Saturday, January 31, 2015

Plant Profile: Pinguicula gigantea

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
There's really no reason to not be growing Pinguicula gigantea. It's one of the easiest and most rewarding plants in my collection.

Pinguicula gigantea.
P. gigantea ready to bloom, 1-29-2015.
This was my first ping, and one of my first carnivorous plants. I bought it at the winter 2014 BACPS meeting. As I recall it was a Carnivore Culture acquisition. This post takes me back!

Pinguicula gigantea.
P. gigantea, 2-15-2014.
P. gigantea is a Mexican butterwort, but it's unique in several ways. It lacks a non-carnivorous succulent winter dormancy, and produces mucilage on the bottom of the leaves, unique among Mexican pings. It also gets really big, and has cute purple flowers.

Pinguicula gigantea bloom.
P. gigantea bloom, 4-29-2014.
This plant gets identical conditions to my easy sundews – Drosera capensis etc. – and loves it. It first flowered for me in late April, after it had been in my collection for around 3 months. The flowers hang around for more than a week, which makes them a really wonderful addition to any collection. They also appear to encourage the plant to divide, which is great!

Pinguicula gigantea in the process of dividing.
P. gigantea division forming, 5-23-2014.
I've never given this plant a dry period, and it gets very bright under my lights, and that has seemed to work very well. It blooms every other months or so, and after a few rounds of blooms it had developed 4 crowns.

Pinguicula gigantea offset.
P. gigantea offset, 11-21-2014.
Now, I haven't tried leaf pullings with this plant yet, but fortunately it propagates itself pretty easily. I basically ignored it and it quadrupled itself. Also, dividing pings is uh, not very difficult.

That's my father adding some appreciative grunts to the process. 

I may try some leaf pullings from this plant, and if I do I'll definitely post it on the blog. For this division (which I used in a trade), I just rinsed the moss and media out of the roots. Ping roots just mainly keep the plant anchored in the soil.

Pinguicula gigantea division.
P. gigantea offset with roots, 1-29-2015.
This is a wonderful plant. If you're interested, Matt usually has it in stock. I've never ordered from Carnivore Culture online, but I've heard that the plants arrive in very good shape after shipping. Give it a shot!

The Breakdown
  • media: Peat, sand, and perlite. People use all sorts of media for Mexican pings, and I don't pretend to be an expert. I tend to use more aggregate for my ping soil (extra perlite or pumice mostly).
  • light: As much light as possible is good. Brighter light really improves the carnivorousness of the leaves.
  • water: I keep it in the tray wet all year. This species doesn't have a non-carnivorous dry dormancy.
  • temperature: My tray ranges in temperature from the low 50s to the mid 90s. Never had a temperature problem.
  • feeding: I sprinkle ground up fish food on the leaves periodically. It definitely gets digested, and I think the plant benefits.
  • propagation: P. gigantea divides fairly regularly. I believe leaf pullings work, but I don't have any experience.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some progress shots

It's been a while since I made a post of progress shots. I have a lot more plants now, so there are more plants for me to choose to document. Most of these are propagation efforts. This is one of my favorite aspects of keeping a blog – it forces me to photograph my plants regularly, so I can really see how they grow and develop.

First up, the fantastic hybrid, Drosera ultramafica x spatulata. I won this plant in the NASC auction back in March and started some cuttings fairly soon thereafter.

Drosera ultramafica x spatulata.
D. ultramafica x spatulata leaf cutting strikes, 6-30-2014.
Drosera ultramafica x spatulata.
D. ultramafica x spatulata plantlets, 8-26-2014.
Drosera ultramafica x spatulata.
Drosera ultramafica x spatulata plants, 1-26-2015.
This is a really great plant. It grows quickly and shows phenomenal color, even with heavy feeding. I had originally thought that it was a sterile hybrid, but it is setting seed all over the place (in all sorts of pots). I would recommend this plant for any beginner.

Next up, Utricularia longifolia. This was an acquisition from my first trip to California Carnivores back in June.

Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia, 7-22-2014.
Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia, 9-14-2014.
Utricularia longifolia.
U. longifolia, 1-26-2015. Look at those "leaves!"
I love Utricularia. Utrics are super weird and specialized. U. longifolia is a very aggressive species, so it lives by itself right now. I should pot it up into a larger container so it can continue to expand. I also want to just install a huge pot of this outside where I can just ignore it and let it go crazy. I'm super pumped for these flowers too. They're great.

The thing that really prompted this post was my Dionaea muscipula 'B-52' leaf pulling.

Dionaea muscipula 'B-52'.
Dionaea 'B-52' leaf pulling strikes, 12-11-2014.
Dionaea muscipula 'B-52'.
Dionaea 'B-52' strikes, 12-27-2014.
Dionaea muscipula 'B-52'.
Dionaea 'B-52' plantlets, 1-26-2015.
These were just some leaves that fell off in transit when I bought this plant from Brie in August or so. The one on the right shriveled immediately, but the one on the left has been going crazy. Look at those cute little plantlets!

The Dionaea 'B-52' pullings were started as an afterthought, while this Drosera capensis Bainskloof cutting was something I fretted over.

Drosera capensis Bainskloof.
D. capensis Bainskloof strike, 9-21-2014.
Drosera capensis Bainskloof.
D. capensis Bainskloof plantlet, 11-14-2014.
Drosera capensis Bainskloof.
D. capensis Bainskloof, 1-27-2015.
This plant is almost getting its mature shape. I'm feeding it a lot, because man I want this plant looking great in my collection. There's been big progress lately.

Some months back I scattered some Drosera aliciae seed on a pot that briefly contained a sundew which rapidly declined in my conditions (I think it was used to much higher humidity). This was the laziest propagation effort I've ever undertaken.

Drosera aliciae.
D. aliciae seedlings, 9-17-2014.
Drosera aliciae.
D. aliciae seedlings, 12-11-2014.
Drosera aliciae.
D. aliciae, 1-26-2015.
This is a great case of neglect working out. I'll probably repot them in advance of the next BACPS function so I can donate or trade them. They're looking pretty good.

Finally, my Pinguicula moranensis GG. I got this plant from California Carnivores along with my U. longifolia.

Pinguicula moranensis GG.
P. moranensis, 7-22-2014.
Pinguicula moranensis GG.
P. moranensis, 10-10-2014.
Pinguicula moranensis GG.
P. moranensis, 11-21-2014.
Pinguicula moranensis GG.
P. moranensis, 1-26-2015. That's powdered beta fish food on the leaves.
This is one of those plants that goes in and out of being my favorite. I've liked watching the leaves fill in the rosette and get more of a pointed, scalloped shape. And that color! That pink color is way too cute. Once this round of leaves has been replaced I think I'm gonna try a couple of leaf pullings.

I love seeing progress shots.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I have no photos of the Winter 2015 BACPS meeting

I feel sort of bad having entirely failed to document the Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society meeting yesterday. However, not terribly bad, since the reason I couldn't take any pictures was that I was busy helping run the thing! I managed the raffle (and donated 5 plants, freeing some space under my lights), took part in a panel about cultivation, and somehow wound up being elected Vice President. It was a busy day!

The BACPS has been in sort of a tight spot recently, since a number of board members either died or moved away, leaving the remaining leadership sort of scrambling to keep things together and getting worn out. It's funny, because in the mean time there has been a big increase in interest in carnivorous plants. I think there's a lot of energy out there waiting to be tapped in the Bay Area carnivorous plant community. I'm excited to be able to help out!

I did, of course, acquire some plants. The first (and probably the most exciting?) is this Utricularia cornigera.

Utricularia cornigera.
This plant can get seriously huge. Gotta get a bigger pot!
U. cornigera has also been known as the Giant or 'Big Sister' form of Utricularia reniformis. It's one of the coolest-looking Utrics out there, with big, upright leaves and totally stunning flowers. I hope I can get it to bloom. This is a seed-grown specimen from California Carnivores.

I was also generously gifted a big bag of Utricularia humboldtii by Tony Gridley, the BACPS newsletter editor and resident Genlisea farmer/Utricularia maniac.

Utricularia humboldtii.
It's nice to get big piles of plants.
I didn't get a chance to pot this up today. That's a chore for first thing tomorrow morning. Guess I'm jumping right into into section Orchidioides!

