I'm looking forward to Spring and like everyone have had my fair share of wins and loses with my first Winter and dormancy period. I'm planning ahead and making preparations for the Spring re-potting event and thought I'd enquire regarding something I've been curious about for a while now.
I've had various problems with mould, fungus and bugs and although I know not all are bad for my plants, I want to do what I can to ensure their safety and keep their potting media as "clean" as possible. I'm wondering about sterilization. I have a few questions and I hope you don't mind me asking.
My biggest concern is mould and fungus. I'm severely asthmatic and have attacks when near a non-carnivorous plant whose soil has mould or some form of fungus (I know it'd be the same with carnivorous plants, too). I know regular repotting may aid with this problem, as do fungicides, however I would like do to everything I can to prevent (or slow down) the need for these measures. I don't honestly think regular root disturbance is a good thing.
1a) My main question is: Will sterilizing potting media affect the pH of it or will it cause the media to lose its acidity?
1b) If not, will sterilizing the soil help keep my plants fit and healthy?
2a) If so, what do you use for sterilization?
2b) If you use something like a microwave or oven, do you add water? How much? How long do you cook/microwave it and what temperature/wattage do use? We have an 850W microwave if that's of any help.
The potting media(s) I use are as follows:
For my smaller carnivorous plants (dionaea, pinguicula, drosera & utricularia). I add a little perlite for my sarracenia:
Klasmann medium grade sod cut Irish moss peat with elutriated granite sand at a ratio of 4:1
For my nepenthes:
Klansmann fine grade Irish moss peat, granite sand & orchid bark
I'd like to thank you for your time, and wish you a wonderful New Year!