Sunday, February 28, 2016

Utricularia roundup, February 2016

Everyone knows that Drosera is my favorite genus of carnivorous plants. I mean, it's in the name. The number 2 spot goes back and forth – sometimes it's Pinguicula, but lately I think it's been Utricularia. It's funny, because when I was first first starting out I didn't get Utricularia at all. I had no idea why anyone would bother growing such weird, dumb little plants. Incidentally, I still feel that way about the aquatic species (but don't tell anyone).

Why Utricularia? Well, as with sundews it's a big, sprawling, cosmopolitan genus. There's a huge variety out there to explore, and several different cultivation styles to master. And of course, the flowers are a real treat, whether it's cute little spray from the easy terrestrials, or a more impressive display from larger/touchier species. Of course, the fact that very few people seem to specialize in Utricularia just makes them that much more attractive.

In any case, I decided to check in on my collection today. This collection of Utricularia lateriflora flowers got me started with the pictures.

Utricularia lateriflora.
Such delightful purple flowers.
This is one of my favorite species right now. It flowers pretty freely, and the flowers are adorable – dark purple with a white splotch.

Next door, my Utricularia cornigera is doing very well.

Utricularia cornigera.
Those are some nice-looking leaves.
I'm glad these have recovered from dying back a few months ago. Based on how I've seen new leaves come up on this one, I feel like it would favor an airy LFS planting in a net pot. Maybe I'll do that once it gets a chance to grow in a bit more.

My other plant from section Orchidioides, Utricularia humboldtii, has put out a new leaf.

Utricularia humboldtii.
I like the venation on those leaves.
This one is pretty slow to make new leaves, but I understand that's pretty normal. I should trim all the dead growth and messy stolons to get a better picture of what it looks like. By the way, this plant has been found at elevations of more than 8000 feet (2500 meters). That's really high!

Nearby, the Utricularia heterosepala flower stalk fell over after I jostled it recently.

Utricularia heterosepala.
Man, it would be awesome if another flower popped too.
I'm seriously impressed with this plant. It's been holding both of the flowers for a while now, and there's no sign of giving up. Really fantastic grower, looking forward to getting more blooms from it.

Utricularia calycifida has a somewhat similar flower, although the bloom stalks typically support only one at a time.

Utricularia calycifida.
This flower has awesome patterning on it.
This is the first time it's rebloomed since the last big show. I really feel like I should repot this plant into pure LFS. It's been so hard to find time to do serious plant stuff like that lately! Alas.

One of the plants that I've never been able to flower is Utricularia praelonga.

Utricularia praelonga.
This is one of those plants just just hangs out, waiting to do something.
This oddball utric grows two different kinds of leaves, and is notoriously difficult to flower. I've seen some in bloom in cultivation though, and I'm trying to get some tips. The flowers are supposed to be large and yellow.

Utricularia sandersonii is one that flowers for me, but very weakly. This first pot has had like 2 flowers, and is covered in a really robust moss of some sort that I do not like.

Utricularia sandersonii.
Seriously overgrown pot.
Whereas in this next pot, it's definitely losing the fight to Utricularia subulata.

Utricularia sandersonii.
REALLY seriously overgrown pot.
Not sure what the problem is with this one for me. I know people who can't help but get a big carpet of bunnies. Maybe I should try some in a windowsill.

Speaking of U. subulata, my big, proper bloom is looking so good right now.

Utricularia subulata.
U. subulata always breaks your heart.
I wish wish wish it would do this all the time. This is a fantastic flower! Ah well. Maybe the fleeting quality of it makes it more special.

One thing I did recently was break up a few of my well-established plants to share around and propagate. Here's my Utricularia gramnifolia getting started again.

Utricularia gramnifolia.
Looking forward to this filling in and blooming again.
The submerged aquatic setup in an undrained pot seems to work pretty well for this plant. I suspect a lot of the terrestrials would like this treatment, actually. Might be fun to try them in teacups, like the Carnivore Girl.

