View Full Version : Peat Free composts for Sarracenia
03-10-2002, 04:52 PM
Has anyone out there had success with a peat free compost for their Sarracenia?
03-10-2002, 05:10 PM
Of course! I use Pure Living Sphagnum. It works wonders for my Purpurea spp. Purpurea's! I also on occasion when I run out of living will use Dead Sphagnum. I also have success with acidic sand. That's right! Just plain pure acidic sand. But I have only my S.Leucophylla planted in it.
03-10-2002, 05:29 PM
I think he means a complete alternative compost NepG such as cocofibre etc. using sphagnum moss is ultimatley like using peat and peat supplies are dwindling.
03-10-2002, 05:48 PM
But Acidic sand isn't! :cheesy:
03-11-2002, 07:28 AM
I have 2-inch tall sarracenias (very young) in a container with only perlite. There's a layer of live sphagnum on top of the perlite for humidity. The container does not have any hole at the bottom.
03-11-2002, 07:41 AM
Richard? Peat supplies are dwindling? I don't want to turn this into an eco debate, but from discussions with Martin (hey Martin remember this? it was really heated on GW), I remember that Germany and other European countries have a real problem with peat harvesting, however, in the America's, it is a little different.
Canada is the chief supplier of peat moss over here, and they don't even harvest peat, they make it from long fiber sphagnum I believe.
Any how, I don't remember the figures, but something like less than 5 % of Canada's bogs are used for peat farming, and they are rotated and renewed every so often to lessen their impact on the environment.
As far as success with non-organic, or odd substrates on sars, sorry, I have never seen the point, so I have never experimented. Good luck to you thou! http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
03-12-2002, 03:23 PM
Do we have an agreement for no eco-debate? OK. Just a point--as demand for peat increases as a result of higher global human population (more people = more gardeners) CP and other bog dwellers will become more threatened. It would be a fine idea to wean ourselves off peat before this happens. That's one reason I want to try the inorganic Nepenthes substrate.
And peat is organic. It is therefore susceptible to inhabitation by fungus that could damage a plant.
Also, peat breaks down over time. An inorganic substrate would need replacement rarely, if ever. That translates to more time for the grower to do what he/she enjoys doing.
03-12-2002, 05:35 PM
Very good points Chris...
<note to self>
<Moderators Journal Entry>
"Keep an eye on that Chris fellow... he's got ideas.... Ideas are dangerous... must maintain status qou..."
<Warning... packet theft detection... journal entry posted...>
03-12-2002, 07:07 PM
just a guess but what is someone used only pine needles? There acidic when they decompsoe
03-12-2002, 07:29 PM
Hmm.....good point Ceph. .......................Hmm.......I have seen Purpurea's up by my well known bogs growing in densely packed areas under tall pines. I may look into that. AND IF we COULD get them to root and grow well in it then we could get more pressure off of peat supplies and pines aren't endangered! :cheesy:
03-13-2002, 02:44 PM
Great idea--let's compare pine needles to Sphagnum:
coarse needles that haven't been off a tree for very long would be a little similar to long-fiber sphagnum, i.e well draining but not suitable for things like VFTs and small sundews.
I doubt dead pine needles would hold nearly as much water as peat, however
a rule of composting pine needles is: wait till they are well-decomposed before using them in your garden because needles right off a tree will damage plants, visible as a burning of the leaves--therefore, plain undecomposed needles may not work for cp
but if you let the needles *rot* for several months till they're a fine humus (similar to leaf mould?) they just might work as at least a partial substitute for Sphagnum peat
keep in mind that most cp in the wild don't get smothered with pine needles--they are far more suited to growing in peat
and growers would need to experiment to find out how quickly the needles decompose into a deadly, anaerobic mush similar to cereal left out for too long
But pine needles are worth a try!
03-13-2002, 04:31 PM
That has given me food for thought. There is a potential threat to peat supplies in the UK within the next few years and I will try some experiments with some peat free composts. I like the the idea of pine needles, decomposed ones, because in forestry land in the UK where you have streams running through, you will often see Sphagnum growing naturally in places.
Acidic sand is not a problem to get hold of either, it is sold as silver sand here and I use it with my VFT without problems mixing it with peat at the moment.
With the Sarracenias, I use 3 parts moss peat to 1 of perlite at the moment so now I think for me is to do some trials! Thanks again for you input, plus any further ideas are most welcome!
03-14-2002, 11:11 AM
well.. just a thought if it doesn't work out... start a canadian peat import biz... http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
pine needles seems to me like it would be ideal
another thought, is here any how, when christmas is over, a big truck comes around and picks up all the old christmas trees, they take them to a special landfill (only trees and brush) and then chip them up into piles. You come by, pay a 5 buck entry fee, and you can take as much as you can haul, and come back as many times in a day as you want.
