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

Moderator: Matt

By cylpol
Posts:  47
Joined:  Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:18 pm
Hi just had a question about a soil mix I had. I bought the California carnivores soil mix of 1 part perlite to 4 part sphagnum moss. A 20% perlite and 80% sphagnum moss mix. Was just wondering if this mix requires enough drainage for when it rains during the winter months. Should I bring my bog into the patio area or is this soil provide the bog enough drainage. i know people usually use a mix of 50% of each so I was just wondering if this California carnivores mixture is enough. Thank you
By steely_phil
Posts:  12
Joined:  Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:24 pm
Hi cylpol,

A few questions here. What is your hardiness zone or what type of climate zone are you in? Sounds like rainy winters, but more info could help. Is it very very rainy and cold? Typically that's not great for CPs that need dormancy. If you have bog plants that need a chilly dormancy, it is likely that they will need a lot less water in their soil moisture than during growing season. This specific mix is a fairly standard mix, but definitely will hold more water than a 50/50 mix of peat:perlite(or sand). I'm currently using a mix of ~60% peat/30% sand/ 10% perlite for a mini bog with drainage holes. I live in a warm temperate climate with hot humid summers and chilly winters. I might try for more peat and less perlite next time I repot based off of my climate.

Also, what kind of container(s) (it sounds like you have a container you are able to move) are you growing or planning to grow plants in with this soil mix? Does it have drainage holes or can you add drainage holes to it? Drainage holes will obviously help some if you are worried about poor soil drainage.

If your patio area provides adequate light and temperature needs for your specific plants over the winter, shelters them from heavy winter rain, and you have the space for them on the patio, then you can more easily control the moisture level of the soil. If the patio checks all those boxes, then that might be a good move.
By cylpol
Posts:  47
Joined:  Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:18 pm
Thank you so much for your reply. I grow my plants outdoors in a plastic container bog in climate zone 10a. We do not get snow but get tons of rain in the winter time. I plan on moving my plants to a bog with a tray underneath for the tray method where it is going to have draining holes. Picture of that is below. It gets cold to about 40-60f not too great for dormancy. If i have a patio but it has covering above, does it still get enough sunlight? Thank you for your help. Let me know if you need more information
20190724_151229.jpg (1.27 MiB) Viewed 421 times
By steely_phil
Posts:  12
Joined:  Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:24 pm
Hi cylpol,

Thanks for the additional info. I think your container and water tray set up should work fine, assuming you have enough soil mix to fill it close to the top. I might consider lining the bottom with some long fiber sphagnum moss or something like washed gravel so you minimize soil loss from using your water tray.

To your light question, I'm not sure what your specific patio looks like and how much light it gets during winter. If you have plants that require dormancy, those in the wild still obviously get light during their winter in the wild. However folks who live in climates like yours that don't get chilly winters or can't leave them outside because it gets too cold uproot them and place them in bags with a bit of fungicide and keep them in the fridge. Come spring they repot them and plants don't skip a beat even though they've been out of light for the most part. I don't have experience with that and won't be doing that myself, but if you wish to consider that, I'd do a bit more research fridge dormancy in the forum.

If it gets as rainy as you say in winter and you leave them in the bog container they will likely need a patio or something else protecting them so the soil can stay drier than it is during growing season. If you can move the container once filled with soil, you could also think about moving it from your normal growing spot to the patio when the forecast calls for heavy rain and then back after it stops.
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