Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drosera burmannii gets a haircut

My Drosera burmannii from Humpty Doo, NT, Australia have been blooming like crazy since late May, and I've only harvested a couple stalks. Things were looking overwhelming in there.

Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
Those flower stalks are just asking for trouble.
Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
Look how far over it's reaching!
The worst part is that as the seed ripened and the stalks went horizontal I kept bumping them and doubtless spread D. burmannii seed into all sorts of fun places. We'll see in the next couple months.

I started my trim up high, so I could remove the seedpods gently and hopefully not spill everywhere.

Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo and friends.
I really like this section of my collection.
Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
They're missing the tops!
While that took care of the weed danger, I also wanted to make the plants look nice, so I cut down a lot closer.

Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
Such cuties!
Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
They're bouncing back! That one in the center was looking iffy for a while.
As you can see, my one-time competition pot is looking pretty tired after a season of heavy blooming. Still though, they've started bouncing back. Since I'm going to be trimming new flower stalks and feeding well they should get healthy again pretty shortly. Also I might go in there and trim those flower stalks even closer to the plant so the leaves can lay more flat and look nicer.

Now what am I going to do with all of this?

Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo seed.
Way too much seed.
Gotta keep propagating.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A few post-feeding shots

A note: I am still working on changing up my photo hosting, but I didn't want to put off updating the blog too much. I'll just migrate the new images over.

I fed most of my collection a few day ago.

Drosera aliciae eating.
Drosera alicae eating heartily.
I've described how I feed my sundews in detail in an earlier post, but in brief I use beta fish food, grind it up in a little mortar and pestle, and apply it in a couple of different ways:
  • For rosetted species (like Drosera aliciae and Drosera burmannii) I usually just pinch some up with my fingers and sprinkle it onto the plants.
  • For plantlets, seedlings, and certain species (like Drosera spiralis and Drosera filiformis) I dip a toothpick in some water, wipe off the excess moisture, and then use the damp toothpick to pick up and apply the ground fish food.
  • For larger species that have longer petioles (like Drosera anglica or Drosera capensis) I will mix the ground fish food with a tiny amount of water, just enough to form a dense paste. I then apply chunks to the laminae with a toothpick. Sometimes the damp toothpick method above will end up with a bit of this sort of paste on the tip, which I can then use.

Drosera prolifera being fed.
Little Drosera prolifera plantlet emerging from the moss.
I try to feed my plants every 2 weeks at least, but lately it's been more like once a month. That's still not too shabby, but regular feeding really speeds up growth and keeps the sundews healthy.

Curling Drosera filiformis leaf post-feeding.
Exceptionally hungry Drosera filiformis.
I love seeing the plants respond to feeding. Some are very dramatic, like the D. filiformis above. I didn't even know that the whole leaf could roll up like that! It's certainly not very common. Of course, sometimes the feeding process just makes the plants look straggly, like on this Drosera spiralis leaf.

Drosera spiralis leaf with food.
Silly, string looking leaf on D. spiralis.
However, it's always nice knowing they will be stronger and healthier once new growth comes in. Plus, feeding helps out in flowering, and I want to see a show from this guy!

Feed your sundews! They love it.

Drosera allantostigma eating.
Lots of Drosera allantostigma munching away.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A note for readers

My next post is going to be delayed for a couple days. I need to set up my own photo hosting, since I have been (somewhat lazily) using Flickr for my host, and they've decided they want to be a social network rather than a photo host.

I'll be back with lots of updates of my horrifying plants in short order!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Propagation check-in

I've got a number of propagation projects going right now. Really, I could be doing a lot more propagation – I have extra space, and all the materials. I just haven't taken the time to prepare pots of media. Oh well! Let's see what's going on right now. I already discussed my Drosera natalensis and Drosera aliciae seedlings in this recent post.

First up, I've begun hardening off the leaf cutting half of the Summer Batch.

Hardening off Drosera leaf cuttings.
Boring photo, but exciting development!
I cut 3 holes into the humidity tent. Gonna leave it like that for at least a week, and then start cutting more. I really want to ease these plants into my ambient humidity. I was able to take a peek at the Drosera adelae at least.

