Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

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Bob Beer

 
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Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Bob Beer » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:31 am

Hi — I’ve been growing Mexican Pings for a few years, all under T5s. When I first started, I used the mix recommended in The Savage Garden: equal parts peat, perlite, pumice and sand. That worked quite well the first year, but I noticed that this past summer, a lot of plants emerged from winter phase with less color. Laueana x emarginata, formerly deep pink, was pale yellow with a pinkish edge, and moranensis Vera Paz, formerly almost “meaty” reddish brown, was pale with dark veins. Also some plants seemed to be in decline. I was getting a heavy growth of “nosehair moss” on my pots, and I also noticed that smaller plants I’d propagated were struggling with it. I first tried a mix with less peat, but it still mossed up pretty quickly. My most successful plants are those growing on actual pumice rocks.

So I decided to repot a few into an “all mineral” mix. I talked to different people and there are lots of variations...arcillite/zeolite (turface) and sand, arcillite/zeolite alone, pure arcillite/zeolite, pure vermiculite, vermiculite with a little crushed lava rock (not sure what kind exactly) etc.

I settled on equal parts pumice and arcillite/zeolite, with a smallish amount of vermiculite.

So far the plants I’ve put into it seem to pe pumping out roots nicely and really jumping, and one or two plants that I seems on the verge of losing look to be making a slow but steady comeback. Also the laueana x emarginata are pinker, though not as richly colored as before, yet.

I’d love to hear different people’s experiences!


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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by KategoricalKarnivore » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:34 am

I grow all my Mexican pings in all mineral mix except for Alfred Lau #13. It just didn’t seem to like it so it’s in peat/sand. It’s the mix from Cascade Carnivores. But I’ll be making my own shortly with turface and sand and maybe add just a touch of peat for water retention. They all seem to grow really well in the mix. Almost all mine flowered this year and a lot of them are now dividing.
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Benurmanii » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:03 am

I like using my 1:1 ratio mix of vermiculite, pumice, perlite, sand, and lava rock since it makes a good consistency that isn't so rocky that water isn't held well but not so dense that creates and anaerobic environment or one too stuffy for some Mexi Ping roots. I find that eventually, moss finds its way into anything. I think the main issue with peat is the bacteria and algae that accompanies it, which make be stealing some minor nutrients from your pings, making them lose color and vigor. The Pings that I sometimes see in culture which have really pale coloration often are accompanied by algae.

I don't always use agricultural lime and gypsum in my mixes. I have mixed feelings about it too. First off, it means I can't put mixes that use it in with acid loving Pings. Second, it can sometimes reduce the drainage of the mix if I put in too much, or it simply dissolves and washes away with too little.

Chemically, I don't believe gypsum nor calcium carbonate would affect your color. Carotenoids and anthocyanins don't contain the ions that gypsum and calcium carbonate create, so I don't think they closely relate to the production of these compounds (perhaps they are used by some other process in the production of these compounds? I am not sure, but then how would other CPs produce these compounds?). I have read the calcium carbonate helps strengthen the cells of Pinguicula, which makes sense to me.

Either way, I have found the most important part seems to be creating a relatively homogenous mixture that holds water well on its own. Plants I have in lazier mixes where the top dries easier than soil farther below it don't seem to do as well as those in a good and consistent mix.

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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by FlyTrap Hunter » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:20 am

Benurmanii wrote:I like using my 1:1 ratio mix of vermiculite, pumice, perlite, sand, and lava rock since it makes a good consistency that isn't so rocky that water isn't held well but not so dense that creates and anaerobic environment or one too stuffy for some Mexi Ping roots. I find that eventually, moss finds its way into anything. I think the main issue with peat is the bacteria and algae that accompanies it, which make be stealing some minor nutrients from your pings, making them lose color and vigor. The Pings that I sometimes see in culture which have really pale coloration often are accompanied by algae.

I don't always use agricultural lime and gypsum in my mixes. I have mixed feelings about it too. First off, it means I can't put mixes that use it in with acid loving Pings. Second, it can sometimes reduce the drainage of the mix if I put in too much, or it simply dissolves and washes away with too little.

Chemically, I don't believe gypsum nor calcium carbonate would affect your color. Carotenoids and anthocyanins don't contain the ions that gypsum and calcium carbonate create, so I don't think they closely relate to the production of these compounds (perhaps they are used by some other process in the production of these compounds? I am not sure, but then how would other CPs produce these compounds?). I have read the calcium carbonate helps strengthen the cells of Pinguicula, which makes sense to me.

Either way, I have found the most important part seems to be creating a relatively homogenous mixture that holds water well on its own. Plants I have in lazier mixes where the top dries easier than soil farther below it don't seem to do as well as those in a good and consistent mix.
Thanks for the lesson. I don't grow pings but that's great information.


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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by xr280xr » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:03 pm

I use equal parts peat/perlite/sand/vermiculite/roughly crushed red lava rock. Lava rock because I couldn't find any pumice and I also read somewhere that iron oxide powder may help prevent chlorosis and harmful nematodes. I don't know if the dust from the lava rock counts, but it seemed like it wouldn't hurt.

