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Thread: Crushed lava rock instead of sand?

  1. #9
    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    Try red cinder sand, commonly called track sand. I've just recently started using it for my sarracenia and flytraps. I like the look of it compared to perlite, and it gives peat a nice red tint. Right now, I have some nepenthes seeds that I sowed on a red cinder sand / peat mix. I haven't noticed any ill affects. I didn't bother to rinse the sand either. I bought my sand at a place that sells different products by the yard. It was about 50 dollars a yard, which is probably more than a hobby grower will use. I bought about $16 dollars worth and I'm set several years. If you find a place that sells it, you're going to want a truck. It's DAMN HEAVY! I filled a few small totes that I had in my truck. Once filled, I couldn't lift them out, and my car was making groaning noises as I drove home.
    Last edited by D_muscipula; 07-31-2014 at 01:49 PM.
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    rcl27's Avatar
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    I have since found the composition of my black lava rock. It comes from the basaltic lava flows at Black Mesa in the far western part of the pan-handle of OK and northeast corner of New Mexico. If your supplier also gets theirs from this region at least now you know what you got! I have yet to do much research on any negatives or positives but all of my plants have all seemed to do quite well with it mixed in (pings - extra small rocks and fine sand, neps - small to medium rocks). The best thing about the sand is it rarely compacts and sticks to itself once wet and then dried out. My silica sand tends to cake up once it dries out but the lava rock sand still stays loose and fluffy. My ping mixes use quite a bit of this lava rock sand.



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    NatchGreyes's Avatar
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    Now if only I remembered chemistry...

    In any case, regarding Pings, they seem to like the mixes I make up with lava rock more than mixes without (but that could be due to the airy nature of the rock more than anything else).

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    I would imagine that the 9% calcium would benefit the pings, I should also clarify, I smash it in a bag with a hammer, but only the ultra aerated stuff from west of here, if I get the basalt from north of here (solid black basalt) it is much harder and sends shards, makes dust not gravel and the bag is ruined at the end, so do not try crushing it unless you have a crusher.

    Drosera Spathulata, adelae and several utrics and pings I have love Basalt.
    I use large 1inch gravel for some of the nep pots and the pings, but the utrics (longifolia and livida) and the drosera like small 1cm gravel.

    I have also tried sand, granite gravel and pumice with my pings, but basalt seems best, pumice would be but the shops here sell pumice collected from a beach, its fine for orchids but kills carns unless washed.

  5. #13
    Nepenthes newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcl27 View Post
    I have since found the composition of my black lava rock. It comes from the basaltic lava flows at Black Mesa in the far western part of the pan-handle of OK and northeast corner of New Mexico. If your supplier also gets theirs from this region at least now you know what you got! I have yet to do much research on any negatives or positives but all of my plants have all seemed to do quite well with it mixed in (pings - extra small rocks and fine sand, neps - small to medium rocks). The best thing about the sand is it rarely compacts and sticks to itself once wet and then dried out. My silica sand tends to cake up once it dries out but the lava rock sand still stays loose and fluffy. My ping mixes use quite a bit of this lava rock sand.


    What about red lava rock? I'm no expert on chemistry and what minerals Nepenthes are sensitive to, so what I'm asking is : does red lava rock leach significant amounts of harmful minerals, and can those minerals be washed from the stone?

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