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Posts posted by Chimaera

  1. This is one of the few things about Brexit I am reasonably confident about- there is a huge trade on plants, with a vast proportion of house and garden plants and growing herbs in the UK coming from other EU countries, especially the Netherlands, whilst many seed potatoes in the EU come from Scotland so there will have to be a deal that makes that easy.

  2. I love looking the new life across the garden at this time of year. About a quarter of my Sarracenia have small buds, a lot of Drosera are breaking dormancy and a couple of hardy Pings have appeared at the surface of the compost. 

  3. I would say that some garden centres keep them too dark and too dry. They will recover easily, but if the pitchers have a rather papery feel to them and are a rather dull green, this may be the case. When put in good conditions the pitchers sometimes shrivel and some will go brown- this is not as shocking as it looks as new and strong ones will come up and replace them. 


  4. I have just noticed that there are loads of tiny Ping seedlings in my mini bog (I only started it this year so it has no seed bank in the soil) where the P. grandiflora set seed recently- presumably this shows that really fresh seed will germinate immediately without stratification (like in some Primula). Is this the case with other temperate species? Is it worth sowing temperate Drosera immediately for that reason?

  5. I have a similar sized greenhouse and started collecting a few carnivores last year (I have a couple before that)- I now have a multi use with tomatoes on one side, cucumbers at the end and shelving the CPs (and chillis) on the other side. They all seem top get on very well and I no longer have any problems for fruit flies!.

    I would suggest go for vigorous and interesting plants first. Many nurseries sell good selections as well as ones on here and on eBay. If you get some materials to make your own compost you can buy bare root and save money. As some Drosera and Utricularia self seed all over the place, you will acquire a range of these without asking for them- indeed if you see photos of Sarracenia for sale and there are Drosera in the same pot, ask and the seller will often give you them for nothing. Some you will never identify, but if they are nice plants, so what?

    I have a water butt on one greenhouse gutter and the other leads into a bucket that I use for data to day watering when it has water in it.



  6. I have a couple like that and have them as "S. leucophylla based hybrid 1, 2 and 3". The parentage of these is often complex and it seems that both purpurea group and rubra group species are often involved, both giving a more clump-forming habit. As these are mass produced they are bred less for their finesse and more for being tough and getting to sale size quickly. But saying the they are not to be snobbish about as they are often good plants.


  7. I know that these are the commonest CPs going and everyone has seen them before, but this is the first time I have looked closely at these since growing CPs, and I recon I have learnt a lot. I was here for the geology, not the plants and only encountered D. rotundifolia and P. vulgaris but their occurrences interested me. There were almost none of either in bogs along streams or around larger ponds- I think these had too much sheep dung input and so too high in nutrients as they were filled with other bog plants. Most were in small bogs in depressions surrounded by rocks with very little stream input. The Drosera were almost all growing on Sphagnum or rarely other mosses I saw none on pare peat. It seems there were more in the lower, wetter parts but bigger plants were slightly higher and drier. I saw no Pings growing on Sphagnum and most were on bare peat, the exceptions were on a quarry wall where some were growing on non-Sphagnum mosses or onto almost bare rock.



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  8. I have done the stupid thing of assuming that there would be a decent amount of rain in Spring and not bothering yet to store any water other than what is on the water butt. The butt is now a third empty  (starting a mini bog used a lot of water) and yet another supposedly rain laden front passes by with not enough rain to wet the ground. I would guess in North London we have had 3mm of rain in the last 8 weeks- not exactly April Showers.This is not a problem unless this passes into another Summer like last year and then my water will not last long.

  9. Last year I had an experiment at cross pollenating Sarracenia (leucophylla-based hybrid x purourea and leucophylla-based hybrid x complex hybrid) as an experiment and although the latter cross only gave me a tiny number of seeds, I have a 90% germination rate of both crosses so am feeling pretty pleased. 

    There are buds forming on a variety of forms and I would like to have a proper go at crossing but have a few questions to help choosing what to do:

    I assume anthocyanin absence is a double recessive gene and so there is no point crossing an AF plant with one that is not AF if I want any AF offspring. Is this correct?

