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Carnivorous Plants/Non-sphagnum moss mulch for Nepenthes


Unidentified moss
Unidentified moss  
Hi Sarracenia Northwest,

I have a few pots of Nepenthes that have 3 parts coco husks to 1 perlite as their growth medium. I notice that the surface dry out quite fast (the average daytime humidity is 45%, and nighttime 39%), so I have been looking for sphagnum moss to mulch the top in order to increase the immediate humidity and better retain moisture. I could not find any nursery here in South Africa that sells fresh nor dried sphagnum moss. However I recently obtained a bag of dried florist moss from a nursery. The problem is, the moss is not sphagnum moss, it has needle pine like leaves (see attached image). I soaked the bag of moss overnight in rainwater and they seemed to have rehydrated and freshen up. I scoured the internet for information regarding alternative moss as mulch for CPs but couldn't find any. My question is, will the use of non-sphagnum moss as top cover brings any harm to the Nepenthes plants?

Many thanks,

Hi Winson,

As long as you are only using it as a top-dressing you're probably fine using some decorative mosses.  If you are actually incorporating it into soil media, that is a very different matter.  Sphagnum has some very unique biochemical properties, and is often found in carnivorous plant habitats.  Other common forest mosses don't have the water holding properties, and the same pH as sphagnum, so they are to be avoided for those uses.

You could easily order sphagnum online, and check garden centers that carry products for orchids.  They often carry it.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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