Dendroboard banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember reading somewhere that mosses can be harmful for the roots of epiphytic plants. Is this also the case for Sphagnum Moss that was once used as the planting medium behind the epiphytic plant? Should I try to remove as much live sphagnum from the plant displayed in the image below as possible?

Thank you.
Plant Flowerpot Houseplant Terrestrial plant Purple
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
My understanding, though I've never left it to go that long, is that the sphagnum does break down (within a year?) with new growth on top, and it becomes overly acidic and can easily become anaerobic if it is the only substrate/media. If there were a problem, I'd assume it would probably be the ph and probable bacterial issues due to the anaerobic process affecting the roots. I've only used it to assist in propagation and new root growth before transplanting to a more permanent home.
I'd love to hear what others know or have experienced as I am about to start 3 new enclosed terrariums with a hygrolon and sphagnum/aqua soil mix as the permanent growing medium - though this is primarily for mosses.
Following with interest!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
becomes overly acidic and can easily become anaerobic if it is the only substrate/media.
Thanks for pointing that out, I must admit that I didn't even consider such a possibility. Now I'm also interested to hear more as I've often heard people recommending planting plants like Marcgravia with sphagnum around its roots. Granted it wouldn't be the only media, but it would be concentrated around the plant's base. I wonder if one were to water the plant sufficiently regularly whether the acidity would also be washed away or neutralized. I also often see only sphagnum being used as the substrate for tropical plant nurseries as well, granted the pot with sphagnum is only meant to be temporary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Sphagnum moss already has a very low ph before it starts to break down (maybe 4? - can't find my ph meter...) so watering won't assist in raising the ph enough as it also does take a long time to fully break down. I think it is likely the bacterial issues as it becomes anaerobic that would be the problem. I was looking at using aqua soil, but that has a ph around 6.5 so probably wouldn't do much for anything except maybe assist in binding if anaerobic processes were a problem. I'm now going to look at adding some crushed coral since you started this thread, still waiting for rock to be delivered, and it may be a year or two that I get back with any findings! :)

In the meantime, hopefully the brains trust has some answers.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,731 Posts
Some sphag around the base of cuttings is useful to help retain moisture as roots get established, and is very commonly used in this way. I don't think the pH concerns are relevant for most plants, and sphag used judiciously in substrate in dart vivs hasn't been linked to any such issues that I'm aware of.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Anon123

·
Registered
Dendrobates tinctorus "Patricia"
Joined
·
209 Posts
The ph and anaerobic conditions only become an issue if the moss pad is thick. You can leave thin layers of moss indefinitely. Mounted orchids that were rooted over a sphagnum pad basically make it impossible to remove moss from a mount after a while, and I have never had issues so long as it isn't packed tight or very thick. Now, with revived sphagnum that has started to grow, you probably should try to trim back the growth to prevent it from swallowing the plants, so I would prune the moss on that particular piece to keep it in check, but you don't need to pull it all off and dismount the epiphytes unless you really don't want live sphag growing with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your responses.

probably should try to trim back the growth to prevent it from swallowing the plants, so I would prune the moss on that particular piece to keep it in check
I'm assuming that if I were to just leave the plant on the moss pad after plucking out all of the revived moss, I'll constantly have to go back trim new moss growth? Or is it unlikely to come back?
 

·
Registered
Dendrobates tinctorus "Patricia"
Joined
·
209 Posts
Thank you all for your responses.


I'm assuming that if I were to just leave the plant on the moss pad after plucking out all of the revived moss, I'll constantly have to go back trim new moss growth? Or is it unlikely to come back?
If you manage to get all the living portions of the moss, then it won't return. However, moss can revive from a small portion of live tissue. If your desire is to be completely rid of it, you will either have to unmount the whole arrangement, or you'll need to diligently pluck any bit that grows for a while until you've managed to get all the live sections. You could however find that only one thorough trim manages to get all the living moss out. It's sort of a toss up.

I will add though that many people intentionally mount with live sphagnum, as it is a good growing media (as well as an attractive one) provided you are willing to do a little maintenance to keep it from over growing; I've seen quite a few bulbophyllum grown that way on some of the orchid boards I've frequented. If periodically trimming doesn't bother you, there is nothing wrong with leaving it on the mount, as the plants are already established in it, and it is a nice look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
you'll need to diligently pluck any bit that grows for a while until you've managed to get all the live sections
I guess I'll go with this and then periodically trim whatever's left as Marcgravia El Coca are notorious for taking forever to establish and I'd rather not spend months waiting for it to get reestablished and undo part of the factored-in cost that the six or so months that it took to established and send out new shoots. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Based on your photo (and my eyes may deceive me), it looks as though they are rooted in quite a thick pad of sphagnum, almost kokedama like, hence the potential for anaerobic activity - which is essentially the primary process of the bog forming, though there are quite a few hundred generations before that would occur… could you lessen the thickness of the pad without going near the roots to prevent any potential of the afore suggested occurring? Keen to hear what you decide and how it fares.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Keen to hear what you decide and how it fares.
I'm not quite sure how thick it is yet as the plant haven't arrived, but I'll keep you updated as to what I decide. If it's anything like the Sphagnum pads I've seen before, it'll most likely have a plastic core or something with just some sphagnum wrapped around it, making it thinner than it appears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@mattoid
An update: the plant finally arrived. Lost at least three "big," mature leaves in the shipping which really unfortunate, but I've stuck those leaves in some sphagnum in their own grow-out cup so maybe (hopefully) something will come out of it.

