Full Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Chimaera

  1. 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?



  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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.

    • Thanks 1

  6. 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.

  7. Who knows, not least the people we pay to sort this out for us. At the very least it is likely that CITES listed forms will not be able to be traded without difficult and expensive permits. As this will include all Sarracenia and Nepenthes species, there will be a problem. (I often send CITES listed fish and shark material between museums and this will be a real pain for me). Although this is the least of our worries......

  8. I would think the main problem is that house plants are not fashionable and many people are not willing or able to put in the effort to look after all but the most indestructible. There are 2 excellent garden centres near me in N London who offer really good ranges of outdoor plants but with very poor ranges of indoor stuff; maybe a third small cacti (unnamed), a third showy orchids and a third 'large green' plants. There is sometimes a tray of mixed small carnivores. all looking very sad. This is pretty much the same range as local DIY shops sell for half the price. Cacti and those types of orchids are almost 'decorations' and can be used for a few months in an unsuitable room and them replaced; maybe that is where houseplants are going. On the other hand there is a local company doing small succulents as decor pieces, with nice, hand made pots and charging an arm and a leg for them, but again these are plants that can survive for some time without being treated as plants but instead are exclusive decor items. 

    My local Homebase gets an even worse set of houseplants, but does often have a range of rather unexciting carnivores, so I keep a look out for the 'half price half dead' section and have snapped up some half decent Sarracenia there (In the Summer I got a very large S. leucophylla hybrid of some type reduced from £35 to £2.99 and have managed to rescue the largest  of the 4 grow points and it now looks very nice.



  9. 20 hours ago, Picavorus said:

    Quite feasible, as I know a few people not far way who are in Lancashire and have similar TDS levels.  We never have to de-scale any appliances either.  

    If you look at a geology map of the Peaks you will see 2 main rock types; the Dark Peak is made of Millstone Grit- this is sandstone and shales with virtually no carbonate or other solubles in them, so runoff into the reservoirs with be low TDS and probably rather acidic. In the White Peak you have Carboniferous Limestone, a totally different beast made of soluble calcium carbonate so runoff and aquifers there will have a really high TDS and probably be alkaline. All those caves are the result of water dissolving this limestone, so as caves are made the material goes into the water.

  10. I was in a similar situation a year ago and have gone from 4 types then to about 30 now. I got really interested in the many shapes (especially) and colours of Sarracenia pitchers and started trying to get one at least of each main morphology- flask-like (pursuer and hybrids), small and hooked, clump forming trumpets , tall trumpets, and added a couple of different vft colour forms and some different Drosera growth forms (rosette forming, clumping (capensis  etc), forked (binata). I also have some of the native species of Drosera and Pings with the idea that these should be easy to keep.



  11. 2 hours ago, Ezza said:

    Poured with rain here in Devon yesterday filled both butts to brim,just as well as the RO unit I bought from a company on Ebay came with no instructions,big thanks to "Stu" for advice on pipe colours,now just have to source the filters before butts run dry again.


    Nothing in the SE; 20% chance tomorrow and 40% on Thursday....

  12. On 6/29/2018 at 11:18 AM, David Ahrens said:

    Thanks Stu for your advice.

    Chimaera, I use an Ecowater distiller in the flat. It runs off one US gallon in about 4 hours. Distillers can be more expensive than deionisers but they are not wasteful with water. They are a bit power hungry though. I have had mine running all week and have a 25 litre container of water to take around to my wife's.

    Thanks a lot, I'm looking into options. 

  13. Anyone with suggestions for a low price, simple RO unit that can easily be attached to a hose? I am using about 2-3 litres of water a day  (I only have 6 seed tray size water baths) so only need a low quantity, so price and simplicity is key. Went to "borrow" some distilled water from work and some bugger had broken the chamber of the distiller and not told anyone, so that isn't working now.

  14. 3 minutes ago, Guy said:

    This intrigued me, so I've tried it!

    We have a water softener, so it was possible to test both hard and softened water before and after boiling. The water was boiled in a kettle, just once. Here's the results from my TDS hand held meter. 

    Hard water before boiling 259 ppm, after boiling 268 ppm.  Softened water before boiling 276 ppm, after boiling 311 ppm.

    No idea why the increase was so much greater for the softened water compared to the hard water.  Others may be able to shed light on this.

    It would seem boiling isn't a good idea.  No doubt the increases would have been even greater if the water had been left to boil for any length of time.


    Interesting. So the theory is not matched by the results. It may be that your water contains sulphate which is not removed by boiling. I think at least some water softeners replace calcium with sodium; it may be that if you boiled in a kettle with limescale in it you reversed the reaction, with the addition of losing some water. My chemistry is not up to thinking why.

  15. The theory is that most things dissolved in water get concentrated as you boil water off, but bicarbonate is different; you drive off CO2 which is less soluble in hot water and the bicarbonate ions that were associated with it then bond with any calcium present and precipitate out as limestone, so TDS drops until you run out of calcium or CO2 levels reach that soluble in boiling water. If water has magnesium in it (there should be a lot in NE England), this does not bond with bicarbonate the same as calcium and precipitation is different. On various brewing websites the chemistry is explained far better than I can.

    • Like 1