idontlikeforms wrote:As near as I can tell Matt the roots simply grow easier in LFS. They definitely do grow faster in LFS.
I've never seen evidence of this and don't believe it to be true. Did you actually conduct an experiment with a large sample set or simply make the observation from a few plants?
I had about 650 VFTs growing in my Rootmaker trays with LFS and little coarse perlite on the bottom of each cell and about 250 VFTs growing in peat/sand. I picked out the vast majority of them 4-5 days a week over the coarse of 2 months. So yes there was a fairly large sample and not just a few. The difference surprised me at the time. I was not expecting it. I assumed the peat/sand VFTs would just have spindlier but longer roots but not necessarily substantially less root mass over all. But I found out I was wrong.
Also, what kind of peat-based mix were you using? Not all peat-based mixes are the same. The type of sand makes a huge difference in root growth. Heck, even the quality of the peat can make a huge difference.
I don't know what type of peat and sand it was. I don't use peat and sand myself. I just bought the VFTs from my fellow vendor and left them as is till I sold most of them. How well roots are oxygenated affects how quickly roots can grow and generally how healthy they are too. This is basic botany and basic info for hydroponic growers as well. I don't believe it is a controversial statement. Anyone can quickly find this out by googling the subject. Obviously any media that has large air pockets in it is better oxygenated than any other type of media that does not and has small particles clumping and compacting together instead. This is because it has more wet surface area swapping CO2 and O2 with the air. To me the real issue is, is this a big factor for VFTs as well? Not is this premise true. Obviously it is true for other plants.
I don't see why different types of peat or sand would make much difference unless some types somehow are less prone to clumping or form air pockets better. Is there some other reasons for why some types are better than others?
I guess overall mass would make the most sense.
I've seem more mass with LFS. I don't use peat for anything I pot up but have continued growing many VFTs in the peat they came with as well as seen what their roots look like when they were shipped to me bareroot but were grown in peat before they came to me. I've seen these things many, many times from a number of different peoples' VFTs. I have even bought many VFTs from SamGreenThumb who sells VFTs on Ebay and he grows his in full sun but in peat in Florida. His roots were not as thick or as large mass-wise as mine after also growing in full sun but in LFS.
This may shock you to hear Matt but even Steve's often don't have as much mass as mine do. I've received many VFTs from him and they look very good to me but have spindlier roots that are very flexible like a piece of string. These are healthy roots mind you, I'm not saying they are not. But my VFTs make roots that look like spaghetti and are much tougher and thicker. They cannot be wrapped around your finger. They are not that pliable. They are stiffer and can only bend slightly. If they were growing in a small plug, like with AG3's VFTs, they often hold the shape of the plug after being rinsed off. I mean anyone could look at them after buying it and see how they are stuck in place and know the plant was grown in a little plug because of how the roots are stuck. With Steve's VFT roots you would not know because they are dangly, soft, and you can wrap them around your finger. Once again, I'm not criticizing Steve's VFTs or saying they are inferior or anything like that. My opinion is they are about the best VFTs I can buy anywhere as far as health goes and the roots on his very often are better than anything I see anywhere else.
I think the thickness of roots may be partially a genetic thing, but the roots in the first photo don't appear to be thin to me.
It is partially genetic. Correct me if I'm wrong but the long rooted monster VFT in Steve's photo you posted is a Big Vigorous. BV makes long roots and is fairly rooty as far as VFTs go. At least this is my observation. I've seen my BV make fairly long but not so thick roots as other giants like King Henry or B52.
Matt wrote: How much thicker are you talking about? Here is another flytrap that was growing in peat/sand/perlite mix with thicker roots (different clone) that we just shipped out a couple of days ago (roots are shorter because it was growing in a 3.5 inch tall pot):
The thing is Matt is that the thickness doesn't show very well in photos. I mean I think the photos I just took and will hopefully be able to upload soon do indeed look thicker but the photos are misleading because your peat/sand grown VFTs have peat particles clumped all around the fine root hairs where as LFS grown VFT roots do not. All you see is the main roots on them no extra particles attached. These extra particles make the peat/sand grown VFT roots look bigger than they actually are.
But if you can actually touch the roots. I mean feel them in your hand you can see what I'm talking about even more clearly. I've handled many roots of VFTs from elsewhere and many of my own VFTs' roots when I pack them up, 1,000s of times. You can feel the difference. You can feel that they are about 3 times thicker but you can't see that they are this much thicker in a photo or even if you were looking right at them. You would have to feel them to be able to tell what I'm talking about. Not only do they clearly feel noticeably thicker but they are substantially tougher. You can't wrap them around your fingers easily often with the thickest ones you can't wrap them around your finger at all. They would snap if you applied enough pressure before bending enough. And you can feel that they are tougher. I mean if you tugged on them the peat grown VFT roots will tear easier. You can cut the peat grown VFTs with your thumbnail easier too. I think that if you were here at my place and dug these VFTs up and you handled them you would see what I'm talking about and may not disagree with me then.