Drosera aliciae plantlets.
The Drosera anglica just behind is really big.
They're pretty red! Also fairly small – I'll be able to start feeding these plants once they're hardened a bit more, and we should see some pretty good growth.

I'm also starting to think that the seed batch should start getting hardened off. Drosera tokaiensis and Drosera capillaris have germinated, and Drosera burmannii and Drosera intermedia 'Cuba' have not. This is especially surprising, because I've already gotten germination from the Drosera sessilifolia seed I sowed one month ago.

Drosera sessilifolia germination.
The germinated seed is a little bit up and left of center. Good luck.
I know it's difficult to see, but some of the flecks in that pot are germinated seeds.

The Drosera capensis (Bainskloof) leaf cuttings I started at the same time are also doing well.

Drosera capensis (Bainskloof) leaf cutting strike,
Come on little guy, get growing!
I believe I also saw a strike on the water-float cutting, but it was too hard to get a picture.

Serious development is underway with Drosera ultramafica x spatulata and Drosera 'Marston Dragon' plantlets.

Drosera ultramafica x spatulata and Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon' plantlets.
Some recently-fed plantlets.
The D. 'Marston Dragon' plantlets have started putting up the tall leaves, rather than the sort of generic rosette they had at first. The D. ultramafica x spatulata are of a size to start getting fed in a serious way.

The D. 'Marston Dragon' flower stalk cuttings started out with upright leaves, and they're still chugging along.

Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon' plantlets.
Little baby dragons.
I've got quite a batch of these going – hopefully they put on some good size before going dormant, and I can separate them out in early spring.

Finally, I've got this weird little Drosera capensis windowbox thing I've been working on for the last several months.

Drosera capensis pot.
Now that I have these plants I'm not sure what to do with them!
There are some large plants in there, and one has already started flowering. Now I just need to figure out what to actually do with this big box of bug eaters.

The Summer Batch


  • 7-9-14 Drosera intermedia 'Cuba'
  • 7-9-14 Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo
  • 7-9-14 Drosera tokaiensis
  • 7-9-14 Drosera capillaris Alabama
  • 7-9-14 Drosera adelae
  • 7-9-14 Drosera anglica CA x HI
  • 7-9-14 Drosera madagascariensis Masoala, Madagascar
  • 7-9-14 Drosera venusta


  • 8-4-14 Drosera anglica CA x HI, struck. Date approximate.
  • 8-11-14 Drosera tokaiensis, germinated.
  • 8-11-14 Drosera capillaris Alabama, germinated.
  • 8-11-14 Drosera madagascariensis Masoala, Madagascar, struck
  • 8-11-14 Drosera adelae, struck
  • 8-14-14 Drosera venusta, struck

Hardening off begun:

  • 9-21-14 Drosera anglica CA x HI
  • 9-21-14 Drosera madagascariensis Masoala, Madagascar
  • 9-21-14 Drosera adelae
  • 9-24-14 Drosera venusta

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Getting a difficult plant to bloom is extremely satisfying

Check this action out.

Drosera spiralis with flower stalk.
Woo hoo! Now we're cooking with gas!
My Drosera spiralis is blooming. I'm so excited! Seriously, when I realized this was a flower stalk rather than a new leaf I started hooting in excitement and did a stupid little dance in my living room. I'm glad no one else was home.

Back when I acquired the plant back at the Winter 2014 BACPS meeting I learned that it's considered somewhat finicky and difficult to keep. As I noted in my profile of the species, a couple growers recommended I remember to tell the plant "goodnight" in case it was dead in the morning. Well, after keeping this plant for the better part of a year, having it survive the warmest part of the year, and now begin to bloom, I think that my conditions are pretty favorable for its growth.

Drosera spiralis.
D. spiralis has gotten quite tall. The leaves are 8+ inches (20+ cm) long!
I think a lot of the problems other growers have probably have to do with light. The habitat photos of this plant show it growing in really intense light. Consider these photos posted to the Drosera and Roridula Facebook group. That's not windowsill light! I suspect that even the shading used in lots of greenhouses to keep temperatures under control might be blocking more light than the plant would prefer. Mine grows right under six T-8 bulbs. Without that much intensity I doubt it would be healthy enough to consider flowering.

