Well it has been fun getting my little Drosera capensis from seed to flower.
Planted first set of successful seeds on 2nd October 2013.
Germinated on 25th October 2013.
First true leaves 5th November 2013.
First flower spike seen 28th June 2014.
Now between the sowing of the seeds and the flower I had fungal problems, mishap with environmental change and fungus gnats but I have now some very healthy and strong plants. Now thanks to a kind member on the site I have more than enough seeds to fill my house a hundred times over with Drosera.
Things I will be trying in the coming months and in the new growing season:
Different types of growing media.
A large scale Drosera setup.
Wild moss types as surface cover.
All in good time but hope to have some on the go very soon.
After the mutant faulse alarm and nearly losing my plants to a strande blackening of the leaves I have my first flower spike emerging. Even I can tell this is a flower spike, well I'm 90% sure it is I may post an image on the forum so keener eyes than mine can confirm it. Fuzzy little thing it is.
Well we have had some good sunny days and I have taken full advantage by running out first light with plants and bringing back in as the cooler nights draw in. The growth of the plants from this is amazing and each plant is sending up new leaf shoots every day. Along with this they are catching a huge amount of food. in a matter of hours most of the leaves have something stuck to them.
One plat got hold of an ant... I didn't know how it would cope with this and it didn't do well. Within a few ours the leaf was looking a little odd and I removed the ant but a few more hours on and the area where the ant had been looked 'burnt' for want of a better word. By that night the leaf was bent in half the section forward of the burn was flopping down and the area where the ant had been was soft and brown.
Without checking more I can only conjecture on what could have damaged the plant, the speed of damage makes me think it is something like the formic acid that is doing the damage. I have no idea if in time this would have allowed the ant to escape unharmed as it was already smothered and didn't make much of an attempt to move when removed from the leaf.
Well it has been a little while... All sign of the fungus gnat are gone thanks to some hand picking and a few brave mites.
We have sun again and as such my little seedlings are now sending out new groth light anything. The harder task now is staying ontop of watering, they have moved onto rain water and looks like no probs there. Feeding is also something I will keep an eye on now as springtails just don't cut it for the size of the traps.
I do hope in time to swap a few plants for something else but want to get them a little bigger before that happens.
Oh and keep cats away from plants I was picking hairs off them for age after one got noto the windowsill.
I should have known if my plants were catching fungus gnats then there was a chance that the larvae could be in the sphagnum moss they are growing in. Sure enough they are I removed two with a pin but where there are two there are twenty.
The two I removed I fed to the plants... oddly enough on contact with the dew they writhed and knotted themselves in the same way a hag fish does. I'm guessing this is to try and remove the mucus from their skin. Within seconds they have elongated to full length and gone rigid, it is hard to tell if they are dead or simply in paralysis by the mucus. I will test this at some point at greater magnification.
At the moment I can only hope they are happy to eat the dead moss and not the roots of my plants...
As I type this hail is battering at the window, Well it has been a little while since I added a page to my blog. My little plants are still doing well and feeding like mad but due to the low light levels growth has all but stopped. Each plant now has about eight leaves and two that have yet to unfurl. All in all the plants look like they have gone into a slow growth phase. I now see the importance of light for them, not that I don't know that all plants need light my ficus is also slumbering waiting for longer days but it does go to show that without light feeding of Drosera is little close to pointless.
On the note of feeding one of my little seedlings has caught its first big prey, a fungus gnat. It is also the first time I have seen all of the tentacles come into contact with a trapped insect and the curl to engulf it. The leaf in question is only approximately two millimeters wide by four long and I am still having to observe any action with a magnifying lens.
The dew on the seedlings comes and goes, some days it is heavy and visible with the naked eye, others it is only a very thin film over the glands only discernible with magnification. This has also let me see that the glands on the outer tentacles are on the side rather than on the top as in the ones closer to the middle of the leaf, I do not know if this is a trait of Drosera capensis and I will have to look into this.
I have seen something the same in pygmy Drosera and labeled as 'snap tentacles' although the ones on the D. capensis do not show any faster movement than their counterparts.
