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mantrid

Pine Needles as a Growing Medium

150 posts in this topic

Update.

Cant view the code anymore to edit images. Have to delete image then retype everything. Damn I just used to copy the code from previuos posts and just change the image number

I think you need to use he light switch button at he top of the edit window to select code. Works for me.

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Thanks that great.

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Update.

This will be the last photo of this experiment.

Conclusion

VFTs grown in a mix of peat and pine needles appears to grow better than in the common mix of perlite and peat. Best growth occured in a 50:50 mix. However the experiment was only conducted on single plants for each medium type. A larger group of plants grown in each medium would need to be tested to statistically verify this finding.

Pine needles certainly do not harm the VFTs and can safely be used as a substitute for perlite. If indeed the pine needles are resulting in better growth of the plants then possible reasons for this are given below.

1) It is possible that the needles maintain the acidity of the peat creating a longer lasting, more stable acidic environment around the roots. Unfortunately I did not have any means o testing the pH to confirm this.

2) The pine needles might be slowly decomposing releasing small amounts of nutrients into the peat, sufficient to benefit growth but too low to harm the plant.

3) The filamentous nature of the needles may create better aeration of the peat. It was noticed that the pine needles medium did not compact as much as the perlite medium and remained more more spongy to the touch.

10/09/2012

pnexp11.jpg

05/08/2012

pnexp10.jpg

01/07/2012

pnexp9.jpg

Edited by mantrid
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Hi Mantrid, I cant see the pictures, can you change the server please?

Really good post! :D

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sorted, eventually

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Do you have some new pictures Mantrid? Would be good to see how the experiment is getting on.

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Mine is still in the original pine needles. Think this is the third season and the plant has been outside year round. Been a poor year for VFT outside this year, buts its still put out some small traps and flower stalks

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I still have the plants in the same pots. Havent looked at them for a while. I will take some pics tomorrow

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Mine is still in the original pine needles. Think this is the third season and the plant has been outside year round. Been a poor year for VFT outside this year, buts its still put out some small traps and flower stalks

Yes it was a bad start but the hot sunny weather over the last few weeks with some recent rain means things are picking up nicely and colouration is getting better

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I collected someLarch needles a few weeks ago. When I scraped the needles up I found that the rotted down needles has produced a brown material a bit like peat so I collected some of this also. I made up a compost mixture of 1 part Perlite, 1 part grit sand (J Arthur Bowers) and 1 part Larch material - mostly the brown "peat".

I planted up some straggly Venus Flytraps in it that I wasn't bothered about losing and three or four weeks later they have put on some growth and certainly are not showing any signs of distress.

The pic is of the plants just after I potted them up (10cm pot).

9487554224_d18b001ed6_z.jpg

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The pine needles in my original plant have all rotted down and the VFT is still growing fine, albeit a little slowly due to inclement weather.

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My experiment has settled/sunken down in its pot due to needle decomposition. I shall have to bottom dress the pot next season to raise the level of the plants up to the top of the pot.

file.jpg

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Mine has never been repotted since my original picture post in this topic in 2011. The VFT doesn't look the best this time of year, as it grows outdoors year round. You can see that the medium level has dropped.

L3iBVF3.jpg

RFk7QMi.jpg

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As I am in Lebanon now, I have bring with me some tuberous drosera, no peat here so I have use pine needles, burning pine wood and some sand. It work good. 1465154_10202667226305088_525828080_n.jpg1474451_10202667222384990_2145213969_n.jpg1452561_10202667222945004_2147173901_n.jpg

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I personally think that pine needles are quite a viable alternative medium and I have started to add them to my normal mixes. I have had less issues with them as a CP medium than I have had with coir and I don't have to worry as to how they have been washed.

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L3iBVF3.jpg

Mobile, do you have any idea what those plants are growing in the pot with the VFT, with thin, round leaves (in cross section)? The common name or genus/species name?

