Friday, February 27, 2015

Pgymy sundew update

Back in December I started a whole bunch of pygmy sundews from gemmae. Most of them have done pretty well! Let's check in.

Drosera barbigera and Drosera pulchella.
Drosera barbigera type form on left, Drosera pulchella orange flower on right.
Drosera sargentii and Drosera patens.
Drosera sargentii on left, Drosera patens on right.
Drosera ×Dork's Pink and Drosera occidentalis.
Drosera ×Dork's Pink on the left, Drosera occidentalis (or lack thereof) on the right.
Drosera roseana and Drosera pygmaea.
Drosera roseana on the left, Drosera pygmaea on the right.
Drosera paleacea and Drosera leucoblasta.
Drosera paleacea giant form on the left and Drosera leucoblasta (Brookton) on the right.
Drosera ×Carbarup and Drosera grievei.
Drosera ×Carbarup on the left and Drosera grievei on the right.
Drosera omissa and Drosera silvicola.
Drosera omissa pink flower up top and Drosera silvicola down below.
A few observations about the pygmies:
  • D. occidentalis pretty much failed across the board. I think that the gemmae, being so small, dessicated on the sand before they could reach the media. It's too bad, because D. occidentalis is exactly the pygmy to most benefit by keeping the moss down. Maybe I'll do one final order.
  • D. omissa is a total beast. Easily the most successful and vigorous of the batch.
  •  I like the color on D. patens and D. palacea a lot.
  • The gemmae that were more expensive (D. silvicola and D. sargentii, for example) haven't been as vigorous. I guess that's part of rarity.
Here's how the Pygmy Garden is shaping up.

Pygmy Garden.
The Pygmy Garden is looking pretty good!
There are a couple bare patches. Maybe I'll fill them in with some Drosera scorpioides and Drosera callistos.

As a bit of an aside, look at this visitor I had to the collection while I was photographing my collection.

Jumping spider on Drosera burmannii.
Hi there cutie!
A cute little jumping spider on my Drosera burmannii! I plucked the little dude off because I really like them and my D. burmannii have enough to eat already.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Things are going crazy out back

Spring is already in full swing here at Pinkhouse. My Sarracenia are throwing up blooms left and right. Last year I didn't get any flowers, so this is exciting!

Sarracenia flava var. maxima flower.
Sarracenia flava var. maxima.
Sarracenia flava var. cuprea flower.
Sarracenia flava var. cuprea.
Sarracenia alata "heavy veins" (Stone County, MO) flower.
Sarracenia alata "Heavy Veins" (Stone County, MO).
Sarracenia alata "red throat" flower.
Sarracenia alata "red throat".
Sarracenia ×moorei flower.
Sarracenia ×moorei.
Sarracenia oreophila flower.
Sarracenia oreophila.
Little alien heads popping up everywhere. I wonder if I should do any crosses this year? Maybe I will!

This last Sunday was the first BACPS Social Plant Swap. We drank beer and traded plants and it was great. I got a Pinguicula laueana.

Pinguicula laueana flower.
Pinguicula laueana with flower.
Look at that big red flower! I should take some pullings.

On a final note, I've started an Instagram. I'll try and it regularly with new pictures. I'm expanding my social media profile (follow me on Facebook too).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Several exciting new blooms

Big surprise in the collection recently – a flower stalk is coming up on my Utricularia longifolia!

Utricularia longifolia flower stalk.
There's another, smaller stalk off to the right. Yay!
Utricularia flowers are always fun, and U. longifolia has some of the best. I can't wait for these blooms to pop. I'll prolly take them to the April BACPS meeting if they've opened by then. Probably pot them up into something nicer too.

I've also got the first Sarracenia blooms coming up this season – Sarracenia flava (which also has a pitcher coming up) and Sarracenia alata "red black" (one of my recent acquisitions).

