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Thread: Lava rock, Dyna Rok II, Aliflor

  1. #9

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    I used to grow S. minor and S. purpurea in a mix of peat and lava rock only.

    I line the bottom of ALL of my pots with lava rock. It helps with humidity, keeps the rest of the mix from falling out of the bottom of the pot, and drains well, yet still holds/sucks up a lot of water (for plants on the tray system). Drosera either don't like it or plain just don't like me, as I have managed to kill every single one I've ever owned, regardless of the fact that I put them in good conditions.
    Z polski y dumny
    Prayer - how to do nothing and still think you're helping.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F5aCUNE4Z8
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  2. #10
    xscd's Avatar
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    Wow, lots of great comments about alternative ingredients in CP potting mixes (fired, puffed clay (Aliflor among other names), lava rock, diatomite (Dyna Rok II)), etc.

    Thanks everyone for the comments and contributing to the discussion. I am not a fan of perlite because of its stark white appearance, its tendency to float and rise to the surface of the mix and overflow the pot, and its "dustiness," although it can be rinsed before using. I may buy a small bag of each of these other ingredients to try. I prefer something that weighs a little more than perlite but not necessarily as much as silica sand, because I use urethane foam pots and need something a little heavier to help anchor them.

    One of the reasons I was interested in these ingredients is because the only source of silica sand I have in my region (that I know of) is a home/construction store that sells blasting sand. But the price of a 50 or 100 lb. bag just doubled within the last several months, to about $15 (50 lb.) and $30 (100 lb.) per bag.

    I know that the other amendments mentioned, the expanded fired clay pellets (which I am very interested in), the mined diatomaceous rock and porous lava rock, may not be much cheaper, but they have the advantage of also providing aeration and water-retention capabilities.

    I believe, from my own family's experience owning a small pottery, that the expanded clay, having been fired and therefore fused, will likely not shed too many minerals into the water and potting mix, so that will keep the TDS (total dissolved solids) down to an acceptable level. I'm more afraid of the diatomaceous rock, fearing that although it is about 90% silica, the other 10% of various minerals might be water soluble, even if slowly, and may burn the roots of some carnivorous plants. (Anyone have any comments about that?). With the lava rock I have a similar concern. Although the rock is fused and almost like glass, it may have lots of other minerals other than silica. I'm wondering how fast they dissolve in typical CP acid soil and whether they overload the potting mix and water with those minerals. It is for this same reason that I avoid gravel with its usual varied mix of types of rock. Crushed quartz may be an exception, since it would be almost pure silica.

    Perhaps these fears (about minerals from these additives being dissolved at to rapid a rate in the water and acid soil) are exagerrated however.


    I have enjoyed reading the discussion. Thanks everyone--

    Steve / xscd
    Be happy in the travel--there is no destination

  3. #11

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    i have used lava rock for about a year with no ill effects.

    hope that helps...
    Z polski y dumny
    Prayer - how to do nothing and still think you're helping.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F5aCUNE4Z8
    ^^^Newest vid

  4. #12
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Another idea is that not all lava comes from the same volcano. while one batch from an area might be perfect, another batch from another volcano could cause algea problems and best and death at worst.

  5. #13

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    This is true. I use Mosser Lee brand. Kind of really expensive, but it seems to work really well
    Z polski y dumny
    Prayer - how to do nothing and still think you're helping.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F5aCUNE4Z8
    ^^^Newest vid

  6. #14
    xscd's Avatar
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    I've found an interesting comparison of several brands of LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate) including Aliflor, a Taiwanese brand, and PrimeAgra (but not Hydroton, which is another popular brand) here:

    http://www.firstrays.com/PrimeAgra/compare.htm

    PrimeAgra came out the clear winner in his comparison (and in his opinion as an orchid grower). It comes in fine (4-10 milimeter) and standard (8-16 milimeter) pellet sizes. I ordered some of the fine grade to try with carnivorous plants. It will be interesting to experiment.


    Steve / xscd
    Be happy in the travel--there is no destination

  7. #15
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Consider yourself lucky if you're getting 100 pounds of sand for $30 - the only sand I can find around here is quartz sand sold as reptile bedding, and it's about $16 for two pounds if I remember right. I try to use as little sand as possible.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  8. #16
    Metal King
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    Seedjar- have you tried and contractors supply places or anything?? 16 bucks for 2 pounds of sand would have likely kept me outta the hobby right from the get-go
    Or maybe sandblasting sand?? you should realy ask around as sand is handy, tho if you've found ways around it there's really no need

    Sorry if this is too far off topic but the price for sand listed in the last post made me have to say something
    Da Growlist

    "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich"-Spongebob Squarepants

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