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I've given up mixing to any recipie! Now I just mix washed grit sand with peat until its well blended and damp, probably anything from 50:50 to 75:25 peat to sand and then add a big slug of perlite to open the mixture up. If I had to guess it'd be from quarter to third of the peat/sand mix by volume. They don't seem to care much as long as its open, free draining and has peat as the base.

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For my Sarras, VFTs, Droseras , Pings (2part peat/1part sand/1part perlite)

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Joseph, I wouldn´t say, that Sarra like so "lightweight" substrate...It sounds interestingly! How do your Sarra grow?

Can perlite include a pH? Because you can buy (maybe) many kinds of it (one is used for growing plants, another is using in building,...)-is it still the same?

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Sometime back in the late 1960's or early 1970's I visited Leo Song at the greenhouses of CSUF (California State University, Fullerton). As part of an experiment concerning germinating seeds of various Sarracenia primary hybrids he had a great many Sarracenia seedlings that were growing in what were/are called 2" rose pots. He gave me about a half-dozen or so of these seedlings. The media in these pots, was an obvious combination of fine, 90 grit silica sand, perlite, and peat moss. The seedlings growing in this media were doing very well. I mixed various combinations of these three ingredients until I had a media that matched the appearance of the media these seedlings were growing in. It seemed like a very suitable media, all the seedlings were quite robust. I remember they were only a few years old, but I had to cut the pots away from the rhizomes in order to avoid harming the plants, they were so tightly wedged into the pots.

I remember as I potted them up, most had rhizome buds or branches that I was able to use to propagate divisions with. I planted them all in this same sand/perlite/peat mix, including the larger plants. All seedlings continued to grow very quickly in this media I had "duplicated". So, credit for my favorite Sarracenia media actually belongs to Leo Song. Even though my formula is only an approximation of the mix he originated. I propagated and distributed between fifty to one hundred or more of each of these original seedlings until I had to leave most of my CP collection behind when I had to suddenly relocate from Oak Harbor, Washington to Southern California.

It may be true that perlite varies in physical properties and pH depending of how it is processed and/or where it originates. But I've only ever dealt with perlite distributed exclusively for horticultural purposes.

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I've often been annoyed how some of the perlite would float away during watering, so I learned to water gently from above and frequently enough to keep the plants at or near an optimum media moisture level.

I have successfully used and seen others use many different media mixtures and ingredients, but this mixture is one of the most simple and reliable.

Edited by Joseph Clemens
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For most Sarracenia I like using a media of 3 parts 90 grit silica sand, 3 parts perlite, and 2 parts peat moss.

Joseph, does the 90 in "90 grit silica sand" refer to the US sieve number, or something else? Any idea what size grit particles that gives?

Thanks

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Yes, the 90 grit is a "sieve number", and basically translates to passing a screen with 90 wires to the inch / 2.54 cm. It is a very fine sand (90 grit = 0.150 mm diameter). Silt particles are smaller, between 0.002 mm and 0.063 mm, larger particles than this are sand and smaller are considered clay.

I believe that when fine sand particles like this are thoroughly blended with the peat moss, they help the peat re-wet if it becomes dry, due to their capillary attraction for water, verses the peat being hydrophobic. However it works, this media mixture seems to provide a very good substrate for Sarracenia. One caution, let it regularly drain thoroughly or anaerobic conditions may develop with undesirable or even dire consequences.

Edited by Joseph Clemens
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