Sarracenia flava flower bud.
These buds look like little alien heads. It's funny.
Sarracenia alata "red black" flower bud.
These are my first Sarr blooms. Cool!
I just trimmed all the old dead pitchers and stuff off of my Sarrs, so we're ready for spring. I am so excited – things are going to look amazing in a couple of months.

Finally, the first of the pygmies from my big order back in December has bloomed. It's Drosera omissa!

Drosera omissa with flower stalk.
They're just trying so hard!
It only took 9 weeks from gemmae to flower. That's ridiculous. The other pygmies are trucking along (I should do another pygmy roundup soon), but nothing is even close to these guys. I haven't even fed them at all! Pygmies are awesome. Everyone should grow pygmies.

A note for any readers of the blog living in the greater Bay Area – the BACPS is having it's first social seed swap this coming Sunday, the 22nd, at the Westbrae Biergarten in Berkeley from 3 to 7 pm. If you're free you should try and come down! The Carnivore Girl will be there, as will California Carnivores' own Peter d'Amato. Bring seeds, gemmae, leaf pulls, and cuttings to swap with other growers, have a couple beers, and geek out with fellow plant nerds for a couple hours. The location is dog and kid friendly, and within easy walking distance of the North Berkeley BART along the Ohlone Trail. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Some recent acquisitions

I usually wait a little bit to post about new plants I acquire, since you want to make sure they're not going to just immediately croak in your conditions. It's happened to me a couple of times that I get a plant in the mail, it looks awesome for a day, and then it withers into nothing. One thing I've started doing to mitigate this is using humidity tents on any new plant I receive in the mail. That way if the plant was use to substantially higher humidity than my conditions provide it can be hardened off gradually without going into shock.

Drosera cistiflora is a relatively recent addition to my collection – I received it a little over 3 weeks ago, after winning it in an auction on the Carnivorous Plant Auctions and Sales Facebook group, and it has bounced back tremendously from shipping.

Drosera cistiflora.
So much dew on this D. cistiflora.
Drosera cistiflora.
Is it thinking about starting a stem?
I'm almost done hardening this guy off. Look at that great dew, and that touch of red in the tentacles. Excellent! For a humidity tent I use a sandwich-sized Ziploc baggie fit over the pot. I harden off the plants by first cutting off one corner, then the other, then opening the top all the way, then cutting down the sides of the baggies, then finally removing it all together. The whole process usually takes 2 weeks or so, and the plants seem to do just fine.

About a week after I received the D. cistiflora I completed a trade with another California grower who was looking for Pinguicula gigantea. I sent him a large offset, along with a couple Utrics, and he sent me a few plants in exchange. These cute little starts of Pinguicula cyclosecta and Pinguicula 'Florian' were part of the exchange.

Pinguicula cyclosecta.
Baby Pings: the only thing cuter than mature Pings?
Pinguicula 'Florian'.
This cultivar grows up to have very lovely scalloped edges.
These are little babies. I harden Pings off much more quickly than I do Drosera, since Pings are usually comfortable with lower humidity over all. These guys are almost done.

He also sent along a big clump of Drosera × snyderi, which is a botanically invalid name for Drosera dielsiana × nidiformis (an Ivan Snyder hybrid). I wonder if the fact that most people agree that the Drosera dielsiana in cultivation is mostly Drosera natalensis means that this plant is actually D. natalensis × nidiformis. This is the nitty-gritty of plant collecting.

Drosera × snyderi (i.e. Drosera dielsiana × nidiformis).
This is kind of a lot of plants.
There's some decent dew on these guys, though they're taking their time a bit. The dividing and repotting process was a bit tougher on this group of plants, so that makes sense.

The last plant I received in that trade was a green form of Drosera burmannii from the Hann River in Kimberley, WT, Australia. I've been wanting a green form of D. burmannii for a while, so this was very exciting.

Drosera burmannii
What a looker.
This little dude started out all green with pale tentacles, but the tentacles have since reddened up and made this a really breathtaking plant. Just look at it! I can't wait to start feeding it heavily and seeing what it looks like all grown up.

