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Where can I get live, sustainable sphagnum

Hey Everyone:

With the recent large expansion of my CP collection, I haven't been able to keep up with my need for live sphagnum both to incorporate as media and as a top dressing. I'd like to obtain some more live sphagnum, but I wanted to ask where I can obtain it sustainably, i.e. not harvested from nature. I did a quick web search but a bunch of places which offered it seemed not to have source info or, alternatively, actually appeared to harvest it from the wild. Obviously, I don't want wild collected sphagnum because, more likely than not, it's taken from a habitat that does or could sustain CPs and I'd rather not deprive them of their growing medium. So, I figured I'd ask if anyone knew where I could obtain some cultured, live sphagnum.

Is this for tropical CPs or temperate CPs. It matters because temperate sphagnum typically doesn't do very well indoors long term. You need tropical sphagnum like leilani has. I keep a small culture going for top dressing. Places like Meadowview Biological Research Station keep temperate cultures going in all their nursery pots so there is no wild harvesting. And honestly, most sphagnum grows so quickly that taking a few plugs to start a culture really isn't an issue in most places. That being said, taking plants from the wild is not an acceptable way of acquiring plants without the proper permits.
Obtaining it, not so much, growing it on your own though is definitely doable.

I have seen a few different methods. Some people have had a lot of success just taking a wad of the high quality dried sphagnum moss, throwing it in a bag or in one of those domed seed starting trays and keeping it super damp. Any residual spores in the media will germinate after a few months and you can grow from there.

Another method I have seen work with a higher success rate is to do the exact same thing you did in the previous example then chop up a small portion of live sphagnum and seed the media with it. Unfortunately these methods take time.

I have a friend of mine that just lays live sphagnum strands on top of a peat substrate and has rosettes form along the stem after a few weeks/months.

I'd suggest trading for a small clump and then propagating it in those plastic storage bins. That way you more or less know where it came from.
I'd want it for Nep top dressing, mostly. I do have some growing, the problem is that I don't have enough, currently, and would like to get some more. I suppose it there's really no suppliers I'll just wait it out for mine to grow.
I would think the Meadowview species is temperate, and not indefinitely sustainable in a tropical (Nepenthes friendly) environment.
Ah ha! There is also a link in Av8tor1's growlist that details the method I was talking about. That one was actually the one that I was referencing in my post!
Maybe, but I do know that Cindy uses Meadowview's sphagnum in Singapore, cant get much more tropical than that...

(before anyone freaks, she picked it up from me when she was in the states)

Just in case I'm not being clear enough, Meadowview does not ship overseas, please do not ask them
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There's a certain vendor online that sell Sphagnum starting about this time every year. They don't have any right now but should by march or April. You could also trade with people, otherwise all of what you would get would be from nature (which I think is sustainable in many circumstances if it isn't a massive harvest operation, but that doesn't really exist)... :)

I would think the Meadowview species is temperate, and not indefinitely sustainable in a tropical (Nepenthes friendly) environment.

I'd argue that it is.

Almost all Sphagnum is temperate and can survive a Nepenthes-friendly environment as long as there is a temperature swing. I've only been in the hobby for a bit over two years, but every single species of Sphagnum I have is doing just fine with my Nepenthes. I have species from all over North America.
  • #10
Check with Jeremiah Harris, he has a large enough collection that he may have some extra live tropical LFS available.
  • #11
It just depends on how temperate or tropical your conditions are. The native moss from Alaska will not grow very well in an indefinite Nepenthes enclosure, but sphagnum native to further south in the warmer subtropical* areas of the state may very well tolerate more tropical conditions for a very long time. Sphagnum is very hardy. Even the Alaskan moss grows in highland Nepenthes conditions, it just doesn't grow very well...

Too bad meadowview doesn't ship to WA! Dang it.

This is a good thread to start though, and a good question to ask for any carnivorous plant grower.

*relatively speaking
  • #12
It really depends on where the Sphagnum is from. Alpine and arctic species will need a definite cold period. I have some that I bought from a nursery in California. It grew like gangbusters indoors under lights (room temperatures) but after 3 years started to noticeably decline. I moved it outdoors in the fall and after one winter began to pick up again at times developing a reddish tinge and get on the verge of generating sporophytes. It never did that indoors.
  • #13
Generally I tend to find sphagnum just pops up in pots from places I buy, and by now, with it growing actively in nearly all my pots, I regularly harvest the excess and store it in a container until I use it (I have about a 2 quart Tupperware filled with live plants, a mix of both red and green forms right now, actually).
  • #14
Okay, I'll contact Meadowview. I am growing some and I'll be sure to grow that out as well. Thanks everyone!
  • #15
Too bad meadowview doesn't ship to WA! Dang it.
I hear ya, Dex. I don't know how we got so lucky:

Meadowview's Website said:
Due to plant quarantines on soil mixes we do not ship live sphagnum moss to the following states: AZ, CA, ID, NV, OR, UT or WA.
Why Utah? Why? :D

I would certainly be able to get the product delivered here, I suppose Utah has given Meadowview trouble in the past, or more likely Meadowview is the only place that honors the state's requirements. I wonder if there is some inter-state "phyto-like" certificate I can get to allow a shipment...Meadowview was just so promising! Looks like I need a Wyoming trip and an address... :p