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Luca B.

Cold pinguicula habitat in garden

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Hi guys, i'd like to build a small habitat for my cold/temperate pings in my garden; i'm thinking about a 1.5x1.5x0.3 hole filled of silica sand 70% peat 30%,then i'll cover half of the surface with limestone rocks and let the other half with silica rocks (so i can have a variegated habitat for most of the pings),with a little only peat zone. For shading them i'll plant some ferns on the south oriented side and i'll cover the hole with a little mash net (so hard rainstorms and icestorm wont eradicate them).

What do you think about my project? Is the soil mix ok? any suggest?

Thanks in advice

Luca

Edited by Luca B.

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Some news:

I finished the first part of my work,building the habitat,now i have to cover the sheet that protrudes,build the coverage and the irrigation system. Here some photos:

Limestone zone:

20121207141545.jpg

Silica zone:

20121207141541.jpg

Peat zone:

20121207141533.jpg

Overall vision:

20121207141514.jpg

On the surface you can see some snow

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Hi Luca, it's looking really good, it will be good to see it when you have plants in it.

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What do you think about my project? Is the soil mix ok? any suggest?

Hi Luca,

I just found your posting in the Pincuicula section.

Congratulations to you for your project!

Unfortunately I cannot tell you much about your chances of being successful with your soil mix and setup in your area.

One thing I found out about growing hardy Pinguicula:

Small differences in culture conditions can make big differences in success.

The other things I found out until now:

I find it hard to grow cold hardy Pinguicula in culture.

Only very few species can survive in a given climate on the long run.

Plants are tiny.

Costs for obtaining some plants are relatively high.

Plants are not very attractive while not flowering, meaning up to 49 weeks of the 52 weeks in a year they are unremarkable.

With culture conditions I'm doing completely different than you.

Of course, my location is somewhat more in the north than yours.

Most of my winter hardy Pinguicula are of two species only, they are:

P. grandiflora

P. macroceras ssp. nortensis

These are the two easiest Pinguicula species for me.

P. macroceras needs acid soil, for me this is a "must have peat" species.

P. grandiflora is a "can have peat" species.

So I'm growing these two species in pure peat only.

My setup for hardy Pinguicula are mostly 90 litre "PVC concrete mixing tubs" and I build build a big water reservoir into them, so they can hold a big amount of water and are self-watering for a long time.

I also try with some species I hardly can keep alive, such as P. vallisneriifolia. For them I have a smaller setup built from a 20 litre construction bucket:

P_imEimer1.jpg

The inner water reservoir is cut from a 12 litre bucket, you can see the cap of the water pipe I can use for filling the water reservoir.

This bucket is filled with a peat/sand/limestone/vermiculite mix.

Another thing I found out: Hardy Pincuicula need special care each year or they will be overgrown. Each year in the time after the frost is gone, from mid of February until end of March, I take each single winter bulb out of the soil as well as all the winter gemmae I can find, clear the weeds, put some fresh peat on the surface (just the top 2 cm) and replant the bulbs and the winter gemmae. Otherwise my Pinguicula would be overgrown by weeds within two years.

And: Beware of the blackbirds! Blackbirds are the #1 enemy to small Pinguicula setups. When building their bird-nests early in the year, they take relatively huge amounts of peat with them (not caring about small plants) to solidify their nests and make them comfortable. And all the rest of the year they are trying to find worms in the wet substrate. You see the punji sticks (skewers) in the bucket? Yes, they are there to prevent blackbirds from digging up the soil.

BTW: #2 enemy of Pinguicula are mice: Mice are eating the winter bulbs of Pinguicula during winter.

It's really not easy with cold hardy Pinguicula!

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Hi Jesse thanks a lot for sharing your great experience,your set up is really wonderfull,i'd like to see the macroceras and grandiflora too

I know that growing hardy pinguicula is difficoult,expecially in summer (is not too hot here in my place but we can reach 30° in the top summer),i'll surely try to do my best and if some pings will die (i hope not..) i'll learn something from it. Thanks a lot for your tips too,i'll consider them while cultivating; don't know why but i find temp. ping. attractive also when not flowering,not as cute as mexican ping but still attractive :D i'd love a vulgaris or alpina lawn in my garden

Watering is my best problem,obviusly nature cannot provide enough water to them in summer,i'm studing something with a big barrel and some plastic perforated tube (i have to see if the water flows from microscopic holes to the soil for capillarity). For birds and other animals i covered the structure with a solid net and a small mash net,wich is usefull for shading too.

At the moment i cannot share much more then ideas about my project,plants are still dormant,but i'll share more experiences and photos in the future

Thanks a lot for your reply

Luca

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Looking good, although i am not sure, if the acidic soil wont get affected by the calcareous one. But most of the pings tolerate some minerals, so it should be ok.

How are you going to protect the plants against slugs? Or you do not have problem with them? Slugs are #1 pests for me - i cannot build something like you, they would (as they already did in the past) eat many of my plants. Instead of it, i have a lava rock hanging in the air (on two vires, not levitating :biggrin:), so the slugs cant get there.

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Hi Jesse thanks a lot for sharing your great experience,your set up is really wonderfull,i'd like to see the macroceras and grandiflora too

Here are two pictures of my best growing hardy Pinguicula species, P. macroceras, those photos are from the 2011 growing season. This one was taken during the flowering early in the year, you can see that the winter buds were planted freshly just some weeks before:

gallery_3985_310_106058.jpg

The next picture was taken some months later and shows the late summer leaves:

gallery_3985_310_22624.jpg

I know that growing hardy pinguicula is difficoult,expecially in summer (is not too hot here in my place but we can reach 30° in the top summer),i'll surely try to do my best and if some pings will die (i hope not..) i'll learn something from it.

