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Thread: Using Live Sphagnum as top-dressing

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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Using Live Sphagnum as top-dressing

    Recently, I coaxed some NZ long fiber sphagnum moss back to life. I did this with the plan of using it for a top dressing for a couple reasons: First I like the way it looks, second to help with local humidity, and lastly as a 'canary in the mine' - to signal if something is amiss.

    After it greened up, I applied it on top of my media (coco chips and fiber, perlite). It didn't take long for the tips to blacken up, and they went from green back to brown.

    I thought that maybe they were getting to dry. But from the get go, I've misted all of it twice daily, which doesn't allow the media below to dry at all, and each time I do a tactile check of it, it feels moist. I'm afraid of keeping the media too wet - I don't want to rot out the neps!

    Here's the conditions they are in, in my highland setup:
    Temps 57 - 81F
    Humidity - Day 65%, night 90-95%.

    So what's the secret? I'm having to keep the media so moist I'm afraid it will hurt the neps - but yet I see that many of you are able to keep live shagnum as a top dressing. Thanks.

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    SirKristoff's Avatar
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    the layer could be too thin, thus causing the Sphagnum to dry out faster than you want it?

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    A yellow M&M Jefforever's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd not use LFS as a top dressing. If/when you start fertilizing your neps, you'll see LFS deteriorates really fast and makes a slimy mess on the surface.

    Unless you don't have your nep in a tank. Then the sphag is good for humidity, like you said.

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    Is ready to take this hobby to a whole new level DavyJones's Avatar
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    I was thinking of trying this too, I know there's many posts on here about bringing LFS back to life, but I want to know how you did it.
    "We are in a sense the Universe trying to understand itself. By Observing it we are observing what we are." - Phillip Plait

    Growlist: Updated 1/11/12 http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=110846

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    The best way to get sphagnum going as a dressing is to use a good amount of live moss. Given good highland conditions, it might take a little while for the sphagnum to establish... Note that at least a part of sphagnum has to be buried in the media and placed in like a depression in the media. This gives it the good ambient humidity, acres tolight to establish .

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    Quote Originally Posted by nightsky View Post
    Recently, I coaxed some NZ long fiber sphagnum moss back to life. I did this with the plan of using it for a top dressing for a couple reasons: First I like the way it looks, second to help with local humidity, and lastly as a 'canary in the mine' - to signal if something is amiss.

    After it greened up, I applied it on top of my media (coco chips and fiber, perlite). It didn't take long for the tips to blacken up, and they went from green back to brown.

    I thought that maybe they were getting to dry. But from the get go, I've misted all of it twice daily, which doesn't allow the media below to dry at all, and each time I do a tactile check of it, it feels moist. I'm afraid of keeping the media too wet - I don't want to rot out the neps!

    Here's the conditions they are in, in my highland setup:
    Temps 57 - 81F
    Humidity - Day 65%, night 90-95%.

    So what's the secret? I'm having to keep the media so moist I'm afraid it will hurt the neps - but yet I see that many of you are able to keep live shagnum as a top dressing. Thanks.
    I have used sphagnum as a top-dressing for years, either live or coaxed back into growing from a dry state. More water seems necessary for the moss in your case; and if your compost is open enough, there shouldn't be any danger of harming your Nepenthes or any other genera that may interest you. If fertilizer is used on your plants, simply flush the moss liberally with water afterwards and it will not be harmed . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Pine needles seems to make a good topdressing for Neps.

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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Ok thanks for the tips. I did have the top dressing somewhat thin. I went ahead and piled it on. Now each pot has oodles of billowy sphagnum, but the stuff I had to add wasn't quite livened up yet. We'll see what happens.

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