5 May 2009

Colour of images problem

Hi, just thought i'd let you know that I'm trying to fix a problem that occurs when I upload my images. Basically the originals look rich in colour and the uploaded ones (the images that you see) look really washed out and pale. Hmmmm annoying!

Nepenthes maxima

Nepenthes maxima
(Bought as 1 plant from OBI Germany April '09, divided into 3)

Nepenthes sanguinea

Nepenthes sanguinea (From Obi Germany!)

Sarracenia seedling update

Sarracenia s.? from seed.

Drosera binata update

Drosera binata

Darlingtonia californica seedling update

Darlingtonia californica from seed.

17 April 2009

Update 17th April 2009

Hello! Well I'm looking forward to this growing season as all the seedlings/juvenilles are looking pretty strong and are sending up new growth.

The 'Venus Flytraps' have survived the whole year outside in the bog garden, which I'm very surprised with! I did fleece cover over the harsh winter frosts, ice and snow! But hey they're alive!

All pics to follow, also if you WANT to see specific photos of any of my setup/specific plants then I'm more than willing to share.

I recently went to Germany and picked up 2 Nepenthes from the local OBI (similar to B&Q in the UK) in Naila:

N. ventricosa X maxima
N. sanguinea

Both very small and quite healthy looking even after the ham handed luggage handlers! I have re-potted both into an appropriate mix of; Peat moss, Perlite and sphagnum moss chopped up into a fine grade.

From the 1 N. ventricosa X maxima I have divided it into 3 cuttings, which I'm quietly confident in their growing future. Learning from my mistake with my previous Nepenthes (See early post) I am NOT ever going to attempt to grow these in the cold-frame over cold seasons! even with heat! I've put them all into my indoor growing unit just to see how they progress and how tolerent they are to different levels of humidity. Anyway I'll keep you posted if anything pops up good or bad!

I have also repotted my Darlingtonia Californica seedling that has been in the cold frame all year with great results. I repotted it because I didn't like the look of some green growth on top of the perlite. Probably harmless to the seedling but I'm not willing to risk green stuff growing near a seedling!
New growth is beginning now the weather is warming up :) Looking good.

The Sarracenia seedlings are also sending out new growth, which is re-assuring! As well as the seedling Sarracenia, the bog garden Sarracenia's are also emerging from dormanacy!

I have Drosera capensis/kanto growing everywhere by the way! If there is sphagnum moss on top of any potted substrate you can bet your life there will be a little capensis or kanto growing in there. I don't have a problem with this as long as they don't interfere too much! Must be some of those flower heads bearing seeds down on the sphagnum somehow. All good!

Nothing else to report yet, will put the pics up when I have the time. Requests welcome!


28 September 2008

Indoor Growing Unit

Indoor Growing Unit (upgraded!)

Well here it is! As stated previously, a bit sparse now!

Drosera Spatulata Kanto

Drosera Spatulata Kanto

Sarracenia Needs Identifying.

Sarracenia Needs Identifying.

Utricularia livida (Bladderwort)

Utricularia livida (Bladderwort)

Darlingtonia Californica Seedling.

Darlingtonia Californica Seedling.

This has been growing purely outside, chopped Sphagnum and perlite medium mix.

Photo taken 28/09/2008

22 September 2008

Plant Update 22nd September 2008

Plant Update 22nd September 2008

Hello guys and gals!

Well, let me firstly apologize for not keeping on top of maintaining the updates on here. Secondly a huge
THANKYOU to all the messages of support and encouragement that I have received over the past months. I read every message sent, and as you know answer any questions that I am capable to answer, but I am glad that many of you find this little site informative!

Ok...so what about the plants??! As practically everyone knows here in the UK, the weather this summer has been awful! Hardly any sunshine, and lots and lots of rain, and chilly!
positive: plently of fresh rain water stored up for the drier weeks.
negative: Weak looking plants, slow growth, armies of slugs invading and munching potential growth.

I also upgraded my Indoor Growing Space!
I will put up a pic. It is now 2 tierd. So more space and more light! In there now are just seedlings that I'm hardening up for the outdoors, and re-potting. Also in there are my
Nepenthes Ventrata (cutting) (as the main plant was dying rapidly due to cold......I experimented with cold tolerance, the result; death) Anyway I managed to airlayer a cutting from it before it died off...The gene-pool lives on! A Nepenthes Lowii which is still very small, but going good so far!(pic to fillow) Various Sarracenia seedlings (Need identifying, pics to follow) Darlingtonia Californica seedling, progress is excellent so far. (Pic to follow).

Not much for a 2 tiered growing unit right??RIGHT!
Confession time! I went on a 4 week holiday, and left the Pinguicula Moranensis, Drosera Capensis, Drosera Spatulata Kanto, in the capable hands of the family.........Written instructions weren't enough, neither were regular emails, a huge supply of de-ionised water...... They all perished as apparently they were left outside during days of blasting rain, high wind, cold nights etc.... So many lessons were learned there!

