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Thread: Anyone growing N. Northiana?

  1. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy View Post
    I have noticed that many, many species of cacti also thrive in clay soils in the nearby mountains. This clay is found in-between limestone fossiliferous rock, which sometimes has obvious traces of iron. Yes, it is much more arid here in New Mexico than it would be in Bau, but... I'm wondering if the alkalinity and mineral content of the soil does something for Nepenthes and cacti - like kill off root pathogens, etc. Even with the obvious signs of mineral content in the soil, I do find ferns, mosses and lichens growing wherever they can (in the shade) over the soil, because it is indeed very water-retentive.

    Wow traces of iron? Sound like everything I would try to avoid for CPs. Not only is clay very water retentive but it is full of nutrients which makes it great for non CP plants to grow in once they are established. The hard part is getting them established in the clay. Back home my backyard is nothing but clay, it takes new trees that we plant about 1 year to get established but once they get there they just grow like weeds. There must be something special to the fired clay. The nutrients wouldnt be removed by firing it but I wouldnt be surprised if by firing it the pH was lowered. I still am baffled though by the whole nutrient thing. Looks like there really is always that ONE exception to everything. What a great thread this turned out to be!

  2. #18
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    all of our(northeast Montana) native cacti grow in very high clay soil, but they are also more tolerant of being wet than closely related species....ive actually found some that grow in fairly damp ground most of the year......however if you were to try this with a different species in the same genus from a bit farther south they will rot rather quickly cause their micro habitat is in quick draining sand or rocky soil.....your observations have to do with how certain species or certain locales of certain species have adapted to a certain niche and its rather difficult to extrapolate from that why anothe genus would do well in clay.....

    and then there is clay and then there is clay.....our powdery gray clay is alot different from the red clay of the southeast in how it handles water.....water will move through the red clay alot better than it will our gray clay....
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    Not only is clay very water retentive but it is full of nutrients which makes it great for non CP plants to grow in once they are established.
    your clay must be different than mine.....without organic matter added, extreamly few plants can live in it......i can show yah pictures of huge swaths of clay that have been exposed for thousands of years and dont have a thing growing in it.....
    cervid serial killer
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  4. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    your clay must be different than mine.....without organic matter added, extreamly few plants can live in it......i can show yah pictures of huge swaths of clay that have been exposed for thousands of years and dont have a thing growing in it.....

    Ahh that must be why the clay mentioned here works well with N. northiana. The clay I'm speaking of is red clay, and now that I think about it, after reading Jimmy's comment on Iron I'm ready to bet that the red color comes from Iron oxide being in the soil. I dont know if it's the clay itself that is rich in nutrients or if it is it's properties of retaining water that also help retain nutrients that make it rich. It could very well be that my clay is also poor in nutrients but retains much of whatever comes through it.

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    could very well be......i would almost bet that the red clays are higher in iron.....most of the clay around here are from very fine high mineral silt deposits from the bottom of a huge inland see 60 plus million years ago from some of the first erosion of the then new Rocky Mountains....it has nearly no organic matter and alot of the stuff in it is more alkaline.....when the exposed clay gets wet with the snow melt at the end of winter it cracks quite a bit as it drys and unless organic matter such as dead grass and such blows into these cracks and starts to decompose not much of anything can grow in it....even most of the cacti wont grow in it, and the ones that do look pretty rough.....

    we have one form of clay around here call bentonite...when it gets wet it swells up and actually forms a seal aslong as its wet and water will not move through it.....they use it alot in the lining of ponds, dump grounds, oil drilling pads and such cause what ever liquid that gets on it WILL NOT move through it if the layer is thick enough....

    im not familiar with the exact geology of your area but i would guess that the red clay you guys have is alot older than the stuff we have here and its had many more million years to collect stuff via ground water and run off moving through it....the Appalachian Mountains started forming 480 million years ago....the Rockies are less than 1/4 that old......im sure in another few hundred million years the clay here will change forms more than a bit....
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  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by F R e N c H 3 z View Post
    Ahh that must be why the clay mentioned here works well with N. northiana. The clay I'm speaking of is red clay, and now that I think about it, after reading Jimmy's comment on Iron I'm ready to bet that the red color comes from Iron oxide being in the soil. I dont know if it's the clay itself that is rich in nutrients or if it is it's properties of retaining water that also help retain nutrients that make it rich. It could very well be that my clay is also poor in nutrients but retains much of whatever comes through it.
    Indeed, Cindy's burnt earth that works miracles for N. northiana is reddish, perhaps indicative of some iron content. It's important to keep in mind that some Nepenthes, like N. rajah, are found growing in ultramafic soils - soils that contain high concentrations of many minerals and elements that would be lethal to most plants if you tried to grow them in it.

    Around here, we have large swaths of fine red dusty clay that collects in the basin between the two local mountain ranges. Many desert plants grow in it just fine, and grow equally well in the coarse gypsum sand of the White Sands National Monument, and in the rocky/clay soils of the mountains.

    On a side note, the arroyos in the nearby mountains sometimes deposit silt in certain areas... this silt grows large crystals of who-know-what-kind of minerals as it dries. I have pictures that I may have to post sometime of this strange phenomenon. It just goes to show that these cacti are growing in extremely alkaline, mineral-rich soils.
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  7. #23

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    What you mentioned about age and run off is a very good point which also points to a major issue I forgot to mention. There is a fairly large (for around here anyways) river that runs down the road from us (White river) and I do believe that we are a flood plain. So the retention of nutrients I believe is do to the retention of the clay, not the clay itself. That's as best I can assume without doing some drilling and sampling lol. I'm not exactly sure how old the ground is either but I do know that is a plain and that all of Indiana way back used to be covered in forests. I think you may actually have older soil due to living in Appalachian territory. The mountains would have brought older soils to the surface which may be why no nutrients are able to penetrate (as you mentioned for ponds, dump grounds drilling) such a compact soil.

    I would be curious to see if non-fired clay soil would still do well with N. northiana. I would not that think that any sort of pathogen would be a factor unless it be a parasite. Soils are ridden with billions of bacteria per square inch, I would thing that over time and evolution plants would have had to develop resistance or a tolerance to such factors. The soil fauna found in clay here theoretically would be very different from the fauna of the natural environment so that may be a factor to consider.

  8. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by F R e N c H 3 z View Post
    I would be curious to see if non-fired clay soil would still do well with N. northiana. I would not that think that any sort of pathogen would be a factor unless it be a parasite. Soils are ridden with billions of bacteria per square inch, I would thing that over time and evolution plants would have had to develop resistance or a tolerance to such factors. The soil fauna found in clay here theoretically would be very different from the fauna of the natural environment so that may be a factor to consider.
    Very true. But of course, we do not see many pictures (if any at all) of the dreaded 'black rot' occurring naturally in Nepenthes in-situ. 'Black rot' is one pathogen that I wonder if clay might inhibit somehow.

    For now, my little N. northiana is happy in Schultz orchid mix - about equal parts of fir bark, pine bark, horticultural charcoal, and arcillite (baked clay chunks), with a top-dressing of Better-Gro long-fiber sphagnum.
    "I'm just a scientist without the proper documentation."

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