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Experimental growing Cephalotus in beach dune sand

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As I'm sure many seasoned Cephalotus growers will agree, this species is not very particular on what medium it grows in. There are lots of different mixes around, containing lots of different ingredients and ratios, such as peat, sand, perlite, leaf mould, live moss, dried moss, charcoal etc etc. I have tried many mixes and to be honest I cannot differentiate any discernible differences in growth rate or colouration. If you look at pictures of this species growing in habitat you will find it in anything between heavy humus soil to white sand. The species grows in coastal areas and one medium ingredient I have seen mentioned a few times is beach sand but I can't find any articles about anyone actually growing a plant using this, though there is undoubtedly someone using it as it is mentioned HERE. So, to satisfy my own curiosity I have decided to give it a try. I live next to the sea, so I took a walk to the local sand dunes and collected a small amount of sand from the banks where tall grasses (I think they are grasses?) grow. The tide does not reach this height, though undoubtedly it receives spray from the sea. I noticed that there was a line which below grew no grasses, so I took from above there, in amongst the grasses. I have a few 'expendible' seedling from last year so used one of these for this experiment. I will periodically update this post with the progress. The pot is filled with a 50/50 mix of peat and dune sand, with a top 1cm layer of just dune sand. The seedling was taken from its existing pot with a plug of moss peat and planted into the sand, with the lower part of the plug coming into contact with the peat/sand mix below.

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Edited by mobile
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good luck, I have my doubts it will survive in a base-rich medium....even though they grow near the sea as far as I am aware the substate is often (acid?) peat beased and fresh water flushed...

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good luck, I have my doubts it will survive in a base-rich medium....

And me... but I'm inquisitive and like experimenting :JC_cupidboy:

even though they grow near the sea as far as I am aware the substate is often (acid?) peat beased and fresh water flushed...

The sand was taken from a bank which would be subject to plenty of rainwater run-off and the river that runs near to it often runs brown from the humus content, so I suspect that it would be acidic.

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As I'm sure many seasoned Cephalotus growers will agree, this species is not very particular on what medium it grows in. There are lots of different mixes around, containing lots of different ingredients and ratios, such as peat, sand, perlite, leaf mould, live moss, dried moss, charcoal etc etc. I have tried many mixes and to be honest I cannot differentiate any discernible differences in growth rate or colouration. If you look at pictures of this species growing in habitat you will find it in anything between heavy humus soil to white sand.

The pot is filled with a 50/50 mix of peat and dune sand, with a top 1cm layer of just dune sand. The seedling was taken from its existing pot with a plug of moss peat and planted into the sand, with the lower part of the plug coming into contact with the peat/sand mix below.

I have not yet tried beach sand as a component of my potting mixtures, but I am growing plants in washed white sand over a base of sand, peat and gravel, or in a mix with sphagnum (mainly because I start the leaf cuttings in pure sphagnum and it is then hard to remove it with out damaging roots).

I would be cautious of using our local beach sand due to high shell grit content, but sands from beaches where there is less shell content would be worth trying. Dune sands are usually lower in shell fragments so using it for your trial makes sense. Accessing sand from near a river also makes good sense, so it will be interesting to see how your plants do in it.

I also find little difference between plants growing in the different mixtures that I have trialled.

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A nice pioneering experiment.....keep us posted....Nice photos aswell....

DexFC

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Hey, great experiment. It's been on my mind as well the last couple of days.

Is there any way you could take the pH of your mixture or vinegar test and how did you treat the beach sand before incorporating with peat, washed - ect.?

Apart from pH, I think other worries is salt content and limestone. Although these would surely guard from fungus.

Thanks for your exploration and keep us posted of any observations.

Riaan

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Hey, great experiment. It's been on my mind as well the last couple of days.

Is there any way you could take the pH of your mixture or vinegar test and how did you treat the beach sand before incorporating with peat, washed - ect.?

Apart from pH, I think other worries is salt content and limestone. Although these would surely guard from fungus.

Thanks for your exploration and keep us posted of any observations.

Riaan

I have litmus papers but they are narrow band so finding the right starting point could be tedious. I might get a soil pH test kit. I can test for mineral content, as I have a EC meter so I will add some sand to distilled water and measure it.

I did no pre-treating. The bank is subject to water run-off and it has been raining quite a lot here recently. I suspect that there willl be some salt content though.

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Very interesting - look forward to hearing how the experiment goes.

Heather

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beach sand

I'd guess that the plant will die because of too much salt if not thoroughly rinsed with rain water.

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I also had wondered if a small amount of salt in the media would be beneficial and assumed some would be present in its natural habitat so close to the sea (salt spray).

I had planned to possibly try this experiment in the future when I had some spare to experiment on.

So thanks Mobile for taking the plunge and hopefully soon make us all that little bit more Ceph wise :Laie_98:

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Hey Mobile,

Is this one of the seedlings germinated last November that you posted photos of? How are they doing now a year later, maybe you can update that post as an indication to new ceph growers. Just ordered some seed and was wondering as to how slow they really grow?

Best of luck with the sea sand ceph,

Riaan

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Hey Mobile,

Is this one of the seedlings germinated last November that you posted photos of? How are they doing now a year later, maybe you can update that post as an indication to new ceph growers. Just ordered some seed and was wondering as to how slow they really grow?

