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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

Moderator: Matt

By cnf276
Posts:  50
Joined:  Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:01 pm
#107773
I know VFT like acidic soil but what would the ideal Ph level be for a VFT? Also what would you add to the soil to adjust the Ph level to be more or less acidic?
By chazzbo77
Posts:  164
Joined:  Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:51 am
#107780
There's really no need to get all scientific about it :) . All you need to do is get some peat moss and mix it with an equal amount of perlite or silica sand. The peat will make the soil the perfect acidity, no testing needed.
By heathenpriest
Posts:  332
Joined:  Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:53 pm
#109221
Yep, what Chazzbo 77 said: Peat moss will give you the right PH without any need for intricate adjusting.
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By Matt
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Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
#109305
To add to what chazzbo and heathenpriest said, flytraps don't seem to be too sensitive to pH levels. Steve grows a lot of flytraps in coir which has a much higher pH level (usually between 5.6 and 6.0) than sphagnum peat (3 - 4) and they do very well.
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By Steve_D
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Joined:  Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:06 pm
#109317
Matt wrote:Steve grows a lot of flytraps in coir which has a much higher pH level (usually between 5.6 and 6.0) than sphagnum peat (3 - 4) and they do very well.
--Speaking of which, I have a side-by-side comparison that I plan to take photos of when the Flytraps start growing vigorously again after flowering and setting seed.

Last year in Spring I planted two identical large pots of B52's. I picked out six B52 Flytraps that all looked about the same size and age and planted three in one pot and three in the other. Both pots of 3 B52's have been growing these last 14 months together in exactly the same conditions. The only difference is the growing medium: the B52's in one pot are in a common 50:30:20 mix of sphagnum-peat:sand:perlite, and the others are in a growing mix of 12 parts coir (by volume) to 5 parts silica sand, with no sphagnum at all.

I didn't think that there would be much difference between the two, but I was hoping that the B52s in the coir mix would at least grow somewhat as well as those in the more traditional sphagnum-moss mix. Instead, the B52's in the coir mix have grown noticeably better than the ones in the sphagnum mix. (Proof to follow in a few weeks for the "photos or it didn't happen" crowd.) :P
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By 95slvrZ28
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Posts:  1825
Joined:  Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:00 pm
#109342
Does anyone know where the idea that VFTs need acidic soil came from? I'm starting to wonder if it's simply something that has been passed down because everyone has seen sphagnum peat moss as the preferred growing medium for so long. Knowing that a VFT naturally grows in extremely sandy soil, it would seem that they would prefer something closer to neutral pH...last time I checked non-soluble sand shouldn't magically make an acidic growing environment.

We need someone on these forums that lives near Wilmington that can test soil pH for us...
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By Matt
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Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
#109392
95slvrZ28 wrote:Does anyone know where the idea that VFTs need acidic soil came from? I'm starting to wonder if it's simply something that has been passed down because everyone has seen sphagnum peat moss as the preferred growing medium for so long.
That's a good guess. There are a lot of ideas that have originated in that way.

