Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Venus flytrap repotting

I got my first Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) from the Cactus Jungle back in October of 2013. Strictly speaking, it was my roommate's plant, but he very quickly gave me full custodial rights. Here we are right out the beginning.

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and random sundews.
We've come a long way.
Now, I like D. muscipula as much as the next guy, but they don't excite me as much as they excite, say, the Carnivore Girl. So I've sort of ignored this guy for the last 18 months or so, but recently things have started to get ridiculous.

A brief note before we continue – it was much, much too sunny out today to take decent pictures, at least with my phone (which is, at best, a blunt instrument). I was also busy repotting and trying to not get my phone wet and covered in peat. It took some serious Photoshop to get these in even semi-workable condition. Anyway. On to the plants.

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula).
A bit crowded in here.
As you can see, things uh, went a little crazy. The Cactus Jungle gets its VFTs from tissue culture, just like almost everyone, because VFTs are really, really cheap from tissue culture. One thing that happens with TC plants is that they can clump like crazy in the first year or two. That appears to be the case with my little plant. Luckily, I had a plan.

New pot.
I was excited to find this pot.
A big pot. When I first started growing carnivores I came across a photo (which I can't find at the moment) of a nice, wide pot filled entirely with beautiful Venus flytrap mouths, all red and hungry-looking. It was pretty cool, and has been a minor goal in the back of my mind ever since. I picked this pot up at California Carnivores a couple weeks ago specifically for this purpose.

First though, I had to get this thing divided.

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) all clumped.
Pretty good for a 2-inch pot.
Based on the flower stalks I guessed there were at least 10 big divisions in here. I got it out of the pot and then started spraying it gently with the "center" setting on my garden hose. This started to reveal some nice-looking rhizomes.

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) with exposed rhizomes.
They were all pretty healthy.
I then sat there working them apart and hosing them off before depositing them in a bit of a bath to wait it out (I learned this bit from the Carnivore Girl – her pictures are better though).

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) taking a bath.
All taking a bath.
All told there ended up being 11 big divisions and 4 or 5 very small offsets that may or may not survive the stress of repotting. In any case, things are looking much better now.

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) in a fresh pot.
Now with some room to stretch out.
Can't wait to see what this will look like with a full growing season under its belt.

Now, in order that I not fill a post entirely with over-manipulated, ugly photos, I present for your consideration this Sarracenia oreophila, which is inviting its pollinators to play a very dangerous game.

Sarracenia oreophila.
You can never trust an oreo.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Utricularia longifolia putting on a show

It's been almost exactly a month since I first noticed a flower stalk on my Utricularia longifolia. Today is the first day with a fully open flower, and man is it pretty.

Utricularia longifolia flower.
Beautiful U. longifolia flower.
There are two stalks on the plant, and lots of buds forming.

Utricularia longifolia.
The stalk is 18 inches (~45 cm) tall!
Unfortunately, I'm dealing with a pretty serious aphid problem right now, and they keep finding their way onto these flower stalks. I've been spraying Take Down around my collection (on the recommendation of Damon Collingsworth at California Carnivores) and hopefully the aphids will get beaten back before they can do too much damage.

In the mean time though, let's look at other Utrics flowering in my collection, because Utricularia flowers are the coolest.

First up, Utricularia subulata and Utricularia calycifida from a recent post.

Utricularia subulata.
I like these U. subulata flowers more than the cleistogamous ones (obviously).
Utricularia calycifida.
U. calycifida looking elegant as usual.
Then a few from today – Utricularia livida, Utricularia bisquamata, and Utricularia sandersonii blue form.

Utricularia livida.
U. livida still blooming up a storm almost a year later.
Utricularia bisquamata.
U. bisquamata amongst the Drosera capensis red form (with a D. capensis 'Albino' weed as well).
Utricularia sandersonii blue form.
Angry bunnies and cleistogamous U. subulata flowers.
That U. sandersonii pot is a bit messy, but at least the angry bunnies are cute.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nepenthes ×ventrata in the dish rack

I'm not that big on Nepenthes. I mean, I can appreciate a beautiful specimen as well as the next guy, but it's just not the genus I'm interested in growing. However, some time back someone was giving away rooted Nepenthes ×ventrata cuttings and well then I had this plant that I a) didn't really know how to care for and b) didn't care to do too much research about.

I planted it in a mix of LFS and perlite and stuck near a window in my kitchen. The vine produced one pitcher, then a basal, and then the basal started producing pitchers. One of the tendrils found its way into my dish rack and set up shop.

