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Posts posted by AdamH

  1. Sean - fresh pots of pygmy gemmae can be overgrown with moss within a month of starting them!! :lol:

    Within 2 months, without control, any signs that there was ever any Drosera in the pot to start with can be obliterated by a festering carpet of 1 - 2cm high moss... :lol::evil::evil: It is a real problem here, with the relatively humid climate. It's at its worst in the cooler spring and autumn.

    I think I'm going to try "top-dressing" the pots with decorative grit (0.5 - 3mm size) - the sort that is used in pots of small alpines or small cacti (as long as it's not alkaline?). This may not stop the moss completely, but hopefully would reduce it considerably, and make removal easier as well.

    Anyone have any other ideas :?: :?:

  2. Hmmm.... I supose cutting the moss with small scissors is always an option. I find this moss the biggest problem with growing pygmies, bigger even than summer dormancy! :lol: It almost (but not quite) spoils the fun of growing them! If the amount of effort in maintaining these plants was in proportion to their price, a pot of pygmy Drosera should cost £15 or more!

    Anyway, I realize the moss can be a double-edged sword: I find it can help to protect the plants during dormancy, by protecting the growing point & stipule bud, and "locking in" moisture under the soil surface when the surface is dry, and generally helping to regulate soil conditions. Also it can help in the winter if temperatures drop a bit low, again by protecting the growing point from cold - I had a few neglected pots of pygmies totally overrun by surface moss in the winter, but with careful removal with tweezers this spring, found the plants intact (if a bit pale and "drawn"), and they are now growing fine! This seems to suggest that most of them can survive being overrun by moss, at least for a short time - but I wouldn't want to leave them too long like this!

    But I do wish I could find an easier way to manage the moss!

    P.S. Tip For dormancy: I place the pots in a deep tray of damp silver (silica) sand, with the bottom quarter to three-quarters of the pot depth plunged into the sand - this keeps the lower quarter of the mix damp, while the rest dries out, and seems to work quite well. I keep this tray out of direct sunlight, and only place the pots back in the water tray once growth has resumed in late summer / early autumn.

  3. Do any growers of pygmy Drosera here have any tips for how they deal with the growth of moss? This often threatens to swamp plants, especially those under a year old! The taller growing species (e.g. D.scorpioides, D.dichrosepala, D.stelliflora) and more vigorous species don't have quite the same problem, but for the others I resort to using tweezers to remove the moss from pots, and it's very time consuming! (Although they're worth every minute - like a high-maintenance girlfriend, LOL :lol: !). Of course I could sterilize the mix prior to "sowing" gemmae, but I'm sure that would just provide a temporary delay (moss spores would soon settle on the surface anyway), so I was wondering how everyone else dealt with this problem?

    P.S. I've acquired a few pygmy seeds (D.nitidula ssp leucostigma & D.ericksoniae - thanks George!): what is the best time of year to sow these? I was assuming that, officially as pygmies are summer dormant like tuberous species and start growing in autumn, autumn is the best time to sow, but wanted to check first.

  4. Thanks for the kind offer Sean - hopefully I'll make it over there in the near future. Likewise, if you or George ever happen to "pop over" to Wales, I can show you some nice CP sites with Drosera and Pinguicula (and maybe Utricularia)!

    P.S. Thanks for the photos George - fantastic fieldtrip!

  5. Hi RockLizard:

    droseraholic: The aledae is from queensland - a tropical plant. what is the survival rate when frost bites (sorry about the pun)

    Yup, like Ben says: although D.adelae is a tropical species, in cultivation it seems to tolerate a very wide range of conditions, outside what its natural range would suggest! A real gem of a plant. (Don't forget: even in the tropics, night-time temperatures can dip quote low. See Allen Lowrie vol 3 p. 20 - "In June 1994, I observed ice on the water in buckets early in the morning at Russ Creek on the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberly." - and this is the habitat of Drosera kenneallyi, one of the petiolaris-complex tropical Drosera, which suggests even these plants can take quite low temps, probably as long as the daytime temps are quite high).

