Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pygmy sundews should be propagated every year

I wanted to do a quick little post about my pygmies. Then I took too many pictures, so I'm going to keep it pretty heavy on pictures and light on commentary. I've been wanting to make a pygmy post for a while, since they're one of my favorite groups of plants, and I want people to understand them better.

Pygmies are short-lived perennials – it's a rare pygmy that makes it to 5 years old. In general I've noticed around 30% attrition annually in my pots. What that means, of course, is that the conscientious collector will propagate from gemmae every year. Now, not all pygmies make gemmae every year in all conditions, but last year I didn't do any personal propagation. As a result, my collection is looking a bit iffy heading into gemmae season.

Some pots are total (or near total) losses:

Dead Drosera patens.
Dead Drosera patens.
Dead Drosera pygmaea.
Drosera pygmaea never liked me anyway.
Dead Drosera pulchella.
I think Drosera pulchella also got aphids.
Mostly dead Drosera roseana.
Drosera roseana burned too bright.
Sad Drosera spilos.
Drosera spilos actually just always looks bad for me.
Other pots are looking almost perfect. There don't seem to be any broad trends in terms of what has done well and what hasn't – pygmy sundews are all quite specialized, and you may see totally different results in your culture.

Drosera callistos.
Drosera callistos Brookton is a hero.
Drosera oreopodion.
I love Drosera oreopodion.
Drosera helodes.
Drosera helodes has performed quite well over all as well.
Drosera scorpioides.
These Drosera scorpioides are a year older than everything else and they're still pretty decent.
Drosera sargentii.
Looks like Drosera sargentii either split their growth tips or I failed to harvest all the gemmae.
Drosera barbigera.
Drosera barbigera are absolutely wonderful.
One of the things that's hard to tell with a top-down photo is that several of these species have developed significant stems. Consider the above D. barbigera from another angle.

Drosera barbigera stem.
Fat little stems.
It's even more dramatic in a couple other species.

Drosera dichrosepala.
Drosera dichrosepala growing in a tiny pot.
Drosera nitidula.
One of the few surviving Drosera nitidula.
Drosera ×Dork's Pink.
Looking great, Drosera ×Dork's Pink!
The stems are quite interesting, and I'm curious to see how long the plants will keep going. However, this next year I'm going to do a full reset on my pygmy pots so I don't lose any more species. Luckily, I've shared gemmae with friends, and I also sold quite a lot last year, so hopefully I should be able to restock on what I've lost. Always share your propagules!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Plants I've looked at in the last six weeks: an incomplete catalogue

Hahahah okay let's just admit that I'm probably not going to make 17 posts in a month again (like I did back in April '14) any time soon. Okay well, that established let's see what photos have been languishing on my phone not being posted anywhere.

Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon' looked pretty nuts back on July 31st.

Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon'.
I wonder what the total volume of that dew is. Probably an ounce or two.
I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this plant. At least it looks rad as heck.

Fair warning, since I'm gonna be using pictures I've taken at work a fair amount, there are gonna be more neps than there have been on the blog in the past. Considering this Nepenthes eymae × jacquelineae though, can you blame me?

Nepenthes eyemae × jacquelineae.
I really like the glaucous character of the pitcher body.
This is a freshly-opened pitcher on what is probably my 4th favorite nep in the greenhouse (please don't ask me what the top 3 are, I have no idea). Wowzer!

Don't worry though, there are also utrics at the greenhouse, such at this Utricularia blanchetii.

Utricularia blanchetii flower.
So small and fancy.
This is probably the most floriferous of the new little terrestrials I've been messing with lately. It's also completely adorable!

And at home, I still have sundews, even if I'm barely able to rouse myself to water them properly. Here's my Drosera kaieteurensis starting a new flower stalk.

Drosera kaieteurensis with flower stalk.
Note that I didn't refer to it as Drosera felix. That because when I showed photos of it to Fernando Rivadavia he was unequivocal that the fuzzy flower stalk indicated D. kaieteurensis. He had no strong opinions about the purported synonymy of the two taxa, but insisted that if the flower stalk was fuzzy it couldn't be D. felix. So there.

Another South American sundew with a difficult-to-spell toponym for its specific epithet is Drosera graomogolensis. It's also a total beast in spite of all my neglect.

Drosera graomogolensis.
This is an extravagant plant.
Root cuttings are an awesome way to get big plants fast, especially if it's one of the species with big fat roots. Great stuff!

Another utric that I'm super stoked about is Utricularia biloba, which opened its first flowers for me a week or so ago.

Utricularia biloba flower.
These also have a neat chubby spur that's bright green.
As others have said of this species, photos don't do justice to the color, which is a deep violet with a hazy blue depth to it. Weirdly, the blue comes out more for me if I blink rapidly while looking at the flowers. Super interesting plant! Thanks Howard!

Finally, I've been selling select plants on Facebook – one-off neps, as well as new items like utrics and sundews that aren't in huge production yet. This Nepenthes fusca sold almost immediately this morning. I can't imagine why.

Nepenthes fusca.
I wish we had way more of this species than we currently do. It's wonderful!
Anyway, those are some plants. They're pretty cool.