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S/H and phrags - what's the conventional wisdom, add charcoal?

This is a discussion on S/H and phrags - what's the conventional wisdom, add charcoal? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I've read that some folks suggest adding charcoal to the leca, do you guys do ...

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  1. #1
    JOHNnDC's Avatar
    JOHNnDC is offline Senior Member
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    Default S/H and phrags - what's the conventional wisdom, add charcoal?

    I've read that some folks suggest adding charcoal to the leca, do you guys do that? Was wondering if the charcoal stays good forever like the leca, or do you throw it out after a while, or what?

  2. #2
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    I use 20% charcoal in my mix. I don't have a scientific reason for it. I just like charcoal. It absorbs a variety of nasty substances, which is why it is known as a "sweetener" (from its absorption of acid, presumably). Does it benefit the plant? Can't say for sure. It doesn't hurt. And the 20% doesn't significantly affect capillary action, in my opinion.

    Charcoal does not break down, although I suspect its ability to absorb various compounds diminishes over time. It is also prone to retaining salts, but that usually is not a problem with s/h.

    Bottom line: I don't think it makes a difference if you use charcoal or not. Until someone proves that it has some quantitative effect on plant growth, I believe it is more of a personal preference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmoney
    I use 20% charcoal in my mix. I don't have a scientific reason for it. I just like charcoal. It absorbs a variety of nasty substances, which is why it is known as a "sweetener" (from its absorption of acid, presumably). Does it benefit the plant? Can't say for sure. It doesn't hurt. And the 20% doesn't significantly affect capillary action, in my opinion.

    Charcoal does not break down, although I suspect its ability to absorb various compounds diminishes over time. It is also prone to retaining salts, but that usually is not a problem with s/h.

    Bottom line: I don't think it makes a difference if you use charcoal or not. Until someone proves that it has some quantitative effect on plant growth, I believe it is more of a personal preference.
    What the man said
    I also use charcoal in my LECA s/h to reduce the wicking effect for plants that don,t like it constantly wet I.E. psychopsis papilio.

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