I too would like to know what the pH of the soil near Wilmington is. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the soil pH does test fairly low, but I can't recall the source.
By dmagnan
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Posts:  603
Joined:  Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:37 pm
#109406
First of all, as to what to add to pH the soil, I read a post on here at some point about someone who tried multiple different acids, and some worked and some affected the plants. I'll try to find that post. I would guess you could start by trying vinegar (acetic acid), which is about as mild an acid as you can get.
Steve_D wrote:(Proof to follow in a few weeks for the "photos or it didn't happen" crowd.) :P
As part of that crowd, I think I can speak for us all when I say that you may get a little more of a pass than most other people, as many of us have gotten plants from you and have a pretty good idea of your ability and integrity. That being said, I always enjoy pictures, especially of experiments like this one.
95slvrZ28 wrote:Does anyone know where the idea that VFTs need acidic soil came from? I'm starting to wonder if it's simply something that has been passed down because everyone has seen sphagnum peat moss as the preferred growing medium for so long. Knowing that a VFT naturally grows in extremely sandy soil, it would seem that they would prefer something closer to neutral pH...last time I checked non-soluble sand shouldn't magically make an acidic growing environment.
There's still some dissolved material there, no matter how little, and that's what defines the pH. pH is dependent on volume, that's true, so the less organic matter which is setting the pH, the smaller the change from neutral. Still, I would expect that there's enough matter there to at least roughly stabilize the pH from minor changes (trees falling, etc.), otherwise it would always be wildly fluctuating. Which it might, I guess. Hmmm. It would be a cool experiment to grow flytraps in hydroponic setups maintained at different pH's over time and compare growth.
Last edited by dmagnan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
By fuddmain
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Posts:  47
Joined:  Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:44 pm
#109411
Matt wrote:
I too would like to know what the pH of the soil near Wilmington is. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the soil pH does test fairly low, but I can't recall the source.
From Carnivorous Plants of the World by James and Patricia Pietropaola:
The natural soil in which the Venus Fly Traps grow consists of a surface layer of thin peaty material underlaid with mineral soil. About 8% of the soil is organic matter and about 95% of the remaining mineral matter is sand. The bulk of the Venus Fly Trap's roots are usually confined to the upper 4 in. (10 cm) of the soil with some extending to a depth of 1 ft. (30.5 cm). Chemical testing of the soil reveals it has a low fertility with a low pH which ranges from 3 to 5.
I asked the following on another board:

It's my understanding that soil pH affects nutrient uptake. With fly traps we don't fertilize and peat doesn't have many nutrients, so why are we so concerned with soil pH? As long as it's not at some extreme, shouldn't that be fine?

Is there something else going on with soil pH that I'm unaware of (quite likely)?


No one seems to know. Matt's experiment indicates they don't need pH as low as found in their habitat.

It seems to me VFTs would be good candidates for inorganic media. If I can pull together the supplies I'd like to try them in hydroculture. The question would be whether to use a very dilute nutrient solution with frequent flushes or plain water with maybe the occasional foliar fertilization.
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By dmagnan
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Posts:  603
Joined:  Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:37 pm
#109449
fuddmain wrote:It seems to me VFTs would be good candidates for inorganic media. If I can pull together the supplies I'd like to try them in hydroculture. The question would be whether to use a very dilute nutrient solution with frequent flushes or plain water with maybe the occasional foliar fertilization.
People have done this before on these forums, if you search around a bit you might get a head start learning from what other people have done.
By 95slvrZ28
Location: 
Posts:  1825
Joined:  Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:00 pm
#109476
Thanks for the post about the natural soil pH, interesting stuff.

If I had some money burning a hole in my pocket I would do some experimenting with a few death-cube VFTs and hydro...but I'll have to rely on other people to run that for me...
By Jonathan_
Posts:  226
Joined:  Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:00 am
#309036
I am wondering the same thing. I have a big just behind my house and I want to make a native Carolina CP Garden in that piece of property I own. I want to test the bog and see What PH it is and if it has the right PH for PC's.
By Huntsmanshorn
Posts:  582
Joined:  Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:32 am
#309039
You can grow VFTs just fine in straight quartz sand if you're careful.
By steve booth
Posts:  823
Joined:  Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:15 am
#309060
The low acidity prevents the organic matter decomposing and releasing its nutrients which of course is detrimental to the plants, so the acid may not be necessary for growth just as a suppressor for the nutrient release. Don't know I've never tested it but it seems to make sense if they can be grown in pure sand.
As far as increasing your acidity I have largish bogs so test them every year for PH, which due to the action of rain etc always increase slightly, this action in a pot may be faster due to the lower mass. I decrease the PH with initially sulphur tablets that start working as the weather warms and bacteria get active, for a short term hit, and the addition of pine bark for slow release of acidity and tannins.
Cheers
Steve
By Jonathan_
Posts:  226
Joined:  Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:00 am
#309172
Huntsmanshorn wrote:You can grow VFTs just fine in straight quartz sand if you're careful.
That doesn't answer my question. I hate when people don't answer directly. I am being specific. What is the proper PH level? I hate when people derive from the original question and just say" Just use Peat and Sand" and you should be fine". That doesn't answer the question. I am asking this question for a SPECIFIC reason. This is just frustrating when people do this. I am sorry if I sound harsh but it just gets frustrating. I respect everyone here but please if someone asks a question, answer it directly and not what you think the other party wants to know.
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