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Everything posted by lesthegringo

  1. *Update* My Maxima, Sibuyanensis X Maxima, Truncata (Ventricosa X Trusmadiensis) , Nepenthes veitchii x burbidgeae, Nepenthes truncata x mira and Nepenthes Truncata striped x Insignis Biak have all either started producing basals, or dormant nodes on the stems are budding, or both
  2. Growing CP's and having a job where you get moved around is a frustrating thing. I've been given the heads up that I will be moving on at the turn of the year, so now I am in my last 9 months with these particular plants. Sad to say that over the next few months I will be selling them on, and some lucky people will be able to take away some very large and beautiful plants. I plan to give some to some local schools too, to try and encourage youngsters to have some interests in something beautiful that does not involve a PlayStation or Xbox. Nonetheless, I will feel a pain every time one of the plants leaves the greenhouse. I'm not sure that I will be able to have plants in my new (proposed) destination, so will try and maximise my time with these. (a very sad) Les
  3. So a few months on from my last post, I am now convinced that the live sphagnum method is the best for the seedlings, at least the ones I have managed to grow. The ones on sphagnum are way ahead of the ones on other media, although to be fair the sphagnum is actually growing on the same media, it just acts as an extra layer separating the two. It seems to make sure that the humidity and wetness levels are good and constant. I would say that losses of seedlings is probably equal between the two media, but some of my 18 month old seedlings are 8cm across in the sphagnum, and only 1 to 1.5 in the other media For me, if I were to do it again, it would all be on beds of sphagnum
  4. Mine have plenty of room for the roots and the bottom of the greenhouse gets down to just below 10 deg C in winter; growth definitely stopped during August and September. Got some lovely leaves and I can see lots of the white thick roots spreading around, but they don't have anything to limit them. May have to try putting some in a smaller pot to see what happens Les
  5. From my experience over the last year, I think that in warm conditions adult plants are pretty tolerant of perhaps overwet onditions as long as the excess is allowed to drain away or as Manders says, in a deep enough pot to keep the pooled water away from the roots. Seems preferable to the potential of them drying out too. When it comes to seedlings I think slightly drier is better, I'm pretty sure that I lost quite a few seedlings through them being too wet. While the substrate on which they germinated seemed less important, most of the ones that have done well are growing on live sphagnum, which keps the roots moist while allowing excess water to drain right away. Les
  6. Guys, I have a reasonable number of Nepenthes plants, most purchased from specialist traders. I have a few species, but most are hybrids, with quite a few being hybrids of hybrids too. You buy them often because of the interesting mix, or in some cases because they will supposedly produce large showy pitchers. When all is said and done they are all nice, but truth be told, some of them were purchase because you hope that the plant will have particular characteristics. Truncata and its hybrids are a favourite of mine due to the impressive pitchers. Veichii and it's hybrids give great colouration and shape. Maxima hybrids give reliably pretty hybrids. But I did buy some hybrids to get the some of the more dramatic types. For instance, I have some Lowii hybrids, apparently. Now I know that the upper pitchers are the ones that give Lowii its fame, but at the moment the hybrids I have are only producing the lower pitchers, and will continue to do so for a while yet I suspect before any uppers will appear. So that's the issue really - it says Lowii X Maxima on the plant tag, but it just looks like a dark Maxima. Was I sold a Maxima X Heinz or is it really a Lowii X Maxima? The Truncata mixes are easy to spot, the pitchers are bulky and there is the particular leaf end shape, Veitchii are hairy and have the very vertical peristome, but there are a lot where I look at the plant tag and wonder! Let's face it, you can't guarantee it and it will be years before we know either way! Les
  7. I have lots of U reniformis growing very happily in sphagnum in a number of places in my nepenthes house, with leaves three inches across. Not a single flower though. Is there any trick to getting them to bloom? Cheers Les
  8. Over here in Australia I can get an imidocloprid based insecticide in a spray that I have used on droseras, dioneias, nepenthes, sarracenis, utricularia, heliamphora and cephalotus without any ill effects Cheers Les