So now the ICU is looking pretty bare and minimal!

Anyhow, the summery is below:

The varieties outside in the bog are:

Sarracenia Minor (Okefenokee) x1
Slow growth this year, and suffered due to high winds. Many traps snapped and bent.

Sarracenia Flava Ornata x1 Slow growth, one trap developed completely deformed. Suspected mites/aphids, applied anti bug spray that I've used in past instances. Aphid problem went quickly. After which slow 'normal' growth resumed.

Drosera Filiformis x1 Slow growth, but healthy. A truly amazing bug catcher, with only traps about 2cm in length managed to get covered in flies and spiders! Flower stalks were produced approx 1 month after true traps were being produced.

Dionaea Muscipula (Standard) x3 This trio, (although began really slowly and I must admit thought wouldn't have made the transition) have this summer really flourished! Being outside lots of water and bugs have been served on a plate to these guys. Really happy with these! (Pics to follow)

In the Coldframe are:

Drosera Capensis (Alba) x2 Dead

Dionaea Muscipula (Standard) x3Dead

Nepenthes Ventrata x1 Main plant died. Managed to take a cutting using a technique called 'air layering'. Proved very successful! Cutting now in ICU, flourishing well.

Pinguicula Moranensis x1Dead

On it's own: Darlingtonia Californica (Slacks) This beast of a plant is growing so well, in such harsh conditions. It's still on it's own, almost looking down on all the other plants outside or which have been in the coldframe and taunting them about how to grow well!! Excellent sized traps coming up here, but no flowering! Images below

Any questions ask away!!

Darlingtonia Californica Trap fully grown from May 08

Darlingtonia Californica Trap fully grown from May 08

These are the fully formed traps from the May images.

Darlingtonia Californica Growth 10th May 08

My mighty Cobra Lily beginning new growth

Click on all images for a higher resoloution.

5 January 2008

My Cold Frame

My Cold Frame

This is my outdoor cold frame photo'd 22nd of Oct '07

Sarracenia Flava Ornata

Sarracenia Flava Ornata

This is my Sarracenia Flava Ornata, this photo was taken just in the middle of October when active new growth began to slow down. The trap on the left is was starting to yellow towards the tip as it started to die back.

This plant was potted up in a mix of Peat Moss, Chopped Sphagnum and perlite. However I recently re-planted in the bog garden and seems to be doing well so far. The bog is primarily Peat Moss and sharp sand 50/50 mix with a top dressing of live sphagnum. (Photo will be up soon, promise!)

During the summer and autumn this Sarracenia was one of the best fly/insect catchers in my garden, one trap was totally full of bugs and other odd looking things. Spiders often made home in these traps, poaching the catch of the trap. Hover flies seemed to be the main victim to these traps, as well as flying ants! You can see in the picture to the right that the left trap is way over half full with bugs from the light shining through good huh?

Plant Update 05/01/08

Plant Update 05/01/08

Well, the weather down here on the Isle of Wight (UK) is pretty erratic and cold lately, and so my plants that are growing outside are really braving the English elements thrown at them!

The varieties outside in the bog are:
Sarracenia Minor (okefenokee) x1

Sarracenia Flava Ornata x1
Drosera Filiformis x1
Dionaea Muscipula (Standard) x3

In the Coldframe are:
Drosera Capensis (Alba) x2
Dionaea Muscipula (Standard) x3
Nepenthes Ventrata x1
Pinguicula Moranensis x1

On it's own: Darlingtonia Californica (Slacks)

The bog garden is covered at the moment with a anti-frost fleece cover as frost has been pretty hard and the wind chill is bitter. I noticed the Dionaea were looking pretty war torn by the freezing wind, so i offered them this form of shelter. Everything seems fine regarding them so far. They're obviously dormant, as the traps have grown increasingly smaller, and rate of growth is significantly slowed right down.

The Sarracenia Minor: Stopped developing traps at the end of October, and the oldest trap died back to brown, so i chopped this off. The remaining 2 traps are still there although one is looking a bit worse for wear, but the youngest trap is ok! Despite the weather conditions and temp (has been down to -4c)

The Sarracnia Flava Ornata: Stopped developing traps around the same time as the Minor. Cut back the two fully developed traps as they were dying off quickly. However, a few traps started to shoot up, but as the cold weather set in they have stood in stasis since that weather came in. So ive had a 2 devolping traps since Nov! and they're not dead. Just there.

The Drosera Filiformis: I bought this recently and introduced to the bog about 4 weeks ago. I recieved it in a dormant state (a resting bud). The roots were very minimal as it's dormancy has set in. It appears to be doing ok, as the bud still has a healthy colour and no signs of rot at all. Looking good so far!