    There are a number of rubra group /alata X purpurea group hybrids for sale that are larger and fatter than either parent. Is this normal for a cross of this type, or are these large forms exceptional and unusual?

    If I crossed 2 different colour forms of S. flava (e.g. ornata x rubricopora) would the offspring be one colour form or the other (i.e. colour genetics simple) or would they be intermediate?

    I have read that self pollination does not work very well and gives a low viability. Is this true?



  10. It's been hitting 20 degree in my greenhouse this week, even with the door open, and a couple pf Sarracenia have buds, with many others having the growing tip swelling and ready to release buds or pitchers, meanwhile many still have perfect pitchers on them from last year. Several Drosera are breaking dormancy as well. Planted up a mini-bog at the weekend- I wanted to wait till I have trimmed off the old pitchers but clearly new growth is coming before the old has fully died.

  11. I have a soft spot for N. madagascarensis, as it is the only pitcherplant I have seen in the wild (I did some work in Madagascar 20 years ago) and would like to know if it would be realistic to grow it as a windowsill plant without terraria etc. alongside highland Nepenthes that seem to do OK. Firstly it seems to be difficult to obtain in the UK. Also reading online there seems to be a lot of disagreement about it. I have seen it said to need lowland conditions, low light and be difficult, others that it grows in highland conditions, in full light and is easy.

    Where I saw it, in the south of the island, it was growing on a partly flooded sandy savannah (more what I would imagine to be 'classic' Sarracenia environment) with no shade and, although in the tropics, it was decidedly chilly at night due to cool sea breezes (altitude of about 1 metre above sea level). Apparently it also grows further north in proper rainforest conditions. Could the contradictions about growing it be due to some plants being from the hot, shaded north and others from the cooler, sunny south?

    Does anyone have experience of this species in the conditions that would be met as a houseplant?

  12. In my very limited experience, the advantages of buying now are:

    You scratch that itch, you get to see the first pitchers forming, nurseries will have plants ready to go so no waiting

    and waiting a few weeks:

    It is a bit warmer and you do not get quite so cold playing with wet compost, any danger of plants getting fungal disease is over, and a lot of people are dividing their plants, so there is a bigger range of material for sale here and on online auctions

  13. As someone who decided this time last year that I wanted to get a few CPs for the (unheated) greenhouse (I intended to get maybe half a dozen plants, I now have 60 a year later!) I know the problem. If you buy from a proper grower (nursery or seller here), flytraps, Sarracenia and any temperate sundews will be dormant and you will be staring at an active and boring plant for the next 2 months before they burst into life. Some garden centres may have some of these that look nice and growing. Avoid them;  these have not been allowed to go dormant and the stress of putting them into a 'normal' season may kill them or stunt them. 

    Other sundews (like the Cape or Alice sundew) will be growing, albeit slowly, as will Nepenthes. With Nepenthes especially, I would not trust the postal system to be uniformly warm this time of year, and a night in a warehouse at -2 will kill them. 

    If you want to save a bit of money, you can buy ready made compost suitable for the Sarracenia'VFT/sundews and buy the plants bare rooted and pot them yourself. Look on here and online auctions and you can get dormant Sarracenia at great prices (but check they are adult plants and not seedlings). You can do that now or wait till March-April.

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  14. I am a sucker for the 'half price half dead' section at the garden centre and have acquired a couple of quite nice Sarracenia from that section of my local Homebase (including a huge one reduced from £35 to £2.50- one grow point was rescuable but that is doing well). The problem is putting names to them. Does anyone know which wholesalers tend to supply cheap bulk CPs in this country so I can check the ID?

    Many seem to be from Carniflora, the bright plastic label with a fly on it being a give away, and the plants match well to the website. Others do not match, including a couple of S. leucophylla based forms that are clearly not true species. These seem to match varieties on the Araflora website (S. x leucophylla "Big Daddy". S. x leucophylla "Royal Redwhite" (the latter is the giant one I rescued; both have a curious 'pinched' lid like that of S. catesbaei which I assume in in their ancestry) as well as what looks like  Dionaea "jumbo"). Is Araflora (or a supplier linked to them) a likely source?

    I know if I bought only from reputable sources i would not have this problem, and most of my collection is from proper growers, but I am a cheapskate and can't resist it.