California Carnivores also had some pygmies for sale, and I picked up a pot of Drosera lasiantha.

Drosera lasiantha.
Gonna give it a week for more dew, and then the feeding begins.
This is one of the few species I wasn't able to acquire from Drosera Gemmae this year, so it was great to see it for sale. It has a habit very similar to that of Drosera scorpioides, but with (apparently) cooler flowers. Very cute!

I also was gifted a big clump of Sarracenia oreophila by Doris Quick, our now former secretary. It's got like 4 or 5 growth points. I wasn't able to get a picture for this post, since it's dark outside now. That rhizome (and the Sarracenia minor hybrid from the raffle) will have to wait for another post. I'm looking forward to some big old plants come spring though!

During the panel I was talking about the importance of feeding and light, specifically vis à vis so-called "annuals" like Drosera burmannii, and Fernando Rivadavia challenged me to grow Drosera sessilifolia as well as he sees them in habitat. Apparently all the specimens he's seen in cultivation have been tiny and frail-looking, while those in the wild get huge. Challenge accepted!

Drosera sessilifolia seedlings.
We've got an early leader!
It's a solid start. Gonna have to feed them more before the April meeting.

Friday, January 23, 2015

What's blooming at the end of January

As it turns out, lots of things are blooming at the end of January. Let's jump right in – there are a lot of plants to look at.

Utricularia livida.
Utricularia livida still blooming after several months. This is the best-looking Utric pot right now.
Utricularia subulata.
Utricularia subulata flower in the Utricularia sandersonnii blue form pot. The U. subulata is winning the day.
Utricularia calycifida
Utricularia calycifida with scattered flower petals.
Utricularia bisquamata
Utricularia subulata flower in the Drosera venusta pot.
Drosera venusta flower stalk.
Drosera capensis scape on left, D. venusta on right. I don't think there's much seed in the D. venusta buds.
Drosera adelae flower stalk
I love the shape of the Drosera adelae flower stalk.
Drosera prolifera
Flower stalk developing on Drosera prolifera.
Pinguicula laueana x emarginata
Looking forward to seeing this Pinguicula laueana x emarginata flower.
Pinguicula gigantea.
Pinguicula gigantea getting started again.
Drosera spatuhaha
This sundew doesn't seem to self-seed. I'm just going to call it Drosera spatuhaha.
Drosera ultramafica x spatulata.
It turns out I was mistaken when I stated that Drosera ultramafica x spatulata was sterile. There are seedlings everywhere hahahah.
Drosera spatulata 'Kanto'
Drosera spatulata 'Kanto' has really nice-colored flowers.
Drosera capensis typical.
What's that? A D. capensis bloom? Shocker.
Drosera capensis 'Albino'
Some more Drosera capensis 'Albino' seeds on the way.
Drosera brevifolia.
Drosera brevifolia keeps on keeping on, although the stalk on the one on the left aborted for some reason.
Drosera burmannii Humpty Doo flower stalk.
There's always at least one flowering Drosera burmannii in my collection.
Flowers :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Progress shots from the Pygmy Garden

Things are really starting to get going over in the Pygmy Garden.

Pygmy sundew garden.
The Pygmy Garden is starting to actually look like a garden now.
You can start seeing distinct patches developing. I'm really looking forward to seeing this a few months down the road once everything has filled in. Let's get in close!

Drosera omissa and other pygmy sundews.
Drosera omissa (center) surrounded by other species.
Drosera silvicola, pygmy sundew.
Drosera silvicola getting that stem going.
Drosera x Carbarup.
Deep red Drosera x Carbarup.
Drosera x Dork's Pink.
The prettiest one in the bunch so far, Drosera x Dork's Pink.
I'm definitely glad I drew up this map when I was first creating the garden. It's a bit rough, but it was enough for me to figure out which was which. There are so many pygmies in this garden! I can't even imagine how cute it's going to be when some of them start blooming.

Speaking of blooms, I've got a little something developing on my Pinguicula laueana x emarginata.

Drosera laueana x emarginata.
My first-ever bloom on a ping other than Pinguicula gigantea.
I was just thinking earlier about how I want to pot this up into something bigger. Now I guess I'll wait at least until it's done flowering. I'm excited!