Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I've been up to lately (hint: selling gemmae)

For the last couple weeks my pygmies have been producing lots and lots of gemmae. Last year I threw a lot of gemmae out, so this year I determined to do better. I've shared some with friends, and I've also sold a lot of gemmae, mostly via Facebook. Here's what I shipped out this morning!

Gemmae packages being shipped off.
Lots of stuff headed to the post office.
This is a non-trivial amount of work! Last year I learned that gemmae that have been harvested and packetized have an extremely short shelf life, so now I harvest per order. I put on a podcast and it's nice, but it takes time. I don't mind though, because I really like spreading different plants around. It's sort of an insurance policy – inevitably I'm going to lose some plants, and if more people are growing them it will be easier for me to get them back later.

Freshly-harvested pygmies look funny.

Drosera leucoblasta with gemmae.
Drosera leucoblasta with gemmae (and recently-harvested).
I've still got a good amount of gemmae left, including Drosera leucoblasta, Drosera sargentii, Drosera paleacea, Drosera callistos, and Drosera helodes, among others. If you'd like to get some, email me at I've been charging $5 per pack, with $3 for basic shipping, and various options for cold weather. Let me know!

Besides pygmies and gemmae (and pygmies and gemmae and pygmies and gemmae), I've been spending a fair amount of time thinking about utrics lately. My Utricularia longifolia is blooming again!

Utricularia longifolia in bloom.
Blooming U. longifolia. No aphids this time!
I guess this is just the time of year for it. Last year it I first noticed the bloom in mid-February. My clump is a bit more mature now. I should have taken a picture of the bottom of the pot – it's a solid mass of stolons and traps. It's pretty funny. Maybe this year I'll pot this up into a much larger pot – I've been threatening to do that for a while. I gave a chunk to my friend Anne, who will be growing it outside. Interested to see how it does!

I haven't killed my Utricularia cornigera! That's exciting!

Utricularia cornigera.
Brand new leaf! I'm very happy.
As I've mentioned before, this pot had gotten much too dry and had lost all it foliage. However, it still had a big fat stolon, which I buried in the pot once I moved it to a wetter tray. Looks like we've got life now! I should fertilize this a bit once it grows in.

At the recent BACPS meeting I picked up a new tuberous sundew, the delightfully-named Drosera zigzagia.

Drosera zigzagia.
One of the best specific epithets in the genus.
I've gotten a new burst of confidence re: tuberous Drosera since my Drosera ramellosa came back from dormancy. Gotta get all the tubers I can now.

Something more to add to my confidence in growing the summer-dormant species is the fact that Drosera cistiflora is back as well.

Drosera cistiflora.
Arise! Awaken!
There was a little dried out nob on the pot where the old stem had been, and when I flicked it away I exposed this bit of stem to the lights, so it's growing! Now I really really want to get it to flower for me. That would be a real feather in the cap! We'll see.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

D. ramellosa is back (and other surprises)!

Aw yeah check this action out:

Drosera ramellosa.
Drosera ramellosa (finally) emerging from dormancy.
I was sure I had lost all of my winter-growing sundews. I started hydrating them back in late October, and after almost 3 months of nothing I had pretty much given up hope. But here we are! Now I need to feed this guy aggressively to try and get some good tuber development. Nothing yet from Drosera rupicola or Drosera cistiflora, but I'm still holding out hope.

In terms of other surprises, my Pinguicula 'Aphrodite' is blooming for the first time.

Pinguicula 'Aphrodite'.
That color is absolutely unreal.
It's also looking like, fantastic right now. This is one of my favorite pings, easy. I'm excited to see the flower!

The Pinguicula lusitanica that started blooming back in November ripened, spilled a bunch of seed (I managed to collect some), and has already germinated.

Pinguicula lusitanica and seedlings.
And so it begins.
Look at all the little babies! You can see the dead mother plant there to the right of the large plant. Barry Rice said that this species could be an "entertaining little weed" and I think I agree with him! I'm considering making an outdoor mixed bog at some point, and this would be a great species to just toss thither and yon.

Finally, my Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica. I didn't feature this plant in my recent year-to-year comparison post, (because I didn't have it last January) but I should have. Look at this!

P. rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica less than a year ago.
P. rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica, March 2015.
P. rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica today.
P. rotundiflora × hemipiphytica, January 2016.
 That's like, 10 months of growth. Incredible little hybrid! This is why you shouldn't be afraid of getting pings as very small starts – they grow in just fine.

Exciting day over all I think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

South American Drosera roundup, January 2016

I've become quite keen on South American sundews lately. They're a sort of intermediate difficulty – rarer than the South African subtropicals (Drosera capensis etc.) and harder to propagate. However, they haven't proven all that much more difficult to grow, at least not in my conditions. In fact, they seem to like my conditions quite a bit. Drosera felix is even blooming for me!

Drosera felix aka Drosera kaieteurensis with flower stalk forming.
Incredible red color and a fuzzy flower stalk. What's not to like?
Look at at that flower stalk. It's so fuzzy! Apparently lots of people consider this plant synonymous with Drosera kaieteurensis, but I'm going to keep referring to it as D. felix because that's how I received it (in case taxonomy gets reshuffled again), and because it's an adorable name.

