Tecophilaea/plant mixes, etc.

Alberto Castillo ezeizabotgard@hotmail.com
Sat, 30 Jul 2005 15:04:51 PDT
Dear all:
             Please note that we are all speaking of Tecophilaea 
cyanocrocus, the alpine species. Rodger, Jane and Mary Sue’s comments are 
self explanatory. There is a second species, the coastal T. violiflora that 
demand warm conditions much like a Cape bulb, but incomparably less 
attractive than cyanocrocus.
            As for mushroom compost it is normally made of a mix of FRESH 
horse manure and urine  with chopped wheat straw (although may be local 
substitutes for these ingredients) corrected for a high pH with substantial 
quantities of lime. Here you have the salts (urine), the high pH (lime) and 
the deadly bacteriae (manure). Since the dawn of bulb growing time we have 
been warned to avoid using manure for bulbs, and only very old manure in 
cold climates is not fulminant to  them.
            Fines are the reason for disaster in mixes, wether in perlite, 
granite, sands, gravel, pumice, you name it. Best results are obtained when 
mixes are sieved to exclude them. Plant roots have the chemical properties 
to obtain nutrients from ingredients (like granite) that may contain them 
and which ingredients could eventually assume a soluble form.
            And Hamish, now I am convinced that most people in this forum 
does not read all the postings, hence the endless repetition of threads and 
of questions that were made perhaps the previous week. This I mention in 
relation to the fact that not long ago I explained that the solution to 
drainage problems lies in making good sized drainage holes in the 
containers’ sides close to the bottom. Now that Rodger moved his T. 
cyanocrocus to an 8 litre container they will explode into growth but unless 
he makes better drainage holes, the drainage will be slower and the core of 
the mix will remain wetter for long. In other words, the bigger the 
containers the better the results but drainge must be gradually more 
substantial as the pot size grow bigger. Nothing beats growing in the soil 
like John Lonsdale does but there are many cases in which we just can not do 
it and have to make do with containers, in which case the bonsai effect can 
not be overlooked.
          As for Amaryllis belladonna it is normal that the upper half of 
the bulb protrudes as in so many S. African amaryllids, Mary Sue. Being 
exposed they get the good baking necessary to produce the flower buds.
If covered they will stay cooler than desirable. And out of smoke perception 
if fire is produced.
All the best

MSN Amor: busca tu ½ naranja http://latam.msn.com/amor/

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