Proper soils for growing Salvia divinorum

The type of soil you will want to mix up depends upon the environment you'll be growing these plants in. If you are in a constantly humid or tropical environment you'll want a fast draining mix with little or no peat moss in it. In desert or dry environments I recommend Miracle-Gro potting soil. Some peat moss keeps the roots from drying out and seems to prevent root bound plants from dying: I've seen very large plants potted in Miracle-Gro potting soil continue growing over a year in very small pots! Plants I potted in N'Rich wilted or died when they became root bound!

I have tried commercially available premixed soils from the Kellogg Garden Company such as "N'Rich" or Kellogg Garden Soil or "GroMulch".  
For humid areas I have found a product that is very good for Salvia growth and that is Kellogg N'Rich.

Here is a Quote about N'Rich:
"Kellogg N'RICH® is ideal for all in-ground planting as well as mulching. Its blend of premium ingredients — including kelp meal, worm castings, bat guano and chicken manure — helps establish strong roots fast.

    * All-natural and organic ingredients, nothing chemical or artificial
    * Contains long lasting redwood
    * Loosens hard, clay soil
    * Large landscape size, 3 cubic foot bale ($7: Affordable)
    * Ideal for planting and mulching
    * 100% satisfaction guaranteed"

In very humid areas Salvia likes this fast draining mix! Alas, this brand is usually only available on the West Coast of the United States. If you can find a similar topsoil mixture of compost and supplements, with little or no peat moss in it, that drains quickly, it's okay to use it instead.

This mixture is all natural and has no peat moss. Best for very humid environments! In humid areas peat moss tends to degrade into an acidic sludge (like a bog) faster.

In either environment Salvia needs to let her soil dry out between waterings: and her roots NEED access to air to prevent them from getting root rot!

Some considerations about soils that are favorable for growing Salvia Divinorum:
A Suitable soil for Salvia in humid areas has some of the following characteristics:

Little or no peat moss.  Peat moss degrades if kept wet ...

Drains well ... Salvia's roots - if left soaking - will get root rot: a fungal disease.

'Loose' soil with larger chunks of bark in it: promotes good drainage and aeration. Not as important in desert areas.

Beneficial ecosystem organisms such as Michorizea and Nematodes and Red Earthworms added. This is a good idea no matter which environment you are in.

Organic fertilizer components. Salvia in pots Needs enrichment for good health.

Slightly Ph Negative.

N'Rich has most if not all of these in it's favor.

It is mostly compost, soil looseners, and nutritional supplements (also composted).

No Peat Moss: I approve. If I can repot them frequently or if I lived in a moist environment I would use this exclusively.

Because it also contains composted redwood forest debris: it contains some excellent rot proof redwood wood bark / chips and drains VERY Well. It contains composted bat guano / poultry droppings / and earthworm castings as well as dolomite for Ph balancing.

I have finally figured out that the composted red earthworm castings included as a fertilizer are Shot Through with LIVE Red Earthworm eggs! I've had people repot my plants and find a huge red worm in the tiny pot: It's happened to me too! I've watched them bail out of the pots as I'm wrapping up the plants for shipping! I've also seen red worms escaping from a bale of N'Rich about a month after it got soaked! Potting plants with this soil and putting household food waste as compost on top encourages vermiculture in the same pot your plants are growing in!

And 3 cubic feet in a big bale bag costs as low as $7! The Best happens to be very affordable too.

There is no need to loosen up the soil with vermiculite or perlite: If you are repotting plants with a well established root ball I recommend you just use N'Rich, or something just like it, straight out of the bag!

For making potting soil for rooting cuttings in: I use Miracle-Gro potting soil out of the bag and amend it with fertilizers that contain beneficial fungi and bacteria to get a finely textured, and dense, soil and fertilizer mix. Babies need good compact soil to hold their stems firmly, while they develop roots, but after that period they like a loose, fast draining soil that is well aerated.  Take the Saucer off of the pot and put bricks under the pot so air can go in the drain holes.

Whether I am mixing bark chunks into soil, for re-potting plants, or making a special mix for cuttings to root in, I always add in to the mix an all organic fertilizer with added beneficial bacteria and fungal agents.  It is very important to amend soils for Salvia with beneficial microbes and Mycorrhizae!  It is fairly easy to add these necessary organisms to any soil you were going to re-pot plants with, or root cuttings in.

