Cultivation > Composts

Peat substitute - carnivorous plants

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Now that peat is not so easily available, at least not down here in the south, I wonder what insectivorous plant growers may be trying as a substitute. I can easily get perlite and maybe low lime sand if I look. I must find some of my old pH papers to check some of my various grits and gravels. I remember seeing Sarracenias growing in sand dunes round the US Great lakes close to Cypripediums and other orchids so know it is possible.

Vinny 123:
Peat is SUPPOSED to become illegal as a retail sale in 2023.
Availability currently, depends on your local nurseries - I have one just 3-4 miles away run by a family that have never used anything but peat composts, so I can get peat composts and baled peat very easily.

The problem with any other organic medium is that it will compost very quickly as it will be sodden. It will just decompose to nothing PDQ.

Given the obsession with 100% mineral composts that rises and falls in various parts of the horticultural hobby over the years (not least cacti and succulents, but also plenty of other branches), I suspect that there will be some blend that will suit, albeit neutral rather than acid.

The only mineral to be avoided would be limestone, which people assume is always white, or close enough, but actually comes in every shade of white, cream, and grey to almost black, depending on source.

Peat based potting mixes have been unavailable here for many years, the same applies to peat bales.
Composted bark has replaced peat, with the addition of pumice to aid drainage.
Unfortunately these mixes do continue to break down over time.

Vinny 123:
The NZ in your name presumably indicating your home country?

There is a voluntary agreement with the UK horticultural trade that has been in place for a few years (not sure how many), but government says that it has not been effective enough in reducing use of peat, so retail sales are scheduled to be banned sometime in 2023.

For potting of plants that are destined to be potted for only weeks to a few months, there are alternatives, also for plants, such as cacti, that are kept sparingly watered. The problem lies with plants that would normally be potted and watered well for long periods, and things like troughs and planters.

The fears about top-soil loss, for use in loam-based composts, that were often in the news 5-10-15 years ago, seem to have disappeared.

NZ (New Zealand)


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