I have one of those plants, which germinated in a batch of sphagnum peat moss, that I have cultivated as a potential companion plant for Venus Flytraps (although it grows quite large when it has the root space), but I have no idea what it is.

Regarding coir, I'm personally fond of the physical properties it adds to a mix, but coir from every source I've tried all must be carefully desalinated by repeated soaking and draining first, before use. One of my better sphagnum-free mixes, in which several Venus Flytraps have now been growing well for several years, is composed of--

  • silica sand
  • coir (desalinated)
  • evergreen needles
  • small pieces of evergreen bark

Edited by FlytrapRanch

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Sorry, but I don't know what the companion plant is, but I'm sure someone on here will know.

Maybe coir works ok when in certain mixes, rather than being a direct substitute for Sphagnum peat, but when I have tried it mixed with just perlite then it has not performed well for me. I also find the need to repeatedly soak it as being rather tedious.

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Yes, it certainly is tedious and time-consuming to methodically desalinate coir, but I like the rot-resistance and springiness it adds to a mix, the great water retention while still aggressively incorporating air into the mix.

Regarding coir and perlite, I've found a 50/50 or 60/40 mix (by volume) of desalinated coir and perlite to be an excellent medium for some orchids including Paphiopedilum and Tolumnia.

Edited by FlytrapRanch

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Mobile, do you have any idea what those plants are growing in the pot with the VFT, with thin, round leaves (in cross section)? The common name or genus/species name?

I can't be 100% sure but from the image it looks a lot like Juncus effusus or at least a member of the Juncus genus.

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I can't be 100% sure but from the image it looks a lot like Juncus effusus or at least a member of the Juncus genus.

Thank you very much, Little-Bacchus. After looking at quite a few photos of Juncus effusus and other Juncus, I'm sure you're correct that it is one of the Juncus species. I live in a dry grassland area of the United States and had never seen one of these plants and have been curious for several years as to exactly what this plant was.

Thanks for identifying this "mystery plant."

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I too think that that is what it is, if it is, they do have inordinately long and sturdy root systems that will soon crowd out your VFT, I would get rid of it fairly quickly.

Cheers

Steve

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I too think that that is what it is, if it is, they do have inordinately long and sturdy root systems that will soon crowd out your VFT, I would get rid of it fairly quickly.

Cheers

Steve

Thank you, billynomates. The plant sprouted in a very small container and at that time its root system was limited by the container itself, and the plant was also small. That's when I decided it might make a nice companion plant in a larger pot containing several Venus Flytraps, so I transplanted it into that pot.

Within several weeks the plant (the Juncus) grew to twice as large and began to overgrow, crowd and shade the Venus Flytraps. This was alarming to me (I wondered just how large the plant could/would grow) so I unpotted that large community pot and found that the Juncus roots had spread to most of the growing medium, especially at the lower half of the pot.

So I decided to plant this mystery plant (now identified as a Juncus rush species) in a separate (and smaller) pot, where it remains at this time until I decide what I want to do with it.

Thanks to those who identified the plant.

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Mobile, do you have any idea what those plants are growing in the pot with the VFT, with thin, round leaves (in cross section)? The common name or genus/species name?

It's a common rush, I have fields of them if you want some more :smile:

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It's a common rush, I have fields of them if you want some more :smile:

No, thank you. I live in a very dry environment with almost no surface water deposits anywhere, no rivers or streams. I had never seen this plant. But now that I know what it is, a rush of the genus Juncus, and how large they are inclined to become when planted in a larger pot, I might be tempted to place it outside in a nice, comfortable spot where it can peacefully die. :smile:

Edited by FlytrapRanch

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I too think that that is what it is, if it is, they do have inordinately long and sturdy root systems that will soon crowd out your VFT, I would get rid of it fairly quickly.

I have a Cephalotus that is very happy sharing a pot with a fern, which has sturdy roots. I actually think the companion plant is helping. Afterall, what competition is there, the companion plant will be competing for nutrients and water, of which there will be little of the former and plenty of the latter to share.

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