle grow but not as much wood fiber/compost in it for me)So this brands a bit richer.

2) 2 qty 2 cubic ft Medium Orchid Bark

3) 1qty 3 cubic #3 Perlite

4) 1/2 of a 1 cubic bag chicken manure- (water all well after potting one to kill off odor and lessen nitrogen burn especially if its hot) trace minerals in chicken manure are great for containers since they tend to get depleted and not many weed seeds as there raised inside good feed no or few weeds from a field or hay. Cow manure is another alternative, but usually higher in salt and weed content.

5) 10 lbs Bone meal in powder form- ( makes the roots grow/expand and leaves your pots smelling sweet as algae doesn't grow as easily)

6) 3-4 pounds powder form (water soluable but mix in dry)acid fertilizer ( the bone meal is alkaline and so is the water if your located in Southern California and Epis like acidic soil so this counteracts bone meal and lowers PH.)

7) THESE ARE SEASONAL/OPTIONAL sometimes I add a pound of all season fertilizer in summer, in winter I don't since the nitrogen cannot be used readily as rains tend to wash it through before its used. In addition you need full active growth or warm weather to get the best effects from nitrogen-it will disapates very fast in cooler weather. If the plant is big enough and you want blooms for the coming season , low or zero nitrogen in winter time is a good rule to follow.During winter the mix you use should give the plant all the nitrogen it needs as not in active growth at this time anyhow. Also any with spots fungus,scale or bugs i apply systemic granualars on top of soil after repotting. This can be mixed into your soil mix too if you perfer. Boost up the nitrogen you add if repotting after blooming in summer time to get maximum growth for next year.

1) 30 Percent potting soil
2) 30 percent peat
3) 20 percent perlite
4) 10 percent sand

1) 40 Percent potting soil
2) 30 Percent coir-wash well lots of salts in some.
3) 20 percent forest humus
4) 10 Percent charcoal

1) 100 percent perlite. Thats right perlite and nothing else.If your a cronic overwaterer this is the best way to be sure the cuttings never have wet feet. Works good to root but the plants need more nurishment once roots appear perlite has nothing in it as far as food for the plant. Try using clear dixie cups with drain holes cut in the bottom-how do you know when there rooted? You will be able to see the roots then. Once rooted use a repotting mix.

1) 100 percent potting soil, works very well.

1) 50 percent potting soil
2) 50 percent forest humus

Same as #3 above but only 25% forest humus, the other 25% is sand.

1) 70 Percent potting soil
2) 20 percent washed sand
3) 10 percent perlite

Same as Epi mix #1 above but instead of orchid bark use washed sand.

1) 75 Percent regular potting soil
2) 25 percent washed sand

1) 70 Percent regular potting soil
2) 15 percent washed sand
3) 15/15 Half peat moss and half manure (the composting manure will make the soil more acidic lowering your PH)

Below are soil mixes used and there recipes submitted by growers in different areas of the world.

(Credit is given to each grower who submitted the soil mix they use, and the general location or region where there located.Please e-mail us yours to help new growers worldwide be successfull)

From: Carla
The Epi soil I use is an Organic from "Fox Farms" It beats mixing my own. It contains: fish emulsion, worm castings, bat doo, coir that has salts washed out in a 14 month process, pine bark, leaf mold, perlite, peat and added minerals. I used their brick coir that has all the salts removed and calcium and minerals added back in for rooting cuttings.. They make coir "Co Co" soil that looks like coffee grounds. I add perlite and use it for cuttings after they root in the brick coir. I also use their organic fertilizer. "Fox Farm" soil comes mixed. I use it in Michigan also which means I haul bags of it back.. It is expensive. It runs from $22.-$28. dollars a bag. They sell 4 different coir. All go through the 14 month salt removal.

Carla G., Michigan, U.S.A. (Dual climate-part of the year located in Florida)

From Sheila:
I buy a ready mixed Cactus mix which already has sand and grit in it, then add to 4 parts of the mix, 1 part Perlite and 1 part small Orchid bark (which is used for terrariums). I find that this gives a nice open, free draining mixture. For cuttings I use the Cactus mix plus some Perlite.

Sheila-Somerset, U.K. (Botanicalady-on E-bay)

From Don Cravallo:
My soil mix up here is E.B. Stone Planting mix. I mix in some fine orchid bark and perlite (Appx. 1/3 of total mixture). I add a bit of fertilizer in, usually an organic type. I also have been using Orchid Potting soil and adding in more perlite as well. I try to achieve a rich, but light weight mix with the added drainage.

