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Davy

Cephalotus.....Slack's method

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I read BillP's faq and wondered whether anybody else is growing a Ceph in a large clay pot, using oakleaf mould as a major part of the growing medium.

Last Febuary when I divided my 'Mother plant' I thought that I would try this with some of the root cuttings.

I am growing in an 8 inch, well weathered unglazed clay pot, in a medium of 2 : 2 : 1 : 1 moss peat, oakleaf mould, sharp sand and perlite. The pot is always left standing in an inch of water.

The plant has thrown up new growth at either end of the original cutting and there are about 16 pitchers already, though small.

Has, or is anyone else, tried using this method? If tried have you found drawbacks to this method?

Davy

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Guest Aidan

I tried it and the plant promptly dropped dead! I may try again though as I think it was a case of Sudden Cephalotus Death Syndrome rather than the media itself.

I know that Vic Brown also used to grow some plants this way.

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Aiden,

At the time, how did you steralise the oak leaf mould prior to adding it to the potting mix?

I microwaved mine.

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Erm... I didn't!

Good idea to steralise any organic added medium, that comes from a 'natural source'.

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Good idea to steralise any organic added medium, that comes from a 'natural source'.

Can I ask how long you 'cooked it' for? I continually suffer from Sudden Cephalotus Death Syndrome and wonder if the potting medium you mention might help.

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I don't use leafmould, but I do use ground semi-composted bark as a big proportion of my ceph compost. Ialso grow it in a 8" clay pot. The plant does fine. Though maybe not noticeably any more fine than those of other growers... :-)

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Good idea to steralise any organic added medium, that comes from a 'natural source'.

Can I ask how long you 'cooked it' for? I continually suffer from Sudden Cephalotus Death Syndrome and wonder if the potting medium you mention might help.

Hi Nick,

Becuase of the quanity of oakleaf litter involved,I divided it up into individual cereal bowl sized portions and zapped each for 1 minute 30 seconds on full power.

I know microwaves vary, so wait till it smells like cooked bran. :)

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I also grow mine like Rob-Rah, clay pot and Orchid bark added to the normal CP mix.

Plants thrive, even giving me a flower spike :-)

I have several rooted leaf cuttings in pure sphag that are also romping away.

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I used to grow mine in Slack's leaf mould mix a few year ago, I had access to some very well composted beech leaf mould at the time. I didn't bother sterilizing it, just mixed it up according to the book. The plants grew well enough in it, but I wouldn't say they did any better than in my current peat and perlite mix, so why bother!

Vic

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Guest Plantsman

I used to use Oak leaf-mould (un-sterilised) as a compost constituent for Cephalotus with good results, as per Slack's original book. By the time he had finished writing his second book he had completed further trials that concluded the addition of leaf-mould did not provide noticeable benefits, so he therefore stopped recommending it.

Hope this helps.

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I used to grow mine in Slack's leaf mould mix a few year ago, I had access to some very well composted beech leaf mould at the time. I didn't bother sterilizing it, just mixed it up according to the book. The plants grew well enough in it, but I wouldn't say they did any better than in my current peat and perlite mix, so why bother!

Vic

Why I bother?

To simply see if it does make a difference.

I know this is something that has already been done, but not by me and I wanted to try this.

As for the steralisation of added matter, it is something I do with the exception of pine needles, which I am using as a part of an experiment with Okee Giant seedlings

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I didn't mean why should you bother Davy, more, 'as I no longer have easy access to good leaf mould, why should I bother putting it in my mix?'. It's more a matter of convenience for me.

I should add that I kept the same clone of Ceph growing for about 14 years on a mix containing leaf mould and never lost a plant, much of this time they were growing on a windowsill, so it certainly won't do them any harm. Leaf-mould is, by it's very nature, full of fungi and other microbial activity, so it could be that this has beneficial properties, similar to those reported for Trichoderma. I never had any fungal problems or Sudden Ceph Death Syndrome with leaf mould, but then neither have I with peat/perlite, except a bit of mildew a couple of years ago. I didn't change over to peat/perlite until I got a copy of the Savage Garden, about five years ago.

I suppose an experiment comparing the two types of mixes is probably worth doing. However, leaf mould is probably highly variable, depending on tree species and state of decomposition, so what works for one grower might not for another. Where I used to work, the gardeners had a huge compost pile of beech leaves, resulting from sweeping them off the lawns each autumn and I used well-composted mould, at least three years old, in my mix.

Vic

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