Options for inorganic media

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    Profile photo of Pauline K
    Pauline K

    I have several orchids, with a mixture of types. Mostly oncidiums and intergenerics, some Cattleya hybrids, a mini phal, a zygo and a belleara all potted in bark.
    Thing is I’d really prefer to have them in inorganic media, but, i’m in NZ, and the common inorganic media(seramis and Lecca)aren’t available here.
    So,i’m just wondering if anyone has tried any other inorganic media’s, like pumice, or perlite. We have a type of crushed rock here called scoria. It’s often used as a roading material, and it’s porous and spongy looking(tho ofc it’s hard)I believe it may be the same as what is referred to as “lava rock” in some countries, tho scoria is usually red and lava rock is usually black. I know that “lava rock” has been used as a media, but i’m really not sure if scoria would work, tho I can’t see why not. The other thing I was thinking was, since seramis is terracotta, has anyone ever tried potting in broken terracotta? Like smashed up pots….I know they’d have to be smashed up pretty small but I can’t see why that wouldn’t work.
    Anyway, just hoping to get opinions\ideas.

    Profile photo of Michael

    Hi Pauline,
    Scoria is fine. I have a friend here (Queensland) who uses nothing else. The only problem is that in cold climates it can affect the roots(winter). I lost all my phallies even though we have winters that average 9 at night.. Overseas they grow a lot indoors so dont have the cold problem.
    Scoria is from volcanoes so is lava

    Profile photo of Ben W
    Ben W

    I’ve wondered the same about using crushed/smashed terracotta as medium. Hopefully someone here has tried it and can report on it.

    Profile photo of HildeWilkens

    Hi Pauline,
    Im in the USA and we don’t have the Lecca pebbels available here either – I opted for ”Hydroton clay pebbles” (brand Mother Earth – available on Amazon) – I repotted all my 22 orchids in this medium in spring and everything looks fine – my Phals grew good and most are in spike now – Dendr. and onc. and Catl. grew new pseudobulbs – so for me the hydroton works fine. Hope you find what works for you.

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