Paph potting mix items

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Roy

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Hi all, looking for anyone to comment on their experience in using either
Perlite or Vermiculite as an additive singularly or together in Paph potting mix and what with.
Plus, your thoughts on whether the two combined would work as potting mix in a semi hydroponics way.
Roy.
 

Ray

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My initial experiments with semi-hydroponics was with paphs in 100% coarse perlite, and I later modified that to 50/50 coarse perlite and charcoal.

With time, the extremely friable perlite surface crumbles and the particles clog the airflow paths in the medium, suffocating the roots, so I ultimately rejected it.

I would avoid vermiculite like the plague. It is a type of expanded mica, and the expanding process is to drive off water that bonds to the ions on the adjacent surfaces of the mineral, holding them tightly together. Drive off the water and the layers separate. Drive it off rapidly, and they are "blown apart" by the rapidly expanding water vapor. Put them in a moist medium - especially one to which we add mineral ions - and they will ultimately "rebond", collapsing the particles and densifying the medium.
 

bwester

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Medium to coarse perlite is great when added to any CHC or bark mix as it adds air to the mix. I would avoid semi-hydroponics like the plague.
 

gonewild

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Pumice is better than perlite. It can be used for simi hydroponics.

Vermiculite would not be a good choice for several reasons. It is used in mixes to add water and nutrient retention properties and it would decrease air space in your s/h media.
 

smartie2000

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I use perlite and sponerock(which is like large perlite chunks) and its is great. It keeps the mix a little open.
vermiculite is also dangerous to breathe in so why bother use it when you can use perlite.
Pumice seems to be excellent and good for S/H but I found it to be expensive. Even at the orchid show.
 
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johnndc

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Actually, while I know that Ray can be very rah-rah about S/H - after all, it is his baby - semi-hydroponics is the only thing that has stablized a lot of my plants. I found that I just can't water them appropriately in standard mixes - this is after 4 years of growing. Not to hijack the thread towards a s/h discussion, but I don't think it's fair to outright say it should be avoided. It worked terrible for me pre-lights, but now that I have supplemental lighting, I'm having a lot of success with paphs, phrags and others (e.g., catts).
 

Roy

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Thanks for your comments so far. To add to the discussion,most Paph/Phrag growers here use Graded and composted Pine Bark with Ph around 6. The bark is becoming expensive and the quality is falling rapidly due to the old trees being used up and the new Hybrid pines & culture produce trees for harvest in half the time of the original pines, thus there is no quality bark to remove, we are left with problem of finding a replacement ingredient. I am trying Baked Clay Balls ( Hydroton) with the Phrags but again its Imported & Expensive. Its also not a good medium to sell plants in as people shy away from it. What I am looking for is a substitute for the bark. Unlike growers in Europe & the USA, many of the ingredients available there, aren't here. There are growers using Coconut coir but the salt content is extreme and washing it out takes vast quantities of water and luck. I wont use it yet as too many growers have lost their plants.
Perlite & Vermiculite, scoria ( volcanic rock ) & Peatmoss are products that are available everywhere and where a combination of these might work. Maybe you know of other products that may be useful. If avail' in Aust'.
Roy.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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What in the world ever happened to #4 spongerock? I can't find it anywhere. I mean real #4, stuff that's 1/2-3/4 inch in diameter, sometimes larger? Its been years since I've actually gotten it, although some places sell what they call #4, but it turns out to be the smaller #3. I can use lava rock or Leca, but spongerock is so light, that shipping costs less. My plants are begging me! Take care, Eric
 

smartie2000

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I am now always adding a pinch of dry Canadian peat moss, with the bark, sponge rock, perlite and coco husk/chips (I really have to get rid of that coconut stuff I have too much of it, it is not recommended by a expert grower and not for salt reasons;)). I don't know why, but the plants like that pinch of peat
 
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IdahoOrchid

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smartie2000 said:
I really have to get rid of that coconut stuff I have too much of it, it is not recommended by a expert grower and not for salt reasons
I have seen you mention this a couple of times recently. Is there something that is preventing you from enlightening us?
 

smartie2000

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IdahoOrchid said:
I have seen you mention this a couple of times recently. Is there something that is preventing you from enlightening us?
I haven't been aggressively against coconut. XPGDL did the studies on paphs, and Mahon did PM me. I can't say the exact reason why its not the perfect substrate because it's something that cannot be shared, nor was the reason given to me. Mahon has encouraged XPGDL to publish the findings. For me, the texture of using it by itself feels so wrong and if only knew when I bought like 15 litres of it!, so i only use small portions of it as a additive. The husk/chunks sort of sucks moisture out while it dries, thats my hypothesis....(Heather allow Mahon to come back)

I heard Antec has stopped using it. I have no clue why they still have it on their website. I bought that stuff thinking its was such a great thing because I read about its greatness it there. :mad: Actually it doesn't seem like vendors are using for paphs anymore when I think of it, not a single paph I ordered was in coconut.
 

adiaphane

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I use a CHC mix, and I have to say, I can't complain. My paphs and my phrags seem happy in it. If there are some published findings against using CHC, please let me know. But for now, I have to say that I find it works very well for me and my watering habit. I've been very pleased.
 

smartie2000

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...the thread is so many pages! I don't think Mahon or XPGDL are stupid though, there is something odd about coconut's texture and the way it hold's moisture when compared to bark. I guess all the info he PMed me about is already posted and in more detail
 

kentuckiense

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smartie2000 said:
...the thread is so many pages! I don't think Mahon or XPGDL are stupid though, there is something odd about coconut's texture and the way it hold's moisture. I guess all the info he PMed me about is already posted
Well, Mahon was arguing about some sort of hormone that CHC provided and when it ran out, the plant would die. Lance (gonewild) punched some sizable holes in that one. I grow mostly in CHC (my delenatii x vietnamense is in almost pure CHC and in spike), and I have no complaints.
 

gonewild

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smartie2000 said:
...the thread is so many pages! I don't think Mahon or XPGDL are stupid though, there is something odd about coconut's texture and the way it hold's moisture when compared to bark. I guess all the info he PMed me about is already posted and in more detail
Smartie,
What form of Coco are you using?
How was it processed?
Are you mixing it with a bunch of other components to make a mix?
Have you personally experienced a problem with it or are you reacting to information you were told or read?
 
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IdahoOrchid

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gonewild said:
What form of Coco are you using?
How many forms are there? I know of the chunky kind (various sizes I imagine) and coir, which is more like the consistency of sphag moss.
 

smartie2000

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Thanks for the link. It was informative, funny and dramatic!:rollhappy: Geez I joined the forum too late and missed all this stuff! Mahon doesn't act that way anywhere else. I don't get why someone jumped into the discussion and called Mahon delusional. Considering that the findings were not his this was a tough debate for Mahon. I still haven't used coconut long enough to put it down as a bad mix, I'm just keeping in mind of what Mahon told me. I'm not agressively against coconut at all. So far orchids (nonslipper) put into full coconut were less vigorous than similar orchids in bark, but its not a scientific study.
Who else here is as young as Mahon, kentuckiense and I?
 
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