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Thread: Is sand really necessary in soil mix?

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    flytrap59's Avatar
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    I've been growing VFTs for "gosh" 34 years now and I've never used any sand in my soil mix...just good old 100% peat moss. I tried some sand mixes years ago which resulted in sick plants. I know, the sand was probably contaminted and/or alkaline. Thats why I stuck with plain peat moss all these years. Anyway, is there truly a difference in plant vitality when the proper sand is used? My plants have been pretty healthy without it. I've got two plants on my porch now with 5" leaves and quarter size traps that haven't seen a grain of sand in years. In all seriousness, it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks....does sand in the mix improve VFT growth and development? And, how about perlite as a substitute for sand? Keep in mind..not everyone has access to clean, non-alkaline sand.
    Professor Carrington..\"We owe it to science to stand here and
    die rather than destroy a source of
    wisdom\".

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    Peat is perfectly acceptable as a pure medium I think, especially if you go for the coarser bits of it. I use very little sand or perlite in my Dionaea culture, but I do use live LFS along with the peat, and a little sand. Maybe its all in my head, but the plants seem to grow better with that addition, and the fiberous quality allows for the root ball to pop right out, making transplants very effortless. I rarely use perlite as an additive to anything, but it would probably be fine. I would suggest you rinse it first though.

    Finally, silica sand can be had usually from swimming supply concerns, or those selling jacuzi's where it is used for filtration. I couldn't live without it!
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    I have grown a few VFT's and used both mediums, i.e., peat/sand and pure peat. I never experienced any difference in growth or leaf with my plants. Only age makes a difference. And as Tamlin can tell you, when you get a plant that puts out 2 and 2 1/2 inch traps, It is more than impressive!!!
    45 yrs. growin\'
    Founder NASC

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    whats the benefit in using silica?

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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    I think the sand additive helps to mimic the sand wet peaty soil the plants are found in naturally. I use silica myself as it is sterile and does not seem to hurt the plants in any way, even unwashed. Sand alos helps to give the mix a more gritty and airy mix I think. I am trying some ladyslippers (C.acaule) in my primary CP mix only with 2x's as much silica and perlite.

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    After transplanting mine, I realized that I didn't have enough LFS, so I made a 50/50 mix of LFS and peat. Seems to be working well so far.
    7.3.04

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    I use a mix of 50:50 peat perlite with LFS at top and bottom to prevent the soil from drying out (ie. to conserve water)

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    I don't favor pure peat... if it dries out, getting the peat to suck up water again can be a real pain in the rear if you ask me...

    Spec, don't attempt to bypass the filter...don't think about it.




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