The sphagnum mount is 1.5 inches thick which is thicker than I'd anticipated so it wouldn't fit where I'd intended to place it. It's comprised of sphagnum wrapped around a plastic core. The sphagnum layer itself is only about a centimeter thick if not less so it's probably not thick enough to cause bog-like conditions. I've plucked out all of the living sphagnum that was especially long and blocking the leave's access to light.

My current plan for it is to leave it alone on its current mount and hope that it sends up some shoots up my cork bark background and once those shoots seem healthy enough, I'll cut it from the main plant and then repeat this process. Or maybe I'll just leave it permanently there. Unfortunately, it sticks out like a sore thumb in my tank.

As it is now, due to the shipping damage and how hard it'd be to extract the plant from the mount (the plant appears to only possess adventitious roots), it's probably best to leave it on its mount. I'd thought of sawing the mount in half since I won't need its back half, but I can't imagine a hand saw being that useful against sphagnum — the blades will probably just get caught and a grand mess will be made. Let me know if you think that's a good idea.

Plant Wood Organism Trunk Terrestrial plant

Plant Botany Houseplant Terrestrial plant Flowering plant
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
@mattoid

The sphagnum mount is 1.5 inches thick which is thicker than I'd anticipated so it wouldn't fit where I'd intended to place it. It's comprised of sphagnum wrapped around a plastic core. The sphagnum layer itself is only about a centimeter thick if not less so it's probably not thick enough to cause bog-like conditions. I've plucked out all of the living sphagnum that was especially long and blocking the leave's access to light.

My current plan for it is to leave it alone on its current mount and hope that it sends up some shoots up my cork bark background and once those shoots seem healthy enough, I'll cut it from the main plant and then repeat this process. Or maybe I'll just leave it permanently there. Unfortunately, it sticks out like a sore thumb in my tank.

As it is now, due to the shipping damage and how hard it'd be to extract the plant from the mount (the plant appears to only possess adventitious roots), it's probably best to leave it on its mount. I'd thought of sawing the mount in half since I won't need its back half, but I can't imagine a hand saw being that useful against sphagnum — the blades will probably just get caught and a grand mess will be made. Let me know if you think that's a good idea.
I'm afraid I'm not much help here, as I have only ever propagated my own or purchased as bare root (generally wrapped in wetted towel). 1.5 inches does seem quite thick, though that is about the thickness I have used to start cuttings with only sphagnum. I can't get a picture of the plastic core and how it sits beneath, but if you were to try and remove a portion of it, perhaps you could try snips/scissors to remove the sphagnum and then saw (dremel?) the plastic. I am the sort to give it a go but probably at the expense of the plants wellbeing... Either way, it seems the travel stressed it out and would do well to recover a few weeks before reassessing as you have suggested. It certainly is noticeable though.
I reckon with that the thickness of moss, you are completely safe from the ill effects caused by decaying sphagnum! Please keep me posted on how it goes down the track, I'm keen to see how you solve the 'sore thumb' quandary!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@mattoid
Final update:
After a few days I finally decided that it was too much of an eyesore so I got to work.
I used a cutter to remove all of the fishing lines that were holding the sphagnum in place and then ripped out all of the sphagnum on the back half of the sphagnum block. It turns out the center wasn't some box made from poster board but some plastic bricks. The sphagnum in front seems to be holding together pretty well with just the plant's roots. Fingers crossed it remains that way. A lot of sphagnum was removed, significantly reducing the weight (probably due to how much water the sphagnum had.

Leftover sphagnum:
Product Ingredient Material property Seasoning Cuisine



Once that was done I cleaned the glass using water (since there were frogs in the tank so I didn't want to risk alcohol and used super glue + cotton to attach the block to the glass on its plastic bits. The tank is currently being ventilated with a fan to reduce fumes. It's front doors are also slightly ajar. I've done this before in a tank with frogs and didn't see any ill affects.

Result:
Side view: It's a lot less thick than before, but it's still unfortunately quite bulky. C'est la vie
Plant Branch Terrestrial plant Wood Automotive tire


Back view: a bit of a messy job, but it was pretty hard to glue things together. I intend to add some more cotton later.
Water Window Wood Tints and shades Tree


Front view:
Plant Organism Terrestrial plant Bedrock Wood


Freed up spot (fresh leaves): I might add the Alocasia Azlanii that was once there back or I might just leave it be. Undecided since my tank is currently only has South American plants at the moment.
Plant Wood Leaf Leaf vegetable Terrestrial plant
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top