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Restoring old carnivorous plant potting mix.

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I am wondering what you think of my method to restore old potting mix for carnivorous plants that was mixed maybe 2 or 3 years ago or if you know of a better and more simpler way?  I have been using half sphagnum based TEEM peat and half perlite for Sarracenia.

I am thinking of removing moss and old roots in the pots and pouring the mix from them into a polystyrene box with holes in the bottom.  I could put the box on top of another box of old mix.  Above them, I could put another empty box with holes in the bottom so water entering it would be spread evenly over the boxes below.  I could then put the set up under a down pipe connected to the roof gutter to flush the old mix with rain water.  This could leach and clean the mix of some of the salts.  However, I wonder how effective this would be as I heard that many of the salts are chemically bonded in the old soil.

After a good few rainy days, I could then put the potting mix in some black garbage bags and spread it so it is only about 4 inches or 100mm high.  This would be placed in full sun for a few weeks  and the bags sealed in order to solarize the mix to sterilize it and kill any bacteria that could be present because some of the plants in the old potting mix died.   

Could this possibly work well to restore the mix so it would be almost as good for the plants as newly mixed peat and perlite?

Do you know of a better or more easy way to do it?

Do you normally reuse you old mix and if so, what do you do to restore it?

It could be worth looking into ways of restoring old mix because it is expensive to mix and buy and also not good to take peat from the environment.  

Regards Richard.   

Edited by Richard Hole
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Personally i never reuse my old mix due to the fact it breaks down over time, which means it loses it properties that it was originally intended for

e.g. You have sphagnum and perlite mixed together the sphagnum breaks down and is no longer has good airflow around the roots.


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Nepenthesman makes a fair point, peat breaks down as the PH raises and tends towards a dust like medium which constricts air movement to the roots. I have successfully revitalised old media by mixing it with pine chips/shavings to add larger spaces for air into the mixture and adding sulphur chips to redress the lost PH, the eventual breakdown of the pine adds tannins and acidity over a longer term than the sulphur.

it isn’t as good as new peat but it works for me and as I grow most of my plants outdoors all year, they will not make specimin plants, but are nice enough in my eyes, this way saves money and natural resources, which if you are replacing a bog can be considerable.

Cheers Steve

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