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Discussion Starter #1
I buy a lot of plants at the local nursery and places like Lowes and Home Depot, well, because I'm cheap and I'd rather spend money on other stuff than plants. But they all seem to have those tiny styrofoam balls in the pots, and I can never seem to get them all out. I'm worried that washing all the dirt off will kill the plant, but I don't want to look in my viv and see little floating white balls lined up against the glass in the water feature. What's the best way to get rid of them, aside from picking them out by hand, cause there's always about 20 million of them.
 
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Most plants are hardier than you think, I just take the plant out of the pot and take the hose and spray the roots until they are clean. Then you pot it up in your substrate mix.
 

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the way i do it is just get yourself a bucket or pot that the plant and your hands fit in. put water in it and just use your fingers to break the soil up underwater. when you think you have done it enough just skim off the the styrofoam and empty out the water and you have your soil and the plant left.
 
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I believe what you are referring to is perlite which is added to a potting medium to provide aeration and improve drainage. Because it does not break down over time it will also aid with keeping the soil from becoming compacted.

I guess that is more info than you want to know LOL. I will add that there is no problem pulling your plants from the pot and putting them under warm running water and/or soaking them in a bucket for removing all of the soil mix prior to planting. Actually it is a good thing to do whenever you are re-potting as it gives you an opportunity to examine the plants root system. Don't hesitate to cut away any dead roots while you are at it. The only time that this might be a problem is if the plant was only just repotted, (sometimes when you buy cheap plants in small sizes you are actually getting cuttings that are not well rooted), in which case it may be too much of a shock for the plant. If the pot has tons of roots or appears root bound however don't hesitate. This is a good time to divide plants as well and get more 'bang for your buck'. :)
 
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I realize that and agree...

Scott said:
Jan - a lot of these places do actually use styrofoam in their soil mixes.

But styrofoam/perlite/vermiculite are all to be avoided equally in my opinion.

s

Forgive me if I implied that it might not be styrofoam. I am aware of how many different things are used. I merely guessed at perlite based on his description of "tiny white balls". Of course it really isn't important to identify them as they are a pain in the ----- under these circumstances. :)

I find it incredible what they will use for packing into soil when selling in mass quantities at places such as home depot. Often without regard to the plants actual cultural needs. I picked up a lovely Oncidium there a few years back for a song, (past blooming manager's special), and opted to repot for the sole reason of changing the pot. I was shocked to find Oasis material placed against the roots... I was sure glad I caught that before too much damage was done! But then that is another whole discussion, :wink:

Have an awesome day!
 

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No, it's not pearlite. Perlite doesn't float. I've used it as medium for incubating reptile eggs before, so I know the difference. These are tiny styrofoam balls. If you look at styrofoam closely, you'll notice that it is made up of tiny little balls packed together. This is the individual balls they add to some potting soil mixes for some reason.
 
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Arklier said:
No, it's not pearlite. Perlite doesn't float. I've used it as medium for incubating reptile eggs before, so I know the difference. These are tiny styrofoam balls. If you look at styrofoam closely, you'll notice that it is made up of tiny little balls packed together. This is the individual balls they add to some potting soil mixes for some reason.
Please forgive me for continuing this and PLEASE know that I am not posting with the intention of being argumentative. I have come to this board with the intent of learning as much as is possible about darts in the hopes of attaining some and offering them the best possible care that I can. It is very difficult to learn something new, particularly so the older that you get :) , as not only do you not know where to begin you often do not even know what questions you should be asking.

I also would like it to be clearly understood that I am not now/nor was I in my original post attempting to say that you did not know the difference between perlite and styrofoam. I was suggesting that it might be Perlite. I have used Scott's brand of Perlite for the last ten years as a soil amendment for many of my plants, particularly my african violets. It does indeed float and is a pain after recently transplanting or when propagating and setting up new pots. I used to end up with pieces of it all stuck to the sides of the pot and often onto leaf cuttings as it floated up through the medium. I now mix two mediums to minimize this, using the perlite prn through the base medium and then add an inch of amended soil w/o perlite for the top inch to stop it from floating to the surface.

I do know that there is another substance which I believe is also called Perlite, (at least it looks virtually identical), which is used in furnaces, (and probably a whole lot of other things), which is incapable of burning and does not float. It has been two years since my furnace repair man and I had this discussion so I do not remember all of the details... only my amusement when he placed it in the furnace. I do remember that he told me the perlite I used in the plants was not a suitable substitute.

I think that we can agree that we don't want it popping up in a vivarium and/or water feature. I will apologize one last time if in reading my post you felt that I was correcting you or implying anything else. At this point I am truly sorry that I even wrote that paragraph as I feel that you may have gotten the wrong impression of who I am or why I am here. I have learned so much from everyone here in the last week since being referred to this site from KS and have a million questions pertaining to getting started. The absolute last thing that I wish to do is to offend anyone!
:cry:

Respectfully yours
 
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