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Re : Limestone Substrates

  • Subject: Re : Limestone Substrates
  • From: michael kolaczewski <mjkolaffhbc@sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 19:30:02 -0700 (PDT)

Greetings Mr. Held,
and other forum members,
   As for myself, I was delighted to read Eduardo's  paper
on the subject of Aroids on Limestone outcrops.
( As well as the many other great papers in this most recent
edition of the Aroideana).
   Here in the greater Chicago land area, we have a number of 
temperate native members of the Araceae, that grow in either acid or
calcareous soils, both wet and dry. They are as follows :
Acorus calamus, Arisaema dracontium & A. triphyllum, Calla palustris,
Peltandra virginica, and of course Symplocarpus foetiodus.
    Acorus, Arisaema, and Symplocarpus are typically found in calcareous
soils, that vary from flooded to dry seasonally. Peltandra and Calla are found in acid
soils, usually bogs or bog remnants. All of these plants are readily easy to propagate
and grow for ornamental use. Often I see these various plants growing under 
garden conditions in the area.
   Peltandra and Calla need to have modified soil to grow well under garden conditions
 around here. Those gardeners who grow these plants, modify a bed or provide them a "bog"
area for them to grow in, and have relatively good success with these garden additions.
The others above do well in ground beds with little or no modification, due to the fact
that our soils are alkaline around here.
   Now for the matter of soil less media, I maintain a pH neutral mix for the majority of 
the plants I grow. Since I use a generic mix, I can add minerals or other elements to modify
pH when needed, as in the case of the above alkaline loving plants . To this point, 
I have not had the opportunity to grow any tropical aroids that would thrive in alkaline media.
It has been my experience though, with non Aroids, that when necessary soil / substrate
modification, is not only beneficial ornamentally, but also is helpful in disease and insect resistance.
There is no mystery to growing many plants, but to grow plants well, you should have 
as much knowledge of original habitat, soil and moisture conditions, and seasonal changes
 as well. Then you can duplicate the needs of the plant, and see it thrive in your care.
Michael Kolaczewski

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