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Richard Hole

Is second hand potting mix fine to use?

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Hello

I pot my Sarracenias in two parts sphagnum based peat moss and one part perlite. I am repotting some of the plants that I potted one year ago in order to divide them. I am pouring the potting mix out of the pots into a tray during the process. Should it be fine to use this second hand potting mix for the Sarracenias I pot up. It is only a year old so it may still be good. It contains some moss and sundews that grew on the surface. Would it be best to dry the potting mix out in the sun for a week to kill any possible fungi in the soil or would it be unlikely that this would be a problem.

Regards Richard.

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I only ever throw my soil away of there are plants growing it that I don't want to keep. For example, if I re-pot Sarracenia, I will mix the old soil with my stock soil. If, however, there are some stray Drosera, Utricularia, moss or weed growing in there as well and I don't want to propagate that too, I throw it away.

On the whole, though, I keep and re-use soil...

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Hi Richard

I'm the same as Andy, keep and reuse all my old media mixing it with the new media till it 'feels' right, or if I have some very old, now very fine textured used media I use it for the last 10mm or so top dressing on my seedling mix so there are no big gaps for the seeds to fall down and get lost in, it seems to work well.

Cheers

Steve

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Just an idea as I havent tried this. As the perlite is quite expensive you could recover it by throwing the lot in a barrel of water. The perlite should float to the top and can be scooped off

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I think it depends on the mix. If it looks altered under the surface, smells rotten, or does not "feel right" then it's best to throw it away. I also throw away mix when a plant has suffered from a disease that could pass on to others such as fungus, root parasites or rhyzome cancer.

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I also throw away mix when a plant has suffered from a disease that could pass on to others such as fungus, root parasites or rhyzome cancer.

Oh yes, me too. I forgot about that one!

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I am not very experienced, but I do not reuse potting soil from plant I bought in garden centres, ebay, and other not reputable sources. Who knows what lives in that soil. I repot them right after purchase, after rinsing plant in water, since my plants sits next to each other and I do not want any pest to spread.

Having said so, I feel perfectly comfortable with reusing soil I planted a plant in myself.

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If potting mix is made by me or it's from trusted seller, I always reuse it, usually mixing with new soil. Of course if it isn't decomposed, rotten, etc. Sometimes I throw away a top layer, when it's full of mosses or weeds.

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I seldom re-use potting mix unless it's just a few months old. For me, one of the main reasons to repot is to refresh the potting mix. I water my plants with rainwater or, during the dry summer, a mix of reverse osmosis and Southern California municipal water. I aim to dilute the out-of-the-tap fluid (some people call it "water") to at least a third of its almost 400 ppm tds, but I suspect that by the autumn the pots have lots more impurities in the mix than the plants appreciate. It's anecdotal, but I'm fairly certain the repotted plants have responded nicely to the new bedding, less encumbered by salts in the mix.

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An interesting subject.

I always keep old Media as i have some plants in pots for years on end which have been watered by tap water, and they don't mind. So, judging by that, I assume the soil is good too.

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It's anecdotal, but I'm fairly certain the repotted plants have responded nicely to the new bedding, less encumbered by salts in the mix.

i would whole heartedly agree that sarrs do seem to have a growth spurt or at least a more robust growth habbit for a couple of years, when repotted, however if you repot the plant in a mix 40% of the existing soil, 40% new peat perlite in whatever combination is you fovourite and add 20% pine bark, it has a similar effect. Is it the increased acidity or aeration within the lower levels of the soil that helps? or, if a combination of both would removing and repotting a plant in the same old media and adding a little organic sulphur at the same time, accomplish a similar effect? Although it may take some weeks before the bacteria start to decompose the sulphur to a noticable extent.

Cheers

Steve

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