Salt Buildup

Date: Fri Dec 17 1999 - 12:58:26 PST

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 15:58:26 EST
Message-Id: <aabcdefg4178$foo@default>
Subject: Salt Buildup

<< Salt buildup occurs gradually in my growing conditions, over a period
 of 9-12 months. That's another reason why it's so insidious. I can repot
 a Nepenthes in fresh sphagnum/perlite mix and use tap water and the
 plant grows quite well for several months. I feel great because the plant
 looks happy. After a year, I begin to wonder why the growth slowed down
 and I consider seasonal variation.
Perry Malouf>>

Thanks Perry, I've also heard from some growers that their freshly repotted
plants started to degrade after 4 to 6 months when watered from the tap. It
could be that my salt levels are so low that it would take more than three to
five years for them to build up to a level which would cause the plant growth
to degrade. I grow my neps in pure long fiber sphagnum. For young tissue
culture plants I receive (2"-4" in diameter) I usually start them off in 4"
pots. Most of these plants have to be repotted in about 6 months because of
their fast growth rate. Some plants root systems outgrow the pot within this
time (such as rafflesiana) and others will cover the entire top of the pot
(the soil area) with their leaves which makes watering from the top very
difficult. Depending on the species, I'll move them up to a 6" or 8" pot, and
then they'll need to be transplanted again in about 6 months to a year. When
I repot out of a 4" pot, I usually take all the existing soil (and I suppose
the built up salt content). When I repot out of a larger pot, I usually take
the soil around the roots, but replace the bulk of the sphagnum with fresh
moss. It could be that the way I am transplanting is refreshing the soil
before the mineral content has a chance of building up to lethal levels.
However, my sarracenia and dionaea grow in undrained bogs and pools. Although
they receive some rainwater, the summers have been very dry, and I have to
water the bogs and pools once or twice a week with tap water. I grew some of
these plants in a pool in a greenhouse that was tap watered for 5 years
without ever changing the soil. I think I'll get the specifications on my
local water supply to help determine what and how much is in the water. That
way, I can talk more intelligently about my tap water instead of assuming its
low in everything.
Michael Catalani

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Jan 02 2001 - 17:32:09 PST