My Drosera graomogolensis root cuttings are going well!

Drosera graomogolensis root cuttings.
Two so far. They're big too!
I think I can get 2 or 3 more plantlets out of this root, so I'm going to leave the humidity tent on for a while more. Very pleased with the progress so far. Really looking forward to being able to harden this guy off.

My largest Drosera tomentosa seedling is still pretty small.

Drosera tomentosa seedling.
So little still. Good luck buddy!
I've fed these guys once or twice, but I think I should do it again. This is the perfect size to start really feeding. Gotta be careful about mold though – lately that's been much more common when I'm feeding my sundews. Not sure why.

Drosera sessilifolia is another South American species, though I almost forgot about it for this post. I group it with Drosera burmannii in my mind, since they're both in Drosera subgenus Thelocalyx.

Drosera sessilifolia.
There are a lot of flower stalks going on in this pot. I need to address that somehow.
Those two in front got a heavy feeding recently, which is why they're not showing as much color. They also got a lot of mold on the food, I think because I had ground it a few days prior and left it out to accumulate mold spores. Lesson learned!

Finally, my favorite of the South American plants, Drosera spiralis.

Drosera spiralis.
I really, really like this plant a lot.
It's perennially difficult to get a good photo of this plant, since it grows right up into the lights. That's actually a problem I need to solve soon, since I want to start prepping it for the BACPS show in June. I guess I can always raise the lights a bit. Killer plant though, it's supporting almost 6 leaves right now. That's a lot for this species!

If you've had success with Drosera for a year or so I strongly encourage you to try out some South American forms. They're quite nice, and very satisfying. And if you grow any SA sundews, hit me up! I'd love to trade and talk shop.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Assorted plant stuff

One can't always have a nice themed post. This is one of those times.

My Pinguicula laueana × emarginata is blooming again.

Pinguicula laueana × emarginata flower.
Lovely flower of P. laueana × emarginata.
This has got a really pretty flower. It's interesting, I've only ever flowered this plant, my Pinguicula gigantea, and my Pinguicula emarginata. I don't know what triggers flowering in pings. I've got several that I think are big enough to flower, but they just haven't.

In pygmy news, there are finally gemmae forming on my Drosera scorpioides.

Drosera scorpioides with gemmae.
D. scorpioides gemmae is quite the hot item.
I think I'm going to need to start a new pot of these guys or risk losing these to attrition. Should get a good crop though, last year I had a lot.

The Drosera barbigera look funny and squashed with their gemmae.

Drosera barbigera with gemmae.
Funny smooshed plants.
Such nice color this time of year too.

Drosera burmannii (Gunung Keledang) is growing in, and isn't quite as red as it was before.

Drosera burmannii Gunung Keledang.
One can never have enough Drosera burmannii.
I quite like this form, especially if it maintains that green leaf, red tentacle coloration. It's taken well to feeding.

My Byblis liniflora continues to be lovely, and continues to be impossible to photograph.

Byblis liniflora.
This plant is very dream-like.
I feel like this would need to be in a black box with bright diffused light to photograph well. Has anyone out there managed to get a good picture of B. liniflora? I'd love tips.

Finally, I haven't posted about Pinguicula rotundiflora lately, but it is way too cute.

Pinguicula rotundiflora.
Look at those cute little leaf margins!
Now this is a plant that I want to flower. Luckily this one is pretty easy to propagate, as evidenced by all the babies in the pot. Maybe I can have a whole bunch in flower together. That would be adorable.

So I guess that's what's up around here.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Year-to-year comparisons

Growing plants gives one patience. I was never really into plants before I started growing carnivores, and I couldn't imagine the time frames people were talking about – 2 to 8 weeks to germinate seed, a year from germination to flowering maturity. It seemed like everything took forever, and I was super anxious. It's not like that now. I'm more likely to think stuff like, "Wow, it's only been a year. That grew quickly!" I think that this sort of comfort with longer time frames is probably one of the most positive effects that dealing with plants can have on one's life over all.

In any case, I went back through some old posts from last January to see what's been going on. Drosera sessilifolia is a pretty dramatic case.

D. sessilifolia seedlings, 1-26-2015.
D. sessilifolia seedlings, 1-26-2015.
D. sessilifolia, 1-9-2016.
How's that for a year's growth? Feed your Drosera! They will reward you for it. This is a great little plant. I'm feeding heavily so that I can show Fernando at the upcoming BACPS meeting.

A plant that doesn't get as much play on the blog lately is Pinguicula laueana × emarginata. It's been a bit buried in the collection for the last year, but I dug it out for this post.

P. laueana × emarginata, 1-23-2015.
P. laueana × emarginata, 1-23-2015.
P. laueana × emarginata, 1-9-2016.
P. laueana × emarginata, 1-9-2016.
It's in the same pot, for scale – a little 2-inch nursery pot that I really need to do something about. I don't know what happened to that plantlet that's visible in the top picture. Beautiful plant though!