In the coldframe things are a tad cold too! I've insulated this with bubble wrap and anti frost fleece also. It's kept the inside a few deg c's higher than outside, not to mention protection from the wind.

Nepenthes Ventrata: As it's size permits, I was unable to move this inside during the winter period. I've decided to leave it in the coldframe and just see what happens really. Well so far, looking at it today it looks worse for wear. Traps dying off, leaves dying off. It may be dying or just having a sleep, but i guess we'll see. I took a cutting of this during autumn period and thats in the ICU at the moment, looking good.

Drosera Capensis: This basically shrunk back to nothing as the weather started to turn cooler. Traps were roughly 2" now they're about 1/2" if that. It's still showing the 'dew' on the leaves, but just very small in size. Dormant.

Dionaea Muscipula: One of these is from a cutting I propagated in August, and the traps are very small, but there are lots of them! Seems to be growing really well, really suprised actually as I thought a cutting being so young wouldn't be hardy enough to survive cold frame conditions.
The other has many many traps and is totally green. No red pigmentation at all, so I'm thinking it may be a Heterodoxa variety. I would prefer to wait until Spring/Summer to fix on that conclusion though. Very few traps have actually died off, and its general health seems to be excellent, good coloring etc... and still eating things. I actually found half a slug hanging out of one of the traps recently. Yuk.
Lastly the 3rd Dionaea is again looking healthy, reduced trap production and is still capturing bugs. The red pigmentation within the traps is looking minimal in size, but the majority inside is still very red. Trap size hasn't seemed to have mimised either.

Pinguicula Moranensis: The leaves being produced are still huge, and is also producing the massive flowers and stems. Looking very lush and healthy too. The flower production seems to have slowed, but I can see another 3 flower buds coming up out of the center. No signs of non carnivorous leaves yet, as it's still capturing insects.

On it's own, in it's very own pot, exposed to the elements is my cobra lily ( Darlingtonia Californica) I made a anti frost fleece cover using wire mesh and fleece to keep the worst frost off of it.

Darlingtonia Californica (Slacks): Trap production has frozen still and trap growth has stopped completly which is no suprise given the environmental temp and light exposure. The traps are still looking healthily red and green, no signs of trap deteriation. Judging by 2 summers ago growth, the traps seem to have doubled in size.

19 December 2007

Gallery At Bottom Of Page

The gallery slide show is located right at the bottom of this Blog page near the Links section. Thanks for looking! Updated regularly!

15 December 2007

Indoor Growing (ICU)

My Indoor Growing Space aka Intensive Care Unit!

Some people would call this a bit extreme or exessive but for me this converted built in cupboard has really helped grow a variety of plants carnivorous and non-carnivorous.

I basically partitioned off 1/4 of my built in cupboard/wardrobe. I used a sheet of thin ply-wood, shaped it into a rough 'C' shape, secured the wood so it wouldn't ping back out of shape and ruin everything....Drilled a two holes at the apex of the bent wood for the bulb holders to be fed through.
Next step was to cover the inside with a special material caller 'Mylar' which is a light reflective material which apparently reflects back 98% of light or somewhere around that. I used a glue to fix the Mylar.

I then searched the web for appropriate indoor growing light bulbs. I found that £40 was the average price for 120w blue spectrum fluro bulb. After that was fitted in I installed an automatic light timer to switch the light on and off automatically (usually at around 15 hours light perday) .

To stop the air growing stagnant in there I fitted two reletivly large PC cooling fans which I had to cut space for on the edge of the ply wood. I wired the fans to two seperate cheap 12v transformer plugs, set at 9v each. One fan sucks air in from outside the cupboard and the other fan on top is an exhaust fan dispelling air etc...

In the winter (which it now is!) the temp drops a fair bit in the ICU ;) so I installed a reptile heat mat underneath the capillary matting (absorbs spillage) to warm up the area a tiny bit, it also raises the humidity by a few % too if the capillary mat is damp.

The only plants that I don't put in the growing unit are plants that require a cold and less intense light dormancy period. I germinate seeds in there and revive floundering specimines.

As my collection grows though I am considering expanding the 1/4 designated space to 1/2....Will keep you posted on that :)

Drosera spatulata kanto

Drosera Spatulata Kanto aka Sundew

I purchased this species of sundew from plants-a-float
Before it arrived in the post I prepared a special looking pot for it. I used a shallow glass desert bowl that I bought for £1. I was going to display the plant as a usual house plant, but didn't realise how small the plant would be until I saw it first hand!

I put a layer of perlite on the bottom of the bowl, then Moss Peat followed lastly by sphagnum moss which was roughly chopped. I planted the Drosera bang in the center.

