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Everything posted by Chimaera

  1. I don't know about Cps, but in Rhododendron it seems that calcium is not a problem, indeed calcium shortage is very damaging. It is raised pH that killed them, and you can add gypsum to give calcium with no problem. I also don't see mineral phosphate as a problem unless anyone knows otherwise; it is not very soluble and is apparently phosphorus is not an element Cps get from their food.
  2. I know this is a common topic, but exactly what in growing medium is and isn't acceptable for carnivores? Clearly calcium carbonate and high pH, and nitrates are out, but not sure about other salts. The reason I ask is I am a palaeontologist and regularly sieve sand from Morocco for small fossils and end up with a lot of sand left over once the fossils are removed (I have 15 kilos in my office at the moment). This is calcium carbonate free but contains small amounts of gypsum (Calcium sulphate), iron oxides and a quite a lot of mineral phosphate (mostly fragments of dinosaur bone; not very soluble). Any ideas?
  3. Thanks a lot, it is a waiting game then...
  4. At risk of Nepenthes specialists rolling their eyes with this old question... I have been given a "supermarket" Nepenthes, presumably ventricosa or a similar hybrid, that has already had the 'first batch' of pitchers removed before I got it, and is now growing fast (grown from 20 to nearly 50 cm in 4 months) but not forming pitchers. There are tendrils with a terminal 'club' on the leaves but these eventually shrivel rather than form pitchers. It appears to be 2 plants within a small l' hanging pot' and is in a west facing bathroom (alongside various orchids). Can I encourage pitcher growth or does it happen when the plant wants to? Should I repot and divide it and move it to another room, or maybe move it to an unheated greenhouse for the summer once the weather gets warmer? Can I encourage each plant to branch rather than grow as a single stem? Charlie
  5. Is the idea of keeping temperate carnivores less wet in Winter for any real biological reason (I assume most northern bogs are at their most flooded in Winter; they are in the UK), or is is for horticultural reasons so plants are easier to handle and it keeps fungal diseases down?
  6. I would also suggest go to RHS Wisley which is not too far away; it is more about gardening than the plants themselves but has some really nice stuff.
  7. Thanks, I tried it in summer but have now got a couple of D.anglica, and I will try them when they wake up in Spring
  8. Has anyone tried to replicate Darwin's classic experiment on the reason some plants are carnivores? As far as I can tell he placed items that were carbon rich and nitrogen poor (bread, sugar water) on some leaves of sundew, and some nitrogen rich, carbon poor (meat, his urine) on others, and only the latter caused the leaves to close up showing they needed the nitrates. I tried to with D. capensis but the leaves did not noticeably respond in any case (and only slightly to insects). I assume he used one of the native species. I would like to replicate and photograph this for teaching and general interest.
  9. Chimaera


    Hi, I am Charlie, I use the name Chimaera after a group of strange fishes I do research on. I am in North London and got introduced to carnivores a long time ago when I was working in Madagascar and saw pitchers in the wild there. I later got some unnamed Sarra hybrids, but being in a flat couldn't overwinter them so gave the survivors away. Fast forward 15 years and after having to let an allotment plot go, last year my 6year old some got me a wild-type VFT as a present (for himself I suspect), and later got s couple of Sarras and a D. capensis (on which i tried to replicate Darwin's 'urine experiment' without clear success). These have done so well in a cold greenhouse that I have recently bought a few more plants while they are dormant, mostly wild type species of Sarra and a couple of others. Looking forward to seeing them grow in Spring. Please be prepared for some "I have answered this one dozens of times before" questions.