Summary: soil recommendations

Leon Miguel lmiguel at
Tue Jul 23 00:35:23 EST 1996

Following requests, I have compiled and posted a list of the various soil 
recommendations that were sent to me. I have slightly edited some 
comments - I trust that those who replied directly to me do not mind me 
sharing this information. 

Thanks once again for all your help


Ellen Kearns:

I mixed a 1:1:1 combination of vermiculite:sphagnum moss:perlite, watered 
nutrient solution.
Here we use a mixture of potting soil and sand, watered
with tap water or de-ionized water.

Brenda Winkel Shirley:

I have always (going on 7 years now) used MetroMix 200 (Terra-Lite), with
reliable results, as long as the light intensity is high enough and the
temperature cool enough.  It seems to be sold by growing supply companies
all over the place here in the U.S. as a standard potting mix.  

Steven Clark:

We use a 1:1:1 mixture of perlite, vermiculite and topsoil.  This might
alleviate some of your problems.

Susan Cousins:

If you want to just order a commercially prepared mix, you might try
Metromix 360.  We have had more success growing healthy Arabidopsis plants
in this mix than in our greenhouse peat mix.  Hope this helps!  

Vikram Prabhu:

Why not try growing in sand amended with a minimum amount of potting soil
mixture and water with a dilute nutrient soln. often, as the sand has low
CEC and low retention of nutrients.

Mary Williams:

According to my 1995 flyer, Sunshine mix is no longer affliated with
Fison's, but is distrubuted by

Sun Gro Horticulture Inc.
110-110th Ave. N.E., Suite 490
Bellevue, Washington

Phone 1-800-665-4525, FAX 1-800-665-4526

Barry Pogson:

A couple of people here are growing their plants very successfully in
liquid culture - if you are interested I can send you details.  Basically
they germinate the seed in a glass wool plug in 0.25x hoaglands and aerate
the solution with a fish tank aerator.

We grow in soil, "Supersoil steam sterlized potting mix"
Rod McLellan Co.
So. San Francisco
Calif. 94080

Following up from the first letter, here is the composition of our soil,
ph 5.5-6.5
N 0.14%
phosphoric acid (P205) 0.09%
Potash (K20) 0.02%
Iron 0.5%

Chris Cobbett:

We use Debco seed raising mix to grow Arabidopsis quite successfully.
The mix has almost no nutritional value so needs to be supplemented with
mineral salts ( we just water it once before planting)

Chris Somerville:

Arabidopsis seems to be happiest at about pH 5.5.  When soil has been
a problem, we use equal mixture of fine vermiculite:perlite: and
ground up sphagnum then drench it with Hoaglands at 5.7
good luck

David Smyth:

We tried various mixtures to grow Arabidopsis in the early days.
We found the following mixture to be the best:
1 part Perlite
1 part Debco Seed Raising mix (Debco is a local Melbourne firm, and may
be able to supply you).

We subirrigate right from the start with Hoaglands nutrient solution as
there are no nutrients in either of these ingredients.
We found that all other commercial potting mixes contained inhibitory/toxic
materials.  Also, the vermiculite we tried was inhibitory for some reason.

Leon Miguel   
Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA)
University of Western Australia
Email: lmiguel at     Phone: 61 9 380 1982

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