Using Live Sphagnum Moss As Potting Media for Neofinetias?
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  #1  
Old 06-20-2013, 07:27 PM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Default Using Live Sphagnum Moss As Potting Media for Neofinetias?

I have read so much information about Neos. So I do not know where I read it but, someone, somewhere has reported that they used strands of live sphagnum moss mixed in with dried sphagnum moss to help in the growing process. Their reasoning was that the live moss will help cast off excess water, provide nutrients to the Neo plant, and feed off the decaying, dried moss eventually creating a symbiotic relationship. I'm thinking this is something I dreamed about, but the more I think about it, I'm inclined to think there is some merit to this idea.

With that in mind, I found a supplier for live sphagnum moss. I'm going to try it on one of my plants. Any one have an idea?

Using Live Sphagnum Moss As Potting Media for Neofinetias?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1371767224-358581-jpg

Last edited by MattWoelfsen; 06-20-2013 at 08:15 PM..
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2013, 07:49 PM
jeremiah.chua jeremiah.chua is offline
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Using Live Sphagnum Moss As Potting Media for Neofinetias? Male
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Live sphagnum is good for some plants, but I don't think Neofinetias are one of them. At least not for longterm anyway. Neos need to dry out in the winter between waterings for a good period of time in the winter. Live sphagnum won't tolerate dryness. Even in the growing season, the neos do need to dry out their roots for a short period of time before being watered again. Slightly moist to almost crispy dry, is when I water my neos again in the growing season (spring/summer). Don't think sphagnum will like that kind of watering regime.

To top it off, using sphagnum as a top-off in potted plants generally means you're trying to keep the plant moist and humid at all times. Something you should NOT be doing to these orchids.

I'm sure it works for some orchids (and other plants), but I'm not sure if it'll be beneficial for neos.

On a side note, where are you able to get some? I've been wanting some live sphagnum for my Nepenthes :-)
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:55 PM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Hello Jeremiah. Thanks for your input. I ordered the live moss from flytrap store.com. I do not know them but I took a chance and ordered this product from them. I was actually buying long strand sphagnum moss, and they had the live moss linked.

http://www.flytrapcare.com/store/live-sphagnum-moss
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:58 PM
coffeecup coffeecup is offline
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Using Live Sphagnum Moss As Potting Media for Neofinetias?
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I agree with Jeremiah, for Neos, its just going to be a waste. Hopefully you can experiment with something else. Sounds interesting though!
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:01 PM
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AnonYMouse AnonYMouse is offline
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I've heard Masdies grow best in them and been advised to do the same (not done it yet).

Let us know how the transaction with this vendor goes and what you eventually do with the moss (and how that goes).
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2013, 12:01 PM
Pilot Pilot is offline
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not to be devil's advocate but I don't think it is entirely true that neos MUST dry out in winter. I have a group of neos, Amani, that has 50+ fans growing in sh-- a situation where I assure you they never completely dry out. I think it's less of a cardinal rule than it is a situation requirement-- meaning that if you grow in moss, the roots that grow in this environment experience a large swing in conditions and that when it's cold out (winter) the roots need the protection of "dryness" to keep rot at bay. If the plant is in sh, where conditions are nearly constant with the exception of temp, the roots are already adapted to handle the situation and thus need not dry out in the winter.

With that said, live moss is a tricky thing. I have live moss growing in my grow space on plants that get watered often. it was DEAD moss but the spores sprouted and have been growing since. It doesn't like to be dried out but it will tolerate it for short periods-- for about as long as I think I'd go before watering my moss-mounted neos.

Matt I say give it a try-- experimenting is what makes this hobby fun for me. Many said that one cannot grow tolumnia in SH and I'm now the proud owner of a tolumnia that didn't get that memo, which is also blooming and has HUGE toli fans that have thick, full leaves. I'm not saying what Jeremiah et al says isn't valid or true-- I'm just saying it's worth a try and who knows, you may be on the cusp of a new way of growing neos that improves your plants or gets more people into the hobby, which is always great. I do think Jeremiah's point is a good one and it may be difficult but maybe you can figure out something that'll get the plant happy in this situation. I personally would LOVE to have a green moss mound that isn't algae. As you said, it seems that once established it would provide a pretty cool symbiotic relationship.