I've also got a new little hitchhiker in the pot.

Hitchhiker in the Drosera spiralis pot.
The little sundew just wants to hang out with the cool kids.
I suspect that it might be Drosera capillaris, since those two pots lived pretty near each other for some time. No matter! It'll get bigger and I'll remove it. In the mean time, I can't wait to see these flowers. I know that Brazilian sundews can be manually self-pollinated, though it doesn't usually result in a great seed set. Still, I'll give it a shot and see if I can get at least a few seeds to start. And even if I don't  I can still feel pretty good about getting a relatively difficult plant to flower :) Once the flowers open and I get some pictures I'll update the Plant Profile.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Various sundews

Sometimes I feel like posting about my sundews but lack a good unifying theme for the post. This is one of those times.

There are actually 3 flower stalks in my Drosera madagascariensis pot. I've had to add some more straws into the pot for support.

Drosera madagascariensis blooming.
I guess the D. madagascariensis are doing pretty well.
It's a little hard to see (click the picture for higher resolution), but there's a flower stalk silhouetted against the label on the left, and also one against the yellow straw (and of course the tall one up top). It's gonna be pretty touch-and-go for a while until these are done blooming, but then think of all the seed!

A few weeks ago I took a trip up to California Carnivores and picked up a pot of Drosera spatulata 'Kanto'.

Drosera spatulata 'Kanto'
The moss in this pot is really deep and turf-like.
It has acclimated to my conditions really well, and is coloring up nicely, in addition to getting some good dew production. Also, it's begun to flower!

Drosera spatulata 'Kanto' with flower.
The flower stalk is hard to see cause it's thin and the same color as the plant.
It has happened several times that I've acquired plants and had them begin to flower within a couple weeks of entering my collection. I think it has to do with all the light I provide, but maybe I'm just flattering myself.

There's some more weirdness over in my Drosera filiformis pot.

Drosera filiformis offset.
Little D. filiformis plantlet.
There's a little offset forming off the base of the (hopefully) dormant plant. I've stopped trying to figure out what these plants are up to. I think I'm just going to ignore them and hope for the best.

My Drosera natalensis seedlings are finally putting on some size after having been fed a couple times.

Drosera natalensis seedlings.
Things are filling out around here.
Also, the larger seedlings are well-spaced throughout the pot, which is nice, since they won't be all crammed together like some other seeds I've started have been. If I had more time and was better about feeding these guys regularly I bet they'd start exploding about now. I should really feed my collection again.

Finally, here are a few Drosera aliciae seedlings.

Drosera aliciae seedlings.
The moss has a head start but I bet the sundews will take over soon enough.
I scattered seeds on this pot when I decided I didn't want to bother packetizing the rest. It was never covered, and just sat out in the tray. I think they took a bit longer to germinate than other seeds I've done, but here we are! I should start feeding these guys.

Anyway, that's what's going on in my collection. What's up in yours?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Utricularia longifolia has no sense of personal space

My Utricularia longifolia has been doing really well lately.

Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia leaves can get 3 ft (90 cm) long! I can't imagine that.
I picked this plant up at California Carnivores when I visited back in early June. It's been growing steadily, and has really gotten a lot larger since I received it. Today it hit another milestone: it has begun trying to invade neighboring pots

Utricularia longifolia encroaching on neighboring pot.
A very sneaky stolon popping out of the pot here.
U. longifolia is famously weedy. It's a member of Utricularia section Foliosa, which includes a number of easy and showy species, like Utricularia calcyfida and Utricularia tricolor. As you can see in the picture above, U. longifolia will send out stolons and aggressively colonize neighboring pots. Apparently it can totally take over a greenhouse. I decided it was time to put my plant into an isolation unit.

Utricularia longifolia in separate tray.
Improvised U. longifolia containment strategy.
It's not really a great fit, but I wanted to do something right away, before the stolons made their way into my Utricularia sandersonii pot.

