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Thread: Horticultural Charcoal

  1. #1

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    Hi,

    This is for all you charcoal users. Does anyone know if there is a downside to using horticultural charcoal in large quantities in a Nepenthes mix, say 50% or more? I Have more charcoal than aged bark at the moment and have some stuff I need to pot, but did not want a ton of perlite as the extra filler.
    I also have lava pebbles(up to 2.5 cm diameter), hydroton(smaller than lava), and of course lots of perlite, peat and sphagnum. It's not like I don't have suitable things to make a mix, but I was just curious of any downsides to charcoal, or using it as a bark sub.

    Regards,

    Joe
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    Aloha Griffin,

    I don't see any problem using "Some" charcoal, but I wouldn't want to make it to much in your mix. Good luck.

    Kim

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    Hi Kim,

    Balmy 60 here with windy conditions, lol. Is there a specific "no-no" with the charcoal that you know of?
    is this your mix?


    "Tristan's has found good success using 6 parts peat, 4 parts perlite, and 2 parts small orchid bark or coconut fibre"

    Some shy away from perlite due to possible flouride build-up(I am not sure where you get if if your water is RO or pure), but in the above mix, 33% perlite is used and the plants are gorgeous. I am always looking for a "Holy Grail" with mixes, when it's more of the growing conditions than the mix.
    I also try and soak bark until the pine-sol smell goes away. I have no scientific reason behind this, except I know of one Aussie who uses Urea to leach his pine bark before using it.

    Regards,

    Joe

  4. #4
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    Joe,

    The only possible problem with charcoal that I know of is that once it starts to break down and release whatever it has taken up. So if you let your media get too old before repotting then you run the risk of toxin build up
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

    See You Space Cowboy

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    Pyro,

    I would call that a problem. That was exactly the kind of tidbit I was looking for, thank you very much.
    I am told ABC grows some P. cyclosecta in course perlite and course charcoal, and they grow well.
    Regards,

    Joe

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    Hi Joe,
    I use charcoal in my mix as a sweetener. I've seen orchids potted in pure charcoal, but by itself, it breaks down to a black sludge-not very aerobic! Our standard Nep mix is peat,lfs,fir bark,pumice-xtra fine,aliflor and charcoal. I mix up big batches of the stuff kinda like a chef: a handful of this, two handfuls of that, etc. I mix looking for a certain consistency that thru trial and error I've learned will work for us in our conditions. I'll amend the mix for certain species, like merriliana. We've been growing bicalcarata in pure lfs. They love it!
    Trent

  7. #7

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    Trent,

    I would kill to be able to find pumice in this area(other than a stone for rubbing feet). Dean Cook can buy it by the truckload in Oregon. I can't fine a fine grade of clay pellets in this area either, and the tiny lava pebbles from one nursery are $3 for a QT bag! The larger size at home improvent stores are less than that for a big bag.

    Regards,

    Joe

  8. #8
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    Joe,

    No problem [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] Interesting tidbit on the cyclosecta. I have switched over to a mostly coral media (check out my post in the Ping forum titled 'An experiment')

    As far as getting some fine grade clay pellets goes, I might be able to help you, my father runs a rock business in Denver and he sells LWA in about a hundres different sizes. I'll drop you an demail if it sounds doable.
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

    See You Space Cowboy

    actagggcagtgatatcccattggtacatggcaaattagcctcatgat
    Hagerstown, Maryland

    --
    actagggcagtgatatcccattggtacatggcaaattagcctcatgat

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