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Pine Needles as a Growing Medium


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#101 mobile

 
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Posted 01 May 2012 - 18:44 PM

I'm going to keep mine in the same 3:1 pine needle:peat mix from last year and see how it does for a second season. I suspect that the lower level media will have started to rot, but it's in a tall pot.

#102 FlytrapRanch

 
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Posted 01 May 2012 - 19:48 PM

Just to add to the discussion-- I'm growing a Venus Flytrap in an experimental sphagnum-free mixture of 1 part (by volume) silica sand, 1 part chopped pine needles and 1 part small-to medium evergreen bark pieces ("orchid bark"). So far the plant is growing fine (after several months). The mixture is rather freely-draining and needs water more often, so to improve its water retention and slow its drying time, while remaining sphagnum-free, I plan to try another pot using the same mix but with 1 part desalinated coir (coconut husk pith) added to the sand, pine needles and bark pieces.

All of these experiments are very interesting. :smile:

#103 mantrid

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 17:30 PM

I'm going to keep mine in the same 3:1 pine needle:peat mix from last year and see how it does for a second season. I suspect that the lower level media will have started to rot, but it's in a tall pot.



Any recent pics of your exp?

#104 mantrid

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 17:31 PM

Just to add to the discussion-- I'm growing a Venus Flytrap in an experimental sphagnum-free mixture of 1 part (by volume) silica sand, 1 part chopped pine needles and 1 part small-to medium evergreen bark pieces ("orchid bark"). So far the plant is growing fine (after several months). The mixture is rather freely-draining and needs water more often, so to improve its water retention and slow its drying time, while remaining sphagnum-free, I plan to try another pot using the same mix but with 1 part desalinated coir (coconut husk pith) added to the sand, pine needles and bark pieces.

All of these experiments are very interesting. :smile:


Keep us updated pref with some pics

#105 mantrid

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 17:34 PM

Update
oops messed up with the positioning, D and E are the wrong way around

01/06/12
Posted Image

01/05/12
Posted Image

27/03/12
Posted Image

Edited by mantrid, 03 August 2013 - 20:05 PM.


#106 mobile

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 21:18 PM

Mine has been on my kitchen windowsill over winter and spring and has only just recently been moved outside...

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#107 mantrid

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 21:30 PM

Its doing well and looks quite healthy. Did you refresh the media?
Were you able to examine the state of the needles at the bottom of the pot?

#108 mobile

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 21:40 PM

No, I've not replenished the mix. I am going to keep it in this mix for this season I think.

#109 Alexis

 
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Posted 01 June 2012 - 22:39 PM

Are they recently divided specimens? None of them look like particularly robust plants?

#110 mobile

 
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Posted 02 June 2012 - 07:56 AM

Mine is a garden centre runt that I put in my bog garden last year but it wasn't doing very well, so I transferred it into the pine needle mix.

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:45 PM

Hi for the B you change the soil ? or you don't repot the plants.

Thanks

#112 Richard Bunn

 
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Posted 08 June 2012 - 13:48 PM

Hi for the B you change the soil ? or you don't repot the plants.

Thanks


I'm interested in the outcome of this question too.

#113 Richard Bunn

 
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Posted 09 June 2012 - 16:49 PM

Last year I repotted a garden centre variety VFT that I'd had for two years. I decided that I wanted to put all the divided crowns into a red glazed terracotta pot (large-ish) in the front garden. They grew fairly normal for the season. The mix I used was 50/50 fine horticultural sand and peat.

This year, however, they aren't doing well at all. The potting mixture had become very dense. Perhaps I shouldn't have packed it down with my hands??? Therefore the plants were really struggling to grow in it.

I decided that I wanted to repot them (into the same pot) in a mix using pine needles. Mantrid's mix B (50/50 peat and pine needles).

Having driven a round trip of around 15 miles yesterday evening only to discover that the nearest forrest to me didn't have the regular pine trees, they were the ones with the long cigar-like cones and very small needles which were very few and far between. The 'fronds' were flat rather than the traditional bristly needle pine. I decided to to use them, it would have taken me ages to get a bag full anyway.

I arrived home and drove up my street only to suddenly notice that right across from my house where a few trees grow were two real pine trees. Bloody typical.

Anyway, I've potted the crowns, one large, one medium and several small, into the new mix. I hadn't got enough needles to make sufficient quantity of mix to fill the pot so the lower third I just filled up with some of last years mix, it's not like the roots get down there anyway. The top 2/3 is proper 50/50 pine and peat and I haven't packed it down one bit.

Let's see how this goes.

EDIT: Oh damn I've just noticed that both Mantrid and Mobile have used the smaller needles of the flat frond tree I mentioned. Now I'm panicking about how mine will do, they're very long.

Edited by Richard Bunn, 09 June 2012 - 16:52 PM.


