Nep. Potting Media Experiment
I've started an bit of an experiment, albeit one that lacks precise scientific rigor. A month ago I came across the CPN sample that talks about creating a potting mix that is 1:1:1 Seramis:Lava Gravel:Lecaton. Having read a lot about the destruction of CP habitats, I decided to try this mix in some Neps to see how they take to it compared to Neps in my typical mix of LFS.
Since Lecaton doesn't seem to be a brand anymore (or, at least, not one I can obtain), I opted for Leca clay pebbles, which are virtually the same thing. I was able to obtain some Seramis before they stopped selling it online to the states, and my local hardware store always has a choice of red or black lava gravel.
Today, I got to pot up a couple new plants that came in the mail - an N. spathulata x jacquelineae and N. bellii x robcantleyi - in the new medium. (For the record, each came with pure NZ LFS wrapped around the roots, which is now the core of the pot, the surrounding area is all the new medium). Over the next few months, I plan on updating this thread with photos and information as my experiment progresses.
Comparatively, I potted up a N. truncata and N. vogelli from the same source, in approximately the same condition, and approximately the same sizes, in LFS in early December 2013. They experienced relatively little shock (which I partially attribute to the coffee treatment they got the day after planting (something which will be replicated for the two plants in the new medium)). To date, the truncata has grown one new leaf the same size as the former leaves and has a pitcher that is just beginning to inflate. The vogelli has grown two to three new leaves and has a pitcher rapidly develop over the past week or so.
I realize that this isn't exactly a perfect match up, ideally I'd use multiple sets of twins of plants from the same sources, but, hopefully, it'll provide some guidance into more sustainable potting mixtures. (God, I sound so liberal writing this, but I do care about preserving bogs considering how many have been destroyed).
Alright, first image updates -
Here's the spat x. jacq.
Here's the vogelii
As you can see, I've drastically expanded the experiment. About half my plants (most of which I've just received) are in the new mix:
So far, I haven't seen any ill effects from the new mix. It is a big pricier, I think, than traditional lfs, (mostly because I don't have a cheap supply of lava gravel), but I think it's worth it. The mix shouldn't break down as fast, and it's sustainable.
In all honesty, I've gotten a number of plants over the past couple months (most of my collection, I think), and I haven't seen much shock for Neps in any medium. Most new plants do have smaller pitchers, when they produce their first few for me, but I haven't seen them really slow down in growth compared to longer established plants.
Oh, I should also mention that I shot these photos through the recently sprayed terrarium instead of taking the lid off, so they're a bit blurry.