  6. I agree, Drosera adelae is IMHO one of the top 5 easiest CPs for beginners. I've even seen it for sale in some local florists. The problem is it sometimes dies off above ground, so people may think the plant has died (I made that mistake with my first plant), but it (almost) always returns from new shoots from the root system if you keep it just damp - you just have to be patient! I never now throw any Sundews away for at least a year if the above-ground plants "disappear"! Some of my D.adelae plants have even survived light frosts! (Not recommended though! The best min is 5C to 10C). Quite an adaptable plant, and one of my favourites! It also makes an excellent houseplant for both sunny or sunless windows, and is useful for controlling fungus gnats and midges.

  7. Hi Olly,

    I would agree with what Sean and Tim have said: tip both plants out of the pot, gently wash the existing compost from the root systems (using rain water only!), then repot into a fresh mix of 50% sphagnum moss peat and 50% sand (silver sand, sharp sand or grit sand - the horticultural type). Whilst repotting, you could cut off a few lengths of root (say 2 to 5cm long) to treat them as root cuttings as well. I would then cut off the existing growth to the soil surface level. It looks like you still have some green leaves on one of the plants - you could try some leaf cuttings as well! Keep the repotted roots moist by standing them in saucers or trays of RAIN Water only (around 1 - 2cm depth), and they should start showing new growth within a period of anything from 1 to 6 months (be patient!).

    Basically, this is a pretty tough plant (as indeed are many sundews): I once had a really bad infestation of aphids and whitefly on one of my D.aliciae plants - I simply cut off the entire rosette(s) to soil level, confident that they would re-sprout from the roots (which they did!). In your case, I would repot into fresh compost to counteract months of watering with mineral water, which is bad for CPs in general and can sour the compost.

    Worst case (hopefully unlikely though!), you lose the plants, and people here (including myself) can help you restock with new seeds / plants for the cost of a stamp!

    Hope this helps...

  8. As I said before, I have had good experience from Wistuba of non-Nepenthes plants - but, from what I've heard both here and elsewhere previously (and several times too), I would definately consider Borneo Exotics (and maybe also Malesiana Tropicals) to be the best source of Neps at the moment. I purchased 2 plants from Rob Cantley at the EEE, and they are an excellent size, "hardened off" and also excellent value for money - and top quality plants too!. I don't think I would order Neps from Wistuba, especially as a "Nep Newbie", due to their small sizes and extra care needed for hardening them off.

    I also fully back up Vic's statements as well - we should feel free to speak truthfully about suppliers on this forum, especially as this forum is entirely independant of any businesses (which make it the best CP forum by far IMHO) - as long as we're not malicious or spead any lies/rumours etc, I can't see a problem with that. Andreas is wrong about that part anyway.


  9. I must say I had a good experience with Andreas Wistuba last year when I received an order of Utricularias (U.humboldtii and U.nelumbifolia - the humboldtii has sadly since gone to the great greenhouse in the sky, but that was more my fault than the nursery :D ).

    As Vic said, Wistuba also has a good range of choice Pinguiculas, so I'm hoping to place an order for some of these in the not too distant future. Obviously I can't vouch for the Nepenthes he offers, but so far I've had a good experience with the other genera. :D

  10. Hi Vic,

    Thanks for the info - yes you did pot mine with a sphagnum top-dressing, obviously this helps somewhat against fungus as you say. I'll be heating my greenhouse to a minimum of 5C (40F), maybe a bit higher (around 7C), which is probably a bit cooler than yours. I guess I'll keep the P.primuliflora a little less waterlogged anyway in winter! Once (if) I master the cultivation of this one, I'll try some of the other SE USA pings. Thanks again. :shock:

  11. Hi Vic,

    Do you still keep them very wet over winter? The one I obtained from you is still growing superbly at the moment (no plantlets so far this year though), I was just a bit concerned about winter due to possibility of fungal infections / rotting if over damp.

    Many thanks! :D

  12. Hi Tamlin,

    Thanks for the advice. Mine were barerooted so I've placed them into a propagator for a couple of weeks to establish, then I'll gradually ventilate more to reduce the humidity a bit, then finally place in a suitable location in the greenhouse. Sounds like they could grow ok in Highland Nepenthes or South American Drosera conditions.

