Richard Hole

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    Tolga, Australia.

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  1. Richard Hole

    Best way to force Venus Fly Trap dormancy.

    Hi Thanks for the link. It is a lot colder in winter where the VFTs grow naturally than my temperatures are in winter. Normally I do not put them in the fridge. However, the ones I bought at the nursery are not given a dormancy and this winter it is forecast to be warmer than normal so I thought they would do better if given good dormancy. What I may do is not bother about putting them in the fridge when the weather is cooler in winter. However, they will probably experience a longer photo period than they did at the nursery in Melbourne. However, the intensity of the light should be a lot less here as I hope to keep them shaded. Should this work well. Regards Richard.
  2. Hello I received some Venus Fly Traps in the mail a couple of days ago that I purchased bare rooted and wrapped in sphagnum moss. The grower from Melbourne does not let them go into dormancy and keeps them heated all year round. At the moment, days in Melbourne are shorter than at my place. So I thought I would purchase them now in mid winter and put them in the fridge for about a month before potting them just before spring. This is because my winter temperature average range is between about 13 and 21 degrees but may be higher this year due to the forecast. We only rarely get down to 5 for a minimum and I have seen winter maximums in the high 20s. Winter minimums are often as high as 17 degrees. I am at Tolga which is at 757 meters altitude and near Cairns. I have put Venus Fly Traps in the fridge before without adding fungicide and they grew all right when they came out apart from one time when the fridge froze them. So I will try to keep the temperature above 5 and have a thermometer to check the temperature. The plants have been in the mail for a week and in the dark so in that situation it may be best not to increase light much before I put them in the fridge. However, since I receive the plants I read https://www.flytrapcare.com/venus-fly-trap-dormancy that states that you need to be careful when forcing Venus Fly Traps into dormancy as it is best to do it gently and that it is best not to leave them in the fridge if possible. I also read that they still prefer some light when dormant. What I have done is plant the VFTs like normal but close together in a tray in sphagnum and put the tray in a clear plastic bag to allow light to them. At the moment I am leaving them in heavy shade in the greenhouse or fully shaded side of the house of a day where there is no sunlight. I plan to put them in the fridge for about 8 hours late in the afternoon and take them out late at night. Do you know how critical light is in dormancy? I may not get around to putting them in the fridge every day so that would mean they would also get a longer photoperiod on some days. I am not sure if that would be a problem? I value your suggestions. Would the amount of light I plan to give them about right? Also, I thought it may be best to leave the bag ventilated as there is heavy condensation in it. Would that be better? Regards Richard.
  3. Richard Hole

    Best way and time to prune Sarracenia.

    Hello I asked about pruning Sarracenia before on the forum. However, since them I thought of other ideas that could help growers. In the past I have got my workers to selectively only cut the dead leaves and leave the green ones. However, this takes much longer than cutting everything off and would cost me hundreds of dollars in wages more than if they cut everything off in one go at the base just above the crown. I am just wondering if it there is much significant difference to the health of the plant next Spring or Summer between the plants that have everything above the crown removed compared to those that only have the dead parts removed? If there is very little difference it would be much more economical and practical to cut everything off so long as the crown and base buds about half an inch above it are left. However, I could still get my workers to leave only the young shoots with unopened pitchers if they see them. Another advantage of removing everything above the crown is that it would reduce the risk of pests and disease over winter. The leaves are very thick and prevent air and light reaching the base. Therefore, It is likely they pests and fungi would bread there. These would be removed if everything is pruned. If the pruning is done at the end of winter I would expect that there would be more chance that the pests and disease could damage the plants because the thick growth which is mostly dead would remain on the plants for a long time. However, if everything was pruned off at the start of winter, there would be less chance of this happening. I have had trouble with sooty black mould, thrips, and mealy bugs. Another disadvantage of leaving many leaves on over winter is that it is hard to see how damp the soil is. In winter, I heard it is best to keep the soil less damp but care needs to be taken that it does not dry out completely. If leaves are cut off it would be easy to see the soil and judge the best time it is to water. Many people do suggest that the green growth does benefit the plants for the next Spring. However, I wonder by how much and if there have been any experiments to see? Or could the disadvantages of leaving the excessive mostly dead growth on over Winter outweigh the advantages? Bear in mind that I live in the tropics at Tolga, near Cairns. However, I am at 757 meters altitude where Winter temperatures generally average about 12°C of a night and about 21°C during the day. The lowest screen temperatures of a night reach about 5°C but some years we can get a light frost. I have some photos of how my plants currently look in dormancy at http://www.advantagein.com/cp/sarraceniadormancy.htm . Further down the page you can see how they look when they are in the growing season. In my situation and conditions, do you think it would be best to prune everything except the occasional young shoot off? Also, what time of the year is best to prune them off and should I do it in the first month of winter as seen in the photos because this has advantages as explained above? Regards Richard.
  4. Richard Hole