Don Cravalho-Fremont-(San Francisco bay area),U.S.A.

From: Brayshaws Bonanza Epis;
The Epi soil we use for Schlums is potting soil with about 20 percent sand added. We fertilize regularily too.

Brayshaws Bonanza Epis, Mission Viejo, California U.S.A.

From; Virginia;
She uses this mix recipe below at her location
3 parts - potting mix
3 parts - orchid mix
2 parts - sand
4 parts - "Zoodoo" (which is a compost/manure mix produced by the local zoo in Wellington).

Virginia H. Located in Feilding,New Zealand (About 3hrs from the Capital Wellington).
Heres Virginias home page with pictures of her Epiphyllums

From Don Burnett:
This is the potting mix that I have used for the last two years:
12 - 1 1/2 cu ft bags of azalea mix
2 - 1 cu ft bags of chicken fertilizer
1 - 5lb box of bone meal (have to watch the dust... I use a dust respirator while mixing)
I mix all of these ingredients with a flat shovel and place this mixture in two containers.
I mix these together and place this mixture in one of my containers
2 - cu ft bags of small decorative redwood bark (1/4"-3/8")
1 - 2 cu ft bag of coco mulch (about 1/4") (in hopes that it will not break down as fast as the redwood bark)
I mix these together and place this mixture in another of my containers
2 - 2 cu ft bags of #2 perlite (or one 4 cu ft bag if I can find it)
I place the #2 perlite in another one of my containers (use a dust respirator)
My mix ratio is;
1 part #2 perlite (I put a little water on it to keep from breathing the spun glass dust)
1 part of my redwood/coco mulch mix
4 parts of my azalea mix (for my 3 1/4" pots that I start my cuttings in) and sometimes I use 5 parts of my azalea mix ratio if I am placing 2 or 3 well rooted cuttings from the 3 1/4" pots into my 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" plastic green pots. (if I put the epies in a larger pot they only get larger and I don't have the space and with all the pots the same I don't over/under water).
The rule of thumb that I have always used is once you find a soil mixture that works for you in your area stay with it so you can get the water and fertilizer down right ... " Or when you get to Rome do as the Roman's do ! "

Don Burnett Epiphyllum Hybridizer, Ca. U.S.A.
Check out Don Burnett's Hybridizing page on

Please send us your soil recipe for your location to help out other growers there, we will post it here and give you credit for submitting your recipe.

A few Epi soil mixes are listed below from the old timers

Curt Knebel blk wht picture pollinating an Epi
Pictured above; Curt Knebel pollinating an Epi.

Curt Knebel's Epi mix;

1 part leafmold

1 part peatmoss

1 part riversand

1 part old crumbly loam

1 part well rotted manure

Cactus Pete's Epi mix

1 part good top soil

1 part decomposed leafmold

1 part coarse builders sand

Coolidge rare plant gardens Epi mix

4/5ths well rotted oak leaf mold

1/5th rotted cow manure

Dr.Poindexter's Epi mix;

4 parts leafmold

2 parts German peat moss

3 parts cow or sheep manure

2 parts gravel

2 parts sharp (washed) sand

Dr. Werdermann's Epi mix;

1 part leafmold

1 part manure

1/2 part sand

From Germany W.O.Rother's Epi mix;

1/8 crushed old plaster-lime from walls

1/2 well rotted cow manure earth

1/8 old mellow loam

1/4 coarse sand

Ventura Epiphyllum Garden's mix

3 parts well decomposed leafmold

1 part coarse sand or decomposed granite

1 part peatmoss

1 part well rotted manure or 1/2 cup steamed bone meal to 5 gallons of mixture

Yes i know some of these old Epi mixes may seem strange and it could be very hard to find some of the ingreadiants (at your local garden center) under the material names given.-Like sheep manure or old plaster from a building. The mixes are decades old but notice one thing that has not changed over all that time. 1.)There all rich and have (manure or leafmold) and 2.) There all well draining (sand or other coarse material was used). Keep those 2 basic principles in mind when your trying to make the perfect Epi mix for your plants and the climate there growing in. And if you can find some of these ingrediants give them a try to test them out, some of the mixes above were used for over 50 years with great success and they were very low in cost too!

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