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The use of pumice vs. perlite, and using vermiculite.

Posted by hunterkiller03 9 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 7, 06 at 23:21

Im always trying new things in how best to growing my modest collection of CP here in the hot desert of Arizona with a small budget. One thing I discovered is that using clay pots does a better job in keeping the planting media cooler then plastic pots. But Ive also learned that I have to be careful of the clay pots I use; to my shock, some have released minerals into the soil by the yellowish-brown concretion that has developed on top of the growing media. But I solved that problem by submerging them in a bucket of water for almost a whole month; it usually turns the water yellow after that.

Ive also bee lucky in getting hands on long-fiber sphagnum moss from Florida through ebay; it tolerates heat better then moss I have obtained from Kentucky and New York.

But heres a question I wanted to post for some time. What is the advantage of using pumice (porous volcanic rock, so porous it floats on water) instead of perlite? Ive read that perlite, as it ages, releases fluoride and fluoride is definitely bad for CP. And because I live in a very hot climate, theres increase of evaporation and Im afraid of the possibility of the increase the amount of fluoride in my planting media.

Ive been using pumice instead on some of my plants, experimenting on some plants I can afford to lose (sounds cruel), but for now Ive been using pumice a lot for my few neps I have and for now have not seen any ill affect on them but who knows. I havent found anything in the net yet if pumice can release any chemicals into the planting media.

Another material Im using is vermiculite but it only limited on my neps and my cobra lilies only, as suggested from a seller that grows his neps with vermiculite in it to improve aeration and drainage on the media. I even had one individual that it can be used for Sarracenias too to improve in aeration and to keep the media from compacting but I havent tried that yet. But I have notice that no experienced growers have never suggested using vermiculite in the growing media to new people that have started growing CP.

Wondering if any other growers have tried using different material for their growing media besides the classic use of perlite, sand, and peat moss.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: The use of pumice vs. perlite, and using vermiculite.

Hey there Hunter,
Pumice is a very good thing to use in your mixtures.The reason perlite is advocated is it weighs less and therefore cost less to ship also usually more readily available and cheaper too.
Once you get a plant, when the transplant time arrives adding pumice to the mix is gr8.
Pumic can make a nepenthes pot too heavy for a hanging basket.
I haven't tried vermiculite in my cobras, but if it is working for you, it ain't broke so don't fix it
good luck.
"If noone tries nothing new, no change happens."

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