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Reinier

Cephalotus: Has carniflora cracked the secret to big pitchers?

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Hi Everyone,

 

By way of introduction I'm Reinier and although I have been following many topics for quite a while I created my own profile today because I wish to share the following with you.

 

I live in Amsterdam and sometimes visit the flowermarket to check the stand with carnivorous plants (locals will know which one). Occasionally throughout the year Cephalotus f. is on offer amongst the usual undefined Sarracenia and Nepenthes hybrids etc. The Cephalotus pitchers have always been no longer than max. 2 cm and the plants quite small. But last week I picked up a plant with whopper pitchers of 4cm. Now I know this is not exceptional and that way bigger pitchers are possible but this was the first time I saw this size pitchers on commercially available mass propagated Cephalotus, how come?

 

The nice lady who owns the stand told me the plant came from Carnilfora (where else?), she also told me that indeed the pitchers have never been bigger than this year and that she was told at the plant auction where she buys them from that Carniflora have got much better growing results this year because they discovered that a less damp substrate causes the plants to grow faster and the pitchers to grow much larger than usual. Carniflora apparantly used to let the plants sit in water all the time but don't do it anymore; they only keep the substrate damp and not soggy.

 

Here are the photos I took of the plant just after replanting it to a bigger container:

 

gallery_9149_890_250792.jpg

 

gallery_9149_890_175890.jpg

 

Has anyone got any experience with keeping Cephalotus in less saturated substrate than commonly recommended?

The only thing I can think of is that the roots get more oxygen this way thus being able to grow more vigorous then if the substrate would be saturated all the time.

 

Best regards,

 

Reinier

Edited by Reinier

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I have a Cephalotus growing vertically and the pitchers at the top of the wall, which would be dryer than the ones at the base, are considerably smaller and less numerous.

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I just replanted all my Cephalotus into a 40L large container, made specially for them. Soil: peat : sand (1-3mm) : vermivulite (for some minerals) in proportions about 1:2:1. Vermiculite is not essential though. They have the maximum water level not higher than 10 cm below the soil surface. I checked it right now and at this moment the water level is exactly 19 cm below the soil surface. Because the plants are not growing for more than 2 months that way I can't write any conclusions except one. When I was taking out one plant, I noticed it produced beautiful root system I have never had before.

 

I think that the reason why Cephalotus may grow better a vertical way or in less saturated soil is that its roots like to be well aerated. I just guess that sandy soils it has in the wild are better aerated than peaty mixes we usually do. Also the vertical growing is providing more air to the roots, same as less wet soil mix. Maybe the end result is better growth = bigger pitchers?

 

But what you write Reinier is only making me happier, since the basic change I made was to lower the soil humidity, by lowering the maximum water level.

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I  think many people paint the target around the arrow.

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The plant pictured below does not concur with the theory. The pot sits in a saucer of water and the pitchers at the base, therefore the wettest, are far larger than those at the top. This is all the same plant.

44d9b40376ccb3de83c1c89eb672ab23.jpg

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Mobile, your photo is very interesting. Not only there is a difference in pitchers size but the colour as well. What conclusions would you make from that?

 

I have seen that vertical cultivation shows different result than horizontal one, under same  all other conditions. The only logic conclusion, is that because the roots grow horizontally down (geotropism), they go near the surface and same time are better aerated than when grown horizontally. I don't have any vertically cultivated Cephalotus to be able to check that. I base on general facts I know about plants. I am not really sure if it should be compared less soil humidity in vertical and horizontal way of cultivation.

Edited by Cephalotus

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Hi Mobile,

On first thought your picture (beautiful plant btw) would indeed proof the theory is not correct.

Then I noticed the top pitchers on the vertical set-up are somewhat darker coloured then the bottom ones (which are more green). Is that because the top ones receive more (direct) sunlight from above than the bottom ones? The general believe seems to be specimens which receive less strong light get bigger pitchers than pitchers who do receive full direct light.

What I'm trying to say here that in order to rule out any other factors you would have to take two genetically identical plants under the same circumstances but one with damp substrate and one with saturated compost.

Surely someone on this forum must have experimented with this before?

P.S to make things more complicated: Carniflora now only uses pure peat (no, perlite, vermiculite or sand added at all)

Edited by Reinier

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Personally, 40mm pitchers are no big deal, and my plants are not kept saturated except in hot weather (above 30oC).  I have them damp with short periods of drying of the substrate during cooler weather.  It seems to be more to do with the age of the plant, lighting and how much they are fertilized in my experience, that and the particular clone in question.  Some years they just do better than others, so trying to pin it down to one cause is a bit difficult.

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Mobile's plant is one that I have seen before in photos (although it is looking better than ever!) and is one of the prompts that encouraged be to plant my new 12"x12"x12" exo terra case as a single, high gradient habitat for Cephalotus. They are naturally slope growers and I think it suits them. They also have the freedom to grow up or down to the water table.

I have read many accounts of Cephs dying when put into / taken out of water trays and I suspect it is because they don't like change. Mobile's plant has had the chance to grow into it's conditions and is thriving. In my own tank I am planting out cuttings at the point where they are just showing leaf growth after rooting and I hope that they will adapt their root growth to suit the conditions.

