Tuesday, April 9, 2013

About Using Sphagnum Moss for Carnivorous Plants

Sphagnum_snowWild Sphagnum cf. cristatum  growing wild in the Brindabella Ranges above Canberra. Most Sphagnum species are cool-growing species from temperate climates (note the snow!), although I have seen a species (probably Sphagnum perichaetiale) growing in Wallum heathland in southern Queensland.
Why use Sphagnum moss?
Sphagnum moss makes a great CP growing medium, but it is not the only option for great plants. The main benefit it offers is providing an acid and very pH stable soil for CPs, which typically grow in very acid (and therefore nutrient poor) conditions. The reason for the stable pH is that live Sphagnum continually pumps acids (hydrogen ions) into the environment. These acids react with soil nutrients and prevent large plants (tree species) from outcompeting the Sphagnum and overgrowing its environment (light being the limiting factor). Because of its acid production, Sphagnum is an ideal media for CPs.