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Check Succulents’ Soil

If you are having trouble growing cactus and other succulents, and suspect it is the potting soil, you are probably right. The potting soil for succulents must be porous and well drained--exceptionally so--but must also store enough water and nutrients to keep the plants alive and growing. Succulents do need fertilizer. Most serious collectors make their own, but if you have tried and now give up, here is good news: Singer’s Growing Things now sells their very fancy potting mix, at their store or by mail.

Singer’s Succulent Mix costs $6 for a cubic foot, but this does not include shipping. A cubic foot weighs about 45 pounds. Their mix contains nine components (that’s their secret!) including two forms of humus, fast and slow release nutrients, rice hulls and a “proper balance of minerals and trace elements,” but the most valuable ingredient is a special agricultural grade of pomace.

They also sell this pomace separately if you want to make your own mix ($2 per cubic foot, not including shipping) and they say it accounts for 40 to 60 percent of their soil mix.

Singer’s is at 17806 Plummer St., Northridge, Calif., 91325, 818/993-1903. It is open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A mail order catalogue costs $2, and lists some of the best succulents for Southern California, including many caudiciforms, those architectural plants with the swollen feet.

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