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Thread: Which species want chalk in the mix?

  1. #1

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    I was just looking to improve my culture of the different species. Anyone out there have any suggestions? Amounts?
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    Only the Mexican or tropical butterworts require chalk as they live on limestone cliffs. I personally don't add chalk, but if I did I would only add a pinch.

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    I have not found any need for chalk. I prefer using perlite and vermiculite as substitutes. P.gypsicola, heterophylla, colimensis, immaculata and medusina grow well in a more basic medium. I grow P.gypsicola in a 2:1:1:2 peat:sanderlite:vermiculite media.

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    Just came across this...

    "The potting media I use contains a proportion of either crushed chalk or tufa rock as well as more familiar perlite, vermiculite, sand and some moss peat. P.heterophylla is yet another Pinguicula species which prefers a more basic compost, after all these are not typical bogland CPs. Other materials such as crushed limestone or dolomite lime should be equally suitable."

    The whole content is available at
    http://www2.labs.agilent.com/botany/...uicu/phet1.htm

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I wonder has anyone actually measured the pH right at the roots of these plants? Alot of people assume that N. northiana needs crushed limestone or other types of calcium in its potting mix because it is found on limestone mountains in nature. In actuality they grow in pockets of acidic peatlike decomposed organic matter among the limestone boulders. In cultivation they are one species that really does like a more dense acidic peat based potting mix.
    In my experience limestone mountains don't crumble much and incorporate themselves into the surrounding soil (probably because they dissolve and are leached away very quickly).
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    http://www.pwilson.demon.co.uk
    Phil Wilson mentions 'tufa' as a ping substrate. Just click 'cultivation,' then 'growing Pinguicula.' Tufa is defined as 'the calcerous and silicaceous rock deposits of springs, lakes, or ground water;' also, tuff, 'a rock composed of compacted volcanic ash varying in size from fine sand to coarse gravel.'

    My current Mexican ping mix is 1:1:1:1 peat/sand/perlite/vermiculite. To this I add a bit (pinches) each of dolomitic limestone and gypsum. I do not use chalk.

    I DO fertilize them: Epiphytes Delight at 25% misted onto their foliage once monthly.

    About lime...the June '02 CPN, p61, has an old quote from Joe Mazrimas: "...I noticed a dramatic improvement in the growth and flowering of Mexican Pinguicula after a one-time watering of lime water. A thimbleful of hydrated agricultural lime was added to a pint of deionized water and shaken vigorously for two minutes. A cupful was poured into each pot and I tried to avoid splashing any on the plant leaves. Most of the plants are growing in an even mixture of perlite and living sphagnum moss. I continued to water them with deionized water and I noticed a rapid spurt of growth after about 3-4 weeks followed by the production of many flower spikes."

    Intrigued, I quickly watered a couple expendable P. moranensis and P. agnata x gypsicola with lime water. We'll see what happens a month from now!

    BTW, Tony, I have my N. northiana in 2:1:1:1 vermiculite/perlite/sand/lava rock. Perhaps I should change it next time I repot...what would you suggest? Thanks. I remember Catalani recommending 100% sphagnum, but he seems to say that for every species. [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    Chris



    Chris Roy
    Eastern Massachusetts, United States

    I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter. - Blaise Pascal

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    "Most of the plants are growing in an even mixture of perlite and living sphagnum..."

    Mexican Pinguiculas prefer a mix with less acidity than a mix of perlite and living sphagnum. Adding a bit of lime helped raise the ph of the medium and thus helped the plants grow better than before.

    In a mix with a good proportion of vermiculite there is no need to add any lime water as the mix will already have a ph suited for calcerous mex. pings.

    Something else I have noticed...when the pot with my D.adelae was watered with water that had been mixed with vermiculite, the living sphagnum in the pot browned the following days.

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    Thank you all for the excellent replies. My plants are doing well, but I am always interested in improving my culture. I believe I will try the lime water, and I would be very interested in hearing a follow up on other experiments using this method.
    "Grow More, Share More"

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