I still have few queries about the soil :-
dmagnan wrote:1. What is peat moss/Long fibered sphagnum moss?
Peat moss is partially degraded or composted Sphagnum moss. Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss is dead but undegraded moss.
Can we have the pics for degraded or composite & long fibered and live sphagnum moss ??
as i found some brown color peat moss, white moss and the green sphagnum moss in the nursery so i am a bit confused ?
is this sphagnum moss ??
what bout this ?
dmagnan wrote:5. Can vermiculite substitute for perlite?
Perlite is mostly quartz(SiO2), which is insoluble and inert. This is why It's preferred over many other sands and soils, which
I found 2-3 types of perlite :- expanded /unexpanded perlite. Also white color, light gray and glossy black color perlite
Also different perlite has different granular size 1. coarse, 2, medium and 3. very fine (pics will be helpful). Which one to be used ?
Else the article is really helpful, Please add some pics in the same.
The first pic is very degraded long fibered sphagnum moss, and probably shouldn't be used for soil. It should be yellow/brown if dead (much brighter than what you have there), green if alive (some people grow nepenthes and heliamphora in strictly live long fibered sphagnum), or have a green tint if it's dead and growing algae, as it is prone to do. Algae is generally harmless. White moss, whatever it is, isn't sphagnum and isn't appropriate for carnivorous plants.
The second picture is dry sphagnum peat moss, (usually just referred to as peat moss, but not all peat is sphagnum) and is the normal stuff everyone uses. While I don't remember about the chemistry, I can link the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat#Formation
Short story is, peat bogs provide a condition in which the moss is prevented from breaking down completely (all the nutrients and nitrogen getting used up by bacteria and other microorganisms), which is what happened to the sphagnum moss in that first picture. My nepenthes are in relatively fresh long fibered sphagnum and I'll get some pictures tomorrow morning.
As for the perlite, I had no idea all those kinds existed, in all honesty. But you want the expanded for best aeration of the soil, as it's basically pumice (lots of holes like a sponge), which has a lot of surface area and allows for lots of evaporation/air retention. I also think it's what most people use. I've never seen perlite that wasn't white, so stick with that, because it's tried and tested. If you want the other colors you can figure out why they are colored the way they are and if it's safe for carnivorous plants (low in dissolved solids, avoid all chemicals where possible). If it's just charcoal which provides the color like I expect, it should be fine. As for size, big chunks of perlite tend to float to the top of soil mixes if you water from the top or the pot gets rained on. The size is going to affect water retention and aeration, so you'll have to adjust your peat:perlite ratios or watering schedule accordingly. Pretty much no matter what you pick, if you follow the watering rules, you can use any size you want. The watering rules are (in no particular order) 1. Moist, not wet 2. Let the soil get to nearly dry on the top before watering again 3. Never let the soil dry out completely. Oh and less water during winter.
If you don't mind, I'll quote you for the "size of perlite" question in the article, and add my and any other answers which are posted, because that's a good one.