    Best time to take Nepenthes cuttings.

    Hi The terrarium where I will propagate the plants will be heated. However, the greenhouse where I have the plants that I will be taking the cuttings from will not be fully heated. Therefore, if I leave taking the cuttings go until after the cold snap then some of the plants in the greenhouse may get stressed due to the cold and the cutting material may possibly not strike as well. I am wondering if this will be the case for the temperatures I described. Regards Richard.
  5. Richard Hole

    Best time to take Nepenthes cuttings.

    Hello Do you think the season or weather conditions when Nepenthes cuttings are taken will make much difference to the success rate if the cuttings will be planted in a heated terrarium? A cold snap is predicted as Winter has just started, so I thought it may be better to take the cuttings just before it in case the plants became stressed due to the cold. The temperature range is predicted to be from 9 to 20°C from Friday for a few days. Temperatures have mostly been above 15°C up till now. Would it be much advantage to take the cuttings before the cold snap? If I leave it go until spring or Summer, much of the stem may get too old and it will be very long. Also, do you think it may help improve strike rate or at least not reduce it if I soaked the cuttings in water for maybe 4 days? I just wonder if this could help hydrate them. Also, I could add some rooting hormone or honey to the water to help sterilize them and increase root growth. Is that a good idea? I had the idea also because I may not get time to do the cuttings before the cold snap so I could just cut the stems in the correct places and soak them in water inside the house out of the cold until I can pot the cuttings. I tried soaking cuttings in water for months to try to root them before. However, I did not have much success so I am thinking of wrapping dead sphagnum around the base of the cuttings and planting into a mix of peat and perlite. I live at Tolga which is near Cairns, but I am at 757 meters altitude and winter temperatures can get down to 5°C. A common temperature range in winter is between 12 and 22°C. It should be higher in the greenhouse that I will wrap in plastic and heat if it is very cold. Regards Richard.
  6. Richard Hole

    Tissue culture and honey

    Hi Do you know anyone that has tried honey in the tissue culture medium or are you able to try it? It kills bacteria and is good for plants and striking cuttings. I have used it to strike cuttings. Honey may increase the chances of the plants in culture living without infection and it may save a lot of time and expense of the extra sterilization. I thought it would be a low cost safe solution. I read sugar is used in the mix. Honey could possibly replace that. Do you know anyone else that knows a lot about tissue culture and may be interested in trying honey or finding out about it? I am planning on growing Venus Fly Traps for a start. Regards Richard.
  7. Richard Hole

    Venus Flytrap sizes.

    Hello Do you know any webpages which outline how big the traps of the different Venus Flytrap varieties get? If we can find this information, it could help growers to sell more plants as it will make it easier for people to decide what varieties to get For example, It would be good to find out how big the traps of the "Fast" variety gets in comparison to "Big Mouth" variety and how large "Big Mouth" gets in comparison to "big vigorous" and how "big vigorous" compares to "G4xG37" and how "G4xG37" compares to "DC XL". Let me know of any information or if you have a rough idea of comparisons of the above varieties. Regards Richard.
  8. Richard Hole

    Time to spray Sarracenia.

    Hi I live at Tolga near Cairns in tropical Australia at an altitude of 757 meters and the dew is extremely heavy at the moment and wets things outside even by 9 PM. A few people have suggested morning at about 9 AM just after the dew dries on the plants. Do you know the best way to find out if thrips are on the plants before they do damage? Would a microscope be needed? I have struggled to see them through a magnifying glass. If I could identify how many are there it may save having to make a follow up spray as I did spray about 3 weeks ago. Your help is appreciated Regards Richard.
  9. Richard Hole

    Time to spray Sarracenia.

