CHARCOAL: As Potting Medium

Culture Orchid Doctor

by Robert M. [Bert] Hamilton (Compiler)

Originally published in The Orchid Doctor in 1980 and 1988

Posted by Sys Admin about 7 years ago.

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Because cellulose and lignin have been burned out in its manufacture it will last much longer than bark; suitable fertilizers are 18-18-18 or 20-20-20 at Itpg. A82-487

Current use in U.S.A.; needs twice as much watering as bark because it does not absorb water, it adsorbs it and builds up layers of condensed liquids; never used alone, it provides no nutrients, requires a balanced fertilizer; used most as an additive to bark and other mixes. A86-496

In Hawaii comparison test of growing charcoal against hapuu and fir bark proved charcoal superior; 3,000 to 4,000 plants were used, sized from 1/2 inch to 1 inch; after use, soak overnight in fungicide and reuse; Hyponex 20-20-20 recommended as fertilizer. NH74(1)12+

It is fertilized with a balanced fertilizer with a 1-1-1 ratio, otherwise standard cultural practice apply. A84-1180

It is used in terrarium mixes to "sweeten" the soil to keep roots healthy; the mix is kept open for better aeration; it allows only some algae to develop and apparently no fungus growth; it seems not to deteriorate; can be used straight for mature plants; seedlings in it prosper; how to make your own charcoal described; refer to A83-492

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Charcoal Comments
CHARCOAL: Activated to Adsorb Ethylene Pulverized charcoal activated by baking for two hours at 400 deg. and then hung in the greenhouse was claimed successful; activated monthly. A76-817; it definitely will not remove it by itself; air must be reduced in humidity to less than 5% before passing it through carbon; the cost is high. A80-513 0
CHARCOAL: Additive to Potting Mixes It does not "contain" much of anything except Cftrbon, it is used to "buffer" the compost to stop buildup of fertilizer or excess salts; the right type from a charcoal kiln must be used, whatever that is; it is praised for "sweetening" the mix for the Odontoglossum complex. OA81-153 0
CHARCOAL: As Drainage It is no better than broken crocks, crushed rock, coarse gravel, etc.,; may be reused after soaking in 10% solution of Clorox for 15 minutes or more or heating it in the oven at 250 deg.F. for 20 to 30 minutes. P70(4)19 0
CHARCOAL: As Potting Drainage After one year's use the plants went back; it seems to filter out and retain harmful matter in the mix. AU79-199When used for "crock" it seemed to absorb fertilizer salts and soon became toxic to bottom roots. A64-307. 0
CHARCOAL BRIQUETTES: Do Not Use They are made with materials that can be harmful if used in potting mixes. F77-115 0
CHARCOAL CHIPS: As Potting Medium In Hawaii, all vandaceous orchids grown in straight charcoal chips; fewer problems encountered from bacterial and fungal pests, A76-227 0
CHARCOAL: For Vandas If entire mix is charcoal, supply all the trace elements; be sure to leach periodically. A78-1124 0
CHARCOAL: Graded Hardwood Type Is available in four grades; advt. A84-1084 0
CHARCOAL: In Culture Media Has a positive effect on the growth of cymbidium plantlets in the flask, also phalaenopsis and paphiopedilums because it seems to improve aeration. A84-258It seems to improve aeration; for other details refer to OBIII-258 0
CHARCOAL: In Cymbidium Mix Has many good qualities to recomend it; used in many parts of the world; one questionable point is its filtering effect whereby modern insecticides and fungicides added to the mix may be adsorbed and rendered less effective. C73-130 0
CHARCOAL: In Potting Mix Many growers add about 10% of the fine grade in a mix. Van.O.S. Bull.Dec.-87 0
CHARCOAL: Potting Medium Oak charcoal with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 has the least effect on the pH of the mix; adsorbs cyclic organic compounds; is safe for plants but its main advantage is physical support. A81-1311 0
CHARCOAL: Properties Investigation of cationic exchange capacity; retention of nutrients; bacterial activity; high water holding capacity; and a high bacteria activity; feed organic type fertilizers to it; lasts forever. AU73-181+; pros and cons. A80-739 0
CHARCOAL: Supermarket Type Is Useful But not if it is processed into briquettes which have a petroleum binder. A75-876 0
CHARCOAL: Used in Potting Mixes It is popular in England and S.E.Asia; comprises 15 to 30% of the mix in England. A79-584 0

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