Wayne Robinson
Tue, 01 Apr 2003 04:38:05 PST
A similar thing happens with many cacti in Mexico. They are found only in
limestone outcrops - not even 1 foot outside them. This lead many
cactophiles to add limestone to their potting mix. However the real story is
somewhat different. Indeed the pH of the soil is made more alkaline by the
limestone but this is nearly all leached by rain and the actual pH of the
growing area is closer to neutral. This and the acidic soil of N. calcicola
just goes to show how you need to take the total surrounding environment
into account when looking at mixes to use in cultivation - this includes
makeup of the soil substrate, rain amount and frequency, how well rain
leaches into the soil and how quickly it drains away, the ambient
temperature, the ground temperature, what nutrients are available (minerals
humus etc), and anything else you can think of. Add this all up and you will
find that you will settle on a fairly standard mix for a large range of your
plants be they bulbous, perennials or annuals. The plants will adapt to your
conditions - remember they are not in habitat. Obviously this is not meant
to be a blanket statement, there are exceptions where you need to provide
special conditions.
Wayne Robinson
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 
--Arthur C. Clarke 
Here's to us magicians! 


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