Tropical Fish Enthusiast
From Coastal Carnivores:
Soil and Containers
Mexican and Carribean pings grow on sandy cliffs, and prefer a loose soil low in peat moss (a mix of 1 part sand, perlite, and peat moss is good). Some growers add dolomite to keep the pH up, although I have not found this necessary. Containers do not need to be large, since the root system is not extensive.
The rest of the pings require a more traditional mix of 1:1 peat moss and horticultaral sand. in standard 4 inch pots.
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There is some controversy over the best way to grow Mexican Pinguicula. Techniques that some growers swear by are death in other hands. Mexican Pinguicula are NOT bog plants and should not be grown like bog plants. Plants in the standard peat and sand "CP mix" may or may not do well depending on your exact conditions and which species or hybrid you have.
Most Mexican Pinguicula prefer an alkaline soil mix. I find a good mix for house plant Pings to be one part each of peat, coarse sand, and perlite. Dolomitic or limestone sand would be best if you can get it. This would counteract the acidity of the peat. I use silica sand blasting sand in the mix because that is what I can get. I then add dolomitic lime (a soil amendment found in garden shops) to the mix. I put in about 1 TBS of dolomitic lime to 1 or 2 cups of soil mix. That may seem like a lot but the plants do much better with it there.
There are other options on soil mixes that do work as well. You can use pumice in place of the perlite. Some growers may use vermiculite but it breaks down quickly getting slimy and requiring you to repot often. You can throw in some fine orchid bark but it will degrade in a year or two. Ground bark might actually be better and a good substitute for peat since it would be less acidic.
The main issue with soil mixes is matching the weight or water holding ability of the soil to the temperature and humidity where the plants are growing. Plants grown in humid greenhouses with misty or overhead watering need to be in a more loose soil mix. Plants grown in a typical house or classroom need a heaver, water absorbent mix. I never top water my plants and the pots are always sitting in a few cm of water. That is the reason I recommend a heaver mix than many growers at World of Pinguicula.
After planting the plants I then put a layer of silica sand on the surface of the soil up to 5 mm thick to discourage fungus gnats. Fungus gnat larvae like to eat Pinguicula leaves. I plant all my Pinguicula in 9 cm tall plastic pots and grow them using the classic tray method. When the plants have carnivorous leaves I use a water depth of up to 4 cm in the trays. When the plants are in the succulent phase I keep the water level lower but never dry. I have been growing a number of species and hybrids this way next to a window in my house for five years without repotting. Many of the hybrids bloom constantly. After about five years they need repotting because the deep thatch of old leaves get in the way of the new roots reaching the soil from the growing plants.
Never Knows Best
Media : I use a 100 % mineral media : 2 perlite, 2 vermiculite, 1 small sand (for aquarium), 1 fine white sand, 1 pouzzolane (volcanic lava), 1 aqualit (expansed ceramic for aquarium). The aqualit can be replaced by 1 of pouzzolane. Plants in this media grow slower but have a stronger root system.
and of course one of the recipes from Joseph Clemens:
Media: 1 part Schultz aquatic plant soil (sintered fullers earth) and 1 part 20 or 30 grit silica sand --- pre-moisten the sand (not wet, just damp) and blend a very small amount of iron oxide powder into the sand before mixing all ingredients together, I mix thoroughly while lightly spraying with a 40ppm solution of 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer with trace elements (which is absorbed by the aquatic plant soil and fortifies it); Trays: shoe box size polyethylene plastic trays, I spray paint the rim white with spray paint formulated for plastic; Amendments: dried, powdered, insects with a small amount of Trichoderma harzianum inoculum mixed in.
Basically the tendency is to use inorganic soil, but what soil.. there is no consensus
you watering by the top , or by capillarity from the bottom of the pot ?
in the genus pinguicula (all) you have 3 substrate
- calcareous and alcalin ( sometimes gypsum)
a lot of mexican grow in alcalin or gypsum substrate. PH :8-9 sometimes 7.
a lot of temperate in calcareous PH : 7-9 or acid substrate 5-6
for the others : subtropical US, andin ,caraibe see my web site
species by species for several ping you can see here 'in situ'lien for me it is the better answer .
yes there are no consensus , but in my opinion always be closer to the 'in situ' , after in each Country is hard to find the same materials
my grow list :lien
my web site :lien
Last edited by jeff 2; 04-25-2012 at 12:24 AM.
Never Knows Best
I do both, sometimes just add the water in the tray, sometimes topwater the pots. Do both basically.
Got some aragonite sand from Petco. It is made up of some fine and coarse particles. Will experiment with it later. But I'm happy to see that the mix in which I have added perlite again and after drying thoroughly (no plant in it) put in the tray with water, became wet and even the top got moist.
for me by capillarity from the bottom of the pot is the better method , no risk to have some element migrated .
sometimes perlite over time dissolves in water, so I do not use it
my grow list :lien
my web site :lien
mostly turface. some sand black lava rock and a little peat... Have never tried the coral sand. Might give it a go one day...
Originally Posted by gill_za