to perlite? or not to perlite?

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grant

 
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to perlite? or not to perlite?

by grant » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:39 pm

so im wondering if i should even use it? it's mostly used for drainage and airation, right?
so anyways, would using lfsm (long fibered sphagnum moss, for those that dont kow) be better to use than peat moss? since it is less compact and might essentially have the same effect as perlite?

ps - i did not notice when i bought the bag, but the perlite i currently have is miracle grow brand. and is "enriched" with miracle grow. and im just wondering if it could be harmful to my plants?

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Matt
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Matt » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:35 pm

Yes, the perlite with miracle grow will be harmful to your plants.

I would probably use pure peat moss before using lfsm. I've never tried growing VFTs in lfsm. I don't think that is a common practice, but I'm not sure why. Perhaps because the roots can get tangled in it? Or because it isn't very firm and therefore can shift?
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by grant » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:43 pm

isnt peat and lfsm the same stuff? peat is just mulched isn't it?

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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Matt » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:04 pm

grant wrote:isnt peat and lfsm the same stuff? peat is just mulched isn't it?

Yep, exactly. So in terms of nutrients, they'll be identical. But in terms of how roots grow in the, they'll be different. You could give it a try with one or more of your plants and see what happens!
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by grant » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:33 pm

im sorry Matt, but how would it affect the root system differently?

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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Matt » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:43 pm

I'm just guessing that since the sphagnum moss is much easier to grow through, the roots might grow differently. I know that the roots have a tendency to tangle up in sphagnum moss, but this is only an issue when you go to repot. Also, it seems to me that sphagnum would shift a bit every time your move the plant. It's not likely to affect the plant much though.
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by lemonlily » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:58 pm

what is isfm? i don't know what it is.
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Matt » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:59 pm

lemonlily wrote:what is isfm? i don't know what it is.

Read Grant's post here:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=233&p=1458#p1434
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Steve_D » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:11 pm

LFSM is "Long-Fiber Sphagnum Moss." It is composed (I believe) of living strands of sphagnum moss that have been harvested and dried.

Sphagnum peat moss is the same plant, but it is from the thick layer of dead plant material that accumulates under living sphagnum moss. It can have been dead a long time, and has decomposed to a greater or lesser extent. It is usually in much smaller bits and pieces than long-fiber sphagnum moss.

LFSM and sphagnum peat can both be used for potting carnivorous plants, depending on how you want to use it. As Matt mentioned, LFSM has different properties that have to be considered when using it.

Every person has their own techniques and cultural habits and climate. So you will find what works best for you. If you have LFSM (usually a tan color) available in your area but not sphagnum peat moss (usually a darkish brown), then you may be able to make LFSM work for you.

If I were going to plant a Venus Flytrap in LFSM, I would probably chop it with a kitchen knife into much smaller bits, then mix those with sand (only almost purely silica sand composed of grains of quartz) and perlite, perhaps 60% rather finely-chopped LFSM and 40% sand and/or perlite.

Good luck and best wishes,

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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Matt » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:13 pm

Thanks for the clarification Steve. That was very helpful. I had always thought that peat moss and LFSM were essentially the same thing, but one was ground up. It makes sense that the peat is dead and decaying sphagnum. But then I always wondered what was the difference in milled sphagnum and peat. I think I finally understand now!
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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by italo.americano » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:06 pm

Everyone has made some great points about LFSM. The main reason that I do not use it as a growing medium is because it tends to get tangled into the roots of Dionaea. This makes it very, very difficult when transplanting your vfts because you will almost surely lose some roots when you untangle the LFSM. LFSM is great as a top dressing because it prevents water from splattering everywhere when you water from above but as far as a growing medium I would stick with 100% Peat Moss. Some grower like to mix in Silica Sand or Perlite which is fine also.

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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by grant » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:48 pm

alright. well, you all have made convincing arguments. looks like peat is the way to go. maybe some lfsm as a top dress. i will have to get some perlite, or silica or something, WITHOUT miracle grow in it whenever i repot next

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Re: to perlite? or not to perlite?

by Steve_D » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:42 am

  • Long-fiber sphagnum = live or recently alive sphagnum moss that has been dried and often sterilized (but it sometimes grows again anyway); tan colored
  • Milled sphagnum = long-fibered sphagnum that has been ground into fairly small bits
  • Sphagnum peat moss = sphagnum moss that has died and decomposed to some degree; darkish brown

:)


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