Texans are very big on getting this stuff, because our soil is so alkaline, you HAVE to do it in order to have any success groing stuff in the ground.
03-14-2002, 12:43 PM
How about using a sand, pumice mix with orchid bark to add acidity, the pumice would keep it from getting too dense, making the mix more open. Perhaps 25% sand, 25% Orchid bark and 50% pumice. The orchid bark also would not break down as quickly as pine needles. You could use pearlite instead of pumice if it is easier to get. The only problem with this mix, indeed any largly non organic mix, would be that it will not hold water for long (in comparison to peat) and so would need to be watered frequently. M2CW.
03-14-2002, 04:18 PM
could rock wool be a good substitute for peat? in green crunches mix I mean...
03-14-2002, 04:57 PM
Rock wool might work. I am not real familiar with it but you could try putting a 6" block of it in a half inch of water for a while, if the top of the block is wet then it has enough wicking strength to keep most CPs going in a tray watering system. I suppose you could break it up some and use it to replace the pumice and part of the sand in the mix I suggested, it would be worth a shot.
03-14-2002, 05:09 PM
What about hydroponics?
03-14-2002, 05:10 PM
Sounds like a good mix. You could also substitute the pumice with lava rock.
I think the the main hurdle would be keeping the mix moist enough. We're used to peat mixes that hold water for LONG time, and this mix would take some experimentation, and modification if necessary.
03-14-2002, 05:14 PM
Hydroponics! Awesome idea! Hydroponics can be kept very wet and rarely need refreshing. However, I've never done hydroculture, so I can't really speculate.
Anyone here done hydroponics? If so, what do you think about growing sarrs that way?
03-14-2002, 05:17 PM
I don't know much about it either, but I do know this: Carnivorous plants are some of the least soil nutrient-dependent plants in the world, so one would think that their roots would need little more than just pure water. I'm not sure of this, however, but even if they need something else from the soil, I would think that the right fertilizer added to the water in minute amounts would take care of that need. More research would be needed, but I would think that somebody out there would have thought of this before me. It seems so obvious it's almost silly! http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
03-14-2002, 05:30 PM
My understanding of hydroponics is to have a nutrient rich solution flowing through an inert media that the plants are rooted in, now with CPs they take in very little to no nutrients through their roots and peat and sand are pretty much inert so a tray system would qualify as a primitive hydroponic system!
The soil mix that I suggested and RP modified could have the last organic ingredient removed if another suitable, non organic, source of acidity could be provided without leaving residual salts in the soil upon evaporation. Any suggestions?
03-14-2002, 05:50 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot about acidity... I suppose you could put some sort of acid in the water, I don't know if any straight chemical would be suitable for CPs, but you could probably just soak something acidic in the water, such as pine needles. Anyone have any ideas as to what to use to make the water acidic? Preferrably something inorganic. Then you could just use straight water without any soil at all. Would this work?
03-14-2002, 07:24 PM
All I can think of besides some sort of peat tea (which defeats the point of using hydroculture) would be aluminum sulfate, which is a chemical and would eventually cause mineral buildup.
I know it DOES work because I sometimes use it on my cp, but it's inorganic.
Maybe, as you said, pine needle infused water?
03-14-2002, 08:19 PM
I think Acetic acid (vinegar) might work but I will have to check out the evaporation rate to see if it would accumulate, it is suposed to evaporate completely in time so it should not build up too bad and for a pH of 6 it should be dilute enough not to smell too bad, especialy if you just used it as an occasional rinse to keep the pH down. Please DON'T go off and pickle your plants on this advise though, I still need to check out a lot of stuff first, evaporation, dilution, etc. etc.etc. If any one has tried this in the past, what happened? Would love to hear.
03-14-2002, 08:46 PM
That may be a good idea. I have a pH meter, so I can determine what dilution would be necessary to give a pH of 6.0, and how long it would take to evaporate. Can you think of any reason why acetic acid as a chemical might be harmful to CPs?
03-15-2002, 11:31 AM
Hi Havron, so you have a pH meter, cool, do an experiment for me if you would, get a shallow plastic or glass pan, like a baking pan, and put water in it then add enough distilled vinagar in it to bring it to 6 pH then set it aside and let it evaporate. When it as about 90% gone check the pH again and see if it went up or down. When it is all gone check and see if it left any residue, but make sure the vinagar you buy does not have any salt added obviously. I was going to do this myself but I don't have any realy accurate way to measure the pH.
03-15-2002, 11:36 AM
Sure! I was going to perform an experiment similar to this anyways. http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif Next time I go to Publix I'll pick up some distilled white vinegar, and see what happens.
