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I think i may have made a big mistake


SirKristoff is a poopiehead
Staff member
I have two N.ventrata?? They out grew there pots so I repotted them. I was out of orchid bark so I went to home depot to get more. This the first time I have bought orchid bark there so I was having trouble finding it. After about 25 minutes I found it. It was made by Schultz and it was the only kind that they had. So I bought it. To make a long story short after I finished repotting the plants I looked on the bag and I noticed, it said "contains an Exculsive Potting Mineral improves drainage and moisture retention!" I looked closer and I bought Orchid Mix not Orchid bark.
On the back it says "A Unique Potting Material,  Formulated with Western fir bark, horticultural charcoal, and ceramic nuggets that improve drainage, aeration, and moisture retention.
The ingredients are Regionally formulated from 40-50% organic matrials(derived from one or more of the following: aged raw fir bark or aged raw pine bark), arcillite, and horticultural charcoal. The arcillite looks like small flat white rocks.

I didn't notice the diffrence when I was mixing it because I was in my garage and it was a little dark in there.
The bright side of this is orchids and cp's grow in simalar conditions, so maybe it's not that bad , or did I pretty much just kill two of my nepenthes?
Don't worry, it's fine.
I used the same stuff on my first neps and they (well cuttings of them) are still with me today. Nowadays I buy small chipped "orchid bark" because it's cheaper but it is harder to find. Shultz is fine.
The arcillite is simply baked clay granules, think "kitty litter". It absorbs up water so I'm assuming this is what shultz mens by water retentive, but it's no where near as water retentive as LFS.
Thanks Swords,
I was worried that it could break down and release who knows what. You're right this stuff is expensive, almost $8 for a small bag.
In the future couldn't I just use pine bark instead of orchid bark?
How do you keep you plants watered in bark?
Ive always grown Nepenthes in LFS.
Hey Ozzy, if you check out the two recent threads on media in VFT forum (i started one called "Can you diagnose this?"), you'll see my experiences with arcillite. Arcillite is the ingredient in Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil. It's fired Fuller's Earth. From the description on the package it sounded pretty CP safe, and i was using it as a sand subsitute since i couldn't find any non-calcearous sand, but it seemed that the arcilite leaches mineral salts, and it may be the reason for the decline of my VFTs (yet to be decided after repotting in different medium). FWIW, i also used the arcillite in a mix i used to uppot a few of my neps, and they are fine so far, although the medium stays so much less wet than for VFTs that it may just be a delayed reaction.

In any case, i don't think it will be a sudden or drastic effect. If they start to decline, then you can worry about it.

Khai, I'm sure he means that he mixed it with LFS, just forgot to mention it.

I'll admit I've never used Shultz Aquatic Soil or Clay Soil conditioner (same thing different bag-one is usually twice the price-guess which one
)  with sundews, VFTs or pings, but my Neps never showed any deliterious effects, from the minimal amount in the Orchid mix. They are no longer in the stuff as those pots are long gone these days and the plants are several cutting generations later.

That Shultz Orchid Mix is very dry, it will be quite some time before those chunks of pumice, clay and wood are completely saturated unless you remembered to soak it for a couple days before making your soil mix (I never think to). Just water more frequemntly for a week or two if you've used more Orchid mix than LFS to get the chunks saturated. I use 50-75% LFS and 25-50% Orchid bark, depending upon if the Nep is considered epiphytic or not (more bark for epiphytes less for terrestrials).
I used lsf, vermiculite, peat, perlite, charcoal, and orchid mix. 1:1:1:1:1:1

I'll keep in mind what you guys have said and I'll keep an eye on them. Thanks for all the advice.
Sounds like a good mix to me. I think it would be safe, especially since there is such a small percentage of the mix in your compost.



That orchid mix sounds exactly like the mix used at ABG and all their Neps do fine in it so I would say you are in the clear. If they can use that with nothing else in it then your mix should be just fine
  • #10
Thanks guys, I feel alot better now. Maybe I can sleep tonight.
Thank you
  • #11
Hi all:

I always like to read what to use to pot Neps. Alla A Swenson, the author of "cultivating carnivorous plants" always recommends some LFS. As a matter of fact almost all of my Neps are in LFS only. I don't water them as much, and they are doing well. Only in my new 3 plants i am combining coconut peat with LFS. I stay away from perlite because in the long term is detrimental for Neps. Perlite absorbs minerals such as fluoride in the long term which are eventually released giving your plant a shock that you will never forget.

Agustin Franco