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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got several different cuttings (Marcgravia, Solanum, Peperomia, Microgramma) and per seller instructions started by rooting them in sphagnum moss, and now that I'm starting to get some growth with some roots...what's next? Not sure if I'm missing something obvious here, but a lot of the advice I've seen suggests not putting sphagnum moss in vivariums...so do I remove the moss? Any risk of damaging the new roots? If it's epiphytic, can I remove the moss and just place/fit in to some cork bark?

Sorry if this is dumb, I appreciate any insight in to this!
 

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Personally, I would carefully pick them up and just place them along with any sphagnum they have rooted into. If they’re epiphytes they’ll likely appreciate some sphagnum around their roots, and for terrestrial plants a little probably won’t hurt.
 

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Yes, there is sort of a contradicting bit of information here on these forums, but I think the below scenarios will help clear that up:

1. Don't use sphagnum as a substrate: This means, don't cover your substrate with it, or use as a replacement for substrate. It stays wet and keeps your froggies feet wet, which is bad.
2. Use sphagnum to help gets plants growing: Small areas with a bunch of sphagnum are fine, especially at the base of plants (either on the substrate or mounted epiphytically). I'd say as a rule of thumb, don't have more than 25% of your floor space covered by sphagnum...less if possible, but it's fine to have some in there as long as you also have a proper substrate and lots of leaf litter. Sphagnum is also used in ratio, in smaller milled pieces, to make ABG/substrate mixes, which is perfectly fine.

Number 2 above is perfectly fine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, that's helpful!

I already made the mistake of putting sphagnum down over my substrate initially, based on recs and certain "how-to" guides online...I've since removed most of it except for what I'm rooting cuttings in. Will work on removing as much as possible after all my cuttings have rooted.
 

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You've already gotten great info but I will try to add something pertaining to a specific question you had:

If it's epiphytic, can I remove the moss and just place/fit in to some cork bark?
(Aside - I never remove the moss from newly-rooted cuttings. I also don't start the rooting with a whole hecka lotta moss - partly to prevent situations like you're feeling - "ah crap, are there delicate baby roots all through this big wet wad - argh what I am gonna do?!?!?".)

So - this IMO is a situation where cracked-cork mosaic is an ideal background. For newly-rooted (or, still-unrooted) cuttings, especially when you've been judicious in the amount of LFS you used as a rooting medium, you can just place the whole assembly tight up against the "mosaic" background sphagnum (stuffed between the cork pieces) and criss-cross angled toothpicks to hold the assembly tight up against the background. Continue to keep it moist. Not constantly sopping, but soak it however many times a day will overcome the tendency to ever dry out. (This is where the larger mass of "mosaic" moss comes in handy - it holds water longer but still drains very well, since it's vertical.) Once the plant starts showing some shoot growth and/or leaf emergence, the roots are probably in good enough shape to back off the intense life support, and reduce the frequency of LFS-soaking and also the amount of helicopter parenting.

Hope this helps. Others can chime in if I've been confusing, or they see a place to weigh in too.

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You've already gotten great info but I will try to add something pertaining to a specific question you had:



(Aside - I never remove the moss from newly-rooted cuttings. I also don't start the rooting with a whole hecka lotta moss - partly to prevent situations like you're feeling - "ah crap, are there delicate baby roots all through this big wet wad - argh what I am gonna do?!?!?".)

So - this IMO is a situation where cracked-cork mosaic is an ideal background. For newly-rooted (or, still-unrooted) cuttings, especially when you've been judicious in the amount of LFS you used as a rooting medium, you can just place the whole assembly tight up against the "mosaic" background sphagnum (stuffed between the cork pieces) and criss-cross angled toothpicks to hold the assembly tight up against the background. Continue to keep it moist. Not constantly sopping, but soak it however many times a day will overcome the tendency to ever dry out. (This is where the larger mass of "mosaic" moss comes in handy - it holds water longer but still drains very well, since it's vertical.) Once the plant starts showing some shoot growth and/or leaf emergence, the roots are probably in good enough shape to back off the intense life support, and reduce the frequency of LFS-soaking and also the amount of helicopter parenting.

Hope this helps. Others can chime in if I've been confusing, or they see a place to weigh in too.

good luck!
Thanks, definitely going forward I’m going to use the bare minimum amount of moss...I also wish I had gone with a cork mosaic, as I’m already considering the feasibility of cutting out chucks of great stuff foam from my background and fitting in pieces of cork to give myself (and the future frogs) more space to work with, more plants, etc.
 

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considering the feasibility of cutting out chucks of great stuff foam from my background and fitting in pieces of cork to give myself (and the future frogs) more space to work with, more plants, etc.
Well, life offers us chances to live and learn. It's best to not fight it! Ha ha.

The excerpt / quote somewhat describes my own learning / adapting path. I've done a lot of full-foam backgrounds. Now what I do is make some flat-backed foam "rocks" that I integrate - from vision, to sketch, to actual layout, to construction - right in with my cork mosaic. The "rocks" and the cork pieces can be siliconed in at the same time, and when that's cured, they can be moss-packed at the same time too. Benefits of this approach include:
  • having a much more moisture-retaining and -releasing background
  • having more plant rooting surface
  • easier installation of drip lines - I run them between & around the "rocks" and cork pieces after siliconing but before / during moss-packing
  • less pointless consumption / occupation of the "dead space" (open air) which you can then offer to other uses (light transmission, plant growth, branches, etc of the "dead space"
  • less labor & time expended
  • less chemical use / consumption (foam is kinda nasty)
  • less obsessing over sculpting
  • not having to cover or color all that fucking foam
  • easier covering & coloring of the foam you do install (since it's all bench-top, not in-viv)
  • more opportunity for higher-relief "rocks" - jutting spires and outcrops, deeper crevices between ledges, etc - since the cork isn't as thick (doesn't stick out from the viv rear) as most full-foam builds
I hope this makes sense. Good luck!
 
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