Nepenthes ×ventrata.
All set up.
The tendril is actually formed to the rack – there's a little crook that lets it prop itself up on the edge. We haven't had the heart to move it, and now I guess we've just got to be careful when doing dishes for the next couple months.

The plant seems to be fairly happy here at least. There's another pitcher developing from the basal.

Nepenthes ×ventrata.
I like watching the pitchers swell.
As well this guy, which I would call an upper pitcher if I knew enough about Nepenthes to say such things with certainty.

Nepenthes ×ventrata.
It adds a bit of color to the grey and white kitchen area.
The plant is definitely a bit scraggly, but I don't mind. It's not too needy, and it's pitchering, so I'm gonna call it a success.

Nepenthes ×ventrata.
Looking romantic in the dappled sun. Hah.
In other pitcher news, I took a trip to California Carnivores and picked up a couple new plants for my outdoor lagoons – Drosera filiformis and Sarracenia 'Red Bug'.

Drosera filiformis and Sarracenia 'Red Bug'
My first temperate sundew!
By the way, a couple weeks after I set these lagoons up I noticed that they were absolute overrun with mosquito larvae. Since I didn't want my Sarracenia setup to be the source of a West Nile outbreak, I got some Gambusia (mosquito fish) and released them into the ponds. I haven't seen a larva in weeks. And the fish seem happy enough.

Gambusia (mosquito fish) in the Sarracenia lagoons.
Swimming around as happy as you please.
They're hard to see in a photo, but when I'm out looking at the plants they swim around. It's pretty cute!

Friday, March 13, 2015


There's a lot in bloom right now. It's spring!

Drosera helodes flower.
Drosera helodes.
Sarracenia flava flower.
Sarracenia flava.
Drosera omissa with lots of flowers.
Drosera omissa with lots of flowers.
Utricularia calycifida flower.
Utricularia calycifida.
Drosera sessilifolia flower.
Drosera sessilifolia (probably).
Utricularia subulata flower.
Utricularia subulata.
Drosera natalensis flower.
Drosera natalensis.
And it's not just carnivores that are in bloom. Peep this Cleistocactus tupizensis.

Cleistocactus tupizensis flowers.
C. tupizensis.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pinguicula roundup, March 2015

It's been a while since I did a Pinguicula roundup, and I've acquire quite a few new species/hybrids/cultivars since then. Let's have a look!

First up is this tray that houses several little starts I've acquired recently.

Pinguicula start tray.
Pinguicula start tray. Little babies!
In here we have (clockwise from top right): Pinguicula 'Florian', Pinguicula jaumavensis, Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica, Pinguicula 'Sethos', Pinguicula esseriana, and Pinguicula cyclosecta.

Pinguicula 'Florian'.
P. florian, March 2015.
Pinguicula jaumavensis.
P. jaumavensis, March 2015.
Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica.
P. rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica, March 2015.
Pinguicula 'Sethos'
P. 'Sethos', March 2015.
Pinguicula esseriana.
P. esseriana starts, March 2015.
Pinguicula cyclosecta.
P. cyclosecta, March 2015.
Some of these have really nice colors, especially the P. 'Florian' and P. cyclosecta. Also my friend Apache Rose said that the P. rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica is her favorite ping, and she has a very nice collection (four of these starts are from her). One more note – in a couple of months I'm going to have a lot of little P. esseriana floating around hahah.

Now for some old friends. Pinguicula gigantea is in the midst of another flowering burst.

Pinguicula gigantea.
Flowering P. gigantea, March 2015.
Hopefully that means it will start dividing again soon!

My other two tiny little P. esseriana are putting on a bit of size.

Pinguicula esseriana.
Somewhat older P. esseriana, March 2015.
Still pretty small though.

Pinguicula moranensis recently made some leaves that look sort of succulent, so I took a pulling.

Pinguicula moranensis.
P. moranensis, March 2015.
Here's hoping it strikes! I should take another.

Meanwhile there's another flower forming on Pinguicula laueana × emarginata.

Pinguicula laueana × emarginata.
P. laueana × emarginata, March 2015.
It's really filling out that tiny pot.

Still watching the carnivorous leaf unfurl on Pinguicula laueana.

Pinguicula laueana.
P. laueana, March 2015.
I've also got some pullings working on this guy. Fingers crossed!

It's about time I separated these two Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717" plants.

Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717"
P. "Yucca Doo 1717", March 2015.
They've put on some good size since I traded for them back in August.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette' is looking amazing lately.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette'
P. 'Pirouette', March 2015.
Lots of success from those pullings too.

Finally, Pinguicula agnata, which hasn't gotten much attention on the blog lately, but which just has a delightful leaf shape and color.

