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

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By felinefancier87
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#377833
Hi,

I would like some advice on using sphagnum moss for indoor growing. I'm considering acquiring a Drosera prolifera Sundew, and possibly trying Venus fly traps again (I've always had bad success after repotting fly traps after dormancy and avoiding root rot). Previously I've bought (most likely) Canadian sphagnum moss from the local garden store and keeping it wet, with or without a terrarium, but mold grows very fast in this kind of medium especially when covered like in a terrarium (like within a couple of days). It's full of litter and I think the litter might be what gets mouldy, or maybe it's just the wrong type of moss for carnivorous plants. Either way, this has not worked for me and I've killed a fly trap trying to use this type of moss.

So first, I need advice--is dried high quality sphagnum moss like that of New Zealand, or live sphagnum moss, better to use for Drosera prolifera and fly traps?

Second, if I use either live or dried good quality sphagnum moss in a terrarium, how do I manage it? Fill a pot with that, place the plant in it, and then what? Water from top or keep submerged in a tray and water from the bottom? How wet does it have to be? Is there risk of mould growth from too much humidity?

Third, does dried moss revive and continue to grow, or does it stay dead? How long do dried and live moss last?
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By Matt
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#377841
felinefancier87 wrote:Previously I've bought (most likely) Canadian sphagnum moss from the local garden store and keeping it wet, with or without a terrarium, but mold grows very fast in this kind of medium especially when covered like in a terrarium (like within a couple of days). It's full of litter and I think the litter might be what gets mouldy, or maybe it's just the wrong type of moss for carnivorous plants. Either way, this has not worked for me and I've killed a fly trap trying to use this type of moss.
Yeah, many brands of sphagnum out there have quite a lot of mold spores in them and are nearly impossible to use indoors unless you run it through a pressure cooker to kill all the spores.

felinefancier87 wrote:So first, I need advice--is dried high quality sphagnum moss like that of New Zealand, or live sphagnum moss, better to use for Drosera prolifera and fly traps?
Not necessarily "better" in all ways but certainly you'll have way fewer mold problems when growing indoors with New Zealand LFSM.

felinefancier87 wrote:Second, if I use either live or dried good quality sphagnum moss in a terrarium, how do I manage it? Fill a pot with that, place the plant in it, and then what? Water from top or keep submerged in a tray and water from the bottom? How wet does it have to be? Is there risk of mould growth from too much humidity?
I'm of the opinion that most carnivorous plants shouldn't be left sitting in water for too long. In my experience, flytraps do much better if they're never left sitting in water. Some sundews as well. Sarracenia like having their feet wet at all times though. No matter how diligent you are with maintaining a healthy moisture level, if you're growing in a terrarium, you will almost inevitably have algae and mold problems. The lack of sunlight and air movement, along with the elevated humidity levels really creates an ideal environment for growing mold and algae and not such a great environment for carnivorous plants which prefer full outdoor sunlight.

felinefancier87 wrote:Third, does dried moss revive and continue to grow, or does it stay dead? How long do dried and live moss last?
We have had a few bales of dried moss that arrived directly from New Zealand and were quickly shipped to us and there was enough moisture in the middle of the bale to keep some of the strands of sphagnum alive enough that they started growing when they were rehydrated. So it's certainly possible but it isn't probable that you'll get dried moss to revive unless it's super fresh off the boat.

I'm not sure what you mean by "how long do dried and live moss last?" because live moss is a living thing and if well cared for can last forever. Dried moss will also last quite a long time but all CPs do like to have their soil freshened from time to time so you'll need to repot them to freshen the moss up. We typically do that annually for flytraps and reuse the old moss in the bottom of the pots.
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By felinefancier87
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#377843
Hmm, okay, this certainly helps. Is using live moss better than dried moss?

If you're indoors and you don't recommend using a terrarium to trap moisture, can I just use moist sphagnum moss uncovered then? The Drosera prolifera Sundew likes humidity from what I've read, and fly traps do too. How often would they need watering, and is there something I can do to satisfy their humidity requirements?
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By Matt
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#377844
felinefancier87 wrote:Hmm, okay, this certainly helps. Is using live moss better than dried moss?
It really depends on the plant. For flytraps, having live moss on top of the soil is impractical, though not impossible, because flytraps prefer it less wet than the living sphagnum likes.

For some Drosera species, Darlingtonia Heliamphora, and a few other species, using living moss is certainly possible, though somewhat cost-prohibitive to use it for the entire pot. Most growers use it as a top-dressing only.
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By felinefancier87
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#377845
Hmm, okay. It seems like the flytrap is probably more difficult to satisfy than Drosera prolifera, would that be accurate to say?

Could Drosera prolifera be happy with just a regular peat moss-sand-perlite medium and the tray method? Are you familiar with this species?
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By Matt
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#377847
felinefancier87 wrote:Hmm, okay. It seems like the flytrap is probably more difficult to satisfy than Drosera prolifera, would that be accurate to say?
No idea because I've never grown Droser prolifera and don't really grow many Drosera at all. Flytraps are super easy to take care of in my opinion, but that's because I only grow outdoors. For indoor growing, yes, they are very challenging to keep healthy in the long term. But I think most CPs don't do particularly well indoors unless they are watched closely and very well kept.
felinefancier87 wrote:Could Drosera prolifera be happy with just a regular peat moss-sand-perlite medium and the tray method? Are you familiar with this species?
Nope, I don't know many dews at all but forum user @Shadowtski grows a lot, along with quite a few others here so maybe one of them will chime in.

In the meantime, you might try reading this article:
https://www.carnivorousplants.org/grow/guides/sisters
By Benny
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#377848
felinefancier87 wrote:The Drosera prolifera Sundew likes humidity from what I've read, and fly traps do too.
Many drosera species enjoy increased humidity (not familiar with D. prolifera), but flytraps do not. Increased humidity can actually make a flytrap's health worse, due to mold and crown rot. Do not use a bag or humidity dome for flytraps.

I live in Northern California, and the humidity is very, very low. It is at 24% humidity right now. My flytraps are unfazed by the dry air. Just keep their soil moist, don't worry about topical humidity.

Best of luck!
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By Matt
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#377854
Benny wrote:Many drosera species enjoy increased humidity (not familiar with D. prolifera), but flytraps do not. Increased humidity can actually make a flytrap's health worse, due to mold and crown rot. Do not use a bag or humidity dome for flytraps.
Very well stated and 100% accurate!

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