  13. I find that Drosera regia (the "King Sundew") is very efficient, especially for the larger flies (bluebottles, etc) - the beads of glue seem larger on this species than any other I've seen, and the leaves often appear to ties themselves in knots (not really, just the appearance!) around prey. On the other hand, my huge clump of D.binata var dichotoma 'Giant' (Giant Forked Sundew) is the only dew that has captured small birds on 2 occasions (hastily rescued I might add)... :D

  14. I guess that in the lowland tropics, you would be better to try growing the true tropical Sundews, for example the "Woolly Sundews" (species in the Drosera petiolaris-complex), or the species native to the area (for example, forms of Drosera spatulata, D.indica and D.burmannii maybe ?)

    As for the D.capensis, try to give it a cooler period with lower humidity if at all possible, at least for a while. I believe that in the wild in South Africa they often go dormant in the hot summers (and occasionaly in cool winters for some forms / locations), so maybe this is what has happened with the "dead" plants - they are quite resilient usually, so keep just damp and they may well return from the roots in a few weeks to a few months from now. Also propagate frequently from seed, leaf cuttings or root cuttings to maintain them in your collection if you find that they're short-lived under your conditions.

  15. As others here have said, some pygmies seem more prone to go dormant than others, and some (e.g. D.scorpoides for me) sometimes seem to go "semi-dormant"

    I have found that placing the pots of dormant pygmies onto a tray of 2 - 7 cm (approx 1 - 3") deep slightly damp sand seems to help a lot, as it means there is a very small amount of moisture at the base of the pot to prevent complete drying out. My Drosera callistos plants were treated like this and have just emerged from dormancy, growing very healthily now! You could try pushing the bottom 1cm of pot into the sand.

    Also, while it can be a pain with pygmies, I suspect live growing moss (not sphagnum) on the pot surface may help, both as an indicator of soil moisture (it stays relatively green even if the top of the soil is quite dry, but if it starts going brown then maybe the pot is too dry) and an anti-dessicant that helps to keep the pygmy's roots and growing point cooler. The only thing is it's a constant battle to keep trimmed (I use tweezers + scissors) to avoid outgrowing the sundews!

    Also, as others here have mentioned I would recommend a larger deeper pot for many pygmies - at least 10cm (4") diameter as a minimum, to give the depth for the long roots.

    Hope this helps!

  16. Thanks for all the info everyone! I'm sowing the Drosera ordensis today, but I may try to locate plants of D.petiolaris and D.paradoxa as by most accounts these are the easiest / most tolerant species.

    Incidentally, Allen Lowrie in his book "Carnivorous Plants of Australia - volume 3" mentions that in habitat:

    "Temperatures are generally high and the average maximum is in the low 30s with a drop of a few degrees during the rainy season. The average minimum temperature is about 17C. Maxima of 45C are often experienced, whereas in winter temperatures as low as 0C sometimes occur on clear nights. In June 1994 I observed ice on the water in buckets early in the morning at Russ Creek on the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberly. The hottest times are just before and after the wet season."

    (This is from page 20, in the "Perennial tropical Drosera" chapter).

    This suggests that sometimes in nature the plants can experience very low (almost freezing) temperatures occasionally - but that perhaps this would be accompanied during the day by a comparatively huge rise to 25 - 40C!! This temperature difference between night and day would probably be very difficult to reproduce in cultivation, which is why we moderate them, but I guess if the temps for your plants get too low, if you make them as high as possible the following day they may survive - a possible survival / emergency tip?! Also, I note the Mitchell Plateau (Kimberly) location he mentions for cold temps is home to Drosera kenneallyi (see page 184 if you have the above book), so maybe this species is also tolerant of temporary lower temperatures?

    Anyway, thanks again for all the help, I'm going to build a "woolly terrarium"!!! And then try to locate some plants.... :D

    P.S. My 200th CP UK forum post!! :mrgreen:

  17. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for the information. I hope to start growing the Drosera petiolaris-complex plants (also known as the "woollies"!!) soon, indeed I will be sowing some D.ordensis seeds today in a heated propagator, but I need to make a special grow area / terrarium for them first, and any ideas / hints / tips for that would be very welcome. What conditions do you grow them in?

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