mudmix redux (paphs this time)

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MoreWater

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I've asked about mudmix for phrags before, and I've also clicked around this site re: metromix.... So now my question is this - charcoal or no charcoal in the mix? Second question is - is it ok if the mix goes dry-ish between waterings?

Why these particular questions? Well, salts = bad. Dry mix with salts = high chance of burning roots. So maybe what is needed is a really airy mud mix that can stay relatively moist? And with the charcoal, I've heard it said that salts stick to the charcoal and makes it even easier to burn the roots. T/F?

I'm considering moving the paphs to mud mix. I never water my plants frequently enough (true for cacti as well as for phrags) so I would love to be able to bottom-water a tray of paphs. All at once by pouring a gallon of water into the tray. I am sick of seeing them die of thirst.

Some of the phrags are in promix lightened with tons of perlite and seasoned with moisture crystals and lime to taste. It seems to work well and I'm inclined to use the same for the paphs.... The only real question is charcoal or no?
 
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MoreWater

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peat-based mix. Soil-less potting "soil". aka pseudo dirt.
 

Candace

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The only plants I've seen grown in a mud mix are phals and dens. All the mud mix I've seen hasn't had charcoal in it, but it may add some aeration. Is there any reason you haven't tried s/h? Your complaints about phrags drying out etc. lead me to believe you could try that option as well.
 
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goldenrose

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hmmmm ........ at that rate, you might not have to worry about watering at all! I certainly can't speak from experience, as I've never tried it, but I've never seen or heard anyone else use it. I guess if it boils down to losing the plant due to underwatering, then what do you have to lose? It's generally safer to underwater than overwater but if the roots stay wet too long on paphs you'll rot them. Most phrags, besseae & it's hybrids prefer to sit in shallow trays of water. S/H is another option. I can't see were it would hurt to add charcoal. I have to ask - how many plants do you have? How often do you wish to water? Have you picked the right plants for your conditions?
 

littlefrog

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I co-wrote an article about mud mixes years and years ago (back when the AOS mag was still the AOS bulletin). I think it is still linked from my old website.

Yes, you can use mud mixes for paphs and phrags. No, I don't do it anymore because it doesn't work under my new greenhouse conditions. Stays too humid in the winter (works fine in the summer). I'd definitely dry it out almost completely between waterings. And add more sponge-rock, charcoal, aliflor, whatever you can to aerate the mix, I use about 50% rock and 50% peat mix for the plants that I still grow in mud (some orchids, but mostly small bromeliads).
 
M

MoreWater

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I would never have believed catts in it until I saw one('s roots) and was impressed.

The main prob is that I have less and less time for the plants. I didn't have a chance to sell them off so I am basically trying to revive some and prevent the others from deteriorating. CHC has been my preferred base and they were doing fine (except some tricky ones for my conditions) but I'm not keeping up anymore.

How many plants do I have? Several hundred, mostly gesneriads, orchids, succulents, hoyas and a few other things. The gesneriads and succulents are on the bottom water system now. I grow the pinguicula that way too.

I tried s/h a while back and was not able to do it. It required top watering too many times a week for me, and it also requires frequent flushing given my ridiculous water quality (no RO or rain water option at my current digs). Flushing is a real pain if you have to take each plant to the sink to do it. The hydroton and the leca are now used as a CHC mix ingredient.

I did, on a whim, do a trial run of a tub of large diatomite housing some mini catts. Diatomite is better at pulling water up - put a couple of inches of water in a bucket full of diatomite and the top layer will get moist. I leach about twice a year, and water it by pouring half a gallon into it every 10-14 days. The catts actually look happy .... they must be stupid :poke:

Anyway, I've been forewarned that I'll have even less time for plants soon, so I want to move the paphs over to mud mix. Hoping for the best.... I probably will keep some in CHC though.

I think it was Jon in SW Ohio who uses charcoal in the mud mix.
 

rdhed

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Ki...Repotme.com offers a mud mix and I believe tells you just what is in the formula. Some of my plants weren't doing well in s/h, so I switched some of my 'chids' back to their Oncidium mix. I won a bag at our Orchid Show. I like their choice of ingredients for making your own mix. I'm going to try some more different blends. I understand your dilemma about watering. I'm several days behind again my self.
 

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