Sunday, May 24, 2015

Backyard Sarracenia update

I've been spending more time indoors with my pings and sundews lately, so I decided to have a look at what's going on outside. The light was a little funny, so the pictures are a bit funny. At least this Sarracenia minor looks sort of cute with that soft hazy light.

Sarracenia minor.
This is one of the prettiest pictures I've seen of my S. minor.
Really nice color on these pitchers. I love the orange and green with the white fenestrations.

My Sarracenia purpurea has also fleshed out and colored up, so that all the bird damage from last year is gone.

Sarracenia purpurea.
Nice and fat again!
I could probably afford to size up the pot again as well, but I can't imagine that happening before next year, hahahah.

This is a clone I got from the Cactus Jungle that they're calling Sarracenia "Rosy Reptile", since it's apparently the same cross as the famous Sarracenia 'Reptilian Rose', but a different selection.

Sarracenia "Rosy Reptile"
Kind of a flamboyant pitcher. I like that.
S. 'Reptilian Rose' is Sarracenia oreophila "Sand Mountain" × 'Royal Ruby' (which is a natural S. ×moorei selection). I wasn't clear if this means that S. "Rosy Reptile" is a different selection of the actual cross that produced S. 'Reptilian Rose', or if someone reproduced the cross and selected this clone. I'll have to ask Anne for clarification. In any case I dig those red lips and the big pitcher lid.

I'm getting some color on Sarracenia psittacina, but I really need to pot it into something larger, since it's getting a bit cramped as is.

Sarracenia psittacina.
Poor cramped little guy.
I've got at least two divisions in there too. Excited!

I got several Venus flytraps during the NASC auction, and this Dionaea 'Dente' was among them.

Dionaea muscipula 'Dente' Venus flytrap.
Dionaea is a pretty cool genus I guess.
The rest need to recover some more from shipping, but this one's looking good!

I've got a total of 3 pitchers on Sarracenia ×formosa now. That's not a lot, but they're really pretty.

Sarracenia ×formosa.
Not as big as they were at the end of last season. We'll see!
This plant is fairly low-profile and sturdy, so it bears the high winds we've had lately fairly well.

Alas, the same cannot be said for the taller plants, and this Sarracenia flava pitcher has paid the ultimate price.

Sarracenia flava.
The Carnivore Girl and I both have derpy S. flava now. Feels good man.
Poor goofy little pitcher.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Plant Profile: Drosera venusta

This is part of a series of posts describing my experiences with different species, their culture requirements, and photos of their growth in my collection. The full series can be read here, or by species at the Series page

At the end of yesterday's post I shared the following picture of Drosera venusta, which inspired me to do a Plant Profile of this species. It's one of the prettiest plants in my collection.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 5-19-2015.
D. venusta is a South African sundew that is closely related to – some say synonymous with – Drosera natalensis. I'm totally unqualified to take a position on this issue. In any case, I got my D. venusta from California Carnivores back in June 2014.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 7-22-2014.
It was beautiful and lovely and everything for a month or two, but then there was a period of several months where it declined hard and looked very ratty.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 9-2-2014.
I've heard from some people that D. venusta will just occasionally look terrible, or even die back, but then bounce back for no apparent reason. In my case though I think it was high temperatures that sort of fried the plant.

While the main plant was looking terrible I had some good success propagating with leaf cuttings. I started leaf cuttings from several species, including D. venusta, in July. It struck after about 5 weeks, and then developed quite well in the next few months.

Drosera venusta leaf cutting.
D. venusta leaf cutting, 8-15-2014.
Drosera venusta plantlets from leaf cuttings.
D. venusta plantlets from leaf cuttings, 12-22-2014.
I traded the babies away around this time, and luckily my main plant was starting to bounce back.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 11-24-2014.
I really think it was the cooler weather that made the difference. I've since moved my collection into the garage, which stays cooler all year than the house. We'll see if that keeps the plant looking good throughout the summer.

One thing to note with this species: the first time I got it to flower all the way I didn't get any seed. The next time it flowered I basically ignored the blooms, but it looked like it spilled some seed onto my lights. I'll have to keep an eye on it next time to harvest seed properly. In the mean time I can just admire the heck out of this plant.

Drosera venusta.
D. venusta, 2-9-2015.


