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Thread: Sphagnum Question..

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    mass's Avatar
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    Sphagnum Question..

    I have a GIANT sphagnum bog down the street from my house, and was wondering if I can use this live sphagnum for my planting mix whenever peat or sphagnum is called for? Also, I see in everyone's pics they have gorgeous moss growing in the pots with their CP's.. How in the world do you get this stuff to grow like that!?!? Once I've picked it, I've never been able to keep it alive.
    I happen to have a pic of the sphagnum found in the bog. My camera rarely leaves my hands, if you haven't noticed.


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    swords's Avatar
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    Yes, you can use the wild stuff, just be aware you could potentially be bringing in pests with the wild moss. The species of sphagnum moss from here up north may need our cool temps/freezing winters/etc and not survive in a warm terrarium like the packaged Long Fibered Sphagnum/Orchid Moss from New Zealand and Chile does. No matter what species of sphagnum moss you have only the top that is exposed to light will be "alive" for very long, the rest will all be dead but still a fine potting media.

    I don't know how everyone does it but if most are like me moss growth is spontaneous. When you pot up a plant in LFS after the pot is kept moist and brightly lit and not too warm then tiny spores on the LFS will germinate and that's the beginning of a little yard of moss on the top of your pots. I generally think it takes about 90 days to start seeing signs of moss growth from the packaged dried/dead stuff. I grind up the LFS when I make up a soil mix and this releases the spores if they're trapped in the heads of the long ropy strands.

    Peat soil mixes generally grow a variety of "pest" mosses that aren't sphagnum. These mosses are neat for a terrarium but not for your plant pots, so I pluck the stuff out if possible without uprooting the plant it's growing in.

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    mass's Avatar
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    ok.. ok..
    Next question, How do you "grind" the LFS when making soil mix?

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    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    it usually helps if the LFS is dried up. just take some moss, motor and pestle it, and voila, ground up LFS. if you're using the dried up stuff, be careful not to inhale.

    while the sphagnum you have is also free, i'm going to agree with swords in saying all sphagnum are not alike. pests and plant contaminants live inside the moss, which may compete or do harm with your exotic cps. however, that sphagnum would be perfect for the native plants that you have outdoors and other north american species too.
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
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    swords's Avatar
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    I just take two dried handfuls of LFS and rub them together over a pail. If you don't have a respirator or dust mask just pull your tee shirt over your nose and mouth like a kid playing "bandits" cos you don't wanna breathe any of the dried dust. Once it's been wetted there's no problem it's just the particles getting into the lungs or cuts and can cause something called sporotrichosis. It doesn't hurt to wear gloves too.

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    mass's Avatar
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    okay.. So I've got the grinding down. But I see in many soil mix recipes that I need part LFS and part peat. So, now for the SUPER NOOB question.. What's the difference between sphagnum and peat? I like to do my own research before asking dumb questions, but these are the ones I can't find answers for.
    So all in all I should just avoid using the wild stuff out here, for the most part?

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    ermahgerd petmantis's Avatar
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    Sphagnum Peat is partially decomposed Sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss is a genus of bog/wetland mosses. Peat can refer to a whole bunch of partially decomposed leaf parts, so make sure you buy the type that's labeled 'Sphagnum Peat Moss'.

    Hope that helps..
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    <Brokken> Heli: The hamburglar.

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    mass's Avatar
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    It does.. thanks

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