  9. ***sorry about the weird formatting of this message, despite closing IE and logging out, every time I went to reply to this the draft message was still there and could not be deleted!*** So, the following don't seem to show any propensity to want to produce basal shoots (those with an asterisk I think would be too small, those in bold are pretty big plants) Nepenthes (eymae x maxima) x platychila Nepenthes (lowii x veitchii)-yellow x (boschiana x campanulata) Nepenthes Hamata * Nepenthes Maxima Nepenthes Rafflesiana x Ampullaria Nepenthes sumatrana x boschiana Nepenthes Truncata (Ventricosa X Trusmadiensis) Nepenthes Truncata striped x Insignis Biak Nepenthes truncata x mira Nepenthes Veitchii Bario Nepenthes veitchii x burbidgeae Nepenthes Ventricosa x Ephippiata Nepenthes Fusca On the other side of the coin, these all seem to produce multiple growing points (note the Bicalcarata I would have thought was too small, but there you go) Nepenthes glandulifera x veitchii -H/L Nepenthes kongkandana x veitchii-H/L Nepenthes lowii x (sibuyanensis x maxima) Nepenthes Maxima X Lowii Nepenthes sibuyanensis x maxima Nepenthes sumatrana x (platychila x fusca) Nepenthes Truncata Nepenthes Truncata (Lowii X Spectabilis) Nepenthes truncata x (carunculata var robusta x merrilliana) Nepenthes truncata x macfarlanei Nepenthes truncata x merrilliana (a) Nepenthes truncata-giant x alata-giant Nepenthes veitchii x burbidgeae Nepenthes Ventricosa X Rafflesiana Nepenthes Bicalcarata Nepenthes bellii x [(veitchii x maxima) x veitchii] Nepenthes Hamata X Truncata Nepenthes bellii x boschiana Nepenthes Ventricosa Nepenthes Ventricosa Nepenthes Maxima x Vetchii Nepenthes Spathulata X Tiveyi Nepenthes Alata Nepenthes boschiana x (truncata x campanulata)
  10. Interesting discussion guys. As for which do and which don't, I have to list them; off to the greenhouse I go! Cheers Les
  11. Thanks Manders. I can attest to the theory being at best dubious, as my (for example ) N Sibuyanensis x Boschiana fits firmly into that category and despite being a healthy vigorous plant is not sending out shoots. Others in my collection have five or six but the stems go up and entwine on the string lattice strung across the roof of the greenhouse. Curiously the biggest offender is my N Maxima, which I always believed to be one that was renowned for sending out shoots. Instead it has a four foot vine with lovely upper pitchers but stubbornly refuses to put any other growth out. Generally, i believe conditions to be good. Light is good, they are getting full sun (albeit through a twin wall polycarbonate sheet) for a lot of the day, temps in the high 20's and humidity in the high 70's to low 80's. With only a couple of exemptions they are flourishing, I'm getting 10 to 14 inch pitchers with beautiful colouration from some of them, and no shortage of pitchers from the others. Oh well, I will have to let nature take its course Les
  12. Guys, a couple of my nepenthes have vined, and are producing some nice upper pitchers. As there is only one growing point, of course they have stopped producing the lower pitchers, which in some cases are more showy than the uppers. So, I don’t want to cut off the growing point, as this will stop the upper pitchers for at least a few months, but would like some basal shoots to appear, as they have in some of the other plants. Is there a way of inducing them without drastic surgery? I know that cutting the tip will give you a cutting you can root, but right now I am happy with the quantity of plants I have Cheers Les
  13. Bit of a more positive update today, at least when it comes to the Alata cuttings. I'll have get photosclater but all the cuttings that are not growing tip cuttings have growth from the axillary buds, about half an inch to an inch long depending on the cutting. I haven't exposed the root area of the cuttings yet, I'm in no hurry and don't want to rink them through rash action. The two cuttings that were from the growing tips are still alive and apparently well, however no new growth is yet evident. Again, I'll just leave them to it and see how they go. I suspect the lower winter temperature was a factor in the slow growth of the cuttings, we are heading into spring here now so maybe the growth rate will take a hike. As for the Maxima x sibuyanensis arial cuttings, nope, it was a failure. However as I mentioned above, I didn't affect the main plant so some nice upper pitchers are forming. Will get some pics to put on here later Les
  14. It's been two months since making the cuttings and I'm here to report... well, nothing really. None of the cuttings look even the slightest bit different, there are no growing buds from the dormant points, and there are no roots growing on the cuttings. That goes for the arial cuttings too. Going to leave it, obviously, but a little surprised to see absolutely no change. I'll give another update in a month or so Les
  15. Sort of surprised that there were no answers to this. For info, I noticed that while my plants continued to produce pitchers, on the plants that seem to be slightly more affected by the drop in growing temps, virtually all the older pitchers (i.e. any that were produced even immediately before the temperatures dropped) went black at the top; not browning off like the normal pitcher ageing process, they literally blacken and quickly too. However new pitchers that form while being smaller are not as sensitive, and have not browned or blackened. These plants don't show any other particular traits that show they are suffering so I just wonder if it is just an acclimatisation process. The Bicalcarata was brought indoors rapidly because the pitchers died very rapidly plus brown spots appeared all over the leaves, again quickly. Indoors new leaves are normal, although I'm still waiting for the first pitcher to appear since bringing it in. Others have just stopped growing, with no other apparent effects (for example the Veitchii H/L, surprisingly), whilst ones like the Fusca, Max X Sib, Trunc X Mira, Trunc X Alata, are apparently a bit slower but otherwise unaffected. The thing that gets me though is that when you look at the parentage, what seems to be a cross between two intermediate to lowland plants (Trunc X Alata for example) are fine, yet others that have highland Maxima and Lowii in them seem less tolerant. As a result, you can't decide on what it needs or how it will act based on what the apparent needs for the parents are. Roll on spring, it's so much easier! Les
