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Posts posted by MWilko86

  1. Ok, thats interesting to know. The planter was in a position last year where it would of got blasted by winds traveling between ours and next doors house. Does make sense that the cold of last winter may of weakened it and the wind then finished it off. I don't have much luck when it comes to VFTs and find Sarracenia and Drosera are easier to keep. Even growing them from seed.

    Aye D. capensis don't particularly like the cold as I've found with some seedlings that I left out in the cloche the other year due to losing their label and me thinking that they were D. intermedia. But D. capensis need a dormancy period or do they slow down with the drop in daylight hours?

    • Like 1

  2. Hiya

    It hasn't got to a stage to cause worry at the moment as I've only seen one or two slugs on sides of the terrarium, some eggs (which were chucked out of the window) and the odd young sliding around. There doesn't seem to be any damage caused to the neps in the terrarium aside from the odd notch in a couple of leaves and it has only been the boston fern that got munched which has now bounced back.

    Would it be an idea to let loose some nematodes into my bio-active setup to prevent a possible slug problem? If not, is it possible that there is another way without disturbing the whole setup and harming the clean up crew?


  3. Hiya

    Nice border you there Karsty and a smart idea to insulate VFT roots from the cold.

    Here's a couple of photos I took of my planter when it snowed in December. Last week I took off the ferns and some larch needles to have a peak at the crowns of the Sarracenia and all seems to be ok. I did have a VFT planted in the other year but it didn't do so well last winter and gave up the ghost last year.




  4. On 7/24/2017 at 2:34 AM, David Ahrens said:

    Mike, it is illegal to make up your own insecticides these days. You can't use anything that is not approved.

    Ah, ok. Cheers for bringing this up. I only knew that nicotine is frowned upon when it comes to organics and didn't know that you can't home cook your own pesticides anymore.

    Sorry for inciting any illegal activities through my own ignorance.

  5. Hiya

    I've got myself some seeds the other day from The Carnivorous Plant Society stall at Tatton Flower Show which are Nep ventricosa x Rebecca Soper, Nep ventricosa x talangensis and Sarracenia oreophila. I've had some success with growing Sarracenia and Drosera from seed. But thought to take on a bit of a challenge and something new with the neps. The lass who was minding the stall was quite knowledgeable about the neps that were on display, she said that the seeds aren't as hard as what people think with them being highland varieties to get going if kept to their basic conditions and not let them dry out.

    I've followed what she had instructed me on how to sow the seeds which was to get a clear plastic tub, line the bottom of the tub with kitchen paper, soak the paper in rain water, sow seeds, put a clear bag over the top, leave in a bright position and keep the paper moist. Then transfer seedlings onto some sphagnum moss when they are germinating (this might be wrong as I can't remember exactly what she said when to transfer them). I've used clean take away tubs and have left the lids slighly ajar to give some ventilation in the thought to lessen the risk of damping off. I've only got an east facing window sill at my disposal that gets plenty of light throughout the day and is the only suitable place I've got to use for the time being.

    After some poking about on the net to make sure on what to expect such as how long it takes the seeds to germinate, I came across a post on here from a few years back titled Nepenthes seed germination for beginners by Gareth Davies and is an interesting read. But its the part where he mentions about lighting and using 9 watt fluorecant lights for kitchen work surfaces to give the seeds more light. This is where I would like to ask is this necessary to use these lights as well as sunlight and will the additional light help to achieve a high germination success rate?

    Any other tips would be helpful to further increase the chance of my nep seeds to germinate.




  6. If an infestation has gone beyond using manual control, Nicotine sulfate works well with no damage to sensitive plants such as CP's and is pretty easy to make. Thats if you know anyone who smokes and don't mind the stink when making and using it.

    This article is a good read: and gives an idea how to make a spray but can't find the actual recipe that I used.


  7. I find that you may not get all their eggs as slugs can lay theirs deep in the soil or at the bottom of the pots and it is tedious with the re-potting or re-planting. Luckily enough that the molluscs are all alcoholics and can't resist beer. I find that beer traps are the fool proof way to control slugs and snails. After setting traps in my planter and cloche after fresh leaf tips getting nipped last year. I've not had much of a problem since.

    • Like 1

  8. Cheers Aljo, that was an interesting read. But with the article mentioning that these enzymes are in the pitchers' fluid, what about the stuff that is caught and doesn't reach the fluid like that in tall Sarracenia?

    The genome bit is interesting and I've always wondered about a couple of origins of some pitchers with one of them possibly being Bromeliads, particularly Sarracenia and Heliamphora. I could be adding two and two together but with majority of the Bromeliaceae family originates in the Americas and the way the rainforest geneses collect moisture in pools at the base or centre of their leaves. Then some of them being able to collect dead leaves in these pool and then broken down to feed the bromeliad. I'll have to look into that bromeliad - pitcher link myself later.


    In nepenthes, several of them are adapted to absorb ammonia (and other things) from decomposing animal poo.