Pinguicula agnata.
P. agnata, March 2015.
I love my pings. I feel like I should consolidate them into a tray together so I can appreciate them better. So pretty!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Drosera roseana already making gemmae (plus some Utricularia Sect. Orchidioides)

As I've covered before, I started a bunch of new pygmy sundew species back on December 10th. My Drosera omissa caught me off guard by flowering after 9 weeks – quick turnaround. But now the Drosera roseana have I think topped that feat.

Drosera roseana with gemmae.
D. roseana is a very pretty sundew, besides being (apparently) really really vigorous.
Gemmae. That's just over 12 weeks to go from being a gemma to producing a healthy crop. That's nuts. There's another plant in this same pot doing the same thing. Pygmy sundews are so cool. If you're not growing pygmies you're just messing around.

Today I also noticed new growth on the two members of Utricularia Sect. Orchidioides that I have in my collection. Here's the Utricularia cornigera I bought at the last BACPS meeting.

Utricularia cornigera.
This Utric can get very large. I'm excited.
This is the first new leaf it's put up since being in my collection. I'm glad to see that it seems to like my conditions fine.

My Utricularia humboldtii I received from BACPS Newsletter Editor and Utricularia fanatic Tony Gridley.

Utricularia humboldtii.
I'm going to need to trim off some of the old growth soon.
See those two new leaves in the foreground? I didn't treat this plant very well when I first received it. It sat around in a plastic baggie for around a week after the meeting, and then I just potted it up without any concern for humidity or anything. Luckily it seems to have taken it all in stride. Now I have to be careful that I not let it grow too well, since Tony said, and I quote, "If you win the BACPS show with it I'll never speak to you again."

In more springtime news, my recently-acquired Pinguicula laueana is unfurling its first carnivorous leaf of the season.

Pinguicula laueana.
P. laueana has nice foliage in addition to the striking flowers.
And also it looks like Drosera 'Marston Dragon' is putting out its first serious new leaf post-dormancy.

Drosera 'Marston Dragon'.
The Dragon is stirring.
You know I never really appreciated the spring before I started growing plants. Spring is awesome.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sundews Etc. one year in

One year ago today I made my first post here on the blog, about my blooming Drosera capillaris.

Drosera capillaris.
D. capillaris, 3-7-2014, from Flowers and D. capillaris "Alabama".
Things were so much simpler back then.

Here are some Fun Facts about the Sundews Etc. blog:
  • Around 17% of my traffic comes from Ukraine. Thanks for tuning in, Ukrainian growers!
  • Both of my Grower Interviews are among my top 10 most popular posts. I guess I should do some more.
  • Based on the labels (to the right) I talk about Drosera burmannii more than any other species (big surprise), but pygmy sundews as a group are a close second.
  • There are just shy of 1100 photos of carnivorous plants on this blog for 153 posts, around 7 per post on average.
Now, let's look back at some old posts and see how far we've come.


Dionaea muscipula.
Dionaea muscipula, 3-12-2014, from Things are growing!

Drosera scorpioides
Drosera scorpioides, 4-3-2014, from Pygmies and D. adelae.

Drosera 'Marston Dragon'
Drosera 'Marston Dragon', 5-26-2014, from The Housefly and the Dragon.

Drosera allantostigma.
Drosera allantostigma, 6-20-2014, from I really love Drosera allantostigma.

Drosera capensis 'Albino'
Drosera capensis 'Albino', 7-4-2014, from Repotting a few sundews.

Drosera helodes and Drosera allantostigma.
Drosera helodes and Drosera allantostigma, 8-26-2014, from Checking in on various plants.

Drosera adelae
Drosera adelae. 9-11-2014, from Drosera adelae is offset crazy.

Sarracenia leucophylla
Praying mantis and Sarracenia leucophylla, 10-25-2014, from A thief among the Sarracenia.

Pinguicula laueana × emarginata
Pinguicula laueana × emarginata. 11-21-2014, from Pinguicula roundup, November 2014.

Utricularia calycifida.
Utricularia calycifida flower, 12-6-2014, from A few new blooms.

Drosera ultramafica × spatulata
Drosera ultramafica × spatulata, 1-27-2015, from Some progress shots.

Drosera venusta
Drosera venusta, 2-9-2015, from Random pictures of pretty sundews.

Finally, here are a few more posts I noticed looking through the archives that might be of interest to newer reader.
And of course, there are Plant Profiles, Cultivation Guides, and Grower Interviews on my Blog Series page.

Thank you all for reading – sharing pictures and talking about my plants with fellow growers makes everything a lot more fun. Here's to another good year!