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Growing in sphagnum

This is a discussion on Growing in sphagnum within the General Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; a long time ago I grew a bunch of things in sphag & clay, including ...

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  1. #11
    Jmoney's Avatar
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    a long time ago I grew a bunch of things in sphag & clay, including phals, phrags, and masdies. I never liked sphag & plastic, maybe because plants from HD were often in that mix, and I didn't think they would dry out fast enough. The only thing that breaks down faster than regular sphag is sphag that stays wet longer.

    one additional benefit from sphag & clay is evaporative cooling of the root zone. this is particularly helpful when you try to grow masdies on the windowsill when it gets hot in the summer. I think the cool root zone keeps them afloat until temps cool off in the fall. Phrag. besseae in particular likes these conditions. It is one of the few things I still keep in sphag/clay.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmoney
    one additional benefit from sphag & clay is evaporative cooling of the root zone.
    I totally agree whith you.
    This is the reason why, when you choose a clay pot, it is very important to be very porous !

  3. #13
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    I grow almost everything in clay pots. I use bark, charcoal and perilite and depending on the plant will put sphagnum on top. I think it really helps with the humidity. The medium and pot dry out daily. Even if you water every day, if it is hot out the pots will dry out completely. It's the humidity that these plants love so that is my theory on why they do well that way. Plus, I kill everything that goes in plastic for some reason lol. If you fertilize every time you water then you probably are getting more nutrients to the plant too so I think there could be many reasons these plants do well in clay pots. I find that sphagnum is one of those things where a little goes a long way.

  4. #14
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    you have to be careful when fertilizing plants in clay pots because if you overfertilize, the salts will buildup on the pots and be damaging to the roots. it's not an issue with heavier feeders like catts, but for phrag besseae and masdies, I am very careful with the fertilizer.

  5. #15
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    What about mesh pots, I found they dry out even faster than clay pots, and allow more air to the roots.

  6. #16
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    As for mesh, I'm in too dry a climate it. As it is, I water all the time with sphag. Mesh is getting close to mounting, and that just doesn't work in the dry winter air in New England!

    Great for sub-tropical, I'd expect!

    Julie

  7. #17
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    Ok easy test for the air theory... Take a plastic pot, drill many little holes all over it not just for drainage but also for air circulation. See if the plant responds the same as one in clay pot. The only problem I have with clay is my orchids seem to like to GRAB it and hold on for dear life. The only way to detach is to break roots and I don't like doing that.

    Wolf

  8. #18
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    good points Wolf... also the same reason I don't use clay!

  9. #19
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    That is the pain with clay, but a really good soaking can usually relax their hold sufficiently (along with some insistent tugging.)

    Julie

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