This tray has starts from some of the pots I broke up, as well as a couple new specimens I'm just getting started.

Utricularia tray.
So much promise in these pots!
Clockwise from top left: Utricularia 'Betty's Bay' (a large-flowered form U. bisquamata), Utricularia blanchetii, Utricularia fulva, Utricularia pubescens, Utricularia cornuta, Utricularia livida. I've been flooding this tray to try and jump-start these guys.

Finally, I took a picture of some U. bisquamata among my wide-leaf Drosera capensis.

Utricularia bisquamata among the Drosera capensis wide leaf.
I love how the flowers all face towards the lights.
It's just too cute. Even though it's a weed, it's a wonderful plant. That's true of both of them, actually. No respect at all!

Incidentally, my Utricularia longifolia is blooming. It's not in my collection right now because I brought it for display at the Pacific Orchid Expo. I'll feature that one later.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Some plants just struggle

Not every plant can be a Drosera spiralis. There are a handful of plants in my collection that always seem like they're in a slump. Drosera collinsiae is definitely like that.

Drosera collinsiae.
On the plus side, that utric looks great.
This is a very handsome plant when it's happy, but it just seems to get deflated by everything. Heat for sure, and Pyrethrin, but also the Bayer 3-in-1, which didn't seem to affect any other plant in the collection. I can't remember the last time this one had more than 3 dewy leaves.

Another consistently wimpy plant is Drosera ×snyderi, which is D. dielsiana × nidiformis.

Drosera ×snyderi.
They actually look pretty decent right now.
There were originally 5 plants in each pot. The one on the right clearly had a bit of a crash recently, but all of them look super set back whenever I have to spray for bugs or whatever. Funny plant.

A very funny case is Drosera schizandra. I've got two pots, and they're looking pretty different right now.

Drosera schizandra.
Spinach anyone?
Drosera schizandra.
There's a little pup in the bottom of the pot actually.
They're also looking pretty different than they looked back in January. I don't think there's been enough heat to cause a crash like this, and nothing else weird has happened. Who knows? This is a famously temperamental species, after all.

This next is a funny one. I got this Pinguicula esseriana from California Carnivores a year ago. It certainly hasn't grown, and looks to have shrunk back a bit in fact.

Pinguicula esseriana.
Little guy is lost down in there!
I don't know why that would be the case, because a bit later I received some small P. esseriana starts, and those are doing much better.

Pinguicula esseriana.
Look at all the little babies.
I should really just scoop out that first one and put it in the second pot to free up some space in the tray. I wish it would put on some size!

On a more hopeful note, the itty bitty Cephalotus follicularis I got in a trade a bit ago seems to be settling in rather than dying off.

Cephalotus follicularis.
We've got a long road to go, but we're off to a good start!
I believe that's a new pitcher on the upper right, and it's certainly a new leaf on the lower right. Progress!

The Drosera hamiltonii are a funny case. These look absolutely terrible, right?

Drosera hamiltonii.
Sooooo ugly right now.
The thing is, they're just fine. I fed a bunch of plants (including these) a week ago or so, and D. hamiltonii take forever to look good after feeding. The thing is, when they look good they look really good. Weird little sundews.

Finally, a pygmy that seems to have no idea whether or not it likes me.

Drosera spilos pygmy sundew.
I love all pygmies, even the fussy ones.
Drosera spilos is the only pygmy I've got that seems to go dormant at all in my conditions, and as you can see there are a couple of them that are dormant right now, in the middle of winter. Amusingly, this is as good as this pot has ever looked. No idea why. Sorry you don't like it here as much little guy!

Plants are weird.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Flowers and pygmies

A new flower has popped up in the collection. This is Utricularia heterosepala, a new utric I picked up from California Carnivores recently.

Utricularia heterosepala flower.
Such a lovely flower.
It's a pretty good-sized flower, around the size of Utricularia calycifida. It's pale pink and white, and quite handsome. I love getting new utrics.

In other flower news, there are 4 flower stalks coming up on my Utricularia longifolia.

Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia is the best.
It's a bit hard to see, but this is going to be quite a bloom show. The tallest stalk is almost ready to pop, while the others have a bit more growing in to do. I love this plant! Once the flowers are done I think I'm gonna break it up a bit – keep a small pot inside, and then stick something very large outside, like in a 2 gallon pot or something silly like that.

I've got a pot of Drosera helodes × pulchella that is absolutely losing its mind with flowers right now.

Drosera helodes × pulchella flowers.
I don't know what to do when they get like this.
Pygmy crosses are nuts. This is too much.

A funny thing is going on with my one Drosera grievei that produced gemmae.

Drosera grievei.
Very cute plant!
It looks a bit crested. You occasionally see fasciation in carnivorous plants, and I feel like I've heard about it in pygmies, but this is the first I've seen (if that is what's going on). Glad to have gemmae at least!

I just missed the second Drosera felix flower.

Drosera felix.
It's much too precious.
It's still really pretty, how delicately the petals are folded. I should feed this guy.

Finally, my Drosera spiralis has started to bloom again.

Drosera spiralis.
Always stoked to see this guy flowering.
I just fed one of its older leaves, which may have prompted it to start flowering. I'm a bit torn – I love D. spiralis flowers, but I don't want it to sap energy from the plant before the show. Maybe I'll compromise and take flower stalk cuttings in a couple weeks.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

U. subulata and D. felix flowering

I watched the Superbowl at a friend's house today and ate a truly massive amount of ceviche. I hope your day was similarly fruitful. It's been a week and a half since my last post! I've been all over the place lately. One of the nicest things going on in the collection right now is this Utricularia subulata flower stalk.

Utricularia subulata flower.
Such a yellow flower!
U. subulata is a very frustrating plant. It's got a wonderful flower with a cool zig-zag flower stalk and these weird dew drops at the base of the peduncles. Very cool! Except it mostly produces cleistogamous flowers for me. Cleistogamous flowers form buds, but never bother to actually produce a flower – they just self-fertilize within the bud, then spill seed everywhere. I probably get several hundred cleistogamous flowers for each real flower stalk. Why can't you be better U. subulata? I want to love you!

Another plant that has been looking pretty legit is this Pinguicula moctezumae I received in a trade a bit ago.

Pinguicula moctezumae.
I should separate these two out.
I've never really cared for P. moctezumae, but I think that's because it tends to clump (which is not my favorite characteristic in a plant). These are actually really attractive under lights. Also, the flowers of this species are really nice. Someday!

My Pinguicula gigantea is blooming again for the first time in a while. But I'm posting today because it's been doing pretty well on the gnats lately.

Pinguicula gigantea.
It's not good to be a flying insect in my garage.
You can find photos of P. gigantea that are absolutely covered in gnats, which I think is super gross and ugly. Those are mostly grown in pretty humid greenhouses – I just don't have that many bugs in my growing areas. Still, good to know that mine can actually do work once in a while.

My Drosera brevifolia has responded well to feeding and is pretty much full-sized now.

Drosera brevifolia.
So tiny! Those wedge-shaped leaves are so distinctive.
Gotta feed these again soon. Gonna want to re-seed this colony to get a few more going. Very cute plants! Nice red color too.

I recently took a trip to California Carnivores, where I picked up this sweet Drosera hilaris.

Drosera hilaris.
It's just starting to color up under the lights.
This is one of the neater South African species. I've heard conflicting reports of it being a summer dormant plant. It may just be that it is optionally dormant in hot weather. Apparently this one really likes cool temps. We'll see how it does!

Finally, the delight of winter so far has been my blooming Drosera felix. The other day I was lucky enough to catch a flower open.

Drosera felix with open flower.
So. Cute. Oh my god.
This plant is hands-down the cutest thing in my collection right now. Look how fuzzy the flower stalk is! I got another good picture of this flower from a different angle and shared it on my Instagram. I always try to have different pictures up there!

Winter's not so bad.