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Re: [Aroid-l] Let's talk commercial mixes, eh?

  • Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Let's talk commercial mixes, eh?
  • From: plantguy@zoominternet.net
  • Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 12:42:06 -0500

Well, I'm not an expert by any means, but I think that you want the perlite to hold the water, much like you want rockwool or expanded clay (both routinely used for hydroponics) to hold water.  By keeping the water in the porous interior and then releasing the water as the surrounding areas dries you keep the roots evenly moist but never wet because the water is not in contact with the roots.  Putting some mix in a pot without a plant is not a good way to test your mix since you have removed the largest instrument of water removal (transpiration).  Also, if you did not have holes in the pot to allow gravity to remove water then you can expect the water to stick around for a much longer period of time.  People have been using expanded clay for bonsai for hundreds of years (likely well before the first Amorph was described) where drainage and the perfect balance of water holding capacity is a must for your 1,000 year old Juniperus.  Having said that I think I change mine a bit every year to see if I can improve what I am doing!!  This past summer was a farce because I had 50+ Amorphs decide to break dormancy in late August despite us having record heat and humidity this past summer......I did my best to get rid of most of these since anyone that is going to behave that way is not a friend of mine!!   I must say that for all the posts on this thread there have only been a couple of posts actually detailing what they use.  I personally would love to hear what everyone else uses in their mix just because it adds info to the "literature" so to speak.  There is no such thing as too much info so please lets here from the rest of the major growers out there and of course indicate whether you are using a greenhouse and your climate zone and city (west coast zone 6 is not a comparison at all to my zone 6 of course).
Happy Holidays to all :o)
Pittsburgh, PA
zone 6a and nearly 50F today!!
----- Original Message -----
From: Kyle Baker
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 9:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Let's talk commercial mixes, eh?

Susan B <honeybunny442@yahoo.com> wrote:
Scott mentioned verminiculte holding water but perlite does too.

  Years ago I had a small plastic bin of perlite, about 9x12 inches (sorry Wilbert) and about 4 inches deep.  In a fit of absentmindedness I poured some water into it instead of a potted plant.  As an experiment, I dumped out as much water as I could and then left it in the summer sun, figuring it would dry since the perlite is so porous.  Well all those little pores held water and that perlite never did dry, it did develop a nice green mold which grew nicely until I threw the entire mess away. 
Ever since then I've been leery of mix recipes that call for a lot of perlite to keep the mixture from becoming too moist.

Hey Susan..

  ;Yeppers Perlite does grow algae...when heat and moisture are both high...setting the container in the sun only promoted the algae growth...you shouldn't have left it in the container...should it happen another time...spread it out on a tarp and leave for a day or two stirring constantly...Algae is not a bad thing as it helps to add nutrients to the soil and letting things dry between waterings shall help to eradicate the algae...

I've many plants which have added perlite in the mix...and when I notice  algae growing I cut back on water and make sure it dries between waterings..

if you can salvage the old perlite do so...you can spread it out to dry in the sun or set it in the oven at lowest heat for a couple of hours...may not smell great but why waste the perlite??

kfb maine zone 5

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