I wait like the plants for longer days so I can again see the rate of growth...
Getting bigger and feeding well... I have seen a slow down in the growth but I have this down to falling temps and light levels (still growing on windowsill). I just hope it doesn't get too clod for them but from what I have been told they are somewhat bomb proof.
As you can see the little springtails have little chance, they are deep in the moss but from time to time must come up and get stuck in the tentacles.
Getting there... as you can see in a short time my seedlings have a forth leaf. This is somewhat of a shock to me as light levels are low at the moment and my house isn't the warmest. For windowsil growning I am more than happy with how well they are coming along.
One of the things I was told was they CPs are slow to grow... Well the little D. capensis is shooting up. I have no idea if it is because they have sprintails to eat or just quick growing but now the first of them has its second full leaf. As you can see in the image it is still clutching its first dinner and has another open leaf just waiting for the next to jump in, there is also the third leaf already poking up. To me this is fast,
I wish I could get a good image of my little seedling and its prey as I am shocked at the speed that it is digesting it.
In less than 48 hours my little plant has turned this soft bodied hexapoda into mush. It is most seen at the point where the plant has the unfortunate creature in its grasp. The body has turned from a bright white colour to a brownish hue and is much thinner. I can not be sure that part of this is not down to the normal decomposition but the speed at which it is happening and the fact the it is more pronounced at the points of contact with the plant lends itself to the fact the the plant can consume something at a speed I didn't think it was capable of.
A bit of a panic as I look in on my little mirco world this morning as I see one of the little seedlings has got itself a sprintail, now tis wouldn't worry me too much as they eat dead and rotting plant matter but in the tiny trap of my Drosera it looked HUGE! IT did cross my mind to find a pin and with the help of a strong lens to remove the springtail. I thought better of it as I'd most likely damage the plant in trying to remove it.
Happy to see looking at it again about an hour later all the little tentacle wrapped tightly around its first feed. It could have bitten off more than it could chew but it is making a good go at taking it down. What a week first healthy seedlings, first leaf with dew and now first feed.
*Fuzzy* image is the best I could of the plant with prey when the tentacles had not yet responded to the food.
Well after the failed attempt to grow D. capensis (typical) on cotton wool and getting very weak looking seedlings I have started again this time with Sphagnum flexuosum. A little in a pot and seeds sprinkled on top and bingo, from ten seed I have six strong looking seedlings that have just started to show the first little red dots of true leaves. At the moment all the little tentacles are closed in to the middle of the leaf giving the look of a closed fist with red nail polish on.
As i say they are growing on sphagnum that I am sure is alive but looks like it is slow growing and the new buds are coming up clear, not green?!? Well in any case the little plants look to have taken to it well. I can see a few tiny roots but hard to see as in the folds of the sphagnum. I put down the low germination rate down to the fact that some of the seeds fell deep into the moss and so haven't had enough light.
Fingers crossed I will have six good plants but at this point one would be a 100% increase in my success rate.
Well so begins my descent into carnivorous plant madness... I’m starting out with ten Sarracenia alata seed. Sounds harmless enough but I have been informed that this is more than enough to have this addiction take hold. I have seven in the fridge sitting moist waiting for the days to get a little longer (long time) I really should get some lighting rigs but well I’m starting from the bottom up and my girlfriend will kill me if I do. I already have some long term plans such as.
Large bog garden. This will take some convincing of the gf as will mean losing a fifth of the lawn. Plus she is sure it will be swarming with mozzies
Terrarium. Again some convincing as she will be sure to think I’m filling with crawling life, poison tree frogs and other cute but deadly things.
It is not that I don’t have a free reign to do as I will, just after letting a few things escape in the house I have to clear things that come in, much like customs.
While not being new to gardening and horticulture this will be my first time growing cps. Before now my obsession has been with the more toxic plants that crop up in the uk. Garden is filling up with Digitalis and such and all of them look to attract a huge amount of insect life and I’m thinking the bog garden can be the little dark side of paradise. Also working out how to plant some Giant Gunnera around the bog without it ripping through any membrane, seeds are on standby with many others for this more primal corner of the garden.