    Yeh Manders, some scientists thought that those large neps caught rats and it must of blagged their heads to see a shrew using one as we do with the porcelain thrown. But then its an added bonus to the plant if the animal takes a wrong step and slips in. That Attenborough program on Kew Gardens is cracking and as you said about the fluid in neps being viscous. Dave said in that program that the fluid acts like quicksand as the proteins in it sticks to the prey and more so as it struggles.

    With the water reservoir bit, does make you wonder and some of these warm places that most of our plants originated from must have droughts now and again. I've not seen it with my neps but then again they're indoors and they possibly fill a bit if put out in the rain. But the Sarracenia out in the planter have filled up with rain water and I sometimes have to empty them before the weight of the water weighs them down. It could also be all down to the physiology of the plants themselves as the leaves must get pretty warm with absorbing light and the fluid possibly be the first thing to go and then its most likely be down to the plant's tuber for its survival.

  9. 16 hours ago, manders said:

    I think one Sarracenia (purpurea) doesnt have enzymes anyway and relies on fungus/bacteria to break down the insects anyway.

    Possibly, S.purperea have adapted in a way to purposely capture rain water in their traps and prey then falls in and drowns. Saying that it is interesting to think whether the enzymes and digestive fluid becomes diluted or they put more into the water. I have seen with mine that the gunk in the bottom of their leaves have gone gammy when there isn't much fluid and especially when a slug drops in.

  10. Hiya peeps

    I've had a good poke around on the tinterweb to find care sheets for my new N,alata and N.hookeriana. I've found that a handful of folk feed their Neps by watering them with orchid feed instead of feeding caught insects or fish food flakes into the traps. The reason they said they do this was because they didn't like the look of mouldy things in the bottom of the traps and possibly the smell of decay. Which led to a thought popping up which was, can fungus/mould in the traps of pitcher plants be beneficial to the plants?

    I'm no microbiologist but I do have some understanding on how fungi work and it does fascinate me. Except for mouldy bread and rot on my plants.

    I do know that fungi are a secondary decomposer that can break down dead or decaying matter down to its molecular state. For multi celled fungi to get the nutrients they need is to send out growth known as mycelium through the soil or into dead material for new sources of food. The fungal root hair at the edges of the mycelium (known as hyphae) acts like minute pneumatic dills by increasing the water pressure in the tips of the growing hyphae which then pushes or punches the head through whatever its growing into. These microscopic hyphae are known to penetrate even the most toughest of materials and is the reason why people get fungal infections in their toe nails. Then the mycelium secretes enzymes and acids into the material to break it down to a more soluble form to absorb.

    My thinking is that with this in mind the fungus could help with the feeding process of pitcher plants, whether they are Nepenthes, Cephalotus or gluttonous Sarracenia. Especially in tall Sarracenia such as S.leucophylla or S.flava where their traps get filled with all kinds of creepy crawlies and out of reach from the digestive juices at the bottom of the leaf. Despite the leaves can become damaged when they are too full, I think the fungus that grows on the prey would be able to get their hyphae through the joints and air holes on the bodies of the insects and any excess nutritious juices then drips down into the leaf. These fungi could also help speed up the digestion process with something as big as a fat blue bottle which has a small surface area and may take a while for the plant's own juices to get into it to break it down.

    It would be interesting what everyone thinks on this and more so if anyone knows any research material on the subject. I've had a gander with no luck and one article mentioning that some Japanese scientists have found that the fluid in neps have anti bacterial and fungal enzymes which could be used to help people with infections in the gut.

    The following photos are of my N.'Bloody Mary' which is living the thug life on the landing window sill and one of its traps contains a mouldy fly. By the way the tea lights are there from black outs the other year and never get lit.



  11. Hi everyone

    I've recieved some D.intermedia through the post and have found that there are loads of Utricularia bisquamata in the moss around the sundews. The bladderworts were not part of the order, but soon found out from the grower where I got the plants from that they must of self seeded and have germinated amongst the sundew stock.

    I'm trying to look for information on these tiny plants as I would like to keep them and the D.intermedia will be going into a cloche for the winter. The information that I've found already was only brief which said these bladderworts are a sub-tropical species and my guess is that they may not survive a winter here in the north west of England.

    But is there a chance for any seeds from these bladderworts to survive cold temperatures or will they have to be brought indoors and are their any care sheets for U.bisquamata available?

  12. Nice one, cheers for the suggestions and will leave it uncovered on the bathroom window cill. Its a small south facing window that gets a fair amount of light in the mornings and have put the window ajar to trap in some of the steam from the shower.

    Gave the bag method some thought, but thinking with it being from a plant centre where there could be umpteen fungal spores floating around and my nep being under some stress. The bag may trap in those spores in a closed environment and at the moment the plant could possibly be more susceptible to disease.


    thanks again



  13. Hi everyone


    I've had to rescue a Nepenthes suki yesterday from the reduced section at a local garden centre and it was in a right sorry state when I picked it up. I've given it a good soak in rain water to get moisture back into the soil and its now on the bathroom window cill.

