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Thread: Moisture and Mexiping Leaf Pullings

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    jrod's Avatar
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    Moisture and Mexiping Leaf Pullings

    Joseph has recently shared a lot of very interesting information with us. His 16-month study is really showing just how hardy most Mexican Pinguicula are. The frustrating thing for most of us is the "your mileage may vary" effect with Mexipings. Joseph is able to sprout and continuously maintain leaf pullings and plantlets with no water at all, whereas I've struggled and struggled to keep leaf pullings and small plantlets alive.

    I'm growing in 100% Schultz APS with 30 to 50% humidity. In my conditions, I've found that plantlets seem to have a magic size. They struggle to reach this size, then grow exponentially afterwards. I've conducted a few studies, and found that the key ingredient for my plantlets seems to be moisture. Until they reach the magic point, they need to be constantly moist. Afterwards, they can handle a good dry stretch without issue. What I've started doing is sprouting leaf pullings on the exposed media in my Heliamphora pots. The Helis are all growing in damp, mostly live LFS. The plantlets seem to take off under these conditions, and can then be hardened off to the APS medium once they've got some moisture buffer (stored in their tissues) behind them. In fact, I've transferred a few struggling plantlets from the APS to LFS and noticed growth pick-up within a day or so. The LFS may also help with small plantlets because it's supposed to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

    For those of you who are curious, the magic size for plantlets seems to be around 1/2" in diameter. I'm not 100% sure if this is due to moisture retention, or if they just build a good root network at around that size, and are better able to intake moisture from the air and substrate.

    I just found it interesting how different things work for different conditions. Wonder if anyone else has seen anything similar?

    Somebody needs to write a book about Mexipings. A couple thousand pages ought to do it.....




    Oh, and PS: This is definitely not a post to try to argue with JC. His posts have been fantastic and oh so educational. They just really caught my attention, and happened to come around right as I was accumulating some good hard evidence that the LFS vs. APS thing was for real. I just wanted to share some of my observations, too. In fact, he may chime in and say he's observed similar results. Hopefully we can all share and discuss without arguing? Much love!

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    It is great that this forum is getting so much action lately. I have enjoyed all of these new posts immensely and they have inspired me to spend more time reflecting on my pings and the way I grow them.

    I have tried to grow tropical Pinguicula many ways over the past few years. I started cultivating them on windowsills with a peat-based media and they would grow quite well until the summer heat melted them down to nothing. I did not use an air conditioner in those days. I found that in my conditions, anything above 90F was detrimental for the health of the plant. I never had much luck with leaf pullings because I realize now in retrospect that I was keeping them too wet and humid.

    Next, I tried growing them under fluorescent lights and constantly wet. They colored up beautifully, but never really seemed to grow or flower much for me. In addition, I had constant rot problems, regardless of the type of media I was using. Leaf pullings would produce plantlets easily but none of them would grow much.

    Fast forward to now. I once again grow my pings on windowsills, this time in straight LFS and I never let the temps get above 80F in the summer. These are the healthiest, happiest pings I have grown so far. I periodically spritz the foliage with a dilute fertilizer solution and place a few osmocote pellets under each rosette. They now flower well and are extremely vigorous. I even have success with leaf pullings and can now not only produce plantlets but raise them to maturity as well.

    My favorite way to start leaf pullings is by putting clean, dry leaves into a plastic sandwich bag and sealing it as is, with no added moisture or growing media. When started this way, the resulting plantlets will survive almost indefinitely. This past summer, I placed a few leaves of P. 'Aphrodite' into a bag which was later promptly misplaced and then discovered several months later in a dark, infrequently used drawer. The plantlets were etoliated but alive and healthy. They are now growing vigorously on my windowsill as though nothing had happened.

    I do notice that young plantlets seem to grow somewhat slowly until hitting a "magic size." I am not sure how it happens, but they eventually reach a state where they seem to double, triple, quadruple in size in a matter of a couple of weeks. P. 'Tina' is an excellent example of this. Cute, compact little plantlets become jolly green giants overnight when you least expect it.

    As fun and rewarding as leaf pullings are, however, I have to admit that my favorite way of propagating Pinguicula is waiting until my plants divide themselves. For me, it is the only foolproof way of quickly producing additional, mature plants.

    If I have learned anything about these unusual little plants over the past few years, it is that they are not at all hard to grow but they can be tricky to figure out at times. They tolerate conditions that would easily kill other plants and yet they will suddenly decide to be fussy about some unknown minor variable and then they pout. Still, for me, they are the most interesting and most rewarding of all CPs and I cannot imagine a better plant for my windowsills...

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I have also tried a variety of approaches, all mentioned by Ispahan above. What doesn't work for me is having the plants outside. It's like Toonces the cat - they start off fine and then disaster happens.

    The best was when I had them in the unheated window sill between the lower and upper apartments, particularly when the window was open and only the screen was in. They colored up without melting or burning.

    I like placing leaves on the media surface (Perlite, crushed coral, eggshells, peat, sand), right under a fluorescent light. Not much color yet, but they do okay.


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    A yellow M&M Jefforever's Avatar
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    Leaf pullings aren' hard at all if you do it Cindy's way. Get a container (I use a canning jar), put perlite in it, and keep the water level about 1/4 inch high to nearly dry.

    Then just take your pulling, put it on the surface, and cover it with a little perlite and live LFS.

    Done.

    0 mortalities.

    They also grow much faster than using denser soil (vermiculite/sand/peat) for some reason...

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    jrod's Avatar
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    That perlite method does seem to yield great results. I think a lot of my early problems with plantlet survival were due to fungal infections. After I inoculated everything with Trichoderma a few months ago, my pings have really turned around. I'm about to try the Ampac Trich inoculum Butch recommended, to see if that helps a few of my newer plants to take off.


    Jim:

    Looks like you've got a great set of little guys coming along. We need to get you more room!

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    .... and another fluorescent light... and a tripod.... and a battery charger....!

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    --Freedom Czar-- Fryster's Avatar
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    Very interesting discussion.

    I re-potted some of my hybrid pings a week ago and took a lot of leaf-pullings.

    I just used the standard CP mix with a little added APS in a half egg shell as container.

    So I have dozen pullings waiting in an egg crate.



    JimScott; oh man I hadn't heard Toonces the Cat in ages! What a flashback for me!
    Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom; the more corrupt and vicious a people becomes, the more it has need of masters. -- Benjamin Franklin

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