03-15-2002, 11:40 AM
Where are yu going get it pure they always add mineral water to it. If its ph isn't 6 boil down (do this outside though it stinks otherwise)
03-17-2002, 02:20 AM
This is interesting. I performed a few experiments with my pH meter (just recalibrated prior to experiment), and I got the following results:
The distilled water I use (Crystal Springs distilled water, available here at Publix) <i>already has a pH of 6.0!</i> My chemistry professor says that this is because really pure water has essentially no buffering capacity, and even a small amount of dissolved carbon dioxide can push the pH that low. Of course, this lack of buffering capacity also means that, although pure distilled water seems to, at least in my experience, have a very-nice-for-CPs pH of 6.0, that pH could be easily upset.
Next, I bubbled some CO2 through the water (half an Alka Seltzer tablet in a separate container with a tube attatched and feeding into the water), the water was swirled to ensure even mixing of carbonation in the water, and the pH dropped as low as 5.2. An hour later the pH was 5.4. I will measure it again this afternoon.
03-17-2002, 11:38 AM
This is odd. I just measured the pH of the water again, and it's risen a little <i>above</i> where it started! It is now 6.2. No clue why...
03-17-2002, 12:56 PM
If you say it has virtually no buffering capacity, just about anything could have shot the pH back up. Do you have this water in a glass container?
NG, I remember you mentioned acidic, or silver sand. Where did you obtain this sand? Thanks.
03-17-2002, 12:58 PM
It's in a 9 oz plastic Solo cup, about 1/3 full or so.
03-17-2002, 03:18 PM
My acidic sand? I got it from my friends driveway in FL. He said these wierd palnts were growing in his drive around 1 part that was always wet adn they were D.Capillarius! Unbelivable huh! But He said take some sand for my CP's. SO I did and planted S.Leucophylla right in there. Pure acidic sand. IT was kinda bizzare to see Drosera in his driveway! I am just glad to report the Leucophylla is doing wonderfully!It is doing so good as a matter of fact that it has sent up 3 new pitchers now and 2 babies! :o IT is very nice to get free acidic sand!
03-17-2002, 03:39 PM
If I had sundews growing in my driveway...:biggrin:
03-17-2002, 03:53 PM
Wild huh! It was pretty odd to see what I though were sundews in his driveway! I asked him what they were, ( and he did research!) and surprizingly told me they were ( he pronounced it) Drooseeras Capillareeiuuss. But I told himthe correct term and he said yes, that is what it said on a webpage I found about it. I still was astonished to see sundews in his drive way. But, they were not in the way of his car they were more off to the side by the walkway up to his house. SO they were far away from harms grasp. http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
03-19-2002, 02:55 PM
Check out the Moorland Gold on this web site. It claims to be a sustainable peat product.
03-19-2002, 11:10 PM
GOE, I think you found what we're looking for! The link didn't work, so I just did:
scroll</a> down a bit and the product is listed
has anyone here ever heard of or tried Moorland Gold? I really think it may work
thanks so much GOE!
03-21-2002, 10:34 AM
Hi Havron, that is interesting, your results would explain how organic material in the sand raises acidity because any decomposition of plant debris is going to release carbon, then any increase in soil alkilinity would drive biological activity, increasing the rate of decomposition and drive the pH back down into the acid range so the organic matter is acting as the buffer in the system. I wonder if you could use sub soil CO2 injection to maintain acidity? perhaps a very slow yeast generator would work, although I suspect that good old organic matter would be the best slow release agent. I would also suspect that your pH rebound after CO2 injection was caused by water vapor/particle contamination from the alka-seltzer water. As you noted it would not take much to swing it that far. So I guess that all things said that I will stick to the recipe that was suggested earlier using the rock wool absorbant and orchid bark for acidity for a peat free growing mix with the disclaimer that you will have to water it more often.
03-23-2002, 02:29 PM
I am currently growing a plant of <i>Drosera binata</i> in distilled water infused with carbon dioxide, making sure it is well-fed, and will report my findings as time goes on. So far, after a few days it seems to be doing well, comparable to the plants I potted in 1:1 peat/perlite. If things go well, I will probably try this hydroponic growing method with a VFT and some other type of CP, and maybe I'll get an article in CPN! http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
03-23-2002, 03:46 PM
Hi Havron, sound interesting! what type of co2 generator are you using? how long does it last? what are you using to physically support the plant? looking forward to hearing your results!
03-23-2002, 05:39 PM
I am using an Alka-Seltzer/water generator, and have only used it once so far (it lasted a couple minutes). I will check the pH soon and determine if I need to run it again. The plant is inserted in a small hole in the center of a piece of foam material, which rests on the top of a plastic cup filled to the brim with distilled water. Will update further as the experiment progresses. http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
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