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Thread: Drosophyllum lusitanicum - media pH

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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Drosophyllum lusitanicum - media pH

    I believe that anyone interested in cultivating this fascinating species should read this report, first:

    Below are two quotes taken from this report:

    "Soil on the south coast of Spain is sandy or loamy, slightly acid to neutral, lime-less and poor in nutrients. The geologic underlay consists of sandstone. Drosophyllum also grows directly in sandstone crevices."

    "During our observations in its native habitat, we have never seen Drosophyllum growing in alkaline soils, despite several intensive searches at suitable places."

    It appears that the belief that Drosophyllum, in situ, grows in alkaline (high pH) soils, is mistaken.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I had excellent results with a mostly inorganic mix of APS, perlite and quartz sand amended with a small amount of peat. Ultimately I think the media was slightly too fine, and I plan to replace the sand and perlite with hydroton pellets on my next go, with just a layer of sand/peat on top to root the seedlings in. These guys have some spectacular advice - their page was all I ended up needing when I first tried my hand at Drosophyllum.
    ~Joe
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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    To further quote the aforementioned article:
    The plants grew in mixture of red sandstone and loam. Soil tended to be loamier than sandy and was mixed with organic material (pine needles). The second population grew in pure solid loam with no organic ingredients.
    Pine needles tend to acidify media.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    wicked good plants! Presto's Avatar
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    While we're on the subject of clarifying things...

    "Alkaline" is a measure of the soil/water/etc's ability to neutralize acids. It is not the same as "Basic", which is a pH of higher than 7. The two are often correlated, but they are not one-and-the-same. Certain things (such as carbon dioxide) can lower the pH without changing the alkalinity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_%28chemistry%29
    Last edited by Presto; 01-06-2011 at 11:24 AM.
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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Can anyone confirm that they have successfully grown Drosophyllum lusitanicum in an Alkaline media or a media with a pH in the basic range, greater than 7 or 8?

    When I grew this species, mine were planted in a mixture of silica sand, dark sphagnum peat, and perlite. Quite acidic in pH and non-Alkaline.

    +^+^+^+^
    A good example would be the orchid genera Paphiopedilum, where some species grow wild in Asia. The underlying minerals they grow on is predominantly calcium carbonate (Alkaline), yet they grow in accumulated detritis which allows them to maintain most of their roots in a substrate of decomposing organic matter that has an acidic pH.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-06-2011 at 11:31 AM.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Hi Joseph:

    You may want to refer to this thread on the ICPS forums. It is mentioned that the in situ populations that they observed were not found in calcerous soil and that both acidic and alkaline subtrates were tried for germination. No follow up however on results.

    http://icps.proboards.com/index.cgi?...ay&thread=1231

    The in situ photographs look to me that there are pine needles present.

    http://icps.proboards.com/index.cgi?...ay&thread=3968
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    I think the follow up, if you'd call it that. Was where the author posted that twenty seed were sown, that five had germinated, and that there was one survivor, the survivor had germinated and was growing in the slightly acidic media.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    SDCPs's Avatar
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    I am growing mine in both a media of commonly available CP stuff...peat, sand, perlite, vermiculite, lava rock

    Pure decomposing granite (DG)

    4 parts DG to 1 part peat.


    I have not noticed a difference in growth. The first mixture retains the most water...while the others look SOOOOOOO much cooler.

    The pH of the pure decomposing granite that I use is between 7.2-6.6 Mostly slightly acidic! Odd for a rock eh?

    Don't worry on the media. A bit of advice:

    I KNOW you want to grow this species again, as you SHOULD! The trick is getting them to germinate. I think sowing on pure vermiculite is the best way...worry about the real media later...you'll have tons of motivation when you see a sprout.

    Of course, it does help to prepare beforehand if you have time.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-06-2011 at 06:41 PM.

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