The Breakdown
  • media: Standard peat:sand carnivore mix.
  • light: As much as you can possibly provide.
  • water: I haven't noticed any particular sensitivity to water levels. My tray goes dry periodically and the plant doesn't care. Keep it wet over all though.
  • temperature: Seems to be sensitive to temperatures much in excess of 80-90 F (25-30 C).
  • feeding: D. venusta really responds well to feeding. It will get somewhat redder without being fed, but not dramatically.
  • propagation: Pretty easy to start from leaf cuttings. No experience from seed or root cuttings or anything.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The fruits of the BACPS spring meeting

Back on the 9th we held the BACPS Spring meeting down in Palo Alto. I was pinch-hitting as secretary and also helping run the thing, so I didn't have much time for photos. However, I did have time to acquire some new plants.

First up is this Pinguicula sp. Tehuacán which was sent down from California Carnivores especially for me, since Daniela knows how I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for new pings.

Pinguicula sp. Tehuacán.
Cute little guy.
It's all succulent right now, so I'm looking forward to seeing some carnivorous leaves.

I also picked up a new pygmy from Damon. He literally just said "Do you have Drosera mannii? It's got nice big flowers," and I just handed him some money immediately.

Drosera mannii, a pygmy sundew.
I'm a total sucker for pygmies.
I'm nothing if not reliable with regards to my pygmy habit. Damon also told me that Drosera lasiantha is a slow and finicky grower for everyone, which made me feel better about how little mine has grown since I got it in January.

An unexpected bonus came from a fellow from San Jose who was selling a few plants, including this Stylidium debile.

Stylidium debile.
Can't wait to see some cool flowers on this guy!
He also had a Drosera regia that almost tempted me, but I'm taking a month or so off work right now so I decided to stay prudent and not buy it. The S. debile is cool though! I think it's been decided that Stylidium is not carnivorous, but it grows in similar conditions to bog carnivores, and has very interesting flowers that snap together to ensure pollination. I'll post about it if I get blooms!

I also got a couple of plants (that I did not need) from the raffle – a young Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora and a small Nepenthes ventricosa.

Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora.
Already showing good color.
Nepenthes ventricosa.
I know I won't be able to resist the Nepenthes forever.
Of course, the question of need is a thorny one when it comes to new plants. It looks like the nep is gonna need to adjust a bit to my conditions. That'll be fine though – it should be a pretty easy grower.

The last plant I got on that (a day when I wasn't planning on getting many plants) is this Pinguicula emarginata I bought from Drew Martinez.

Pinguicula emarginata.
I'll post a picture of that flower once it pops.
Drew invited people back to his house to see his collection and buy pieces of it after the meeting, since he's moving to Texas soon. I'll need to do a post about his backyard soon.

Finally, I just want to post my Drosera venusta because damn it's been looking good lately.

Drosera venusta.
This is one of my favorite species, absolutely.
What a beaut!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Improving the sundew pages on Wikipedia

It's been an occasion project of mine to edit and create pages for various sundew species on Wikipedia. Today, in a fit of industriousness, I started new pages for the following species:

Drosera barbigera

Drosera barbigera.
I love the shape of this species.
Drosera paleacea

Drosera paleacea.
Tiny gems!
Drosera sargentii

Drosera sargentii.
This species has a very particular character that I enjoy.
Drosera silvicola

Drosera silvicola.
This one was easier to see when I cropped it for Wikipedia.

We're fortunate that some Germans have put a lot of work into their Australian sundew pages, and have generated distribution maps (such as this one for D. barbigera) for all of the pygmies and many of the tuberous species. Really, the German Wikipedia puts the English Wikipedia to shame when it comes to sundews. While they don't have pages for all the species, they have a lot more than we do (including every pygmy). And while our pages are often little stubs (including those I just made today), theirs are filled out with information. It makes me wish I knew German.

I intend to put more work into these as my pygmies get larger and I'm able to take better photos. Maybe someday I'll get Allan Lowrie's 3-volume Carnivorous Plants of Australia and be able to fill in more information too.

If you've never tried out working with Wikipedia it's not too hard – they've introduced a number of wizards that make it easier to upload files and create pages, which is cool. We've got to catch up to those Germans.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pinguicula leaf pull update

Back at the end of April I yanked a couple leaves from various Mexican Pinguicula. I've had some decent success since then.

Pinguicula laueana is really a hero when it comes to propagation – this picture is from May 4th, just 5 days after I took the pullings.

Pinguicula laueana leaf pull.
P. laueana leaf pull after 5 days.
And here we are now:

Pinguicula laueana leaf pull.
Same leaf pull after 2 weeks.
This guy has been very reliable for me when it comes to leaf pulls. This bodes well for the future.

Next up is Pinguicula 'Pirouette'. If you look very closely at the leaf base (click the picture for higher resolution) you'll notice some little bulges that are definitely strikes.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette' leaf pull.
P. 'Pirouette' leaf pull after 2 weeks.
I donated some plantlets from an earlier leaf pull to the NASC auction. Now I've got to get some started for the next BACPS meeting.