Meantime, a neighboring pot in that tray contains some Drosera anglica CA x HI leaf cuttings that struck a couple months ago and then withered when I tried to harden them off. One has managed to not die all the way, and seems to be actually trying to live.

Drosera anglica CA x HI leaf cutting strike.
Surprise comeback by D. anglica leaf cutting.
I've been hoping this guy would bounce back. Gonna be a bit touch-and-go, but maybe I'll get a new plant out of the deal!

Finally, I have a strike on one of my Drosera capensis Bainskloof leaf cuttings.

Drosera capensis Bainskloof leaf cutting strike.
Little tiny strike. It's so small!
It's a little one, and if there's one thing I've learned about leaf cuttings it's that keeping it in a humidity tent until it really sizes up will make things a lot easier. I'm gonna baby this guy, cause I really really want a D. capensis Bainskloof. Incidentally, the water-float leaf cutting has not struck yet that I've seen. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Drosera adelae is offset crazy

It's exactly 6 months since I first posted about the Drosera adelae I bought from Natch Greyes.

Drosera adelae plantlet.
A wee little plantlet.
Today things look a bit different.

Large Drosera adelae.
Big plant.
This that original individual, my D. adelae mother plant. It's big! The leaves are 2.5 – 3 inches (6-8 cm) long, and it's got new plants sprouting up from the roots left and right. Let's count them.

Drosera adelae and offset.
This one is hiding.

Drosera adelae and offsets.
These are out in the open.
Two, three...

Drosera adelae and offsets.
Some more hiding.

Drosera adelae and offsets.
A little baby plantlet.

Drosera adelae.
Two larger plants in a separate pot.
These two were separated out into a new pot a bit ago, which makes six and seven...

Drosera adelae and offsets.
Making plantlets of their own.
And these two babies they've produced make eight and nine!

Remember, everything except the mother plant and the 2 in the separate pot have emerged since I repotted back in mid-July. Why has this plant been so prolific lately? I think it's partly due to the airier, less densely-packed LFS I used for potting. Over on Grow Sundews they mention that D. adelae will form new plantlets whenever light reaches its roots, so I think the lighter mix has allowed a bit more light to get down there to stimulate plantlet formation.

I do wish my D. adelae would color up a bit more though. Look at the red coloration Aaron gets on his plants (which are mixed in with some Drosera prolifera as well). Maybe I need to resolve not to feed my D. adelae for some months to see if I get any redness.

Speaking of D. prolifera, mine isn't doing so hot.

Drosera prolifera in decline.
D. prolifera: dead (right) and dying (left).
I moved it to a cooler, lower-light area in my grow space, but also to one with somewhat lower humidity. Maybe I should stick it under a humidity tent until it starts growing again and then slowly harden it off. The Sphagnum is loving the new spot.

Luckily, there is one little plantlet developing on the side of the pot.

Drosera prolifera plantlet.
At least there's hope!
Hopefully it'll start off better acclimated to these conditions. And if not, at least I have a great Sphagnum culture going here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Flower stalks, good and bad

Drosera madagascariensis is blooming again.

Drosera madagascariensis flower stalk.
Blooms on D. madagascariensis seem so precarious.
This flower stalk first popped up a week or so ago. Last time around the bloom ended in disaster when the extra weight pulled the plant down and the stalk ended up burning up in the lights. Not this time though! I've put in an extra straw for support, and also the pot is in the middle of the tray, away from the lights.

Drosera madagascariensis in the tray with lots of other sundews.
D. madagascariensis in a rather full tray.
I've got 2 solid leaf cuttings of D. madagascariensis going in the Summer Batch, but I hope to get a good seed set from this flower, since seeds are a lot easier to share and multiply.

Unfortunately, all of my bloom news isn't so good. My Drosera venusta and Drosera aliciae have aborted a couple of flower stalks recently, and I'm not sure why.

