Terrarium substrate non-perlite

Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Tue, 29 Dec 2009 13:05:55 PST
Diana Fish wrote

> Does anyone have an "organic" (ideally peat-free) growing
> medium for a closed system terrarium--e.g. one that does
> not use perlite? I have Begonia microsperma in a terrarium,
> but was interested in general suggestions.

I have an out-of-print older book on gesneriads called _The Miracle
Houseplants_. The authors (whom I can't recall just now) write that one
may use pure sphagnum moss, either living or the preparation called "green
moss", as a substrate for most gesneriads. I would expect almost any other
lithophytic, epiphytic, bog or forest-floor plant to do well in such a
medium (which is very close to nature for such plants.) A big plus is that
pure sphagnum is normally not host to fungus gnats.

The book carries a very long subtitle. It's a great book though dated as
to what plants were available then. It covers the tuberous gesneriads
quite well. If you're looking for it online get the newer edition from the
1980s. There were several different publishings of the same text and
photos, in different sizes and formats, from different publishing houses.
The hardback should be available for under $10 including shipping and has
better quality photo printing.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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