Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Cultivation => Composts => Topic started by: David Nicholson on October 07, 2009, 10:50:18 PM

Title: Cat Litter
Post by: David Nicholson on October 07, 2009, 10:50:18 PM
Earlier today I contributed to a discussion on the PBS List about drainage in growing materials and drew attention to some members of the Forum using cat litter as part of their compost mix, although it was not appropriate for me to refer to Forum members by name. From memory Darren has used it for Calochortus; Diane for Hepatica; Anthony for Cypripedium; Dave(Slug Killer) for Cyps I think; John Hampshire(Greenmanplants) also for Cyps, and I'm sure their are others.

This has prompted one reader of the discussion, Tom Mitchell, to contact me by my home Email asking if he might be put in touch with members who have experience of using cat litter, and I quote below:-

"I am in the early stages of establishing a small specialist nursery and am learning the trade as I go along, mainly be making a lot of mistakes. Later this month I am due to receive a small shipment of tissue cultured Cypripedium from Canada and so was most curious to read your recommendations regarding the use of cat litter in the growing medium. I wonder if you would mind letting me know who in the UK you mentioned. I'd love to get some advice from an expert"

Tom's Email address is tomAT(replace with @)

I have suggested to Tom that he could do much worse than to join our discussions and to show him how effective this Forum is I do hope that those with the experience will make contact with him please.
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Anthony Darby on October 07, 2009, 11:01:13 PM
It is important that you use the cat litter made from baked clay granules that doesn't clump, as some cat litter just turns to 'mud' when wet.
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Maggi Young on October 08, 2009, 01:34:50 PM
Tom has joined the Forum and has also posed this query in the Orchid section... here...
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Darren on October 10, 2009, 05:11:39 PM
There is a lot of discussion on this topic on the British Cactus and Succulent Society forum if that is any help? The stuff is quite well established as a compost ingredient in this branch of horticulture.

My experience is recent, and limited, but I'm happy with results for seed composts for bulbs and cyclamen especially. I just noticed good germination this morning in a pot of Calochortus seed. Very few seedlings survive to flowering in normal composts so I'm intrigued by how much this might improve things. I will keep you posted.

Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: mark smyth on October 10, 2009, 05:19:11 PM
I've met Tom somewhere. While clearing/tidying the computer desk this week I through away his card
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: evolutionplantsman on October 10, 2009, 07:11:42 PM

I'll try not to take it personally! We met at Margaret Owen's snowdrop day in February. I'll give you another card next year...

Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: iann on November 06, 2009, 03:04:45 PM
I'm one of those cactus, and Lithops and other succulents, growers that uses cat litter.  It is a calcined moler clay, physically quite similar to pumice granules but chemically different.  There are several cat litters which have the same stuff< Sophisticat Pink, one from Wilkinsons and one from the Co-Op.  The Tescos one has changed branding recently and is now sold as "Dust Free".  The stuff you want is a beige colour, slightly pink, and stays hard in water.  It is difficult to crush, much harder than perlite, and it hisses when you water very dry granules.
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Michael J Campbell on May 08, 2016, 06:28:38 PM
Have Tesco changed the packaging on their  cat litter made from baked clay granules?. I  went to get some today and could not find the cream & pink bag with the cat on it. There is another one that looks like the same granules but they are not the same colour.
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Darren on May 09, 2016, 10:52:01 AM
Yes Michael - they changed the packaging a few months ago. The 'Low Dust' cat litter still seems to be the same stuff.

There is a picture of the new packaging on the BCSS forum: (
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: ian mcdonald on May 09, 2016, 07:48:21 PM
I have two Cypripedium calceolus from a nursery recently. The nurseryman said they were in cat litter. The compost seems to be small pieces of limestone, charcoal and compost. They are growing well. See image 1010317.
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Michael J Campbell on May 09, 2016, 08:39:07 PM
Thanks Darren.  :)
Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: Michelle Swann on March 02, 2022, 09:17:01 AM
I found some information on this......
At the bottom of the artile it says

'I followed the instructions to plant them in garden soil
mixed with horticultural grit, and
either Seramis, or a top-quality cat
litter based on porous clay particles,
such as Sophisticat. All of them
have thrived in the garden where
they are shaded by ferns and small
trees, notably a loquat Eriobotrya
japonica, a dogwood Cornus, and a
mountain ash Sorbus aucuparia. This
year the most prolific slipper orchid,'

Ray also put this beautiful Orchid on
display. Cypripedium reginae ‘Alba’, a
showy, hardy orchid from damp areas of
eastern USA and Canada. It is growing
in a 50/50 ‘Sanicat’ pink cat litter and
propagating bark mix, watered and fed
weekly using ‘Rain mix’ all seasons orchid

I have three new orchids and was going to give it a really good wash before using, it is made of molar clay and it a lot cheaper than buying clay granules that are the same thing.  I also checked, people are using for cacti etc.

What do you guys think??

Title: Re: Cat Litter
Post by: arisaema on March 02, 2022, 09:51:18 AM

What do you guys think??

Looks exactly like what I used for Cypripedium years ago before moving, they seemed to love it - both in raised garden beds in the open, and in pots. The one I used came perfumed so I did give it a couple of rinses in hot water, but it may not have been necessary...
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