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Thread: Need a soil recipe!

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    rattler's Avatar
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    ok my cute lil heliamphora showed up from the members only deals here on PTF and i need a soil mix. i have LFS, peat and perlite and thats it. what ratios do i need?

    Rattler
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    Well, I grow mine in 50/50 perlite/Live LFS, for what it's worth. I rinse the perlite well before use, and frequently top water. I can't say me mix is a towering success since all my plants grow so slowly, but it seems healthy enough, just pokey as all get out.

    Using these in the mix is almost like using a sterile medium with practically 0 nutrients present. I think this is why my plants grow so slowly (I am feeding them now with blood worm meal so we'll see how that goes). The way I see it, it has been raining nearly daily on the Teupi's for millions of years. The substrate there must be nearly nutrient free by now, so this is why I opt for this very lean mix. Also, the roots (which are brittle and very easily damaged) seem to breathe better in a light mix. It also lets me pour cool water quickly through the root ball in times of excessive summer heat. This genus tolerates heat for short periods, but heat is the enemy, for sure. The perlite also acts as insulation, keeping the roots cool. If possible, avoid using a dark colored pot. My next attempt with Heliamphora will be in styrofoam coffee cups. To grow them to potential, some full sun is needed, and there is the problem. The plants want very good humidity, and are commonly grown as terrarium plants. They do better in greenhouses, but still rarely reach their true potential (lust look at some habitat photos!). I figure the syyrofoam will help insulate the roots when I put my plants outside in full (although well broken) sun. I have to find a way to get these plants to respond more like Sarracenia, and get them out of the terrarium and out into the world where they belong!

    If you are growing in a terrarium, give the plant as much light as possible, but also keep it cool if you can.

    It's too bad these plants are so rare and expensive. I would love to experiment more with growing this genus, I think there is much potential in outdoor growing. I have one plant outside now in the Sarracenia bog, sitting on a pitcher plant pot, draped in loose live sphagnum. It is pitchering like mad, and will probably double it's previous years growth in a matter of a month or so. I water it with cool water every noon. Keep the roots cool and the plant can take 90F, but if the roots stay warm for more than a few days......pffffft. The roots must cool off at night, and 5 degrees is probably a minimum.

    What I am curious about is how deep of a pot is optimal? In every CP genera it seems, some species resent overpotting while others want as deep a pot as possible. Since I have had like 3 Heliamphora cuttings in the last 30 years, I haven't had the chance to play around and see.

    I could go on and on about Heliamphora, so I think I will. Since they are found on the Tepui's in company with Drosera and Utricularia, they have special meaning for me. The South American CP are all awesome plants! The Tepui's are so isolated, evolution has filled every available niche possible with life! The variation is incredible, and 99% of the species are endemic - no foreign involvement. Even the light is different, which may account for why cultivated specimens don't approach the ones found in habitat.

    As further expiditions into the Tepui's are made, new discoveries are inevitable. Heliamphora are going to make taxonomists take a deep long look at the species concept in general, since these plants are difficult to put into neat boxes.
    The plasticity of their adaption to micro-niches supports my own quasi-metaphysical concept of speciation nicely, another reason why I love these plants. It's nice to see the prices coming down a little on them, and their availability increasing.
    I have an engineer friend in Brazil who is working on a peltier cooled terrarium. If the roots can stay at 60F, the plants could take full sun inside a humid terrarium. The things that could be done with such a terrarium would be incredible. I keep sending him parts he needs that I con out of electronic companies as samples, so who knows....?

    Sorry for the long reply. Heliamphora have been on my mind a lot lately, what with the planned September Tepui expidition that is happening. I sure wish I could go, or at least do a Vulcan mindmeld with friends that are.

    Heli, I'm for ya!
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    rattler's Avatar
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    no problem Tamlin i like long posts like this. until this week i thought you were just a Utric and Drosera guy, but i saw your grow list and you have more Neps than me.

    unfortunatly i potted it up before you posted. i potted it in a black pot(i got a bunch of 3.5 inch black pots for free from a good friend of mine who owns the local greenhouse)in a 2 part perlite 1 part peat as The Savage Garden says. i think i should have gotten a couple more being they were such a good price.

    i had a thought. will they tolerate water moving around their roots like Darlingtonia? i had a brain storm while reading your post, on how to make something to keep the roots cool using a well insulated cooler, they sell ones rated for 5 days at 90 degrees for around $20-$25 at Walmart(i found that thats pretty close to true while camping last summer) and an aquarium pump. lil drilling, lil plumbing and a lil ice and i may be able to grow these two types of pitcher plants. if the Heli's cant stand the water constantly moving around their roots a solid pot set in the cool water being circulated should work to keep the pot cool and their for the roots cool, or maybe throw it on a timer to replenish the water thats warmed with cool water from the cooler every 4 hours or so. my problem is i dont dare keep my plants outside. grasshoppers ate most of my gardens to the ground. THEY ATE THE NEEDLES OFF MY PINE TREES! also my weather is so unperdictable.

    there is a really big south facing window down at the newspaper i work for out in the print shop. maybe the boss will let me use some space. the shops air conditioned, nothin great but it rarely hits 95 or over unless the air conditioner breaks down.

    whats your thoughts?

    Rattler
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    Drew told me to put some layer of orchid bark at the bottom, then peat or long fibered sphagnum for the remainder. works for me.

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    oh cool . I cant wait till mine comes
    ~Brandon~ aka ~Carnivorkid~
    Member of SEPACPS
    My Growlist

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Tamlin, this is all going in a book, right? So I don't have to keep bugging PAK to pin it in a topic?

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    Yeah Jim, someday it will be a book!

    I too have considered the watercooler idea. I think it would work just fine, especially if there were a way to monitor the temperature and switch the pump on when the temp got too high: there might be a way to rig a drip to top water the plants and let them drain on raised staging. I have thought about it all, believe me, even though I have never done the experiement. I am rooting for the peltier cooled terrarium, but this is some ways away. The difference in growth when sunlight enters the equation is remarkable and worth working towards.
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    you know, it is weird (of course this could be from shock in shipping) but I have my two heliamphora in two different mediums. I have one in sand/perlite/peat, and the other in perlite and lfs. The one in the 'preferred' medium is doing far worse then the one in the sand, perlite, peat mix. I may be wrong in this comparison, but are these plants comparable to the cobra lillies as far as growing them is concerned, aka, hard? I noticed that many of the requirements for growth are very similar. I have my one cobra lilly growing fine after many tries, I just hope that the heliamphora works out as well. any help on this plant (as it is new to me) would be helpful....

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