Sunday, 23 November 2014

Some growing carnivorous plants failures and successes this year

I think I understand how to grow intermediate and lowland and ultra lowland  nepenthes
a little better  this year.
All the  lowland nepenthes that I have  I've kept them above 20 degress celsius all year. It's now summer and I have a poly house for them now. I hesitated  getting it . it does climb to 30 degrees celsius here , maybe it would be too hot but the house is shaded.  So long as I keep the water and humidity up they should be very happy.If I stand in it for five minutes I can feel the sweat running down my back .
The lounge room this year was full of lowland plants when in winter the outside temperature went down regularly to 5 and once to 2 degrees. They'll put up with the lower humidity for a short time and I covered them in plastic, kept the most sensitive on heat pads.
My intermediates were outside and i covered them in winter with towels and blankets every night and (would you believe) hot water bottles and they are all fine.I didn't care what the neighbours thought.
I thought I would try to grow some lowlanders from seed this year. I have now about twenty seedlings.This is all seed from ebay , so I don't know how old some of it was.Only one or two at a time have sprouted .
They are  still coming up six months later. Another two today .
I read on line about how low electrical conductivity in the soil being essential for some plants , the way it read I thought the nepenthes seeds  probably require this. It said sugar would bring the conductivity down. So I started dissolving  1 teaspoon of sugar into a cup of water and then applying it to the seeds. Everytime after 5 days approxa few more seeds would sprout.. These are all lowlanders.I've been doing it very sporadically when no more seedlings would come.I've also given the seeds a weak tea solution of seasol sporadically.
Some of the seed I bought never sprouted at all.
Of the seeds that have sprouted  I managed to only lose one so far, but they are so fragile. I stopped watering overhead as it disturbed the ones trying to send their root into the peat and sand mix. I've gently moved them into a pot with a mature nepenthes as I see the cotyledons spread themselves out.
I've placed them all in one pot under a nepenthes albomarginata ventricosa , and they're doing well.
They don't seem to mind each other at all.
My female nepenthes ventricosa was in a  shallow pot in the garden and has somehow established itself in the ground and happily running across the stump of a tree I have.
Its a great place here for the intermediates (red sandy acidic loam) and the temperatures are perfect for them.I'm considering putting some in the ground as quite a few of them grow out of  the greenhouse and scramble across the ground.
My cephalotus all died and I think its the heat. I started regularly looking at Albany's  temperature
range . It's a lot lower than here. I've bought some seed I'll try to sprout it.
 I have one venus fly trap left , I made a bog for them for winter and even though the temperatures were low only one survived .. I thought they would thrive outside but still too warm. Yet one has thrived and now
I've kept it inside near the air conditioner in a plastic seal top bag under an aquarium light and its doing very well.
I did finally lose my N..bicalcarata x merrilliana., this year and  its was one of my favorite plants . I think I was just too rough repotting   I should have kept it inside, the stress was too much.It seemed to come back but never fully recovered and then slowly died. Maybe their feeder roots are very slow to regrow if too many are broken starving the plant.
When I repotted my N bicalcarata  this year I was extra careful and when placing it in the new pot I sat the old post in the new one and cut  round the old one gently
I took no chances and its fine though .I made a big mistake with it this year , I lowered its humidity and when the edges of its leaves went black I quickly rectified the problem and its put out a huge new green leaf but it  isn't pitchering.because of that error.and when I saw its leaves go black I thought it was a fungus or  insect attack so I applied fungicide/insecticide mix in a panic killing the ant colony thats been living with it a long time. I seen more very tiny brown ants around it so a new colony hopefully will start. I should put it  in the poly house .I 've given it more light and now much higher humidity and  its very healthy.
It seems to attract the ants and they lived in its petioles rarely coming out and never being a trouble anywhere.
I feed it with a weak tea of seasol when I think it needs it (maybe two monthly)
and I do give occasionally give it a weak tea of  trace elements.
It so loves the heat and the wet , I have to lift the plastic to see it in its warm swamp.