Best soil for potting

nesta129, Aug 31, 10:50am
I have a couple citrus plants and flowering plants in pots that seem to be struggling,maybe to do with the soil.I stopped using potting mix and compost and made home-made compost and old potting mix,added in some sheep pellets,blood and bone and a bit of dried chicken manure to help them along,however they don't seem to be healthy.I add fertiliser as well,watered with worm wee (mixed to ratio) or water thats had sheep pellets mixed in it.
Does the good potting soil from Bunnings etc (the expensive ones) do a much better job or is it better to buy top soil to use in the pots?
I plant in pots as its easily managed and due to lack of soil area to plant anything.

cantabman1, Aug 31, 7:16pm
I have purchased both cheap and expensive potting mix, and cannot see much difference; except perhaps the quantity of slow release fert added to the mix.
My biggest concern when buy said products is residue broard leaf weed spray recycled from lawn clippings, which keep on activating after composting.I have had this happen twice killing off small seedlings.

differentthings, Aug 31, 7:37pm
Citrus plants need more than good soil. Lime, PH level etc all play a part. I'm no expert, but google is or your local garden centre will be a good start. My leaves started to turn yellow and I used some citrus fertilizer and that seen to fix it.

annies3, Aug 31, 8:32pm
Yes citrus do need a specific ph they seem to like magnesium, so the citrus manure would be a good idea for the pots, also I wondered how long since you potted them, position will also make a difference.

piquant, Aug 31, 10:04pm
Anything you plant in pots is going to need more care than in the ground - generally. The reasons? The plants have a very limited amount of food to draw from (and the cheaper the mix the less food - or less long term food the plant has access to). They dry out quicker and lots of things, like citrus prefer a cooler root run and need copious amounts of moisture to produce juicy fruit. If you plant in pots (and you would be wise to only plant in pots that have a wider rim - ie traditional shape) so that it is easy to remove the rootball and rootprune the plant as necessary. Some every year, some less frequently. This also gives you the opportunity to replenish the mix where it is needed most - at the roots. Do not use soil in pots - it compacts and behaves pretty much like concrete. By using old potting mix you are effectively risking transferring any disease that may have been in it from the original plant - so never a good idea. Put spent mix in the compost heap and allow nature to take care (unless you know that there is a serious disease issue - then put it in the rubbish).
One of the biggest issues with pots is the drying out. I bet if you were able to plunge your pot into water - it would bubble for hours. Growing media is the most difficult thing to get moist again after it had dried out. And for those who answer to this is to use rain crystals - that's not the answer as if they do tend to dry out - the crystals will effectively draw moisture out of the growing media. If you can - there is a trick that will give you the effect of having pots - and that is to take the bottom out of your container or grow it in a concrete drainage pipe section. This allows you to have the citrus "elevated" but the roots have access to the soil below, a cooler root run and less likelihood of the issues mentioned above. You could always grow something round the outside of the ring if concrete offends you.

lythande1, Sep 1, 1:34am
The chook manure could burn though. better to use a bot of citrus fertiliser.
Pots - they can get too dry in summer, too wet in winter. Can get root bound too.
I'd check those u=issues before blaming the nutrients.

paix1, Sep 1, 2:54am
. with your knowledge piquant, wish you were my neighbour! In my cul-de-sac, seems I'm the only really keen gardener!

differentthings, Sep 1, 4:58am
Also if growing in pots they should be dwarf plants as well and not the full size ones.

nesta129, Sep 30, 11:31am
Thanks all for your replies.

I have the citrus plants,they are all dwarf ones in large plastic pots with a wider mouth for removal later,to prune the rootball.How often should I do this? As the plants have been in them for about 2 years now.
I did use a mix of normal garden soil with compost and maybe it is time to buy more good potting mix to replant them?

I wish I could remove the bottom of the pots but unfortunately I cannot as there is simply no room for them in the ground.The garden around is only 15 square meters at most and most of it is concreted.The pots are also raised above the ground,to reach easy because of my bad back.

rita197, Sep 15, 10:10am
Make sure you don't over water the plants. Home made compost with bought compost is good and fertilise every 4 months. Add fresh soil /compost every year.