Just a few days reaching 30°C or slightly above during summer is not a big problem, it can happen in my region, too. The problem is high temperatures for weeks and weeks during summer. If the substrate dries out in summer or temperatures stay high for too long, those hardy Pinguicula are creating their winter buds, very weak winter buds, in the mid of summer! In rare cases some growers have watched a second growing cycle in the same year after temperatures have gone down. But in most cases the time from creating winter buds during summer and the next spring will become too long. Weak buds can die during the long period. Or if there are a few warmer days in January, the buds will start their growing cycle and die during the next heavy frost some weeks later.

So keeping them in their natural growing cycle of unfolding the winter bud, flowering, developing summer leaves, catching prey, withdrawing the leaves, creating the winter buds, having a good winter rest with frost and snow is essential for those plants, which change their appearance so heavily during the seasons.

With warmer weather the plants seem too do better in the shade during the hottest months of the year (July, August), but with cold weather they also can withstand several hours of full sun each day. Sun and cold is no problem, but sun and heat is a problem for hardy Pinguicula.

:D i'd love a vulgaris or alpina lawn in my garden

P. alpina is a completely different thing: That is the only hardy Pinguicula species that keeps their roots forever. With all other hardy Pinguicula species the roots are dying each year during winter. So if you should manage to get some P. alpina: Avoid transplanting of P. alpina as good as you can! P. alpina is very difficult to keep alive on the long run. Much more difficult to keep and to propagate than P. grandiflora or P. macroceras. I have purchased a few very small winter buds of P. alpina two years ago, they should have been flowering last year but they did not, and I'm not really sure if they still are living this year in my collection. So P. alpina is a species you should definitely avoid if you have absolutely no experience with hardy Pinguicula of any other species. It could become very costly.

Watering is my best problem,obviusly nature cannot provide enough water to them in summer,i'm studing something with a big barrel and some plastic perforated tube (i have to see if the water flows from microscopic holes to the soil for capillarity).

I'm living where we have about 750 mm rainfall per year. And I'm collecting rain water from the roof to a 300 litre water barrel. As I told you, each of my Pinguicula containers has a built-in water reservoir for automatic watering, so it is mainly during the summer months that I have to give them some additional water from time to time.

At the moment i cannot share much more then ideas about my project,plants are still dormant,but i'll share more experiences and photos in the future

You already did plant some winter buds?

Which species do you have to start with?

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Thanks again for the tips and wow,really fantastic photos!

Here the temperatures stays on 25-26° on the hottiest weeks,30° is rare to happen (but last summer did),fortunately there's always a feeble wind here that keep the perceived temperature down. For watering pinguicula i'm using tap water,i live at the base of a mountain (in a silicate zone) and here the tap water is really good (about 50 p.p.m),obviusly it let chlorine evaporate before using it.

At the moment i'm tryng to cultivate those species:

-Pinguicula Grandiflora,typ. Switzerland

-Pinguicula Vulgaris

-Pinguicula Crystallina subsp. Hirtiflora

-Pinguicula Longifolia subsp. Longifolia

-Pinguicula Vallinseriifolia

-Pinguicula Corsica,Lago di Creno

-Pinguicula Leptoceras,Passo Rolle

-Pinguicula Primuliflora

-Pinguicula Lusitanica

-Seeds P. Alpina/P Mariae/P Vulgaris var bicolor

Most of them are just small buds or plants wich i recived as a gift from other growers here in Italy. I have a pair of buds/plant for each species,one stays in the habitat and the other one stays in a pot under controlled conditions

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-Pinguicula Crystallina subsp. Hirtiflora

-Pinguicula Primuliflora

-Pinguicula Lusitanica

I think P. crystallina and those two warm-temperate species from south-eastern US are not fully winter hardy in European climate with frost and snow. I never had any single of them, but as far as I know they should be kept cold but mostly frost-free with only very light frost in winter.

The other species should be OK for cold-temperate winter conditions, but I do not have all of them.

With growing Pinguicula from seed I was lucky with only one single species until now: P. grandiflora. Indeed my whole population of P. grandiflora was grown and propagated from a single portion of seeds.

I failed with seeds from P. alpina, P. vulgaris and P. macroceras as well. Meaning "failed" that although some seeds germinated, I failed to grow them to adult plants with flowering size. The young Pinguicula plants from seeds never made it over the first winter for me. Except P. grandiflora.

I wish you good luck with many of your species!I

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I hope all goes well with your ping set up.

P.alpina shouldn't be a problem from seed or small plants.I have had the red leaved form for many years and have a few small ones from seed.

I keep them bone dry in winter,the seeds are sown as soon as they are ripe and germinate in around 6 weeks.Not all the seeds germinate in the same year.The following year some seed that germinated the previous year will re grow and more seed germinate but only the strongest survive and many die.

Many expert growers store the seed but i always find it best to sow straight away for best results,some of my last years seed is already starting to show on the surface of the compost in the greenhouse.

They like bright light but cool temperatures,in the summer when its hot(don't laugh because i'm in England)

i only give them very early morning sun light then shade them for the rest of the day to keep the compost cooler.

ada

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