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  Re: Planting medium for Aroids
From: plantnut at shadow.net (Dewey Fisk) on 1997.04.18 at 14:39:44(638)
I really do not want to start something here, but..... Vermiculite! Take
some and put it in a bit of water, keep it moist for a couple of weeks and
rub some of it thru your fingers.. Slick and gooey, right? Vermiculite, I
have been told, is a form of Mica that has been heat treated to explode
the cells or something... Why it has been used in potting media is a
mystery to me. It just breaks down too fast, at least in South Florida you
have mushy media and rotting roots in as little as a month.

Remember that many/most Aroids are epiphytes and, even in pots, should be
grown as such. A good mix might start with peat moss... add a little
composted fir or pine bark and a little perlite... (sure, I know that
perlite is supposed to have some chemical that is not good for plants, but
it leaches out quickly) ... and if you do not like perlite, use 'Airlite'
which is ground up styrofoam... This is supposed to have a couple of
chemicals that the plants like... At this point you can add other things
like lime or sand to adjust the mix to what ever the requirements of the
particular plant you are working with... Another good addition is coir
which is ground up coconut husks... good stuff!

There are as many ways to grow Aroids as there are people to grow them and
everybody has their favorite mix. All of these people are right... Under
my growing conditions, I usually repot, into my mix, every new plant that I
get because the media that works great for 'Joe' will not work for 'Bill'
because of the potential for different growing conditions. My mix works
for me under the conditions that I have. Someone elses mix might not work
under my conditions.

In some back issues of Aroideana this topic has been discussed and there
are directions for several types of media.... all of them correct for the
author of the article. Some of these authors even add vermiculite.....
but it does not work in South Florida!

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