Drosera venusta with aborted flower stalk.
D. venusta just giving up on this flower.
Drosera aliciae with 2 aborted flower stalks.
Two aborted flower stalks on this one.
As you can see, the unfurling tips of the flower stalks are crispy and brown, and they haven't grown at all in the last couple weeks. I don't know why! I guess we had a sort of warm spell for a couple weeks, which may have freaked them out. Also, the D. venusta is looking really, really red and isn't very dewy, so it's probably under some sort of stress right now. The D. aliciae is a bit more unexpected, because it's looking fantastic over all.

Drosera aliciae looking good.
At least the plant still looks beautiful.
At least there's another flower stalk forming right there in the center. Life goes on!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pygmy sundew roundup, September 2014

September is essentially the start of pygmy season. Soon pygmy sundews in collections everywhere will start producing gemmae, which will need to be quickly sown, sold, traded, or gifted, since gemmae are modified leaves rather than seeds and only have a brief shelf life. Keep an eye on Drosera Gemmae if you're interested in starting up/expanding your pygmy collection. I know I will!

I learned in my interview with bluemax (and according to things I've read elsewhere) that reducing the photoperiod on my lights should cause my pygmies to form gemmae. I reduced the photoperiod by an hour a couple weeks ago, and I'll be continuing that reduction until they're down to 10 hours or so per day in the deep winter. Hopefully I'll get lots of pygmies that I can start on new pots to share with people. In the mean time, I decided to post another roundup post about my pygmies to see how they're doing before they possibly start making gemmae and get all weird for a couple months.

First up is my first ever Drosera allantostigma, from the community pot.

Drosera allantostigma and friends.
My old friend D. allantostigma hanging out with his buddies.
My first ever pygmy sundew, acquired quite by accident, and far and away my favorite pygmy species. Also probably my favorite plant in the collection.

Around the time I was watching D. allantostigma shape up I got some Drosera scorpioides gemmae from Drosera Gemmae. It was one of the last sets of gemmae they had for sale, and I'm glad I got them!

Drosera scorpioides.
D. scorpioides started from gemmae in March. I like the spacing in this pot.
Drosera scorpioides.
This pot is a little bare since I lost those 3 plantlets.
Of the 15 gemmae I received, 12 made it to maturity. The other three died when I removed a humidity cover too soon. I sowed these gemmae on about a centimeter of pure sand, which has totally prevented moss from developing. I'm not sure I would always sow on sand – I've come to appreciate the way a well-mossed pot can look – but it's nice to see that this technique is so successful.

I also got a pot of D. scorpioides at the spring BACPS meeting from the raffle.

Drosera scorpioides.
D. scorpioides get quite large, so this is pretty close quarters for them.
These are in a 2-inch circular pot, rather than the 3.5 inch square pot that houses my others. Also they were sown much more densely. At this stage in their growth they have formed a sort of undifferentiated mass which isn't quite to my tastes aesthetically. Great coloration though – hope these form lots of gemmae.

At the 2014 BACPS Show and Sale I picked up 2 species of pygmies from California Carnivores – Drosera callistos Brookton large form, and Drosera enodes (Scotts River).

Drosera callistos.
D. callistos with Utricularia bisquamata flower in the foreground.
Drosera enodes.
Quite dewy D. enodes.
Apparently the D. callistos will have enormous, hilarious orange flowers in the spring. Also, I love the little stem-forming pygmies, and D. enodes seems to be going at it pretty well.

Finally, back during the NASC Benefit Auction over at Terra Forums I won a 4-pack of pygmy sundews from Brie. They were beautifully packed, and included Drosera helodes, Drosera dichrosepala, D. allantostigma, and Drosera pgymaea.

Drosera helodes.
The tentacles on this D. helodes are strikingly pale.
Drosera dichrosepala.
D. dichrosepala reaching for the stars.
Drosera allantostigma.
Little jewel-like D. allantostigma. Their flowers were super cute too.
Drosera pygmaea.
Hope you bounce back little guys!
As you can see the D. pygmaea look a little iffy. It's funny, cause I've heard them recommended as one of the easiest pygmy species! Hopefully cooler temperatures and shorter photoperiods will have them springing back to life again.

Pygmies are so cute. I addition to sowing them in pots for propagation purposes, I'm going to make at least one large pot with a bunch of different species growing in it. That will be super fun.