Best of luck with the sea sand ceph,

Riaan

Hi Riaan,

Yes, this is one of last years seedlings and it's quite typical of all the seedlings. They are slow growers but are still putting out new tiny pitchers, as you can see in the picture above.

Carl

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Looking forward to hearing your results, Carl.

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I have litmus papers but they are narrow band so finding the right starting point could be tedious. I might get a soil pH test kit. I can test for mineral content, as I have a EC meter so I will add some sand to distilled water and measure it.

I did no pre-treating. The bank is subject to water run-off and it has been raining quite a lot here recently. I suspect that there willl be some salt content though.

Took 5ml of sand and added 50ml of deionised water to it:

Conductivity reading after 3 hours - 0.04EC

--------------------------------------

Update 21/09/2010

Conductivity reading after 13 hours - 0.04 - 0.05EC

Conductivity of the deionised water was 0.00EC, as one would expect, so there is a small ammout of substance increasing it. I have no way of ascertaining what this is though. I have a pH test kit on order so will publish results from that soon.

Edited by mobile

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pH = 7

hmmm... pH 7.0, EC 0.05... this stuff is better than the horticultural sand that I buy!

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Why would you buy sand when it is on your doorstep like that, Carl? especially when you say that it is better!

Exactly... though I was hoping that it was a bit more sea contaminated as this was one of the purposes of the experiment.

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that sand looks just like the silica sand i buy for £15 for 25kg. I think it should work well once it is througly rinsed.

Hope it works for you, it would be great to find a free source of sand!

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that sand looks just like the silica sand i buy for £15 for 25kg. I think it should work well once it is througly rinsed.

Hope it works for you, it would be great to find a free source of sand!

beach sand won't be silica sand, it will be marine derived with lots of shell components and likely to have salt and calcium content.

I'm not sure of the legality of nicking sand from a beach... :smile:

Edited by gardenofeden

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I'm not sure of the legality of nicking sand from a beach... :D

I only took a small sandwich bag quantity but I hadn't considered legality. I'll have to stop my children from taking buckets of sand off the beach :smile:

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Dear-Mobile "I"-Applaude Your Pioneering-Spirit. So-Few Actually Choose to-Venture-down Our-Path!!! >(*U^)<

The-'GREEN'-of-The-Sand is most-Likely Due to Cyanophyta Which Like-IRON, Magnesium (some-Zinc) and In-Particular Hydroxyl-ions [ 3-Times More on Calcium Compared to-Magnesium] ... &-Which Will-Grow Well in "Alkaline"-Washed-Sand ... but 'Not'-so-Readily In-Acid Washed-Sand.

In-Fact You-Should-Find that CPs will-Eventually (about two-Months) Begin to-Grow Much-Better in Alkaline-Washed-Sand due-to-The-Presence of Cyanophyta Encouraged by The Hydroxyl-ions Still-left 'Clinging'-to The Interstices of the-Porous Quartzite-Sand.

The-Trouble-with Iron-hydroxide is-that it's-'Not'-very Stable &-Has The-Tendency to Oxidise-UP (to-RUST) ... in-Doing-so Reacting-with and Blackening The Hemicellulose Component of Peat, in-General.

Your-Task, ... Should-You 'Choose' to-Accept-It, Is to-Learn 'How' to Stabilize the-Iron &-Perhaps Eventually Learn to-Create Natural-Forms that R-Stable Even-In Very-Acid-Conditions.

****

Cephalotus Has-R Rhizosphere Potassium-Amended 'Salt'-INDEX that-lies Somewhere between 22g/Litres & 33g/Litre IE between 2/3rds SEAWATER & Actual SEAWATER Itself. So-It's 'Tougher'-than Dionaea & Drosera-bianta, on-R-Wilt-for-Wilt Basis so-to-Speak ... but-'Not' as-Hardy as-Sarracenia & Heliamphora in-General.

If-You Dilute Actual Seawater 1/12-to-1/10th Strength and Add-some Potassium to-It You'll-Find that many-CPs Actually 'Benefit' from The-Magnesium [usually 'Around' 1/4] Contained-within. Your-Task is-to-Find The 'Optimum'-Ratio of Potassium to-'Salt' in-General.

****

Eventually You May-even Discover that Cyanophyta Favour Calcium over Magnesium & Learn to 'Soften'-UP & Remove The 'Bound'-Hydroxyl-ions that Normally Prevent-One from Crossingover The so-Called Calcifuge-Barrier, so-to-Speak!!! >(*U^)<

This'll Not-only Place-You in-R-Position to-Attempt to 'REDDEN' some Sphagnum but to Take The-Next Logical Step &-Tackle COPPER with The-Associated Potentiality of 'Blueing' some Plants ... since R-Number of CPs, in-Particular Drosera-gigantea, R-Naturally 'Glauceous' or Blue / Green in-Appearance. >(*U^)<

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I'm not sure of the legality of nicking sand from a beach... :suicide_fool-edit:

You can tell hes from UK. Only a Brit would be paranoid about such a thing or even think it. Its the sorry state of the UK with all our ridiculous rules and regs that are infesting our freedom. We've all been brainwashed by all these morons running our country telling us we cant do this and we cant do that.

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