Last edited by Pilot; 06-21-2013 at 12:03 PM..
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2013, 12:18 PM
gnathaniel gnathaniel is offline
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I don't know much about Neos, but keeping sphagnum moss alive with or without orchids isn't easy for me. Most sphags are very sensitive to water quality, needing low TDS and acid pH, which CPs also tend to like. Keeping them constantly moist and 'flushing' from above can partially mitigate the effects of less-than-ideal water, but the only long-term successes I've seen get rain or RO water with very little or no fertilizer. Some sphags also want high light and cool temperatures, not the easiest combo and not good for all orchids, but if you can keep a bog garden w/ CPs happy then you can probably grow some sphagnums too.

Sphagnum moss has antifungal properties and is great for regenerating weak or small divisions, with the live stuff working better than dried IMO. It's also a beautiful plant in its own right so well worth keeping if you can.

Here's a link to Michael Fletcher's moss growing handbook (warning! large PDF file), he includes a section on sphagnums. Lots of great info on cultivating many other types of mosses, too. Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:19 PM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnathaniel View Post

Here's a link to Michael Fletcher's moss growing handbook (warning! large PDF file), he includes a section on sphagnums. Lots of great info on cultivating many other types of mosses, too. Good luck!
Thank you for your comment gnathaniel. I pulled the PDF file you posted is very interesting. I did not know sphagnum moss came in other colors besides bright green or dried gold brown! If you stick around long enough on this part of the board you will quickly see and learn all about Neos.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:28 PM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot View Post
......Matt I say give it a try-- experimenting is what makes this hobby fun for me. Many said that one cannot grow tolumnia in SH and I'm now the proud owner of a tolumnia that didn't get that memo, which is also blooming and has HUGE toli fans that have thick, full leaves. I'm not saying what Jeremiah et al says isn't valid or true-- I'm just saying it's worth a try and who knows, you may be on the cusp of a new way of growing neos that improves your plants or gets more people into the hobby, which is always great. I do think Jeremiah's point is a good one and it may be difficult but maybe you can figure out something that'll get the plant happy in this situation. I personally would LOVE to have a green moss mound that isn't algae. As you said, it seems that once established it would provide a pretty cool symbiotic relationship.
Thanks Ryan. I have enough time and patience to experiment with a Neo plant or two. What I want to do is weave strands of long dried sphagnum with strands of live sphagnum, creating a grid pattern of alternating live and dried sphagnum. My thinking is that the live sphagnum could get its nutrients from the dried sphagnum. And if the live sphagnum breaks down those dried sphagnum's structure, this process would yield nutrients for the Neo. This would, in turn, grow the Neo with minimal intervention from me. I postulate that the live sphagnum would provide a good planting media over time which would then reduce the requirement for repotting.

Last edited by MattWoelfsen; 06-21-2013 at 08:34 PM..
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2013, 11:56 PM
gnathaniel gnathaniel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattWoelfsen View Post
Thank you for your comment gnathaniel. I pulled the PDF file you posted is very interesting. I did not know sphagnum moss came in other colors besides bright green or dried gold brown! If you stick around long enough on this part of the board you will quickly see and learn all about Neos.
You're welcome! There are other good moss resources on the web but I think that's the best all-inclusive one I've found. Sphagnums really are a beautiful group of plants, finding them growing in the wild is thrilling and there are usually other cool bog plants like CPs nearby.

Your idea to pot Neos with live and dried sphagnum will probably work great for either the Neo OR the sphagnum depending on how/what you water, but I suspect keeping both thriving together will be an uphill battle. Your Neos would probably love live sphag mixed in with dried when you repot, just don't be disappointed if the sphagnum peters out in a month or two. Keep a separate sphag garden and you can pinch off some more whenever you need it for potting.

To find a moss that stays green and healthy long term in a Neo pot, take a walk after a thunderstorm under old oak, maple, walnut, hickory, pecan or other rough-barked trees with big horizontal limbs. Bark is often knocked off in storms and any mosses on it will be well-hydrated and easy to spot. Most of these will perish on the ground anyway because they need similar conditions as epiphytic orchids. Air dry the bark fragments for a few days, crumble bark and moss into coarse powder/fragments with your hands and sprinkle this around on mounts, orchid pots, moist sphagnum, wherever you want epiphytic moss to grow. You may not get it right the first time (pH, moisture, light, etc. too different) but keep trying bark and mosses from different trees and I think you'll soon find one that thrives in Neo conditions. Assuming you're interested in non-sphagnum mosses, of course...

Last edited by gnathaniel; 06-21-2013 at 11:58 PM..
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