pH musings

don555(3a)October 2, 2007

I bought a bunch of pH test strips, which arrived today, so I have been testing the pH of various things carnivorous. I bought two kinds of pH strips - a full-range strip that uses the 3-pad process to give accurate readings to the nearest full pH unit (from 1 to 14), and a more precise strip that measures pH between 4.0 and 7.0, with an accuracy of 0.4 pH unit.

Do other folks measure pH? Do my numbers seem reasonable for CPs? ...I thought the pH would be a bit lower in natural habitats, but maybe not?

Anyway, here goes:

pH of my tapwater: about 7.0 (and I know it is loaded with dissolved solids, ie, my tapwater is bad water)

pH of the last remaining jug of snowmelt from last winter (ie at least 6 months old): 4.8-5.2 (hey, I've got acid-snow!)

pH of drainage water from our roof, collected around June-July: 4.8-5.2 ... but this has higher dissolved solids than snowmelt, since the roofwater grows algae in a room lit by fluorescent lights, but the snowmelt grows nothing even after 6 months.

pH of the growing medium of my B52 flytraps, set up 1-2 weeks previous: 4.4-4.8

pH of my smaller pot of outdoor flytraps (several year old growing medium): around 5.0

pH of my big terrarium of flytraps (several year old growing medium): about 4.8

The growth medium is clearly on the acid side (as it should be), but I expected it to be much more acid, like around pH 4.0 or so. But I'm not sure why I say that, as I haven't found much info about the recommended soil pH for carnivorous plants.

Anyone else out there measuring pH?, and if so, what are your thoughts? Thanks,


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The typical pH levels that many carnivorous plants, like the Venus Flytrap, live in would be 3.0-5.0. Anything in that range is fine. I don't measure my soil pH, but peat moss that has no additives should measure within that range naturally.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 12:49PM
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gardenphotographer(Zone 5 WI)

Hi Don,

I grow most of my carnivorous plants outdoors during warm weather (May - September, 5 months). My Sarracenia stay outdoors all winter in my USDA Zone 5 artificial bog. The Drosera, Dionaea, and Heliamphora spend the winter indoors.

My bog pH is 6.8, TDS 36. Indoors, I use RO water with a pH of 6.7, TDS 17. My bog is completely composed of long fiber sphagnum moss and is filled by rain water (naturally occuring, I seldom fill the bog myself).

I use a Hanna model #eHep pH meter. Accuate to 0.1 pH.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:25AM
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Thanks for the responses.

Tom, I'm surprised your Sarr. do well at almost neutral pH, but I guess the low dissolved solids must help with that. Anyway, sounds like my pH should be fine.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 5:19PM
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ccoombs1(7B SC)

I have been testing my water for years because of my koi ponds. My well water comes out of the ground at a pH of 5.5 to 6.0, with no hardness or alkalinity at all. VERY soft water. Great for the bog garden, a little trickier for the koi though. When I built the bog, I made the mistake of cementing in a couple of concrete blocks with flagstones on top to I could access the center part of the bog. i was so afraid the alkalinity from the cement would hurt the bog, but that didn't happen. The bog did fantastic this year with everythig growing like mad and even blooming. I love my bog!!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 12:09PM
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