  16. **edited to make the title clearer** I have quite a few (37, to be precise) different Nepenthes plants, of which some are a complete Heinz mix of Highland, Lowland, Intermediate and Ultra Lowland plants. That means basically I'm having to guess my way through the whole 'are they Highland, Intermediate or Lowland conditions that suit them' thing. Some are easy - the Hamata that has sat innocuously in the corner for the last six months has suddenly burst forth as the temperatures dropped, and the Bicalcarata and Raff X Ampullaria had to be whisked inside due to obvious intolerance to the cooler temps. The large greenhouse has not helped much as it is a bear to heat and I think that even with a fan heater there are going to be areas of the greenhouse that will be colder than my desired temps. Despite this, quite a few are still going strong, so I'm not too far off. Humidity is easily in the 70% plus range. However, I am keen to ensure that any plants that struggle in the cooler temps are spotted early so that I can move them to more appropriate places. Space inside the house for Nepenthes is limited, so I can't just bring any I have a small doubt about in, so would appreciate it if you have any tips for identifying early stages of intolerance to cold. Any info gratefully received Les
  17. The Maxima X Sibuyanensis seems to have stopped producing the upper pitchers on the vine, which is why I decided to give it a go. The first upper (probably intermediate in truth) pitchers were big, probably 8 or 9 inches, but later ones started to get smaller and smaller until they stopped appearing. They are beautifully formed pitchers but the last ten leaves have not developed the embryo pitchers past the point of being little brown stubs. On the basis that the plant has another really strong growing point putting out some whopping great fantastically coloured lower pitchers, I thought it was a good trade off. Just hope the temperatures are OK for developing the cuttings Les
  18. Right guys, took the advice above and have hacked away at my new Alata. Without apparently making any difference to the size of the plant, here are 11 cuttings from it, all nestling in live sphagnum. I didn't get very technical with this, just made an oblique cut across the stem about an inch from the leaf below so that the very faint dormant growing point is on it, and left three leaves per cutting. The bottom leaves were cut back almost to the stem, while the other two were cut in half. The resultant cuttings were then thrust rather unceremoniously into the live sphagnum trays, which is how you see them in the photos. This approach worked perfectly for some Dionaea leaf pullings, so I'm reasonably confident it will be OK here. The sphagnum gets misted every day so never dries out. I'll probably leave them undisturbed for three months before even looking to see if they have rooted, the humidity is very high so I will only watch out for the tops dying back, and look for signs of the dormant bud developing. In addition, my N. Maxima X Sibuyanensis is the subject of a trial of air layering. At five separate points along the green part of the stem, I've made cuts that I have then wrapped live sphagnum around, then wrapped some cling film loosely around that. Again, I'll leave it a few months before checking it out, but at worst nothing happens, at best I should get five new rooted plants. On the basis of the really nice looking ten inch lower pitchers this plant has given me, these cuttings will fill the greenhouse with some great fast growing plants. Not that I need any more plants of course, even though I do have the newer big greenhouse. At least, that's what I was thinking.... Oh, come on, you all know the next bit, it's happened to you all as well...... Exotica Plants, who have supplied me with the majority of my beautiful Nepenthes, sent me an e-mail advising of some 'clearance' plants where only one of each was available, and here's a link, and by the way the photos are of the actual pitchers on the actual plants and.... So here are my new new additions. N. Spathulata X Tiveyi, N. Ve N. Vetchii Bario N. Maxima X Lowii, N. Truncata X (Lowii X Spectabilis) and N. Truncata X (Ventricosa X Trusmadensis). The pitchers are about 25 cm tall Geoff at Exotica Plants threw in the Maxima X Lowii for free, such a nice guy to deal with, and their plants are always a good size. So, there you have it. I didn't need more plants, so following that logic I made potentially sixteen more from cuttings and got five more. I think I need therapy. Les
