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Sphagnum Moss

This is a discussion on Sphagnum Moss within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I've read that sphagnum moss is okay for phals because the chemicals in sphagnum moss ...

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    Default Sphagnum Moss

    I've read that sphagnum moss is okay for phals because the chemicals in sphagnum moss prevent fungi from growing. I have also read that the typical sphagnum moss comes from New Zealand. A little while back, I bought a package of sphagnum moss that came from Wisconsin. Will Wisconsin sphagnum moss work? Any information that would clear this up is greatly appreciated.

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    Wisconsin sphag moss is lower quality. It is brown in colour and it doesn't have as fluffy of a texture. I hear that it is breaks down more quickly too, and it is not preferred by most growers. Well the package I got was really bad, all the moss strands were quite broken/decayed and came with other dead plants and twigs.

    Chilean sphag moss is the same quality as New zealand sphag moss. It does not break down as quickly and has the qualities that you described. They are golden in colour and looks more fluffy, so it doesn't compact as easily.

    I have both types of moss at home and I prefer the new zealand/chilean sphag moss. I do have a phrag growing in the wisconsin moss, no problems. I'm sure a phal will grow in it too, but keep it loose and airy, and repot it often because the wisconsin moss breaks down faster. I find wisconsin moss is also harder to get wet when it becomes dry.

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    Okay. Thanks for helping.

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    agree exactly with the above regarding NZ/chilean/wisconsin moss. make sure to pack LOOSELY--not like the tight wads of sphag you see in many of the mass market phals. even the good stuff lasts only a year tops for me--the antiseptic properties (phenols) wash out a lot earlier than that but the mix tends to compact and break down after 7-12 months, depending on your conditions.

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    PM me if you'd like a good source for NZ sphag.

    McJulie

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    It should be noted that long-fiber sphagnum (LFS), in the quantities used by hobbyists today, is not a renewable resource. It is not farmed, but rather wild-harvested. If at all possible, other growing media should be used instead, or at least in part, to preserve the natural resource for as long as possible.

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    Im not a fan of sphag because it is not a renewable resource and its good qualities go away really fast. Sphagnum moss when live is a cation exchanger, meaning it takes stuff like magnesium, and calcium and other minerals in water, and replaces them with Hydrogen, making it and the water acidic. This is one of the reasons why it is so good at being antiseptic. Once the moss dies, its not making any new Hydrogen ions, therefore you will be washing away its antiseptic properties with every watering, wash etc... Eventually sphag moss is good for nothing other than to keep humidity high.

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    Regarding sphagnum moss and orchids. It has to be AAA long fiber from New Zealand or Chile. Wisconsin sphagnum is a death sentence. My thirty plus Phalos absolutely love the NZ stuff ... loosely packed. I would even go so far as to eliminate the word packed. 12 month to repot is about it. You can't put off repotting as with other media. The whole sphagnum bundle slips right out of the pot for root, media and moisture inspection. Moisture can be checked one of several ways: 1) moisture meter, 2) weight of pot 'pretty reliable', 3) pull the plant and sphag bundle out of pot and check.

    The beauty of using it is that repotting is so easy. The presoak and cleaning & sterilizing the container take longer than the actual repot. DO NOT pack the moss. Several of my early repots, do to dead roots systems, were directly related to an inconsistency in the way I lay the roots over a hand full of moss, then gently wrapped the outside of the root bundle before placing it in the pot.

    There was a comment from a person on one of the forums who accidentally stumbled on the idea of placing LECA pellets to a level just above the reservoir holes of a semi hydro pot. Then potting their Phalos as usual. The LECA wicked the moisture up to the base of the sphagnum ball and the fluffy sphagnum took up what it wanted. To my knowledge there have been no reports on the results of the experiment.

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    I'd like to note that although NZ and Chilean moss are 'wild harvested', the growers have learned how to manage the swamps and in Chile the moss regenerates in 3 years, while in NZ it takes a bit longer. How sustainable this will be no one knows, but it appears that people are currently managing it well.

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    I had found some live bits of sphagnum moss in one of plant's pots, and I tried growing it. It didn't work out. Assuming it was from NZ, had it lived, would it have been "good" too, or is it something about the chemistry that make NZ moss plant friendly?

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