Lime free soil

alibaba_2008June 6, 2009


can anyone tell me if lime free soil is essential for growing the strictly terrestrial broms such as Dyckia, Hechtia, Deuterocohnia, Puya etc? I have read that broms need lime free soil, but I have also read that lime can be added to the soil for terrestrial species! Very confusing...

Any advice, especially from those growing terrestrial broms in non lime-free soil, is appreciated. Currently I use an ericaceous John Innes (ie soil based rather than peat based) compost with grit as my soil mix, which works very well, but Lime free JI is getting hard to find.


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Lime is used to adjust the PH of soil. It should not be added to untested soils. It can cause permanent damage. Most potting soils are balanced by the mfg.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:12AM
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Constantino Gastaldi

Hi, I will answer regarding to Dyckias:
With or without lime Dyckias hate soil! Try organic substrate. Pick up one that is more than 90% organic, very light weighted and extremely aereated. Terrestrial doesn´t mean on the ground bare and nude atop soil. Terrestrial means or should be understood as not hanging from nor atop a branch tree. Terrestrial may be rupiculous (on rocks) , sand dwellers and also on the ground soil but always where it is almost 100% organic! Do not ever forguet the drainage no matter where you plant your terrestrial bromeliads. They all enjoy water, passing water and never clogged, never wet feet specially during the winter nights.
Enjoy your plants, nature and yourself!
Wanna see some Dyckias?

Here is a link that might be useful: DyckiaBrazil

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:19AM
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well I am not sure about lime soil but I use 1/3 peat to 1/3 peat and 1/3 soil conditioner and I grow a lot of dyckias. They like as much water and fertilizer you can give them. If your pot becomes rootbound and the plant starts to stressing out I sit the plant in a tray of water and they come back very well. You can even grow them in trays of water during the growing season.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:00AM
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Thanks all for your comments. John Innes is 1/3 peat, 1/3 sand and 1/3 loam, so is quite high in organic matter. I find Dyckias and Hechtias grow quite nicely in it if I mix it with a generous proportion of grit. Here in the UK you have to be a bit more cautious in watering due to the cooler damper summers, however they do seem to like a lot of water in hot weather as you say. Lime is often added in the form of dolomite limestone to potting soils, which wont damage plants.
Still I'm afraid I'm still in the dark as to whether all these 'terrestrials' are calcifuges or not...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Hi alibaba,
Although I don't grow much in the way of terrestrial broms, after reading what wikipedia has to say about plants which are calcifuges, "that they prefer a ericaceous compost with a low pH. composed principally of sphagnum moss peat".

Given this fact combined with your "cooler damper summer conditions", would it be worth trying just one plant in a mix of 50/50 sphagnum peat moss and Perlite?

Just a thought, all the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:39PM
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