  19. Decided to add some power and lighting to my new greenhouse. First drilled through the Hebel blocks to pass the mains lead through, then rigged up a two outlet switched outdoor socket on the greenhouse inner wall near the door The lights are the LED floodlight type, and come with a mounting strap which simply bolted to the greenhouse frame using the existing bolts. After that I had to run some conduit along the roof with junction boxes placed where the wires meet the lights, then feed short lengths of flex through to the junction boxes. The difficult bit was stripping the sheaths from the flex, then the insulation from the individual wires. I had to feed the light cords through and strip those too. Once done, I had to twist the three wires together and then solder them to make a strong joint. Each junction box had live, neutral and earth, so each was repeated three times. A friend who works in landscape gardening suggested the use of polyolefin heat shrink blind caps to seal and insulate the ends, which he used for garden lighting systems. These were great, much better that insulating tape. A hot air paint stripper was used to shrink the blind caps down, being careful to not burn the polycarbonate sheet or the conduit junction boxes. The covers were put over the junction boxes, all the open ends pointed down so that water couldn't run into the conduit and any moisture could run out, then the conduit was clamped against the side of the greenhouse to stop it moving. Five 100W floodlights make a big difference, enough that on a cloudy day the illumination in the greenhouse is tons better I can now see my plants when I get home from work, rather than having to wait until the weekends! Les
  20. Well, luckily for me the winters here in Melbourne are reasonably mild. I use a fan heater with a thermostat to keep minimum temperatures in double figures, and the sun takes the daytime temperature up to the mid 20's centigrade. My little hamata is loving the cooler temperatures and is about to put out a couple of pitchers for the first time. If I have a problem with temperatures it is that my (admittedly few) lowlanders need bringing into the house to prevent cold damage, and paradoxically my sarracenias and dionaeas need to be left outside to get winter stratification, but I have to make sure they are in a light but shaded place. If I put them wherever the sun shines on them, they don't get cold enough. Les
  21. I see it's a female veitchii too, lucky you. Don't suppose that you are selling any seeds? Les
  22. It's certainly a thought. What amuses me is that I had been looking for an Alata here in Aus and had not found one. It was the first type I ever got, my (then future) mother in law brought it home for me from her local market when I lived in Brazil, after me describing what they were to her. She told me that she had seen them, and of course being the sceptic that I am just humoured her. When she presented me with a plant that had 6 inch pitchers on it, I was gobsmacked. Obviously when I left there I had to give them all away, but fondly remembered it and wanted to get one for sentimental value. After all the looking around, to find this monster by accident was so ironic! Anyway, this weekend the cutters and sphagnum will be in action! Look out for stupid questions about propagating cuttings in the 'propagation' section Les
  23. Some of my nepenthes are now vining quite well, but I am wondering whether to let them continue to do so. I have a way of letting them grip on to some hooks in the greenhouse roof, and so they will dangle quite nicely. However I do also notice that the upper pitchers produced tend to be very much smaller. If I was to cut the stem I could almost certainly get at least four or five cuttings from the smaller ones, and eight or nine from the bigger ones, which is tempting, but I do have a reasonable number of plants already. I also do like having the variation of the upper pitchers. If I was to cut the stems for cuttings, the upper pitcher production would obviously stop on that stem, which would be a shame. It may make the plant bushier, but at the expense of the uppers, plus it would take a good while before the new shoots put out decent pitchers. So, should I make cuttings or let it spread? Oh, the agony of choice.... Les
  24. Was in a local plant nursery who occasionally do some CP's, and they didn't have much - until I looked up and saw a very large N Alata. I assumed it was for display only but when I asked, they wanted AUS$150 for it (about 80 quid) It has over 20 growing points, it's well over 8 foot across all intertwined. Getting it home wasn't easy, but trust me I wasn't going to leave it there. I will probably do some aerial cuttings of the growing points at the back, I can easily get ten cuttings without making the plant look any smaller, and probably can separate out some basal shoots as well. I've never had a nepenthes that was so crowded, and am not sure whether they benefit from thinning out, so would happily accept feedback from everyone. It looks great in my greenhouse, and although it shows some signs of not being properly cared for in the nursery, I think it will perk up and look pretty amazing in a couple of months. Winter is on us (5 degrees outside this morning) but I'll be installing a thermostatically controlled fan heater this weekend to ward off extreme temperatures at night, so hopefully we'll see some nice growth Les
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