Full Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by johns

  1. 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.

  2. Johns thanks for providing a link to the CF's and reflectors as I am clueless about artificial lighting. Could you maybe send a link to a T8 setup as I don't know what to look for? Just pricing now but will go down the route next winter.

    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.

  3. Here is an example:

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)

  6. See , "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.

  7. I've just got to try sourcing some now. Does anyone know where i might be able to purchase some from, as i have never seen any type of utricularia for sale at the garden centres which i frequent.

    I've seen U. graminifolia for sale at aquarium/pet stores. You'll probably also find it at some aquarium (or carnivorous plant) webshops.
    • Like 1
  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. My question is: what is the minimum photoperiod for a VFT in dormancy? flytrapcare says 8-10 hours is ideal, which I do not think would be possible on my north-facing window counter :cray:

    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.

  11. While in Finland I visited the Valkmusa national park. Valkmusa is located in southern Finland and covers 17 square kilometres of several different types of mires. I only saw a small part of the park, as I only followed the 2.5 KM board walk. Visitors are advised not to walk on the mires during the nesting season, or I would have liked to explore further.

    I was impressed with the size of the place - it's a rare sight to see bogs stretching far into the distance. The pictures were taken on june 23.
















    • Like 1
  12. To avoid fungal problems associated with soil I've fridge stratified some Drosera filiformis seeds on kitchen paper dampened with distilled water.

    I wonder if anybody here has done this and have some tips on how to best get the seeds onto the soil?

    In this batch there are few enough seeds that I can pick up the seeds individually and place them on the soil surface, but I'd prefer a more practical approach.

    One idea I had was to carefully tear away the top layer of paper along with the seeds, and letting it dry so that I can tap off the seeds. But I'm concerned that the seeds will be damaged if they're dehydrated after stratification.


  13. I think you're right, I initially discounted it because all the Phlebodium (where P. aureum is now placed) I've seen have had greyish green leaf blades. (It might be a different Phlebodium though, best to check all of the similar-looking species to get a correct ID.)

  14. Autumn last year this Drosera capensis was down to a few sad looking leaves after being attacked by aphids. I then sprayed it and took it with me to the office, and placed it under a 7W Philips LED bulb (same as in this thread) on a 14-15 hour photoperiod.

    It's on a very shady windowsill above a panel heater, and humidity is likely very low most of the time. (About the amount of curved leaves, my coworker is slightly overzealous in feeding the plant.)

    Judging by the colouration of leaves and length of the flowerstalk it's doing pretty well. Another indication that white LED bulbs are suitable for growing smaller carnivorous plants.

    Sorry about the bad picture quality.


  15. Have anyone here a member of British pteridological society? I`m thinked to join, but i have to ask can i join it, becouse i live in Finland? How it work?

    I joined the BPS in January. I emailed to ask if I could submit the membership form by email, and also if I could pay with PayPal. I then scanned and sent the membership form by email, and received a PayPal invoice. No trouble at all. Perhaps because I mentioned that I was interested in the spore exchange, I received the 2012 spore list by email shortly afterwards.

    If I've understood correctly they only send out spores in March/April, so this is the right time to join.

    I have some spare Pellaea viridis spores that you can have for free, send me a message if you're interested.

  16. I'm a beginning fern grower. On the windowsill I have garden centre cultivars of Nephrolepis cordifolia and Asplenium australasicum, spore grown Asplenium/Phyllitis scolopendrium, unknown Adiantum species, and Pellaea viridis.

    Of these my favourites so far are A. scolopendrium and P. viridis. The others aren't doing that well for me, either because of the low indoor humidity, or because as a CP grower I'm bad at at repotting and fertilizing plants in a timely fashion. A. scolopendrium isn't really a houseplant, my spore grown plants are just being kept indoors until they reach a certain size (and the weather warms up), but it seems they can do OK indoors.

    I've only had Pellaea viridis since october, but it shows promise. It's drought-tolerant and has a weedy reputation. On a whim I scattered spores in a few random pots, 2-3 months later there are a few small sporelings visible.

    Here are some ferns recommended as house ferns in the book Fern Grower's Manual:

    Adiantum hispidulum

    Asplenium antiquum

    Asplenium australasicum

    Asplenium bulbiferum

    Asplenum daucifolium

    Asplenium nidus

    Cibotium schiedei

    Cyrtomium falcatum

    Davallia fejeensis

    Davallia mariesii var. stenolepis

    Microsorum grossum

    Microsorum punctatum

    Nephrolepis exaltata

    Pellaea rotundifolia

    Phlebodium aureum

    Phlebodium pseudoaureum

    Phlebodium bifurcatum

    Pteris cretica

    Pteris tremula

    Rumohra adiantiformis

    Many of those are big and may not be suitable for terrariums. The book also lists recommendations for terrarium ferns, but in my opinion these recommendations may be little worth for ferns, because compared to CPs it's difficult to obtain specific species. That said, the British Pteridological Society has a spore exchange which offers spores of very many fern species, and webshops selling terrarium plants sometimes offer a few ferns (see

    Growing ferns from spores is a little more difficult than sowing seeds, but definitely doable. (Ferns have a interesting life cycle, worth reading about if you're interested.)

    There are many ferns which can grow outdoors year round. Some have different colours (e.g. Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') or look unusual (Cyrtomium fortunei, A. scolopendrium). Garden centres only sell a few different species here in Norway.