    Its perked up a bit with some of the leaves looking more turgid after the soaking, but am not particularly happy about the growth points being limp and not sure on what else to do.


    Would like to ask if there is a chance it could bounce back and if there are any tips to improve it's condition or is it a lost cause?


    I've attached links below to photos of the poor thing on facebook and they were taken before the plant was moved into the bathroom.




    Suggestions and tips will be appreciated.



    • Like 1

  14. Hiya


    I've managed to get some D.intermedia seeds to germinate last year and had lost a few due to forgetting to cover them up during a freak cold snap in April. The two that I have left look a bit worse for wear as one has stunted shrivelled green leaves and the other has been doing well until the other week when the leaf tips started to turn black.

    I would like to ask what is causing the two disorders? As I'm not sure if it is the shock from the cold snap that they're recovering from or its the wind thats burning the leaf tips.


    The photos that I've attached have been linked with a facebook account and not sure if they will show for some folk.


    Suggestions will be appreciated to what is causing these disorders.






    The two D.intermedia


    Plant with black tips


    Same plant with black tips


    The planter they are growing in

  15. I've had some success for the first time with S.purpurea last year and they are starting to grow into their second season. They were kept just on live sphagnum through stratification and until they had grown their first set of true leaves.

    But this year I'm trying S.flava and they have been sown directly onto a 1:1 peat moss sand mix. Now I'm kind of having second thoughts on the media that I've used.


    Is it essential to sow Sarracenia onto live sphagnum moss or does it help with their germination?

  16. Hi


    I have sown some D.muscipula 'Red Giant' seeds at the end of November and they are not doing much since then to the present day. From what I have read up on venus fly traps is that they do not take long to germinate and are the most easy cp to grow from seed.

    The media I used is a 1:1 moss peat, grit sand mix with live sphagnum on top and the seeds were sown onto the moss. They are pushed ever so slightly into the moss but enough that they were not entirely covered and have more contact with the moist moss. The seed tray that they are in are sat into a water tray and covered by the seed tray cover. Which is slightly too wide for the tray and leaves a bit of a gap that acts as a vent.

    At first the seeds were on a west facing window cill that does not get much light this time of the year and a heat mat was placed under the water tray after a couple of weeks of sowing to provide a bit of heat. They were then left there for another couple of weeks and had noticed that nothing was happening. After reading some care sheets which said that light is a key factor for their germination, I then moved the tray and the heat mat to a south facing window where there is more light. They were placed on the cill around the 14th - 16th of last month and are there to the present day. But there is more activity from the moss (which is not very much) than the seeds and there is no sign of dampening off.


    I am wondering whether I have missed something or I am being a bit impatient and have to give them more time.


    Unfortunately I am unable to post any pictures up as tapatalk does not seem to work properly on my phone. But I will be grateful for any tips and advice that is given.



  17. Hiya

    Its been just over a week since the last post and things could well be turning for the worse after checking up on my ceph this morning.

    I've swapped it with an orchid on the landing window which gets a fair amount of light and most of it being morning light. Which I've read on Cephalotus care guide that morning light is ideal and the landing warms up quicker than the front room. I've also prunned back the flowers as they were past their best and as advised I've been topping up the water in the dish.

    My concern is that the main plant (what looks like the mother plant) in the pot doesn't look particularly happy, as the non carnivorous leaves on it are yellowing along with the traps looking more shrivalled than last week.

    I'm wondering whether the plant could do with being repotted as the pot feels a bit loose or am I being impatient and it'll take more than a week for the plant to recover.



  18. Hi

    Could someone be so kind as to point me to a place in lancashire (or preferably north lancs) that I can pick up a 100 litre bag of peat from. Have had a look around most of the local garden centres, DIY shops and nurseries. Even at Barton Grange it was all peat free compost. The only place that I've managed to find some is online and the shipping seems pretty dear for what I'm after.



  19. Lovely cephalotus there, yeah I would put it in a couple cm of water and let the tray dry for a day or two and then fill the tray again, should beer fine this way. From the lovely red pitchers I would say it wasn't grown in low light so I would say it's the humidity that has caused it, nothing to worry about as the new pitchers will be fine. Have a great time with your new cephalotus Mark

    Nice one and cheers for the advice from everyone.

    Stopped the spraying a couple of days ago after recieving the first reply and shall see what happens in the near future.Could well have been climatizing from the glasshouse to my front room and possibly be responding to the days shortening as Hud mentioned with the seasons changing.

  20. Yeah I wouldn't spray your cephalotus it could cause more problems than you trying to solve. What type of soil mix is it in, what does it have in it and does it look airy lots perlite or sand, pure peat? As it depends what mix it is in to how you water it, I keep mine in water as well in the hot months, and I use peat with a lot of perlite.


    Its in a grit sand and peat mix. Managed to get that tapatalk for my phone and hopefully this pic will show up.


    Sent from my GT-S6810P using Tapatalk