Sunday, November 10, 2013

Akadama & Kanuma substrate

I read about this substrate mix (also, @LeatherSolis uses it whose plants look amazing!) so I've decided to try it, too. Don't get me wrong, I love pumice and I'll keep using it, but I just need to satisfy my curiosity.
Both Akadama and Kanuma substrates are mostly used for bonsai in these parts of the world. Apparently in Japan it's beeing used a lot for mesembs, too. The qualities of both substrates seem to be similar to pumice. Akadama (brown) is slightly acidic, Kanuma (yellow) - more. I'm going to try it with a couple of adult plants as well as for sowing (more Akadama, less Kanuma, maybe with some vermiculite mixed in) and report on my observations. 

16 comments:

  1. AFAIR acidic soil is not natural for most mesembs. But many will tolerate it...

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  2. According to S. Hammer, mesembs' preferences on this matter vary a lot. I never thought about matching the soil PH to plants' needs and have no idea what PH pumice has.... I just use it for everything. I read that frithia loves it acidic though (Haven't you told me that?). We'll see :)

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  3. There was an article in the BCSS journal a little while ago about using bonsai products for Haworthias etc. I am trying it out.

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    1. How is your impression so far?
      The Akadama stones are quite soft. I find it confusing XD

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  4. hi Rika, would you mind sharing the information where you purchase these substrates?

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    1. Hi,
      You can buy them on ebay :)

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  5. Hi,
    Are u using 100% pumice for your lithops, i live in singapore it hot, humidity is high an rain often. We usually used cactus mix and with perlite.
    I found that it drain well but it does not dry up fast.
    any suggestions?
    Thanks
    James




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    1. Hi James,
      Yes, I use 100% pumice for all my mesembs. It dries quickly, especially in small pots (5cm). I mean, if the relation "plant to pot" is good it will dry well. If you put one lithops in a 7cm pot it probably won't dry quickly enough. Also, in my experience, it stays wet when cactus soil is mixed in. If it's pure it's fine. Even if it's been watered it stays kinda dry to the touch, even though the color indicates that it's wet. I guess the plants pull the moisture out of the stones when needed but the roots are not constantly wet which is good. Hope this helps :)

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  6. Hi Rika,
    Thanks for the quick reply. Tha smallest square pot can find here is 7cm, I have purchased 4 new lithops a waiting to repot. I will used 100% pumice. It easier less purchased of other substrate. Since singapore is very humid, I will add some larger pebbles as first layer than pumice to the brim.
    Thanks again.

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    1. This sounds reasonable :)

      7 cm is really too big for one plant. Make sure to put them all in one pot then and water very very carefully, just near each plant from above, not below. Don't make the whole substrate moist. I guess then it'll be fine.

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    2. Hi Rika,
      Many thanks for your advice. Its really humid here in Singapore. Im trying to keep my plants alive. I will try getting smaller pots.
      Thanks
      James

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  7. Hi Rika,
    I visited Japan last month. Found Kamuna in a store. It look like lumps of clay, just press it it will smash up. It was cheap about 100yen for 1.5liter. Did not buy it, not sure how to used. My thought was like some lava stone, but is not. That my sharing.
    Regards
    Loh

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    1. Yeah, Kanuma and Akadama are both strange stuff. I don't like neither of them. Pumice is still best :)

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  8. Hi Rika,

    I really love your blog. Learnt so much the last months. Just have one question.
    If you use pure pumice, are you giving your lithops fertilizer? I'm still new with lithops and mine are doing ok. They just begin to shrivel right now, but the roots look like, as they were not alife. I'm not shure what to do because the smaller ones are getting crispy. Even watering does not help, I think the roots are not taking up the moisture.

    Regards, Eri

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    1. Thanks a lot for visiting Eri :) Glad I could help with some things and sorry I haven't replied earlier.
      I do not use fertilizer. Refrashing the substrate every couple of years is enough for windowsill conditions. With limited light (compared to greenhouse) there's no need to encourage much growths. Smaller plants have better chances for a long happy life, I think.

      How are your plants now? Was it very hot back when they weren't accepting water? When it's too hot they fall asleep and don't wake up to watering. Now that its cooler they should grow fine for a while. Don't forget to stop watering around mid of October though.

      If you are worried you can always pull them out and check the roots.

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    2. Hi Rika,

      thanks for your kind reply. I checked the roots, they seem fine. There are a lot of fine white roots. I think you were right with your assumption with the hot weather. They are still shriveled and I watered them yesterday, but I hope they will plump up soon.

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