    Hello When is the best time of the day to spray Sarracenia for thrips on sunny days when the maximum temperature is about 28°C and when there is a heavy dew? I am spraying Yates Success that is described at http://www.yates.com.au/products/pest-control/insects-concentrates/yates-success-ultra-insect-control/#5cLPUyQJOW5eMA1J.97 . It says "Do not spray when shade temperatures are near 28°C or higher" "Contains spinetoram, the latest generation insect control derived from beneficial soil bacteria. Spinetoram has translaminar movement, which means it moves into the leaf, making the solution resistant to rain and sunlight six hours after application" I used to do it just before at about sunset when it is cooler. However, heavy dew only a couple of hours later concerned me. However, now a grower suggested that the temperature only has to be below 28°C when the leaves are wet with the spray and that it can be warmer than that after it dries. He therefore suggested spraying in the morning at about 9 or 10AM. Is this correct? Bear in mind the plants are in full sun and the temperature in the sun is higher than 28°C even at 9AM. The above quote does refer to shade temperature though. Your help is appreciated. Regards Richard
  10. Richard Hole

    Nepenthes cuttings in water

    Hi I wonder if the bubbler will aireate all the tray of water if it is a shallow tray. Perhaps it may need to bubble in a few places in the tray and also do you think that such a set up would save having to ever change the water until the cuttings strike? Regards Richard.
  11. Richard Hole

    Nepenthes cuttings in water

    Hi When striking cuttings in water, how long have you been able to leave the water go without changing to fresh water while still getting a good strike? I read it should be changed about once a week but this is not really practical. I wonder if anyone has managed to get a good strike if they only change it every couple of months or not at all perhaps by using a method like i suggested in my last post. In a terrarium it would take a long time to evaporate and would rarely need topping up. Regards Richard.
  12. Richard Hole

    Nepenthes cuttings in water

    Hi I was informed sphagnum needs acid conditions to grow well after I told a friend how I unsuccessfully tried to grow it by hanging it in the greenhouse on some gutter guard. I thought this would be an idea to save space as I thought it would grow on both sides of the gutter guard. So I think it would need something like peat moss under it. Also, some sphagnum is dead when you buy it and does not grow. It will take time to grow enough so in the mean time so I thought I could try something else like striking cuttings in water. However, I read that the water needs to be changed often and this would be time consuming so I wonder if there is something that could be added to the water or if pure water could be used so it would not have to be changed often. Algae should not grow if I could stop the light entering the water. I wonder if a fish tank aerator blowing bubbles in the water would save having to change the water? Regards Richard.
  13. Richard Hole

    Nepenthes cuttings in water

    Hello Thanks for the suggestion. Sphagnum is expensive. I do use it on many of my cuttings where I wrap some around the cutting and pot in peat and perlite in 3 inch tubes. I have dozens of Ventrata cuttings that will take up a lot of room if I do this and it may not be worth using Sphagnum for them. Also, I wonder if a cutting dies in Sphagnum, can the Sphagnum be used soon after for another cutting or could the dead cutting spread fungi or bacteria in it? I heard people use water and they say it works well and it may work out easier if it does not have to changed much, so I thought I would try that as well. Regards Richard
  14. Richard Hole

    Nepenthes cuttings in water

    Hello I am wondering what is the best and easiest way to grow Nepenthes cuttings in water and I am also trying to find a post I once saw on a forum about rooting Nepenthes cuttings in water where Polystyrene was also used to help prop them up. Have you seen it or do you know where it is? I think the only practical way to grow them in water would be to have a lot of them in the one tray of water and have the cuttings fairly close together with perhaps an inch between them. Do you think this would be all right? I just hope it will not spread disease between them. The tray could contain about 50 cuttings. I had them in separate containers before but it is more time consuming to maintain the water levels. I did read that the water needed to be changed often but this is not practical and I cannot see why it would be necessary so long as algae is prevented. I did have that problem. However, this time I will try to stop light getting in which the Polystyrene should do. Also, I wonder if it would matter if the base of the cutting rests on the bottom of the container or if it would be better suspended above it? Regards Richard.