As I mentioned early it was rather small when it arrived, roughly 2cm in diameter so my original idea of displaying it as a house plant on it's own table seemed rather bleak and feeble. i decided to nurture it and place it in my special 'Intensive Care Unit' (which ill write an entry for later) and boost it's size and colour.

Well since putting it under artificial lighting it has grown alot! colour up really, really well and is one of my best looking plants so far.

When the temperature heats up it sends up very long flowers with a realy cute petal formation. I actually think they open up either at first light or when darkness begins to fall. Infact where i've just let it flower and let things grow reletivly naturally (bar artificial light!) it has begun to multiply and seed itself in the layer of sphagnum around it. I've noticed lots of tiny Drosera starting to sprout up....So one day I think it'll make a real great focal point of a plant if it carries on growing so well and healthily! Really pleased with this plant :)

The picture to the right is what the plant looked like when I first planted it. >>>>>

6 December 2007

Pinguicula Moranensis Aka Butterwort

Pinguicula Moranensis Aka Butterwort

This was the first carnivorous plant I ever bought. Actually bought about 4 years ago at a local garden centre. I didn't have a clue as to what it's growing/cultivation requirements were at that point!

For 2 years I had it sitting on a dish full of normal tap water, positioned on a south facing window sil. All of this without it dying! Therefore I see this species as quite water hardy!

It has been re-potted into a perlite and chopped sphagnum mix, watered now with purified water as i don't want to push my luck too far regarding potentially poisonous water for it!

When the weather starts to cool down these VERY tall purple flowers begin shooting up all over the place! At the moment I have 4 all up at once, looks quite impressive! Then after these flowers when the weather cools even more the plant begins its rest period, forming non-carnivorous leaves which appear smaller and more tightly arranged. As shown below.
This was the plant just coming out of it's non carnivorous stage or dormancy phase.

When left outside I always make sure the leaves don't get wet by rainfall as it kills the leaves off, makes them go transparent then they wilt. Also if it's a warm dry night this plant is quite often covered with midges and other small flies...A good bug catcher!

An observation I made is that the higher the humidity the bigger and faster the leaves get produced during the growing carnivorous period.

5 December 2007

Darlingtonia Californica

Darlingtonia Californica (Slack) Aka Cobra Lilly

I received this plant as a bare root, wrapped to damp sphagnum moss. It was an extremely hot week when it came so I potted it up as quickly as possible.

Cobra Lilly's do NOT like their roots getting hot! So with this in mind I planted it in a large plastic pot (a white pot would've been ideal but had none to hand) The size of the pot prevents the roots getting hot as quickly as they would in a smaller sized pot.

The soil mixture was Irish moss peat, with roughly chopped sphagnum mixed in also. The surface was then covered with a layer of sphagnum. Around the immediate area of the plant/root I sprinkled some perlite. As perlite is white it does reflect some of the suns rays away with the heat.

The red dying growth you see in the picture above was from the previous summer 2006, and the fresh growth appeared end of this August. It hasn't died or shown any ill effects from being grown outside at all. Even throughout a scorching spring/summer. I chose to use a tray method to provide the plant with water, however occasionally I used a turkey baster to squirt water down into the root of the plant directly to cool it down on the hottest of days. Seems to have done the trick! (Note: Purified water only!! NOT tap water. More detailed info on individual plant care soon)

Dionaea Muscipula or Venus Flytrap

Dionaea Muscipula aka The Venus Flytrap

This plant was originally bought from B&Q (hardware store) and I must say it did look pretty awful. However for just under £3.00 I thought I'd give this Dionaea a chance to thrive.

The first port of call was to re-pot into Irish Moss Peat, mixed with sharp sand (not beach sand!) The next step was to stand in a 2cm/1inch deep tray of purified water (NOT tap water, tap water is a killer of many carnivorous plants)

The original location of this plant at B&Q was under a shelf in a very humid environment, so I thought I'd treat it to some bright summer time sun shine! I initially left it outside (south facing) spraying it in the evening with purified water.

After a just under a week new growth started to appear, healthy growth! However strange bronze markings began to appear on the leaves (petiole). This was basically the Venus fly trap telling me that it was shocked with it's new environment. To ease the transition between lousy conditions to optimal I decided to move it into a part shaded area, so it received morning sun light and early afternoon, then more or less shaded after about 1pm. Instead of the evening spraying to maintain humidity I simply covered the plant with a clear bottle cut in half. However the thought of growing such a beautiful plant under cover didn't sit right with me at all...so I only covered it in the day then after 3 weeks I removed the cloche altogther.

The Dionaea flourished so well, I really was taught just how hardy these plants can actually be! The picture above is about 4 months after purchase. I have bought a few more of these from the same place as they are so cheap and with a bit of attention they really do get their act together!

More detailed information on the optimal care of these plants will be posted soon!