#114 petesredtraps

 
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Posted 09 June 2012 - 17:21 PM

Are we talking about the pine needles that one would get from a typical seasonal xmas tree?

#115 mantrid

 
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Posted 09 June 2012 - 17:49 PM

Are we talking about the pine needles that one would get from a typical seasonal xmas tree?



I think mine were Douglas fir, a commercially grown conifer for wood production. They are not native sp and come from N. America. I think Douglas and Sitka are the most commercially grow here. So if you are in a planted forest they are likely to be these. Sitka has a blueish tinge to the needles, Douglas in greener. The only native conifers are Scotts Pine, Yew and Juniper. I havent experimented to see which needles are best. I dont think it makes any difference as I thing their main benifit is aerating the soil rather than providing some chemical function.

#116 mantrid

 
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Posted 09 June 2012 - 17:55 PM

Last year I repotted a garden centre variety VFT that I'd had for two years. I decided that I wanted to put all the divided crowns into a red glazed terracotta pot (large-ish) in the front garden. They grew fairly normal for the season. The mix I used was 50/50 fine horticultural sand and peat.

This year, however, they aren't doing well at all. The potting mixture had become very dense. Perhaps I shouldn't have packed it down with my hands??? Therefore the plants were really struggling to grow in it.

I decided that I wanted to repot them (into the same pot) in a mix using pine needles. Mantrid's mix B (50/50 peat and pine needles).

Having driven a round trip of around 15 miles yesterday evening only to discover that the nearest forrest to me didn't have the regular pine trees, they were the ones with the long cigar-like cones and very small needles which were very few and far between. The 'fronds' were flat rather than the traditional bristly needle pine. I decided to to use them, it would have taken me ages to get a bag full anyway.

I arrived home and drove up my street only to suddenly notice that right across from my house where a few trees grow were two real pine trees. Bloody typical.

Anyway, I've potted the crowns, one large, one medium and several small, into the new mix. I hadn't got enough needles to make sufficient quantity of mix to fill the pot so the lower third I just filled up with some of last years mix, it's not like the roots get down there anyway. The top 2/3 is proper 50/50 pine and peat and I haven't packed it down one bit.

Let's see how this goes.

EDIT: Oh damn I've just noticed that both Mantrid and Mobile have used the smaller needles of the flat frond tree I mentioned. Now I'm panicking about how mine will do, they're very long.



You will be suprised how deep a VFTs roots go. They dont produce many roots but they are long and I think it will get to the bottom in time.
It is recommended that terracotta pots are not used for CPs as it is thought they leach salts into the medium. Never tried them myself or read of anyone with supporting evidence, but it would be interesting to test this theory out.

#117 FlytrapRanch

 
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Posted 09 June 2012 - 18:49 PM

You will be suprised how deep a VFTs roots go. They dont produce many roots but they are long and I think it will get to the bottom in time.
It is recommended that terracotta pots are not used for CPs as it is thought they leach salts into the medium. Never tried them myself or read of anyone with supporting evidence, but it would be interesting to test this theory out.


Yes, Venus Flytrap roots can easily grow to a depth of 20 centimeters (8 inches) or more.

Regarding terracotta pots (common red earthenware pots), if well fired the clay itself is inert and won't harm Venus Flytraps. However, low-fired red clay is porous, which means that it can accumulate soluble material in the pores of the clay. So if the clay pot has been used before with other types of plants, it would help to soak it once or twice for a day or so in pure rainwater or distilled water, to dissolve and dissipate any accumulation of soluble mineral salts or other soluble material that might be present in the pores of the clay before using it as a container for Venus Flytraps or other carnivorous plants. I've grown quite a few Venus Flytraps in common red clay earthenware pots. The only issue I have with them is that in my arid climate (New Mexico, U.S.) the red clay wicks the water to the surface of the clay, which keeps the medium cooler, but which dries the medium a little too fast, especially when there is a dry, hot breeze. Other than that issue, red clay terracotta pots work fine.

A note of warning however. There now exist many artificial red clay pots which are harmful to Venus Flytraps because they are not actually composed of natural red clay, but instead are made of an artificial "ceramic" (sometimes very low fired, almost like nothing more than plaster of Paris) that is soft, easily scratched and often soluble to a greater or lesser degree in water. Those artificial red clay pots, which look a lot like the real red clay pots to a person who doesn't have the knowledge to discriminate between the two, are often harmful (often very alkaline and somewhat soluble) and should be avoided.

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 20:12 PM

Really good information

Im really interested in this post.

Best regards

#119 mantrid

 
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Posted 01 July 2012 - 15:39 PM

Update

01/07/12
Posted Image

01/06/12
Posted Image

01/05/12
Posted Image

Edited by mantrid, 03 August 2013 - 20:08 PM.


#120 Richard Bunn

 
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Posted 01 July 2012 - 17:18 PM

Oh B & C are practically neck and neck all of the sudden. Could the moss be hindering the growth of B?