Saturday, November 10, 2012

Soil & potting compost for growing Swedish Auriculas.Updated April 2015

Little Rosette
The important thing to consider when choosing a soil or potting compost for auriculas is that it should be light, drains easily and low in nutrients.

I have tried several of the ‘off the shelf’ soil mixes that are available in Sweden, but have found that none of them were really suitable for my auriculas. Many auricula books & websites mention mixing your own soil, using a mix of John Innes loam based compost, peat and grit. This is simply not available in Sweden, so I’ve experimented with the various potting composts that are available here.
Soil mix
The best solution that I’ve come up with so far and which suits my Swedish auriculas is using a planting compost, from Blomsterlandet called 'Yrkesodlarjord'  (Professional planting soil)and adding 20% perlite to it. This has worked very well for me and is not only fairly cheap but easily mixed and available.
I use this mix in my clay pots, plastic pots and as a planting soil in my outside borders. (Replacing the heavy clay soil I have in my borders)
I was very surprised that the more expensive potting composts did not perform as well; in fact I had more problems with rotting off and abnormal leaf growth with them. I believe that the problem may be that they contain too many nutrients for my auriculas or the soil retains too much moisture.
Fred Booley in border.
I’m still experimenting with my soil mix to see if I can improve it in any way. At the moment I’m reading a reprint of The Auricula, Its Culture and History, by George William Johnson, first published in1847; this has some very unusual and strange auricula compost mixes mentioned in it.
Many of them have well rotted cow dung in them, so next year I shall try adding some ready mixed cow manure (
kojödsel) to some of my soil mix to see what happens.( I only experiment on auriculas I can afford to loose)
I've also more recently been experimenting by adding Neem Cake to the soil mix not only as a slow release feed but also as a possible organic way to prevent attacks from wooly root aphids.
My soil mix works for me; you may have your own soil mix with which you have been successful with; if so do please let me know so that we can exchange ideas.
Border Auriculas i large pot.

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