What are mycorrhizae and why are these biological amendments so necessary?

"Q. Mycorrhizae. What are they and what do they do?

A. Mycorrhiza (Mycorrhizae is plural) is derived from Greek meaning ‘fungus-root.'

They have been around forever; we are just now discovering them and their importance, uses and benefits.

Mycorrhizae are fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. They provide a bi-directional transfer of nutrients to the plant root--carbon to the fungus.  In nutrient-poor or moisture-deficient soils, nutrients taken up by the mycorrizae can lead to improved plant growth. As a result, mycorrhizal plants are better able to tolerate environmental stresses than are non-mycorrhizal plants. Since they are more efficient, they grow better and bigger and can have better yields also.

An estimated 95% of all plant species belong to genera that characteristically form mycorrhizae. The mycorrhizal condition is the rule among plants, not the exception.

Plants with Mycorrhizae:

1. Have improved nutrient uptake
2. Use less water--up to 30% less, because they are more efficient
3. Are drought and salt tolerant
4. Have increased feeder root activity
5. Create a more efficient use of fertilizer and water

Why do we need to add them?

1. Tilling and crop rotation destroys natural colonies
2. Often we are introducing non-native plants (pansies in Palmdale, blue grass in Glendale)
3. Leveling soil for building can remove or destroy mycorrihzae
4. Leaving ground fallow (no plants) can eliminate colonies"

 I buy an organic fertilizer, made by the Kellogg Company, called "Kellogg Organic Rose and Flower Fertilizer". A 4 pound bag is seven dollars and contains all organic and natural nutrient sources plus beneficial microbes and fungus.

Rose & Flower® - Organic fertilizer for roses & flowers

Kellogg Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer
is a great choice for roses and flowers when you
want the best blooms possible. Gently feeds
with quick-release nutrients to help provide
great results.
    Great for all roses & flowers
    Superior buds & blooms
    More available phosphorous
    Reduces transplant stress
    Feeds for several months

Two other organic fertilizers that have beneficial organisms added are "Happy Frog for acid loving plants", and MycoGrow™.

Here is the List of Ingredients (Right off the Side of the Kellogg Organic Rose and Flower Fertilizer bag):



Total Nitrogen (N)      4%    
Available Phosphoric Acid (P2O5)      6%    
Soluble Potash (K2O)      2%


Calcium (Ca)          
Magnesium (Mg)          
Sulfur (S)          
Boron (B)          
Chlorine (Cl)          
Cobalt (Co)          
Copper (Cu)          
Iron (Fe)      
Manganese (Mn)                  
Molybdenum (Mo)          
Sodium (Na)                
Zinc (Zn)          
Arsenic      0.63
Cadmium      <1
Cobalt      <5
Mercury      <0.01
Molybdenum      2.14
Nickel      11
Lead      <5
Selenium      <0.25
Zinc      211

The symbol "<" indicates the minimum detection limit. The metal was not found at or above the minimum detection limit.

Waste-Derived?      Y

Also contains non-plant food ingredients:
(in propagules per cubic centimeter)

Bacillus Subtilis ... 1430
Bacillus Cereus ... 1430
Bacillus Megaterium ... 1430
Azotobacter Vinelandi ... 75
Lactobacillus Acidophilus ... 1430
Rhizobium Japonicum ...  750
Aspergillus Oryzae ... 75

contains 2% Humic acids (derived from Leonardite)

 Contains 233,174 viable mycorrhizal propagules, per pound

of the following organisms:

Ectomycorrhizae   in propagules per pound:

Pisolithus tinctorius  ...  211,864
Rhizopogon villosuli ... 5296
Rhizopogon luteolus ... 5296
Rhizopogon amylopogon ... 5296
Rhizopogon fulvigleba ... 5296

Endomycorrhizae (VAM)
Glomus intraradices ... 42
Glomus mosseae ... 42
Glomus aggregatum ... 42

Using an organic soil, and adding in organic fertilizers with beneficial organisms added, gives your Salvia plants the best head start in life. Start with good, healthy, living soil - that drains well - and your baby plants will thrive!

Note: do NOT use Rootone on Cuttings potted in soil with Mychorrhizae mixed in. It can be fatal to the cutting.

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