As far as the Carniflora plants are concerned they may have grown in very controlled conditions and I don't know if they have a program of light foliar feeding. If it is moved to a new environment (eg taken home) then it will need to read apt to different compost, lighting and watering.

Cheers

Steve

Edited by CephFan

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I just want to note from my point of view that mobile's ceph in the picture. The pitcher on top appears to be darker is quite likely due to the flash of his camera did not reach there. The flash seems to light up the nearer and bottom part of the ...... big amazing plant!

Edited by tish

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Then I noticed the top pitchers on the vertical set-up are somewhat darker coloured then the bottom ones (which are more green). Is that because the top ones receive more (direct) sunlight from above than the bottom ones?

 

This plant is illuminated by artificial lighting. The light is on the ceiling, and angled towards the front of the plant. There is very little difference in light distance between the top and bottom of the plant, but the light angle of incidence would differ.

 

 

What I'm trying to say here that in order to rule out any other factors you would have to take two genetically identical plants under the same circumstances but one with damp substrate and one with saturated compost.

 

The plant in my picture is all the same clone - it originated from a single plant. I do however agree that it would be more scientific to test multiple identical plants separately in identical conditions, except for the moisture conditions. This however would likely also add humidity variance, as well as that of soil moisture.

 

 

P.S to make things more complicated: Carniflora now only uses pure peat (no, perlite, vermiculite or sand added at all)

 

My plant is in purely peat. I am wary of using vermiculite on any CPs, except maybe Mexican Pinguicula.

 

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My plant is in purely peat. I am wary of using vermiculite on any CPs, except maybe Mexican Pinguicula.

Not each peat is the same and I was showing that some time ago on Polish forum. Some are more like normal ground, some are almost as if it was a dead, thick Sphagnum moss and there are those in the middle. They all also have very different properties. Question is which kind you have?

 

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Not each peat is the same and I was showing that some time ago on Polish forum. Some are more like normal ground, some are almost as if it was a dead, thick Sphagnum moss and there are those in the middle. They all also have very different properties. Question is which kind you have?

 

As peat is a natural product there will always be variables.

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I have seen that vertical cultivation shows different result than horizontal one, under same  all other conditions. The only logic conclusion, is that because the roots grow horizontally down (geotropism), they go near the surface and same time are better aerated than when grown horizontally.

LOL, what exactly differences and results did u notice?

Edited by dimitar

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I just like to add that I have 2 rather large Cephalotus plants from Carniflora which I've picked up in 2008.  They make pitchers from 4cm+ no problem.  There ain't no secret ... it is just growing them the right way and for a long enough time (and a bit of genetics) then you'll probably get large pitchers.:smile:  Or buy a giant clone. :laugh2:   

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I don't think that 4cm+ for a 'typical' is untypical. This is one of that lower pitchers from mine pictured above:

ESvqaoz.png

It would however be interested to see a controlled soil moisture experiment.

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I don't recall exactly, but less than a year. Here's a picture of it from March this year:

dc0e7bce2e91b93ea5e855c9b161f127.jpg

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how are people measuring the pitchers?if its to the top of the lid then id also agree 4cm is about average size

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Hi Mobile,

 

In your first post you said about your vertical set up that it's: 'all the same plant'. I knew that Cephalotus makes side shoots once established but does it make side shoots this fast? (since you say it's only in there for one year) or is it all the same clone but different individually seperated plants? (out of interest)

 

4cm is indeed not un-typical for a typical but what did suprise me is that a professional commercial nursery, who has been gowing and selling Cephalotus for years and knows one or two things about growing CP's. this year comes with plants with pitchers twice the size then the years before.

 

Like stephen said, it makes sense the plants have been fertilised but how likely is it they only started doing it this year? (I suppose Stephen you bought your Carniflora clones last year or even before?)

I suppose only time will tell whether the pitchers remain this big or will return to their 'normal size' next year (I don't use any fertilizer other than what the plants catch themselves).

 

Reinier

Edited by Reinier

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Hi Mobile,

 

In your first post you said about your vertical set up that it's: 'all the same plant'. I knew that Cephalotus makes side shoots once established but does it make side shoots this fast? (since you say it's only in there for one year) or is it all the same clone but different individually seperated plants? (out of interest)

 

It has been growing vertically for less than a year; however, I have had the plant longer than that. It was growing conventionally in a mix containing dried Sphagnum Moss which had a bad black fungal attack. This almost killed the plant and all that was left were mainly unhealthy pitchers covered in fungus. I was always interested to try growing a Cephalotus vertically, so I decided to 'risk' it with a plant that was likely to die anyway. I un-potted the plant, removed all the mildew laden mix and pitchers, divided it, and potted it as you can see in the pictures. It was originally bought as a typical, from a seller who had a lot for sale, so likely to have come from a commercial nursery.

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Many regular ( typical)  Cephalotus, including Carniflora clone easily achieve size of the pitchers 4.5 - 5cm. Carniflora clone even has vertical open lids of some  pitchers under my conditions. I like that clone and don't think it is bad or lower grade clone than many other named clones....

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Hi Ceph experts,

 

Would you say/suspect Carniflora uses one and the same clone via TC?

 

Could it be that this year they started working with a bigger (unkown) clone resulting in bigger pitchers, judging by the pictures would you say it's a typical 'typical'?

 

Cheers,

 

Reinier

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