Potting Soil for Echinaceas

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I'm wondering what the ideal potting mix for Echinaceas would be. I've noticed that the plants for sale at Lowes and Home Depot are growing in mostly dry tree bark. I can see how it would prevent over-watering, but it's such a bad potting mix. I have had to remove this bark from my Echinaceas just to keep them from wilting! It's not good at all. I shake the plants until most of it falls away before planting. I don't buy many plants from these places, but seeing this soil made me question the potting mixes I use more.

I've had good luck with Jiffy Seed Starting mix for starting basal cuttings of Echinaceas.

I tried "Organic" potting soil which had a lot of bark in it...If you don't water every day the plants almost wilt and die. I didn't like it.

I got a bad potting mix last year that killed every coneflower I planted in it. It was horrible. I haven't had much luck with Miracle Grow potting soil with Echinaceas either.

Maybe I'll try to mix the bark based mix with some of the seed starting mix and try to get better medium for planting.

I would really like to hear other opinions in this.

(Warren)Lisbon Falls, ME(Zone 5a)

I use metro mix 510 which has worked very well for me over the last 10 years. It is a bark based mix but does not have a lot of bark in it.
I had a customer use miracle gro potting mix and it killed her plants within a few weeks.
I have also tried peat based mixes but do not have success with over wintering my plants in that(holds to much moisture). The peat based mixes also give me trouble with wicking water away during the heat of summer if it is exposed.
I just stick with my Metro Mix and call it good. It has always worked well for me in my Zone.

Cedar Springs, MI(Zone 5b)

Okay this is freaking me out because all my Ech. plugs are in the Miracle Grow Potting Soil. So far no probs...so whats the deal with it?

Warren is the metro mix 510 available in national chain stores?

(Warren)Lisbon Falls, ME(Zone 5a)

See you may have good luck with it. Everyone has their soil that just works for them and as gardeners once we find something we really like it becomes the law of the world(at least our own little piece of it, lol)
Not sure why it is. I'm not sure if the Miracle Grow was to strong for her plugs but the pictures she sent me looked like the plants were burned around the base. Miracle Grow Potting soil is great for house plants and annuals. I just don't know about perennial plugs...maybe someone else has other thoughts?? and does well with it.
I am not sure if Metro Mix 510 is available in chain stores. I buy it by the pallets from a greenhouse wholesale supply company.

Chattanooga, TN(Zone 7b)

my favorite for growing in pint or smaller is fafard B3 and quart and larger is fafard 52. the retail versions of these are very spendy.

i recommend amending miracle gro (without the water retaining crystals) with perlite and vermiculite as it's too heavy/wet/too much peat coming straight from the bag. additionally, mixing in some bark mix or wood shavings is a good option.
coneflowers like the mix on the lean side (both with fertilizer and watering) and in the 6 to 6.5 pH range. one of those el-cheapo reusable testers is a simple way to check pH, moisture and nutrient content (EC) and, in my opinion, a good investment for those growing plants in pots.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Interesting question and comments. I use the same combination of mix for just about everything I plant and it breaks down to approximately the following: 50% compost/garden soil, 30% Miracle Gro Potting Mix, 10% Peat Moss, 10% perlite. I've always just measured it by handfuls when mixing it so its just 5,3,1,1 respectively.

Jon

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