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Thread: Move over Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil...

  1. #17
    swords's Avatar
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    That's very true Bruce, too much rain on something like a succulent in potting soil at my place and it's "see ya!" Even normal houseplants/outdoor stuff have to have a large amount of bark added. I started using shredded cypress mulch though instead of orchid bark a few years ago. The mulch doesn't rot and it does the same thing, about 200% cheaper though!

    Avoid that good smelling coco husks though, fungus city when mixed in a pot and I read somewhere your dogs will die if they eat it.

    As far as my succulents I grow them "all" under lights, in the gravel/grit mix with sort of highland nep conditions (minus the humidity) and only water when I see signs of wrinkling, pulling into the soil, shrinking in size, etc. cos it's just too hard to control them outside. I relented and put a number of my big ones outside on my "covered" patio cos they just won't fit under the lights. Hopefully the Trichocereus and such can take the MN rains/temps, they do grow at higher altitudes, so we'll see. Now the smaller stuff is really coloring up nice with the lamps 2-3" away from the plant tops and a cooling fan running 24/7 to get a nice drop in night temps into the 60*F range and not too hot during the day (75-90*F).

    Mark, I indeed learned much of my succulent growing skills from an Englishman! He taught me the "zen of watching for wrinkles" He doesn't call it that but that's what it really is. Growing hard and dry. He doesn't believe grow lights can give good enough light to grow plants "unless they're cannabis lights" he always says but that's just bias against florescents and a defense of his greenhouse & halides as far as I'm concerned. I've used halides for my Neps/orchids and while they can somewhat more closely simulate the intensity and drying action of the sun they have a whole host of other logistical concerns to contend with. But the "English method" as I call it (cos of him) seems to work in my conditions - whereas I only killed them before. I've never owned a succulent longer than a month until doing them this way.

  2. #18
    What is and what should never be Crissytal's Avatar
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    I'm just now seeing this thread.

    Has anyone been able to run any tests on the NAPA Floor Dry stuff yet? I can no longer get Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil locally. Shipping on the stuff is outrageous. I use it to grow my Pinguicula. Before I discovered this stuff, I was about to believe I couldn't grow Pings and give up. The "normal" CP mixes do NOT work for me in my conditions.

    I did some reading and found that "all natural" kitty litter can be used in the place of APS. The problem is, the kitty litter dissolves, and rather quickly so it won't work for what I need it for. I did a test with a small handful in a cup. Within an hour or two, it was a mucky mess. Why anyone would want to use it in their aquarium is beyond me.

    Will the NAPA Floor Dry dissolve when exposed to water? If not, I'd be willing to try it out on a few Pings that I have extra of. If this won't work due to the silica breaking down (or it nearly completely dissolving like the kitty litter) then I'll have to experiment with pure vermiculite. I've read that both pure vermiculite and an approximate mix of 50/50 vermiculite and perlite (I'm having issues getting perlite too, all the local stuff has MircleGro, except for one place that has it on back order) work with great results. It looks like I'm getting ready to find out...

    My post is a bit off topic since it isn't regarding succulents and cactus, sorry about that. I would really like to know if it dissolves though.

    Crystal
    Where do we go when we just don't know,
    And how do we relight the flame when it's cold?
    Why do we dream when our thoughts mean nothing,
    And when will we learn to control?
    --Godsmack

  3. #19
    A yellow M&M Jefforever's Avatar
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    Crystal -- you should try 1:1 sand/pumice. Apparently totally inorganic soils like that do well, at least in my experience.

    Cindy in Singapore uses pure perlite; I've tried this and it works very well! If you get the water level right the plants grow faster than usual.

  4. #20
    What is and what should never be Crissytal's Avatar
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    Thanks Jeff. Even the sand that I have here is iffy. It's sand from the local area, which would come from the limestone probably. I use the play sand in my bogs and such with no problems, but would be afraid to use that much with nothing else mixed to help balance it. Can't find pumice either, so that doesn't help much .

    I'm hoping to be able to get some perlite without ferts within the next few weeks. The place I got the vermiculite from has the perlite on back order. So I have no idea how long it will be. I refuse the buy the small 8 quart bag for over $5.00 when I can get a 4 cubic feet bag for $17.00. That should supply all my perlite needs for a very very long time....if only they can get it in.

    For now, I'm going to give the vermiculite a go. I'll make a thread later on about the results if anyone is interested.

    Though I'm still curious about the NAPA stuff.

    Crystal
    Where do we go when we just don't know,
    And how do we relight the flame when it's cold?
    Why do we dream when our thoughts mean nothing,
    And when will we learn to control?
    --Godsmack

  5. #21
    swords's Avatar
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    I saw a guy buying a bag of perlite that big last time I was at the garden center. I'd have to strap it to the roof of my car, it surely wouldn't fit inside my lil Focus. I couldn't help laughing out loud when I saw it! It looked like a hallucination of a gigantic bag of perlite walking through the garden center!
    I'd never seen a bag of perlite that big before.

    The problem with Kitty litter is that it's not fired at a high enough temperature so it becomes that mud you speak of. That's why I chose the Napa everyone said it doesn't degrade like kitty litter or granulated limestone. I used that in some pots for lime-lovers and it disolved creating a nearly solid calcium brick!

    I don't have any water testing kits since I don't keep fish anymore but I will put a handful of Napa in a jar of water and see what happens to it... stay tuned!

    Edit:

    Here is a bit of Napa underwater, the shot isn't really this blurry or water this salty but rather all the napa is gassing out and filling with water, there's billions of tiny bubbles rushing to the surface in this tiny jar. The larger pieces floated to the top as I filled the jar cos they hold more air. There was a lot of dust so I rinsed the Napa three times to get clear water.


    My empty pot tests are almost totally dry. Lower 1/3 of both pots are still slightly moist at the end of 2 days, so it seems like "good stuff" so far.

  6. #22
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    Crystal,
    If you have a TDS meter, $8 is pretty reasonable to try for an experiment (for the NAPA stuff). If I don't hear that someone has run some TDS tests soon, I'll probably grab some at my local NAPA and give it a try.

    While previously researching APS, I came across info on some other products that are apparently identical & typically used as ballpark infield conditioner. One of them is Turface - also called Profile. Here's a thread (start at top) discussing it on an aquarium site. The other one I came across is Lesco infield conditioner. Here's a thread from frog folks discussing merits. Depending on what you can find locally, this appears to open up the options ....
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  7. #23
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Don't worry about silica dissolving. It's solubility is awfully low unless you boost the pH into double digits or add hydrofluoric acid to the water. High dissolved silica will be the least of your plants' concerns in either situation.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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