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Thread: My first "hard" CPs!

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    My first "hard" CPs!

    Yeah, I know was originally planning on getting a Ceph, but I decided I'd hold off on that for the time being since I have a few trips planned and it would be too easy for someone to water it wrong and kill it (making it either too dry or too wet, watering it with tapwater, etc). So I decided to take my chances on a couple other species, Drosophyllum lusitanicum and Darlingtonia californica - BigBella's assurance that they can be grown in warm areas encouraged me to take the plunge on the cobra lily, and I figured since one species likes it hot and dry, and the other likes it cool and wet, I could get at least one of them to live.

    I planted to the dewy pine in a tall 10" pot; the substrate is a basically equal parts sand, vermiculite, perlite, and volcanic rock, with a few handfuls of peat thrown in for kicks. It was being kept on the tray system before I got it, but I'm keeping it much drier to better match the conditions in which it evolved to grow. I water it once a week, following Brokken's technique, and the plant also absorbs moisture from the dew and fog that forms overnight. So far I haven't seen any signs of stress or sulking from the new, drier conditions, and the plant is catching plenty of insects.







    I think the Darlingtonia will require a bit more work than the Drosophyllum - at the place where I got it, they know I'm a beginner to CPs and told me this was going to be a bit harder than my other plants, but I said I was up for a challenge. I went shopping for pots and felt every one of them and picked the one that felt the coolest under the baking sun (glazed and pale-colored), then got another larger pot to use as a reservoir for the water. So far this system seems to be working pretty well - though we haven't had any excruciatingly hot days since I got the plant, the roots have been pretty cool on the 80 degree days. Where I have the plant now, it gets direct sunlight from sunrise to about noon, then bright shade after that. These pictures were taken at about 11:45 am, and the soil temperature is still 57°F (14°C), despite having sat out in the sun for several hours already! Though by the end of the day, the soil temp is usually 70-72°F. I read on here that the magic temperature (er, death temperature I guess) is 81°F, is that right?







    If these plants do well and my CP self-confidence goes up, I'll finally take the plunge and get a Ceph.

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Looks great . . .

    The trick with Darlingtonia is simply keeping those roots cool -- and your tray system there will work. Provided that the compost is wet, there shouldn't be a problem -- even in Novato . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I used to find Darlingtonia to be a challenge. I'm not doing anything more sophisticated than having a plant in a planter and top watering it. The plant has been surviving our 80's & 90's temps just fine.

    Drosophyllum, however, has been one failure after another. I can't keep it alive if my life depended upon it!

    Congrats to you and your cultivating skills!

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    Rob's Avatar
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    Very nice challenge! The most important thing to remember is to top water that darlingtonia often!

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    Sarracenia freak Brie's Avatar
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    oOOoo nice Droso! And that dew macro is awesome! I see you have the same camera as me, which macro lens are you using? Is it a Canon as well?

    Good luck with em! I want a droso really bad. The Cobras aren't really that hard, you just have to remember to water them. I recently moved mine to a 14" or so bowl, and planted in 1 part fine orchid bark, 1 part peat, 1 part pumice mix, and run about a quart of water through the pot at least once a day, sometimes twice on hot days(if I remember :\ i've been bad and forgotten, and almost had em die on me).

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Brie,
    I will post a photo of my Darlingtonia "pot" later today, when I get a pic. I have used a plastic window box type planter, about 30 inches long and 8 inches wide, and it is planted with about 50/50 LFS and coarse sand. I made a "filter chamber" (reservoir) at the bottom end (the planter is elevated 3" at the top end) where water collects and a small pond pump pumps the water through a section of aquarium hose back to the top of the planter, so that it emulates their natural growing conditions: water always flowing over the roots. I suspect that it is equally important to keep water flowing over the roots as is keeping the soil temp as low as possible. And on that note, I dump distilled water ice cubes into the pump reservoir on days when the soil temp exceeds 80F. You can easily do the same with a container grown plant: simply place ice cubes on the top of the media and the melting flow of cold water will bathe the roots.

    FWIW, my Darlingtonia are flourishing under these conditions, pushing out loads of healthy, enthusiastic growth. I planted about 20 one year old seedling Darlingtonia around the adults and all of these are growing well (albeit slowly, as seedlings do) in the same conditions.

    Good luck!
    Paul

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    BigBella - So far the substrate has been staying under 80 degrees even when the air temperatures are well into the 80s. Though I think I'm going to have to get some ice cubes ready for when the heat really kicks in!

    Jim - That's good to hear about your Darlingtonia! I'm not to familiar with the climate of New York... You guys have pretty humid summers with some rain, right? That might have been a bit much for your Drosophyllum to handle, I'm thinking. Many plants native to Mediterranean climates will sulk or die if they get too much water during the summer, since their roots are particularly prone to rotting when heat is combined with moisture. It seems like Drosophyllum would be a little more resistant to that as a cousin to the sundews/fly traps, but who knows.

    Rob - Yep, I'm watering it every day, hopefully that will be enough!

    Brie - I am indeed using the Canon T1i. I have the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens to go with it, which I have been very pleased with. What lens are you using on your camera for your CP shots? Your photos are spectacular!

    Paul - Thanks for the detailed info! I'm wondering if it's possible to rig up some kind of solar-powered self-watering device for the Darlingtonia, that would come on when it's hot (sunny). I was looking on Amazon and they have small solar-powered water pumps for ponds, but even the smallest of those is about 30 gallons per hour... Way too high! I want something that will just drip/trickle water to better simulate the plant's natural habitat, so I was thinking of maybe attaching a piece of dripline to the pump and having that sort of coiled around the plant, covered with a top dressing of LFS so it would be hidden. The pump would be kept in a separate, insulated reservoir (mainly because it won't fit in the pot), and circulate the water through the plant/pot. Do you know how many gallons per hour your pump is? Would it harm the plant to use something as high as 30 GPH?

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Natalie,
    The pump I use is rated at 68 GPH, but it has a sliding "dimmer switch" on it that allows you to dial down the flow volume. I have it set at about 1/2 its full volume, which would be able 30 GPH. That is plenty of water moving through the volume of media I have, but not at all excessive. I'll try to make time to do a short video clip of it in action tomorrow.

    Paul

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