Finding Ping Media Ingredients
I grew Mexican pings several years ago when I was in high school. Back then I grew my pings in a 2:1 mix of perlite and peat because it was the best mix I could make out of what was available at home depot. I just moved into my own place and I was thinking about growing some pings again.
I've been looking at various growing guides for Mexican pings and it seems that each grower had their own media recipe that they swear by. Most of these recipes are fairly elaborate and use a lot of exotic ingredients that I have never heard of before. What I learned from looking over these recipes is that Mexican pings do best in an inorganic substrate, but aside from that, I'm stumped.
The ingredients I see most frequently in these substrate recipes are pumice and aquatic plant media. I have never seen bags of pumice or aquatic plant media sold in garden centers, so I'm pretty sure I would have to order these online. I would also like to know what specific brands of these media ingredients have worked well for Pinguicula growers in the past because I have heard plenty of horror stories of ping (and carnivorous plant in general) media ingredients containing an unknown contaminant killing and entire collection.
SWAGnum, you can try contacting bonsai supply outlets.
They will carry lava, pumice and akadama clay - all of these are used in bonsai media and can be used for mexi-ping media mixes too.
Generally, the horror stories you've heard are from growers getting slow-release fertilizer pellets in peat moss and not noticing these pellets until later.
Likewise, sometimes play sand is purchased with the intent to mix with some peat moss.
Unwashed play sand can contain a lot of silt and lime, two ingredients that can play havoc with drainage in the case of silt and pH, in the case of lime.
There's a fair bit to learn and it can take a while, but hang in there and your plants will be thanking you.