Saturday, April 30, 2016

A few ping flowers

My Pinguicula 'Pirouette' flower has opened!

Pinguicula 'Pirouette' flower.
Ping flowers are so cheery.
It's very pretty, and a nice complement to the plant itself. It also confirms the identity of this plant for me – I wasn't 100% sure this was actually P. 'Pirouette' until I saw the flower.

Nearby, it sure seems like Pinguicula rotundiflora wants to bloom.

Pinguicula rotundiflora.
This plant is very adorable.
That little nub in the middle looks like a flower, but it's been hanging out for over a week. I hope it makes a move soon.

Pinguicula 'Aphrodite' is flowering again too.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette'.
I guess I really like pinkish pings.
I'm a bit ambivalent about this one flowering actually. I grow it mostly because I love the color and shape of the foliage, and it seems to have shrunk after the last couple of blooms. Oh well. It's still nice!

Finally, Praelonga Watch: 2016 has entered its 3rd week.

Utricularia praelonga.
Not my best photo, I know.
It wasn't easy to photograph, but the Utricularia praelonga flower stalk is now almost 5 inches tall. Let's see those flowers!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Three new plants

About a week ago I got a package. When I opened it, this fell out.

Drosera villosa package.
Oh man look at this.
Very exciting! Let's cut off that plastic wrap...

Drosera villosa.
Very safe indeed.
It's a sundew! And quite well-packed, I must add. This is a much more deluxe shipping experience than I use when sending people plants frankly. But what is it?

Drosera villosa.
What a cool plant.
Why, Drosera villosa of course! An uncommon South American sundew that looks a great deal like Drosera capensis. This plant is courtesy of Jeremiah Harris, one of the best carnivorous plant growers in these United States. I won an auction for this guy, which I've been looking out for for a while. Look at that Sphagnum too! I'm excited to harden this plant off.

I've gotten a couple other plants recently as well.  First of all there's this broad-leaf D. capensis.

Drosera capensis wide leaf form.
Just wait for it.
For quite a while now I've been hunting for the true broad-leaf D. capensis. The broadest. The shortest and widest laminae. The flappy petioles. This one is from Hawken Carlton, another Colorado-based grower. Since this picture was taken I've seen some dew development on the freshest leaves, so it seems to be doing well. I'm excited for this clone!

Finally, I've gotten another nep. I needed something with a good peristome, and well there was this Nepenthes spectabilis "Giant"...

Nepenthes spectabilis "Giant".
This plant is much too cute.
I mean, I've always been a Nepenthes skeptic, but try to tell me that those are not adorable pitchers. I've got to do another post soon about my windowsill neps.

New plants are so much fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Plant Profile: Utricularia longifolia

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
If I were forced right now to rank all of my plants by how much I love them, Utricularia longifolia probably wouldn't be on top, but it would be a near-run thing. Consider this picture from a couple days ago.

Utricularia longifolia flowers.
U. longifolia flower, 4-21-2016, after nearly 8 weeks open.
See that flower in the middle? The one that's starting to wilt? It opened on the 27th of February. That means it's been open for 8 weeks. Take that orchids! And this is from a plant that probably couldn't be easier.

I got my U. longifolia during my first trip to California Carnivores, the time when I tried to buy a bunch of Damon's collection pots by accident. I think he fetched it smooth over my embarrassment. Sweet guy!

Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia, 7-22-2014. Just getting started!
U. longifolia is extremely low-maintenance in my conditions. Early on I had to move it to its own little tray because it kept sending out stolons toward other pots. That actually proved to be a pretty good move, since it let me give the plant a nice flood/dry cycle.

Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia, 1-26-2015. Long leaf! This is almost ready to bloom.
Lots of people have asked me for advice with U. longifolia, but I can't say anything definitive since I haven't tried growing it in different ways. Here's the basics: it's 18 inches and a bit offset from my lights, so not very intense light, though it is good light; in my garage, where temperatures tend toward the 50s and 60s, occasionally getting cooler in the winter, and ranging into the upper 70s during the hottest days of summer; planted in long fiber Sphagnum moss, I water its tray every 10 days or so. The water level almost always drops way down before I water it, though the moss never really dries out. I water to the very top, nearly flooding the pot. The secret to U. longifolia culture is probably buried somewhere in that description, but I don't know what is the important bit.

After 7 months or so of that treatment, I was rewarded with my first flower stalk.

Utricularia longifolia flower spike.
U. longifolia flower spike, 2-19-2015. I was so excited.
Much like many popular species of orchid, the scape takes several weeks to develop. This first year I only had 2 scapes, and they got hit with aphids, so it was a bit of a let down, though the first few flowers were nice. This year I got 6 flower stalks.

Utricularia longifolia in full flower.
U. longifolia in full bloom, 3-20-2016.
At the peak of the bloom there were 14 open flowers. It was amazing! The two largest stalks look like they'll have 6 or 7 buds in the full course of the bloom, while the smaller ones have 2-3. It seems like the peak of the bloom lasts 2 or 3 weeks, while the full bloom cycle will probably be around 3 months. Not bad at all!

One funny thing about confining my plant to its own little tray/pot is what happens below the pot. It's a bit nuts.

Utricularia longifolia stolons and traps.
U. longifolia, 4-21-2016. About 18 months of stolon development.
You can see the trap development right on the bottom there, and the density of stolons is nuts. This plant would probably like a LOT more space. A part of me is considering getting it into a big pot and seeing what happens. I'll let it finish blooming first, but I might need to mess around with it come summer.