Matt wrote:Compare that to the roots of a plant grown in LFS that you posted a while ago, and I can't say that I'm convinced that plants in LFS have healthier root systems:
The Low Giant of mine in the photo has thicker roots. I don't know how well you can tell by the photo but it does. It did not have longer roots than Steve's BV did though and it did not have many fresh roots either. The roots on that Low Giant are less pliable than the roots on Steve's BV. I didn't handle Steve's BV mind you. I just know by seeing roots like that many times, albeit shorter, on many VFTs that I've bought from other people myself and handling them being able to tell the difference.
idontlikeforms wrote:I know you like to see pictures Matt
Darn right I do! One can make assertions and come to conclusions, but without hard evidence, it means nothing. Evidence, not just speculation or conclusions, is the key to proving anything.
I have the photos taken of my AG3 Dentes and King Henrys that I was talking about in an earlier post and I'll upload them as soon as I figure out how.
Matt wrote: And I've yet to see any hard evidence of plants growing in LFS having healthier root systems than those in peat-based mixes.
I think you will be able to see the roots on my VFTs are thicker once I can upload them but I'm not 100% sure you'll be able to grasp just how much thicker they really are just by the photos.
I'm sure they are. Pure peat or the standard CP mix (50:50 peat to perlite), like most CP growers use, seems to me to be a far inferior medium than peat with sand and perlite (sand really is the key) and likely inferior to LFS as well.
I believe the peat clumps to the perlite even more than the sand, particularly if there is a lot of sand being used but there is still a big difference between this and LFS as far as air pockets goes and the peat does still tend to clump to the sand. I've also found that LFS with fine perlite still has a lot of air pockets but coarse perlite mixed in with the LFS tends to make it dry much easier. I put coarse perlite on the very bottom of my plugs but only a little, just enough that the water level only goes just a little below the very bottom of my LFS. But for my customers I just send them LFS and tell them to just use that or peat because it takes too long to explain everything to beginners and they can get lost in less important details if I do and then forget the more important details.
Steve_D wrote:To me, long-fiber sphagnum moss, while it has great water retention and aeration, has two characteristics I don't personally prefer for growing Venus Flytraps: it decomposes and compacts more rapidly than a sphagnum peat moss and sand (or perlite) mix,
True. Which is one of the reasons why I only use New Zealand LFS. It usually lasts 2 years or maybe a little longer. I've also noticed that the more organic matter there is in with the LFS the faster it breaks down. Same seems to be the case with adding peat to it as peat tends to house a lot of bacteria but fresh LFS is fairly sterile.
Steve_D wrote:and it dries out too fast, which is particularly bothersome in small pots and in arid climates such as mine here in New Mexico.
This is true too. It does dry out faster than peat does. But this can in cooler weather be a good thing rather than a bad thing as the water movement helps oxygenate the roots. I no longer recommend to my beginner customers to grow their VFTs outside over a windowsill anymore. The LFS dries fast outside and they'd need to water them more often and often don't understand this. A one time mistake here often results in a dead VFT. But then again the peat won't buy them much time with watering outside either. A larger pot would though and it is no coincidence that the many veteran BACPS VFT growers here in CA use tall pots with their LFS. This usually causes the top to be fairly dry too which the bigger older VFTs seem to appreciate. Obviously I can't send everyone 5 inch pots without raising my prices quite a bit. But if a beginner customer tells me they want to grow their VFT outside I recommend larger pots then.
Chipi3s wrote:I agree with Matt and Steve, When i was new to growing Venus flytraps i used LFS because i couldn't afford or find anything else in my area and it was hard to keep up with it as well. It was either to wet or to dry. When i transferred to peat/perlite/silica i noticed a huge change in growth in my plants. As i may have said in a previous post, i noticed a very robust and good growing root system as did the plant grow faster to.
I don't doubt you noticed an improvement if they were no longer getting a little too dry or a little too wet. Like I said above this is no doubt why the veteran BACPS VFT growers use tall pots with LFS and then just keep water in the tray all the time. This type of a setup it pretty easy too. I would think even easier than peat/sand where you don't have to worry about when to switch to the tray method and you just don't fill the tray up as much each time you water during Winter.