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cobriaclord

Help with ant plant growth

4 posts in this topic

Hi, I have five ant plants: I believe they are all hydnophytum formicarum (one however, is a different type from the others). One has a golfball sized caudex while the others are much smaller (think thumb-sized before the knuckle).

 

One is planted in a mix containing hydroballs, moss, etc. (the larger one) and the others are in a long-fibered sphagnum moss.  I live in Zone 6b in the U.S. 

 

Right now I have the plants on the windowsill, which may be too cold although I shut the door in this particular room and it is always very warm when I walk in.  (I keep my heat on 70)

 

I also have an LED grow light which I keep on for twelve hours a day.  

 

I water the plants with RO/DI water weekly or sometimes more often.  I have just begun misting the plants twice daily with a spray bottle. 

 

I fertilize the plants with a regular orchid mist fertilizer I got from home depot.

 

The problem I am experiencing is that the leaves are shriveling up and falling off and there is no appreciable growth.  I will get new leaves, the plants have been alive for ~6 months but there has been no real growth.

 

My questions are this:

 

1) Is the soil I am using ineffective?  If so, what kind of soil do I need and how would I go about obtaining just a small quantity for these plants?

 

2) Is RO/DI water suitable? If not, what kind of water should I use?

 

3) What fertilizer is best and how do I add said fertilizer?

 

4) What level of humidity do I need?

 

Any other thoughts that can help me effectively raise these plants would be greatly appreciated.  I love ant plants, and had a rather large one for over a year ( fist-sized caudex) but when I transplanted it, using peat moss as the soil, it became waterlogged and died.

 

I'm obviously a total amateur and would appreciate even obvious advice!

 

 

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Hi,  Welcome to the forum.  I am also in 6b hardiness zone.  Get the plants off the windowsill.  We can go into the teens and single digits Fahrenheit at night.  Remember these are tropical rainforest plants.  Cold drafts from the window could be causing the leaf loss or inconsistent watering.  Try to never let the growing media dry out completely.  If you have forced air heating with a humidifier on the furnace set the humidity level as high as it will go, probably 40ish percent.  If you have forced air heating with no humidifier on the furnace you will need to do something to raise humidity around the plants - run a room humidifier, get the plants into a terrarium or some other kind of enclosed growing area or use humidity trays, etc. Some leaf loss is normal at this time of year but it should only be older, lower leaves.  Hope this helps.  I assume other members will have some thoughts for you as well.

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Hi,  Welcome to the forum.  I am also in 6b hardiness zone.  Get the plants off the windowsill.  We can go into the teens and single digits Fahrenheit at night.  Remember these are tropical rainforest plants.  Cold drafts from the window could be causing the leaf loss or inconsistent watering.  Try to never let the growing media dry out completely.  If you have forced air heating with a humidifier on the furnace set the humidity level as high as it will go, probably 40ish percent.  If you have forced air heating with no humidifier on the furnace you will need to do something to raise humidity around the plants - run a room humidifier, get the plants into a terrarium or some other kind of enclosed growing area or use humidity trays, etc. Some leaf loss is normal at this time of year but it should only be older, lower leaves.  Hope this helps.  I assume other members will have some thoughts for you as well.

Thanks Frank! I shouldn't have put those plants on the sill... but I followed your advice, moved them and have a humidifier going.  Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi,

Welcome aboard!

In my experience, the substrate is only a support for these epiphytic plants. You should adapt the soil with your conditions: ensure good drainage if your conditions are wet, and a good retention of water if your conditions are dry.

Many substrates could be used ; fibrous peat, pine bark, coconut chips, live sphagnum, perlite, pumice...

 

I'm not completely agree with Frank: we have really wet and shady greenhouses, with few air movement, and if the substrate is wet too long, the plants rot quickly. We need to give them a few quantity of water and let the soil dry out quickly.

 

I think the best is high humidity, but with a very good ventilation! And as much sun as you can!

 

And also a high nitrogen fertiliser could help.

 

All the best,

Aurélien

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