My P. "Florian" has loved this mix. My P. "Frasier Beaut" and P. moctezumae did ok for a while but have both died. I don't know why but I don't really suspect the media.
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by evenwind » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:56 pm

I started out with a couple of mexipings in pure NZS. I'd gotten them to eat the occasional fungus gnat infestation that my orchids were prone to. They were my first CPs. As time went on, I decided that they were worth having for themselves and bought a few more. Mostly I kept them in the NZS - which they seemed to be fine with. Then I started to read and realized that they must be secretly unhappy, so I started to try other mixes. At that point peat didn't work for me - it always got funky after a year or so. Anyhow, when I wanted to expand my mexipings after the Great Spider Mite Apocalypse killed off significant numbers of my orchids and VFTs, I spoke to Ron West (Cascade) and decided to try an all-mineral medium. Right now, they're all in a 1:1 Turface:Gravel mix with maybe 5%-10% Aragonite for flavor. The gravel is polycoated aquarium substrate, so it should be the pretty much the same as silica gravel/coarse sand (which I can't find around here). Most of the mexipings seem to be okay in this mix but there's always a few unhappy ones. I'm still learning.
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Bob Beer » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:22 pm

evenwind wrote:I started out with a couple of mexipings in pure NZS. I'd gotten them to eat the occasional fungus gnat infestation that my orchids were prone to. They were my first CPs. As time went on, I decided that they were worth having for themselves and bought a few more. Mostly I kept them in the NZS - which they seemed to be fine with. Then I started to read and realized that they must be secretly unhappy, so I started to try other mixes. At that point peat didn't work for me - it always got funky after a year or so. Anyhow, when I wanted to expand my mexipings after the Great Spider Mite Apocalypse killed off significant numbers of my orchids and VFTs, I spoke to Ron West (Cascade) and decided to try an all-mineral medium. Right now, they're all in a 1:1 Turface:Gravel mix with maybe 5%-10% Aragonite for flavor. The gravel is polycoated aquarium substrate, so it should be the pretty much the same as silica gravel/coarse sand (which I can't find around here). Most of the mexipings seem to be okay in this mix but there's always a few unhappy ones. I'm still learning.


Yes, I remembered that Ron was using basically turface and silica sand with some iron oxide. I added vermiculite because I’m not growing them in as much water. I considered iron oxide but had trouble forming out 18 bucks for a box of it, for minuscule amount I’d end up using. :-) I suppose if I let some nails rust in a jar of water and water with it, I’ll be doing the same thing, right?


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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by xr280xr » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:29 pm

Bob Beer wrote:Yes, I remembered that Ron was using basically turface and silica sand with some iron oxide. I added vermiculite because I’m not growing them in as much water.

Actually as of a few years ago, he had started using (and selling) the mix I mentioned above: 1 part each of peat, sand, vermiculite, perlite and pumice
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by evenwind » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:54 pm

xr280xr wrote:Actually as of a few years ago, he had started using (and selling) the mix I mentioned above: 1 part each of peat, sand, vermiculite, perlite and pumice

I just checked the site. Ron's selling both the mix you're talking about and the all-mineral one. From the write-up, the all-mineral one is his newest - not that matters if the other one is working for you.

Bob Beer wrote:Yes, I remembered that Ron was using basically turface and silica sand with some iron oxide. I added vermiculite because I’m not growing them in as much water. I considered iron oxide but had trouble forming out 18 bucks for a box of it, for minuscule amount I’d end up using. :-) I suppose if I let some nails rust in a jar of water and water with it, I’ll be doing the same thing, right?

You got me curious. I checked Ebay and you can get 1 oz of red iron oxide for $4 or $5. (I just ordered one.)
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by xr280xr » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:38 pm

evenwind wrote:I just checked the site. Ron's selling both the mix you're talking about and the all-mineral one. From the write-up, the all-mineral one is his newest - not that matters if the other one is working for you.

Oh, I was remembering it backwards. I stand corrected, thanks!
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by heywhathuh » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:14 pm

evenwind, I hope you will keep us posted!

I'm very interested in this thread. So far, I find myself to be agreeing with Ben, especially about lime and gypsum. They make caring for them a pain (monitoring their tray-mates) they can flow out easily, etc.

I've also tried adding some calcerous rock to my moctezumae, and so far, he does not seem to be growing any better.

As for myself, I have had a real tough time finding appropriate sand/pumice/small lava rock locally, so I've had to work with what I've got.

I've tried the following mixes (all parts equal)

peat/perlite/turface
peat/perlite/turface/gran-i-grit (aka poultry grit)
perlite/turface/gran-i-grit

Currently I am experimenting with:
perlite/turface
turface/gran-i-grit
pure turface

I've had ups and downs with all of them, but peat seems to cause problems with uneven dryness/resistance to uptake water after drying out/stagnating.

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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Bob Beer » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:47 pm

You got me curious. I checked Ebay and you can get 1 oz of red iron oxide for $4 or $5. (I just ordered one.)


Ah. Nice to know! The last time I checked Ron was just selling one mix, so interesting that he’s doing two now.


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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Bob Beer » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:58 pm

Here are a couple plants in my new mix.

First is ‘Tina.’ It never really went into a winter form this year, the new and next-newest leaf popped out after the transplant.
Image

Here is laueana x emarginata, one of my older plants. Just transplanted it yesterday so it shows the color I’ve been getting for a while.
Image

Here are some small plants from pullings, originally rooted in pure vermiculite and moved to the pumice/turface/vermiculite mixture.
Image. Not deep red, but I’ll play around with iron oxide when I get back in a month.


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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by KategoricalKarnivore » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:07 am

Wow that laueana x emarginata is really green. That’s crazy. Here’s mine.
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Re: Mexican Ping Media - Share Your Experiences!

by Bob Beer » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:48 am

KategoricalKarnivore wrote:Wow that laueana x emarginata is really green. That’s crazy. Here’s mine.


Yep, mine was the previous year and all through the winter.


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