Seriously, U. longifolia is a great plant. I've heard of being growing them in windowsills just fine, in greenhouses, under lights, and outside. If you find any, give it a shot! Maybe I'll try and divide mine up into a few pots to trade/sell. We'll see!

Utricularia longifolia flowers.
U. longifolia flower detail, 3-27-2016.

The Breakdown
  • media: Long-fiber Sphagnum seems to work well.
  • light: Modest light is fine. Probably gets longer leaves in dimmer light.
  • water: Seems to like periodic flood/dry cycles. I achieve this through the careful method of being terrible at watering on time.
  • temperature: Avoid frosts. Probably prefers cooler temperatures, but I bet it would be fine growing warmer as well.
  • feeding: Probably foliar feeding with something like MaxSea would work, but I've never done it.
  • propagation: Divisions are the way. Be careful keeping it near other pots, because the stolons will aggressively colonize its neighbors.
  • flowers: Starts blooming for me in the late winter/early spring.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Flowers in spring!

I've come to appreciate the effect of seasons on my growing environment more lately. I used to think that the fact that I grow under lights in my garage meant that my plants didn't really experience seasonality, considering the fairly stable temperatures and light quality. However, I'm starting to see that, for example, there is a distinct uptick in flowering into the spring. Let's look at it!

My Drosera felix is putting up a second flower stalk.

Drosera felix.
Look at the little fuzzles.
This plant has a special place in my heart. It's small and unassuming, but it's just such a trooper, and there's something so adorable about it. I've gotten some seed from the first stalk too!

Pinguicula 'Pirouette' is blooming for the first time.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette'.
This is such an elegant plant.
I love ping flowers. This one looks so demure as it's getting ready to bloom.

I've also gotten my first flower on Drosera mannii.

Drosera mannii.
Don't mind all the Utricularia bisquamata.
It looks like I've missed the first couple blooms, but I'll have to keep an eye out for it because apparently D. mannii has blooms bigger than the plants themselves.

Got a Drosera oblanceolata flower stalk!

Drosera oblanceolata.
I like how smooth the flower stalk is. That's not super common in Drosera.
I got this plant in winter, but I think the warmer temperatures are benefiting it a lot. It's looking better than it has since I got it. Nice plant!

Drosera collinsiae is starting to bloom again.

Drosera collinsiae.
Finally we've got dew on this guy.
I'm almost tempted to trim the flower stalk, since this is the best the plant has looked in months and I don't want it to decline. However, I really want seed, so I think I'll let it go. The last flower stalk aborted.

New flower stalk on Drosera 'Emerald's Envy'!

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'.
The plant this stalk is coming from is just doing great.
This particular plant has never flowered before, and it looks like a good one. Gonna get some good seed off this one.

Drosera aliciae is trying to flower again.

Drosera aliciae.
Come on D. aliciae, we believe in you.
This plant really struggles. It's aborted the last 3 or 4 flower stalks it's attempted. I can't say why. Here's hoping this one takes.

Now comes to the bit of the post where I do some real bragging. First up, look at this Utricularia longifolia.

Utricularia longifolia flowers.
So many flowers!
You see that flower in the center of the photo? That flower opened on February 27th. We're closing in on two months for that one flower. There are 14 flowers open on this plant now, and it'll probably be in bloom for at least another couple months. There are a lot of plants I love, but U. longifolia is one I actually admire. It's just an exquisite plant.

Finally, look at this.

Utricularia praelonga flower stalk.
I'm really really excited.
See that brown growth there? That's a flower stalk. A flower stalk on Utricularia praelonga. This plant is known for rarely flowering in cultivation, and no one really knows why. Go ahead and do an image search, there are very few photos of it. I am so stoked on this. This is the most exciting thing since my winter-growing sundews woke up. More photos to come!

Spring is great.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blogging is hard

I was staring at my plants earlier, trying to think up a blog post, and I realized that I was having a hard time thinking of what to post about. I think that's because I've been sort of out of the posting loop, and that the good thing to do was to just post about some plants. So here they are.

At the recent BACPS meeting I was given a chunk of a very cool plant, Utricularia babui.

Utricularia babui.
I love new utrics.
This utric produces blue-to-purple flowers that are shaped similarly to Utricularia gramnifolia. It's pretty uncommon, so I'm excited to have some.

My Drosera graomogolensis have grown in a bit after a recent feeding.

Drosera graomogolensis.
I should have started growing this plant a long time ago.
Great color on these also. Such a pretty plant!

This big Drosera capensis is looking pretty good right now – especially considering that I dropped my light fixture on top of it a couple week ago.

Drosera capensis.
This is a wonderful clone.
You can't even tell! D. capensis is such a trooper.

I've seen some size increase in my Pinguicula cyclosecta and Pinguicula esseriana.

Pinguicula cyclosecta and Pinguicula esseriana.
Keep going little pings.
I took a couple leaf pullings, cause you should always be propagating. There's a lot of growing in to do still though.

The Drosera barbigera have totally recovered from gemmae season and are looking awesome.

Drosera barbigera.
Little fireworks!
Doesn't look like I'm having any gemmae-related attrition this year either, which is great.

Finally, my long-arm Drosera capillaris are looking amazing right now.

Drosera capillaris.
Look how dewy!
These are the ones from Tate's Hell Swamp, FL. Best location data.