One plant that was the real dark horse of the last year is this clone of Drosera capensis.

D. capensis "stemmy clone", 1-19-2015.
D. capensis "stemmy clone", 1-19-2015.
D. capensis "stemmy clone", 1-9-2016.
D. capensis "stemmy clone", 1-9-2016.
I received this in a trade as a broadleaf form of D. capensis and didn't think much of it (the leaves are a little bit broad, but nothing crazy). However, in one year of growth it produced a quite attractive, sturdy stem, and is now looking really cool. I posted a picture similar to the lower photo to my Instagram (follow me @sundews_etc on Instagram!) and people liked it a lot. Unexpected favorite!

A funny case during the last year is the saga of my first Drosera aliciae, which was stricken by aphids. The growth point split, and it looked really weird.

Aphid-stricken D. aliciae, 1-8-2015.
D. aliciae, 1-8-2015.
D. aliciae, 1-9-2016.
D. aliciae, 1-9-2016.
Now it still looks weird, but it also looks cool as heck. Look at it! I think I'm going to bring this plant to the BACPS winter meeting to show off. Another situation where neglect produced excellent results (once the aphids were beaten back).

Finally, a cautionary tale: I got a Dionaea 'B-52' in August of 2014, and a couple leaves fell off in transit. I decided to try them as pullings, and one of them really took off.

Dionaea 'B-52' plantlets, 1-27-2015.
Dionaea 'B-52' plantlets, 1-27-2015.
Dionaea 'B-52' plantlets, 1-9-2016.
Dionaea 'B-52' plantlets, 1-9-2016.
Why is this a cautionary tale? Because my original plant died! It was a terrible summer, and that nice big D. 'B-52' was one of the casualties. If those leaves hadn't fallen off I doubt I would have thought to take a pulling. I've said it before, but propagation is insurance. It's risky to have only one plant or one pot of a given species/cultivar/clone. I don't always follow my own advice, but you should propagate ASAP after receiving a new plant. You never know what might happen!

It's been a good year. I've got big plans for the next one as well. Those plants won't grow themselves!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Some recent trading

I've been doing a bit of trading lately, after having been out of the game for a while. Got some fun new plants in!

First off, it's my first Cephalotus follicularis!

Baby Cephalotus follicularis.
So little!
I've been overdue for a Ceph. This is a small one, but it holds great promise! This (and the next two plants) are from a trade with David Flocken, who I recently profiled in a Grower Interview.

This is Drosera spatulata 'Tamlin', a well-known cultivar of the infamously messy D. spatulata complex.

Drosera spatulata 'Tamlin'.
A D. spatulata with an actual identity. Nice!
D. 'Tamlin' is named after Tamlin Dawnstar, a very well-respected member of the community who has been in prison for (if I recall) growing small amounts of marijuana. Tamlin unfortunately got arrested before the recent relaxing of the law around marijuana, but he was known as a very giving member of the community in days past (and hopefully will be again soon). I've seen mature specimens of this cultivar that look quite a bit like Drosera ultramafica × spatulata, so I'm interested to see how it grows in.

Finally, I couldn't do a trade with David without getting my hands on a Drosera capensis "Big Pink".

Drosera capensis "Big Pink."
Drosera capensis "Big Pink".
I'm very excited to see how this plant matures. Given how David talked it up I've got high hopes indeed. Getting a good new form of D. capensis is always cause for rejoicing.

A little bit ago I also did a trade around some South American Drosera. Unfortunately, it looks like the Drosera latifolia leaves I was trying to start from cuttings didn't take off.

Failed D. latifolia cuttings.
Poor dead leaf cuttings.
I'm pretty sure that I'm to blame with this. I've been absolutely terrible at keeping water levels high lately, and I think it just got too dry for these cuttings. I've got a scheme for improving success with leaf cuttings though, I'll have to trial it soon.

My Drosera graomogolensis root cutting, on the other hand, has 2 strikes and I'd be amazed if I don't get more soon.

Drosera graomogolensis root cut strike.
First strike on D. graomogolensis.
Drosera graomogolensis root cut strike #2.
Second strike on D. graomogolensis.
Root cuttings are the obviously best way to go for propagating a lot of sundew species, but I'm glad these guys have been so good about it. I can't wait to have some D. graomogolensis – it's a beautiful sundew.

Finally, I've very nearly hardened off my Drosera felix a.k.a. Drosera kaieteurensis.

Drosera felix or Drosera kaieteurensis, as you prefer.
I think it looks very happy!
Apparently the specific epithet "felix" is currently considered synonymous with "kaieteurensis", which I think is a bummer, because the word "felix" means "happy", which is a great specific epithet. In any case, it seems to be doing well. I almost wish it was a bit less blushed, since it actually seems a little over-lit currently. I'm not too worried though, it's got some decent dew there.

Trading is fun, but it's a lot of work! I've got some space in my collection recently (I've cleared out a few old pots), so I've still got room too expand. There are always more Drosera out there!