A new peat free growing medium...


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Since 3 years a use a new growing medium, it's granitic sand and in this medium I can grow, nepenthes, sarracenia, droseras( hardy, tropical, tuberous and pigmy) , pinguicula, genlisea, utricularia, cephalotus, darlingtonia and tropical orchids.

Here are some pictures:

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I will put some more pictures soon.

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Guillaume, do you add any other ingredient to the granitic sand, to make the growing medium more moisture retentive? It seems to me that in my arid environment, where pure silica sand dries out too fast, granitic sand by itself would probably dry too fast also. But you might grow your plants in an environment sheltered from the wind and possibly from some of the intense summer sun?

I'm guessing that "granitic sand" is naturally or artificially crushed granite rock. In the United States, granite is roughly crushed into large chunks for a decorative covering for flowerbeds and maintenance-free yard areas, and there are at least two grades or sizes of small-to-fine crushed granite available for such uses as avian grit, the sharp material birds need in their crop to grind food into digestible bits. This type of crushed granite is often available at farm and ranch stores in rural areas where chickens and other birds are raised, and in cities is sometimes sold in fairly small amounts in pet stores.

I live in a rural area where crushed granite for bird grit is available. I might try some in a mix. I'm currently experimenting with a sphagnum-free mix that contains only: silica sand, chopped pine needles, bits and pieces of pine bark, and desalinated coir (tiny pieces of coconut husk pith).

Thank you very much for the report and the photos, Guillaume.

Edited by FlytrapRanch
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I don't add anything with it, it's only granitic sand naturaly crushed by water.

I use very big pot for the plant I grow and it don't use more water than peat, when the weather is hot a thin layer of sand a few millimeters forming so the water don't evaporate and the substrat keep the moisture.

I also use large reserves of water under the pots.

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Very interesting and clever. Are your experiences with sundews in this substrate also as good as with the plants you have shown? Where do you take it? Do you buy it or take in a river, where it occur naturally? Do you wash it before planting the plants? I can imagine, where i would get a lot of granitic sand, but i can also imagine the amount of the particles from the woods around. And what water do you use for watering, rain or reverse osmosis? I can imagine, that this kind of subsrate has much lower buffering capacity than peat, so i suppose it is more sensible on water quality.

Regards

Adam

Edited by Zlatokrt
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Very interesting. I work in the 'granite city' and live in an area known for its red granite. I might scoop some up from the local abandoned quarry next time I pass. I'm not so sure I'd want this radioactive material in my house though :wink:

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Hello Guillaume, first of all like to congratulate you for the beautiful plants in your collection. The use of alternative substrates is something that interests me a lot and, so I just have to thank you for creating a topic as interesting as this.

Note: This substrate is composed only of sand or you add something to the mix?

Best Regards,

Rodrigo

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I'm not so sure I'd want this radioactive material in my house though :wink:

The granite is actually radioactive, like many things in nature, and a dose really very low. Our body is even radioactive. And this radioactivity is natural, nothing to do with industrial radioactivity where there the materials reach levels of contamination completely crazy.

Rodrigo: granitic sand is composed of quartz, feldspath, micas, I add nothing in it.

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I'm not so sure I'd want this radioactive material in my house though :wink:

The granite is actually radioactive, like many things in nature, and a dose really very low. Our body is even radioactive. And this radioactivity is natural, nothing to do with industrial radioactivity where there the materials reach levels of contamination completely crazy.

I was only joking :biggrin:

The exterior walls of my house are made out of blocks containing granite and many of the buildings in the town are granite too... so a little extra won't make much of a difference :wink:

On a serious note, don't you have problems with the media compacting and also with keeping it wet?

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Rodrigo: granitic sand is composed of quartz, feldspath, micas, I add nothing in it.

Thank you for the explanation.

Note: When possible post some pictures of your Nepenthes grown in sand granite.

Best regards,

Rodrigo

Edited by Rodrigo
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Hello, this topic is very interesting, I had tried to grow a small Nepenthes pervilleii in a mix of granite , Brazilian quartzite and vermiculite, the results were encouraging until a worm has eaten the whole plant :(

Now, I'm experimenting with 2 highland Nepenthes a very mineral substrate, composed of 70% Kanuma and 30% peat.

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The plants are very adaptable, some plants that live in the highlands of the tepui grow in soils almost exclusively of quartz, other species in the wild they grow in sand.

Surely the water level should be high especially in areas where the summer is very hot.

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Here are some more pictures to make you an idea of how many differents carnivorous plants it's possible to grow in this media.

Nepenthes lowii

I don't grow that species since many times in this medium but what I can say is it's growing faster now.

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some droseras

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tuberous drosera, on the background you can see darlingtonia

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Genlisea

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I will could try some seedling with this species!

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I hope this topic will give other growers to want to try new alternative medium. :tu:

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Cultivation impeccable Guillaume, congratulations. As stated anteriorly this topic is being very useful, since it shows that it is possible to grow carnivorous plants on alternative substrates.

I just have a doubt as to its use in growing Nepenthes; its long-term use does not compromise the roots of this plant? I ask this because over time the sand tends to compact and this could compromise the development of the plant.

Note: If possible I would like to see photos of your the vase of N. lowii.

Best regards,

Rodrigo

Edited by Rodrigo
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This is really great.

I am sure many of us read of, or seen pics of sundews, etc., growing in what looks like quartzy sand, only to be advised on how much peat to mix in when trying this at home!

So hooray for such achievement through experimentation. Among my plants, I am trying something similar with a very high grit level version of the accepted 'Drosera mix', in which I have some 18-month seedlings of D. intermedia (Tropical ecotype).

I will try and post a photo next time I visit the planthouses.

Thanks for the encouraging post Guillaume,

Jonny

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Some news with the nepenthes.

I grow 7 highlands nepenthes in granitic sand since few months only but the results are very good.

here are some pictures:

Nepenthes alba, argentii and burkei , no pitchers because I crashl the pot on the ground one month ago at time plants were crushed by the substrate, the pitcher are dead but news are in preparation and new leafs are bigger than the others.

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nepenthes attenboroughii seedling

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nepenthes villosa seedling

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nepenthes robcantleyi

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