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Moss in utricularia pots

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Oct 30, 2016
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Washington state - 7b
I've read that when moss overtakes your utricularia, that it's possible to try and separate a moss-free starter plug and start again or that in some cases, it might be possible to "drown the moss out" by keeping the pot submerged.

I have a pot of U. sandersonii and another of U. dichotoma that are moss-inundated. Any one tried the submersion-moss-annihilation method with either or both of these species? How long did you have to keep the pot submerged (and any advice on how deep)? And how long did this curative last? Did the moss come back in 1 month? 6?

I have resigned myself to moss in my utric pots, but in the case of U. dichotoma...I am not sure there is anything *but* moss left, and would like an easy way to knock the moss back, so I can tell if the utricularia can get the upper hand...stolon?

Ideas, comments, and hands-on experience welcome.
 

bluemax

Lotsa blue
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It is possible using a magnifier and fine tweezers to remove strands of most terrestrial utrics and restart them in pure media. It is fine work but not really difficult. I have resorted to this several times due to unwanted moss in pots and it worked for me. Because every medium I have used to grow Utricularia contains moss or moss spores moss is an inevitability for me but, theoretically, it should be possible to use a medium that is free from moss. I often find living moss to be an asset in a pot but it can take over.
 
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Thanks Mark. I'll give that a go if the drown-it-out method is unsuccessful. I have plenty of moss in ALL my CP pots, so it's not something I try and fight too hard. Actually, your magnification suggestion would at least let me check to see if there's anything worth saving in the U. dichotoma pot. Might as well start there...
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
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I actually used to cultivate moss for bonsai. Submerging it will spread it more than anything. The trick is starting with a moss-free substrate that the utric can develop over before the moss does; i.e. finding a medium that the utric grows fast enough over to cover the open ground and outcompete moss growth.

I have struggled with this too for years and finally have come across a technique that works around 80% of the time. I blend rehydrated dried lfs (should be horticultural quality - dead, dried, and more or less biologically inert) in an industrial blender until it's the consistency of apple sauce. I find this blended sphag is less likely than even horticultural grade peat to harbor moss spores. Pour the blended sphag over turface (or whatever medium you prefer, turface seems to keep things wet enough but not too wet that it encourages moss). Just put a segment of utric (cleaned of moss of course) in the blended sphag and you're pretty much good to go. The sphagnum won't harbor much moss growth, even if fertilized, and sphagnum spores aren't likely to revive either. There will eventually be some moss growth, but not enough to endanger your utric before it has the chance to gain a size advantage. The turface should be no more than two centimeters deep, and the blended sphag can be as deep as you like it. It dries out quickly, but if you leave it on the tray system you've got a good chance to establish a utric-dominated pot. I strongly recommend you start with a large division of utric (cleaned of living moss, of course).

Fertilize the culture with your preferred fert to encourage the utric to grow as fast as possible - moss won't grow if the utric covers the ground first. You should assemble several pots of this medium to ensure you get one to work. After your new culture is healthy, transplant it into something slightly larger (with the same blended sphagnum sauce) and you have a chance at a nice, large utric pot.
 
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Joined
Oct 30, 2016
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Location
Washington state - 7b
I actually used to cultivate moss for bonsai. Submerging it will spread it more than anything.

Well, that's good to know. I just circled back here to add a status update, and am sorry I didn't see this sooner. However, better late than never, and I will try this and report back.

In April, I decided to try a couple treatments with my U. dichotoma, which I had received last fall as a (generous) plug in a peat / perlite mix. At the time, I didn't have a pot large enough to accommodate it, so I divided it into two pots and filled any vacant space in each pot with LFS. Then basically let things run their course and ended up with two pots of moss...unsure of any utric survival.

Shortly after asking this question here, I submerged one pot and left the other in the tray with ~0.5" standing water. A month later - and with some better light to see / take photos, I have this:

The utric left in the tray - a few leaves circled -
28569473968_6642acf712.jpg


And this - the pot that has been submerged -
28569465958_0e6a22cdca.jpg


Clearly the utric has responded to the submersion (either through light attenuation, although the covering water is not that deep, or through enjoying the deep bath). But, as you indicated in your response - the submerged moss doesn't really seem phased.

I'll give your sphagnum sauce suggestion a whirl (ha, punny). For clarification, is the turface layer just a shallow layer in the bottom of the pot?
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
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Yes, the turface forms a very shallow layer of about 1 cm.


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