Finally, just yesterday I met up with a grower from the eastern reaches of the Bay Area (hi Rose!) to swap a couple of plants. She got several Drosera plants and some gemmae, and I got several Ping starts and this lovely little Sarracenia psittacina.

Sarracenia psittacina.
My first S. psittacina!
Apparently in the summer this plant gets a really nice red color. I'm already getting started filling up those lagoons!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Flowering age: various Drosera

Let's do a little overview of how long it's taken various of my plants to grow to flowering size, either from seed or from leaf cuttings.

I started Drosera burmannii, Drosera intermedia 'Cuba', and Drosera capensis 'Albino' at the very end of 2013, and they all germinated in mid-January of 2014.

D. intermedia 'Cuba' was the first to flower, on the 11th of April, only 3 months after germination.

Drosera intermedia 'Cuba' seedlings.
D. intermedia 'Cuba' seedlings, mid-January 2014.
Drosera intermedia 'Cuba'.
D. intermedia 'Cuba' flower stalk, 4-11-2014.
Then we had the D. burmannii flowering on the 16th of May, 4 months.

Drosera bumannii seedlings.
D. burmannii seedlings, mid-January 2014.
Drosera burmannii, Humpty Doo.
D. burmannii flower stalk, 5-16-2014.
The D. capensis 'Albino' took the longest, sending up a stalk on July 4th, just under 6 months.

Drosera capensis 'Albino' seedlings.
D. capensis 'Albino' seedlings, mid-January 2014.
Drosera capensis 'Albino'.
D. capensis 'Albino' flower stalk, 7-4-2014.
Last spring I got some Drosera natalensis seeds from Natch Greyes, which germinated in mid May of 2014, and started blooming just a couple days ago, on February 13th, 2015 – 9 months. Bear in mind though that these guys got no food for the first 3 months of their lives, and then had a huge growth spurt once fed.

Drosera natalensis seedlings.
D. natalensis seedlings, mid-May 2014.
Drosera natalensis.
D. natalensis flower stalk, 2-13-2015.
Another really speedy plant is Drosera sessilifolia. The seeds germinated on September 21, 2014, and with a lot of feeding the first ended up blooming on February 11th, 2015 – just under 5 months to flowering size.

Drosera sessilifolia seedlings.
D. sessilifolia seedlings, 9-21-2014.
Drosera sessilifolia.
D. sessilifolia flower stalk, 2-11-2015.
Those are the only plants I've started from seed that have bloomed, but I do have a couple of species blooming right now that I propagated from leaf cuttings. First is Drosera ultramafica × spatulata. The cuttings struck in mid-June of 2014, and the first plant flowered on February 12th of this year, 8 months total.

Drosera ultramafica × spatulata leaf cutting strikes.
D. ultramafica × spatulata strikes, mid-June 2014.
Drosera ultramafica × spatulata.
D. ultramafica × spatulata flower stalk, 2-12-2015.
The cutting I'm proudest of is the Drosera anglica CA × HI, which is one of the best plants in my collection. It was one of the earliest strikes in the Summer Batch, on August 4th, 2014. I noticed the bloom stalk (already well developed) at the beginning of February of 2015, so it probably started blooming just after the new year. That's only 5 months, and it's a big, strong plant.

Drosera anglica CA × HI leaf cutting strike.
D. anglica CA × HI strike, 8-4-2014.
Drosera anglica CA × HI.
D. anglica CA × HI flower stalk, 2-2-2015.
So here's how it all breaks down:

From seed:
  • D. intermedia 'Cuba': 3 months
  • D. burmannii: 4 months
  • D. sessilifolia: 5 months
  • D. capensis 'Albino': 6 months
  • D. natalensis: 9 months

From cuttings:
  • D. anglica CA × HI: 5 months
  • D. ultramafica × spatulata: 8 months

I remember when I was first getting into growing plants the idea of waiting for 4 months to get a mature plant from seed seemed like forever, but at this point I'm already thinking things like, "Well next season when my pygmies produce gemmae..."I hope this post encourages some people to try out starting new species from seed. It's not very difficult (I still need to write up a Cultivation Guide on it though) and it's extremely rewarding to watch the seedlings grow up.