I haven't seen any action on the Pinguicula gigantea or the Pinguicula agnata that I started at the same time, but the Pinguicula rotundiflora that I posted about last night is getting right to it.

Pinguicula rotundiflora leaf pulls.
So many little plantlets.
I'm well on my way to ultimate cuteness.

In other ping news, the Pinguicula gigantea × moctezumae that Anne gave me a couple weeks ago have already put on some nice new growth.

Pinguicula gigantea × moctezumae.
Almost time for a bigger pot.
And the Pinguicula cyclosecta that received back at the beginning of February are showing excellent color, and the largest one is starting to fill out its rosette very nicely.

Pinguicula cyclosecta.
That lavender color is so lovely and unique.
Thank you for visiting Pinguicula Etc.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Some of my NASC auction acquisitions

As I mentioned a bit ago the NASC held its annual benefit auction at Terra Forums about a month ago. I donated several plants, and bid on several plants. I'm still waiting on some of my flytraps to arrive, but I'll just go ahead and post about the plants that have shown up.

First up is the most exciting, and the one for which I paid the most, Pinguicula reticulata.

Pinguicula reticulata.
So small, but so full of promise!
It's not huge now, but it's very attractive when mature. Also, the flowers are beautifully veined.

Another ping with a beautiful flowers is Pinguicula rotundiflora.

Pinguicular rotundiflora.
Let's see some strikes on those leaves.
I cannot wait until I have a little pot full of these guys in flower. It's adorable. There were lots of leaves to try as pullings when it arrived too, hahahah.

This next plant is Drosera capillaris, which I already have. This, however, is a very different long-arm form, and it came with location data I couldn't resist: Tate's Hell Swamp.

Drosera capillaris.
I had to get at least one sundew.
I've said it before, but Drosera capillaris is a very underrated species.

The grower from whom I received the P. rotundiflora and the D. capillaris (as well as a Pinguicula debbertiana that, alas, didn't survive shipping) sort of messed up shipping, and in his second package he sent along a handsome bonus: Drosera slackii!

Drosera slackii.
When it rains it pours I guess.
I'm really hoping this is a different clone from the one I got from California Carnivores recently. That would leave the possibility of someday getting seed, if I provide excellent conditions and get lucky.

This last acquisition is actually one I split with my friend Anne, who works at the Cactus Jungle. It's a seedling plug of several little baby Sarracenia leucophylla f. viridescens, aka anthocyanin-free S. leucophylla.

Anthocyanin-free Sarracenia leucophylla seedlings.
Sarracenia seedlings take longer, but that just builds anticipation!
Little babies! I'm going to grow them out a bit under my lights and then we'll divide the plug between us. These are going to look awesome in a couple years, see if they don't!

I can't think of anything better than buying carnivorous plants for charity, hahahah.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stem-forming sundews

I noticed something very exciting today – my Drosera cistiflora is forming a stem!

Drosera cistiflora.
Reach for the stars little guy.
It even looks like it's cheering, hahahah. I probably won't get flowers this year, but I'm very happy with this plant. It's become one of my favorites.

D. cistiflora isn't the only stem-forming South African sundew. The most well-known is probably Drosera madagascariensis, which develops a scrambling habit very quickly.

Drosera madagascariensis.
It's a jungle in here.
In cultivation lots of people will chop them back and take stem cuttings. I haven't done that since I have neither the time nor the space and well, here we are.

Our old friend Drosera capensis is also a stem-forming plant, though it stems out much more slowly than D. madagascariensis.

Drosera capensis.
I'd need to do some trimming to see the stem.
Drosera capensis "broad leaf".
This is a pretty neat plant.
The first photo is my original D. capensis, which has a pretty respectable stem, but it's hidden by a clump of dead leaves and offsets. The lower photo, my D. capensis "broad leaf" is showing its stem a bit better.

Drosera affinis is sort of intermediate between D. madagascariensis and D. capensis in how quickly it forms a stem.

Drosera affinis.
I have high hopes for that flower stalk.
The very similar Drosera nidiformis is much the same, though mine has yet to start stemming out yet. Edit: As it turns out D. nidiformis does not in fact form a stem. I mis-remembered while making this post. Looks pretty good in any case.

Drosera nidiformis.
These should probably be in a larger pot.
South African sundews are very cool. It's the first region that interested me, and it's one of least-studied. Fernando Rivadavia says that that's because we don't have a carnivorous plant expert in-country right now. If anyone in South African can read these words, go forth and study some plants.