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Koen C.

My Sphagnum

5 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, I'd like to start this topic off with my modest Sphagnum cultures. I love the plants a lot and hope to expand to a collection of a lot of different species. 

The species of which I have most moss is this one. I think it might be S. squarrosum. It's a fast grower and I have enough to harvest every once in a while when I need top dressing for plants like Darlingtonia. I keep them in two different conditions, one tray inside on a south facing windowsill (picture 1 and 2). You can see the moss is really green here and grows less compact. There are no brown tips on the leafs.

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These D. capensis seedlings are one of the few survivors in there, the other Drosera and VFT seedlings got overgrown completely.

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I also keep a portion of this moss outside, in two pots. Surprisingly they don't mind to be in a normal pot, as long as they stand in water. I love how they grow over the edge. The plants are more brownish, grow compact and have brown dots on the leafs sometimes, but nevertheless they seem to be healthy to me. I tried to flush the pots with water, thinking that nutrients cause the brown spots, but it doesn't help. It's probably due to the sun/UV. I'm not sure.

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The second species I'm trying to get bigger amounts of, is this red one. Feel free to tell me the ID, I haven't had the courage yet to start going through a determination guide. It has a tendency to turn completely green when I take cuttings of it, and turning into dark purple/red after a month or two. Some say it's sun, lower pH, or reproductive structures. I'm not sure what it really is that turns this plant red. This species grows not as fast and is a lot smaller, the branches are smaller and less robust then the first species and the heads are much smaller too. I harvest it and use it for cp seedlings like Cephalotus or Nepenthes, hoping the Sphagnum protects them against fungus and cyanobacteria. I chop it up before bringing it on the sowing medium, so it doesn't grow too fast at the start.

It looks really beautiful , but that's just me  :) 

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I probably have 3 or 4 other species that I'm trying to separate out of the other moss and hope to keep them apart in different pots, outside. If anyone is interested to share species with me, I'd love to expand my collection!

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I am not sure about the identity of your "Sphagnum squarrosum". While the plants may look like S. squarrosum, the filidia (plant gametophytes have no leaves, leaves are restricted to sporophytes) seem to be cucculate, and not just pointed and involute as commonly seen in S. squarrosum. I would have a look at the species of S. sect. Sphagnum, for instance S. palustre, which may be superficially similar to S. squarrosum. However, my knowledge on the Sphagnum taxonomy is really poor, I hope someone else could help you more.

The brown dots are likely amounts of various organic acids, among other things; they should dissolve in warm water after some time.

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Thanks for the reply, I was probably wrong. I also didn't know that I should call them fillidia, never thought about it that leaf-like structures on a gametophyte were not homologuous to leafs on a sporophyte, so thanks for pointing that out. I might try to figure out what species it is then. I think it's commonly in cultivation and I  thought it distinguished itself by the curved leaves, giving it a spikey appearance. I don't know anything about right nomenclature to describe plant morphology, but you get what I mean :) But indeed, the outdoor grown plants don't really show that so it may not be squarrosum like you say. I'll have a look at leaf forms and try to find the real identity

 

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Posted (edited)

Hey Koen. Your sphagnum looks very good. I have some questions about how you cultivate them. Do you keep the tray covered or open? In the light or in the shade? How do you water them?

Edited by Tropicat

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Thanks, The moss outside is kept without cover, but I do cover with a net, hoping to keep the birds off. (Last week, birds at last started stealing my Sphagnum, leaving a whole tray empty and leaving me mad at every bird in my garden. I knew it would happen once, but nothing had happened so far). So now I try to keep the moss safe from birds, but not covered with plastic or glass or anything. It's kept in full sun, both inside or outside. If kept in too much shade, or covered, it might grow a bit faster, but not as compact as I'd like. Partial shade gives nice greener growth, but I like it more compact. I water on top of the trays, or when in pots I stand them in a tray of water with the water level kept around 7 cm under the surface. That is just an easy way for me to keep them wet constantly. During winter they were even submerged for a period but they don't mind. During hot weather, I do water from above, but the Sphagnum indicates it clearly by showing white spots if it's getting dryer. From time to time, I do flush out the pots or trays, flooding them with water as attempt to remove nutrients and dirt. In the trays, when I water, I let the water level rise pretty high, until like 2cm from the heads. So the pots are kept in standing water, the trays are being watered from the top and almost flooded.

I must say that there are people on the forum who actually do have experience with Sphagnum moss, and I hope they chime in to show their cultivation methods. I only just started and don't have that much experience yet. 

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