The most important thing to remember in any propagation effort with Drosera is that feeding is crucial. The reason that my D. natalensis and D. ultramafica × spatulata lagged behind the others is that they weren't fed all that much early on. Even just 2 or 3 feedings of seedlings will give them a huge boost in life. Good luck!

(P.S. – Sorry for the week of silence here on the blog. It's been a bit hectic here at Pinkhouse lately. Luckily that means I have a lot of new stuff to talk about!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Random pictures of pretty sundews

I've been talking a lot about stuff that's not from genus Drosera lately. It's time to get back down to brass tacks. Look at this Drosera venusta. Just look at it.

Drosera venusta.
If you look closely, you can see that D. venusta has snap tentacles. Interesting!
This is easily, easily the best this plant has ever looked for me. Much better than it looked back in September. Maybe it's the cooler temperatures that have this plant looking better, or maybe it's just finally acclimated to my conditions. Or maybe it's random. I've heard from some other growers that it just looks great or looks terrible randomly. At least it's looking great now!

Another plant that's been doing pretty well is Drosera madagascariensis. It's mostly recovered from blooming.

Drosera madagascariensis.
Got that lean on.
I didn't get any seed the last time it bloomed, so I've been clipping the flower stalks. I think I'll have to do a stem cutting soon, since there's a serious wiggle on the largest plant. I'll also probably start some more leaf cuttings.

I've also got a couple of Drosera hamiltonii that are in one of their "looking good" phases.

Drosera hamiltonii.
Very lovely colors on this plant.
Drosera hamiltonii.
A different clone.
This species is sort of weird in my conditions. When I feed them they'll lose their dew for like 6 weeks, and then they dew up again and look great, which temps me into feeding them again. I think they might like a taller pot and an airier mix, but I don't know when I'll get around to repotting them again. Ah well, it's not so bad.

Finally, things are progressing well on Operation: Nice-looking Drosera sessilifolia.

Drosera sessilifolia.
Lovely glow on this sundew.
Moving right along!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Back from the dead

Look! My first Utricularia sandersonnii blue form flower in months and months.

Utricularia sandersonii blue form.
These little flowers are so darn cute.
Lost in a sea of moss and Utricularia subulata flower stalks, the Angry Bunny rises again. I don't remember if U. sandersonii is self fertile. I hope it is, cause I'd really like to have a clean pot of it, and I feel like it would be difficult (though perhaps not impossible) to clean off a chunk of stuff from this pot to transplant. Such a pretty lavender color.

After much waiting and speculation, the truth is revealed: my Drosera filiformis Florida Red was dormant rather than dead. It's waking up now!

Drosera filiformis Florida red emerging from dormancy.
Rise and shine little guy.
It went to sleep in August or so, which is a long time for a nap. No matter! I'll let it wake up, feed it heavily for a couple months, and then get propagating. Everybody likes red D. filiformis.

My aphid-ravaged Drosera anglica CA × HI is actually looking pretty good right now.

Drosera anglica CA × HI.
It helps that this is such a vigorous hybrid.
It may be almost time to repot it (and wash away all the soil) so that I can have a clean, aphid-free start. Not sure what I'll do with that Drosera ultramafica × spatulata in there. I'd love to share it around, but I don't want to introduce aphids into anyone's collection. Maybe it'll just end up getting tossed. It happens.

Finally, remember that Drosera brevifolia that came back from the dead a while ago? Now it's in danger of being totally consumed by Sphagnum.

Drosera brevifolia and Sphagnum moss.
I need to clear out this moss.
I feel like I need to start a new clean pot of these guys as well. I have a few seed packets, it's just...I need to make more room under my lights. Again. Story of my life.