johns

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johns last won the day on June 29 2012

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  1. Came across this, thought somebody here might find it interesting: http://www.the-scien...-Burglar-Watch/
  2. Nice pictures, thanks for posting. Potato ferns are interesting indeed. I'm currently reading A Natural History of Ferns (highly recommended), and there's a short chapter about Solanopteris. To mention a few interesting things: they grow high up in the rain forest canopy, and the ants inhabiting the tubers (actually modified stems) attack anyone unlucky enough to poke the plants. Organic matter accumulates inside a tuber until there's no more room for ants, at which point the ants find a new tuber, and the walls of the old tuber degrade so it becomes permeable to water. Roots covering the walls of the tuber can then absorb water and nutrients from the now spongy tuber. The spongy old tubers can be an important source of water in the harsh conditions in the forest canopy.
  3. Just to be clear, the ebay link is an example, not a product recommendation. I haven't tried any of their products so can't vouch for them. It's hard to give a definitive answer about what you should look for in a T8 setup (I think that's the reason you rarely see definitive answers), but I'll mention the options that I have seen. I'm not an expert by any means, but have spent a bit of time looking into this. You can sometimes find industrial fixtures with a reflector (e.g. two tubes mounted inside a deep reflector) cheap in hardware stores, the downside is that you may need an electrician to install them. Somebody once suggested to me to use reflectors made for aquaria, which are made to be clipped on to the tubes, together with a regular fluorescent fixture - this might be cheap and work well, if there is enough room in the fixture. Aquarium light units can be used, but can be expensive. T8 is generally cheaper than T5 HO though. They're made to be plugged into a outlet so don't require installation other than mounting. Look for ones that either come with reflectors, or are made to be used with clip-on reflectors. And make sure to buy ones that are made for a standard tube length. Finally there are fixtures made specifically for growing plants, e.g. LightWave T5 (T5 HO, not T8). These are a bit more compact and have reflectors. Look at online hydroponics stores for these. I don't think I've seen any such fixtures that are made for T8 tubes. I use (T5 HO) aquarium light fixtures in my two terrariums, mainly because they have a decent design and are easy to obtain. I haven't tried the other mentioned options. Hope this helps.
  4. Here is an example: http://r.ebay.com/tyFyvI Basically the bulb is mounted inside the reflector, and light that would otherwise travel sideways/upwards is reflected downwards to the plants. But if you're planning to grow more than two plants under lights, you may be better off using T5 HO or T8 fluorescent tubes (using a fixture with a reflector is important for efficiency.) Finally, depending on your available windowsills you may not need artificial lighting. I grow my my venus flytraps without artifical lighting, keeping them on a cool north-facing windowsill in winter, on a south-facing windowsill in early spring and outside from summer until regular night frosts arrive in autumn. I keep my cape sundews (Drosera capensis) on a south-facing windowsill in winter, they look a bit sad (lacking colour and dew) in midwinter, but survive seemingly without problems.
  5. A 40 watt CFL should be plenty for just two plants, but it depends on the distance and the lamp/reflector. The distance should be as small as possible while allowing enough light spread, perhaps 15-20 cm. You'll also want to use a lamp/reflector that ensures that as much as possible of the light reaches the plant. Using a CFL without a reflector, over half of the light will be wasted.
  6. This is what my Pinguicula 'tina' looks like at the moment. It's kept on a east(ish)-facing windowsill which receives no direct sunlight in the winter. The temperature ranges from maybe 16-21 degrees. I gradually reduce watering in the autumn.
  7. Is the fan on 24/7 or is it on the same timer as the lights? It might help to run it 24/7 if possible.
  8. johns

    Byblis liniflora

    I've grown Byblis liniflora from seed twice now. To my surprise the seed germinated within ten days both times. The first time I used seed from BestCarnivorousPlants, and the second time I used seed from ICPS (stored in the fridge for a year before sowing). No idea if I've just been very lucky. (Sowing conditions: not very bright light, approximately equivalent to bright shade, and 26-28 degrees during the day.)
  9. See http://www.carnivorousplants.org/seedbank/seedgermguide.htm , "Temperate Drosera" Basically the answer is that you should sow the seed outdoors now so that they will get several weeks of cold and wet, just as they would in nature. You might want to use a sieved part of the soil mix as a top dressing, and cover with fleece or otherwise protect the pots from the rain so that seed won't be washed down into the soil. The seeds will germinate in the spring.
  10. I've seen U. graminifolia for sale at aquarium/pet stores. You'll probably also find it at some aquarium (or carnivorous plant) webshops.
  11. I sometimes treat small amounts of soil with boiling water, a method often recommended for sowing fern spore. Basically you fill a pot with soil, cover with 2-3 layers of kitchen paper to prevent the soil from being washed out of the pot, and pour boiling water through the soil. After treatment the pot is then put in a airtight box or zip-loc bag and allowed to cool before sowing. I don't remember the recommended amount of water at the moment, I would guess at least three or four times the soil volume. I think it's more effective if the pot is standing in a deep saucer. This method doesn't sterilize the soil, but it kills pathogens in the top layer of the soil which can harm or overgrow seedlings or fern gametophytes.
  12. Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea can probably be left outdoors in the Finnish winter. Mine has survived outdoors here during the past two winters in a pot, protected only by a layer of snow. I think it might be worth trying to put at least one of your Sarracenia on a cool, north-facing windowsill through the winter. Natural Sarracenia habitats can be surprisingly warm in winter, so the reduced photo period may be enough to make them go dormant. For example, look at the winter temperatures in Wilmington, North Carolina. In November the average high is 21 degrees Celsius, average low 7 degrees, with a mean temperature of 14 degrees. Yet, presumably the native Venus flytraps and pitcher plants are going dormant by then. It's possible to program some electric heaters to maintain a lower temperature during night, e.g. 8 degrees. I guess you can probably also get a similar effect by programming a timer so that the heater is on maybe half the time during the night. Doing that would make the room temperature a little more like that of North Carolina, and you'd save electricity. I keep my Venus flytrap and Sarracenia outdoors as long as I can in autumn, putting them indoors in case of heavy night frosts so that they will go dormant naturally before I put them on the (4-10 degrees Celsius) windowsill for the winter.
  13. johns

    Where to put my VFT

    I've successfully overwintered venus flytraps and Sarracenias on a south-facing windowsill where the temperature is kept between 4 to 10 degrees celsius. The windowsill receives a little sunlight at the height of the day but is otherwise dim, and the day length here is just below six hours around winter solstice.
  14. The default now seems to be to show all unread posts, rather than the new posts since the last visit. One can choose "New since my last visit" on the sidebar on the left to get the old behaviour.