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

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By _-SphagnumFromHell-_
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#353070
Hello,

So I top watered my seedlings today and runoff water looked odd. It was a yellowish, ale color. I took a reading on a TDS meter and it read 82 ppm. I don't know why it's like this, as I only water them with distilled water.

I believe this is an issue that I have run into several times before without realizing. A lot of seedlings I've had always seemed to have died off for no reason.

I think what's happening is that the peat/perlite mix I use for seedlings seems to break down and release stuff into the water, causing the ppm in the soil to raise to a deadly amount. But this is only a hypothesis.

I've drained the soil multiple times to get it down to below 30 ppm since then. But does anyone have an ideas of what could be happening?
By twitcher
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Joined:  Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:56 am
#353165
What is the source of the peat and perlite? If the original sources are available, you could soak them in distilled water independently and run a tds check on each. I would also check the distilled water, just in case. A color change in water filtering through peat is normal and I would not be too concerned about a slight yellowing of water.

If the seedlings are sitting in a tray, tds can also build up in the tray over time although you are probably checking this already, from your post. You are doing the right thing by flushing the pot with distilled. If the media is the problem, it should settle down over time. Also be aware that some sources of peat and some sources of perlite add fertilizer to them. If you can, check on the media that you used. IF it contains fertilizer, be aware that it could be time-release, so you may need to keep repeatedly flushing regularly. If that is the case, consider moving the seedlings (carefully) to other unfertilized media. Try very hard to not disturb any roots.

One more thing to consider is that seedlings of some cp's need to be fed to grow well. I've noticed that my burumanii ( sundew) do not grow unless fed. They eventually will falter and die off. A similar thing happens to Pinguicula lusitanica. The plants stay small, flower earlier and have a shorter lifespan without regular feeding.

You did soak and rinse the media before using? Multiple times?
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By _-SphagnumFromHell-_
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#353186
As a matter of fact, I did rinse the media before using it. Quite a bit too, and the amount of algae was next to none. I remember checking the ppm of the runoff when preparing the soil. I think it was only around 30. I checked the peat moss and perlite, no indication of any added fertilizers just 100% percent of peat and perlite.

I suppose I haven't fed any of them. I never thought Venus Flytrap seedlings would need to be fed to live and continue to growth but I will if I have to. There aren't any good traps left on my plants though.
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By Matt
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#353206
Don't worry too much about the runoff from the peat moss unless it is well over 100ppm. It always contains some measurable amount of minerals, but they usually (and I stress usually) aren't toxic to Venus flytraps. I have, on occasion, used bags of peat moss that did have fairly toxic minerals in it. It wasn't ever enough to kill full-grown flytraps, but they didn't grow well at all. It might have been enough to kill baby flytraps though.

If you're really worried about it, I'd suggest repotting them into high quality New Zealand long-fiber sphagnum as I've never had an encounter with any bag of NZLFS that had any mineral content in it that affected flytraps.

Baby Venus flytraps definitely don't "need" to be fed, but they will grow much more quickly if they are fed. See this article:
https://www.flytrapcare.com/feed-a-venus-fly-trap
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By MikeB
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#353260
_-SphagnumFromHell-_ wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:08 pmSo I top watered my seedlings today and runoff water looked odd. It was a yellowish, ale color. I took a reading on a TDS meter and it read 82 ppm. I don't know why it's like this, as I only water them with distilled water.
At this time of year, I wonder if the yellow color is due to pollen. My plants get slathered with it in the early spring. Can a TDS meter unintentionally register pollen as a "dissolved solid"?
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By _-SphagnumFromHell-_
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#353266
MikeB wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 4:53 pm At this time of year, I wonder if the yellow color is due to pollen. My plants get slathered with it in the early spring. Can a TDS meter unintentionally register pollen as a "dissolved solid"?
I don't know, but I grow my seedlings indoors on a windowsill. So I doubt much pollen would get to them.
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By MikeB
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#353298
_-SphagnumFromHell-_ wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 5:33 pmI don't know, but I grow my seedlings indoors on a windowsill. So I doubt much pollen would get to them.
Sorry, I assumed they were outside. It's really strange that you would get yellow runoff. Have you considered sending a water sample to a lab for a water-quality report?
By Benny
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#353301
How large are the plants? Pics may help. :mrgreen:
By Benny
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#353348
Hmm. Maybe a dormancy issue?
By steve booth
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#353432
Peat that has lost its acidity will start to break down and add nutrients into the media, this is normal but not desirable. If your peat is old or been poorly stored this can happen. Generally all run off water will be higher in minerals than the water supplied, this is normal and not something to worry about unless you let it concentrate in trays as water evaporates, or as Matt says the run off has a high TDS to start with.
Cheers
Steve
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By _-SphagnumFromHell-_
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#358546
Alright, so I'd hate to dig up this conversation after waiting so long but the state of these seedlings is getting dire.

I put mosquito dunks in the trays to get rid of fungus gnats, they worked well, but I think some kind of mineral in the mosquito dunks is building up in the soil and crystallizing on the surface and all over my plants. A while ago, the ppm of the runoff was somewhere in the 500s before rinsing it again. I'm pretty sure it's going to kill them if I don't do something. It starts to overtake the seedlings until they die.

Out of the now 7 or 8 of them, only one seems like it can possibly make it to adulthood. But the crystals are catching up.

Overall I'm getting very, very tired of all this. I'm considering trying to repot the seedlings in chopped lfsm if I can because I've never had fungus gnats in lfsm, that seems to be the root of all this. Should I?
By uxleumas
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Joined:  Thu May 07, 2020 5:30 pm
#358548
i suggest taking the mosquito dunks out and rinsing it, or you could repot it. this time make sure that the top is covored with fine mesh so no fungus gnats can come in. another posibility would be to plant them with a cape sundew, or any sundew in general, that should trap the fungus gnats. also, make sure to feed the vfts well so that they can grow larger, i could send you a cape sundew for free if you want. lfsm ussualy has a high tds reading :o . so the actual net tds reading could be lower than 500ish tds. i would go for a repot though. a new photo would be helpful

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