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Thread: Cyprideium acaule culture needed

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Calling all Cyp growers!! I have just finalized a trade to recieve 5 large mature Cyp acaule plants. The plants were collected off the gentlemans property in north GA. I need some culture advice. I live in Augusta, Ga and not in the normal range of acaule in Ga. These are my first Cyps and I do nto want to kill them. So far I knwo they like acidic soil, and damples sun, but I need to know a good soil mix recipe to use. I plan keeping some in pot culture, and maybe try some in the ground if I can find a suitable area. Thanks everyone.
    JB
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    They're very difficult if the conditions aren't right and can be like weeds when happy. Here's one option - http://www.c-we.com/cyp.haven/cypclt17.htm. This isn't the best time to be uprooting them, but better now than spring. They do their major root growth in the fall, so don't be surprised if the leaves shrivel up now. The plants will recover.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    With five plants you can hope that one might survive. More than that would be unusual. If they all die then that might not reflect on you - it is just very hard to adapt wild-grown Cyp. acaule to cultivation, probably due to the quite profound fungal symbiosis that wild plants achieve. Plants propagated in vitro have lived their lives (outside of flask anyway) without such quite intimate contact with the fungus and can cope better with transplanting and so forth. But they are very expensive.

    Soil can be either organic or mineral. I don't like the sound of the soil on the website linked to above. Peat and spagnum derivatives are not ideal in cultivation. There IS a semi-bog-growing form of C. acaule, but as yours come from woodland - along with all I have heard of in cultivation - don't attempt that as they will just rot away. Go for a humousy, acidic, pine-foresty mix with very good drainage:

    Organic: mix equal parts pine needles, pine needle mulch, coarse sand and grit (sterilise the compost by baking in the oven and cooling prior to use)
    Inorganic: mix equal parts seramis, grit and perlite

    (Seramis might not be available in the US - I don't know. It's a medium-grade clay product. Perhaps lava/pumice granules would be a good subsitute)

    Or create a hybrid of these soils - just has to be non-alkaline, moisture-retentive and very free draining. The problem with organic soils is that thay can harbour fungus and other undersirables, the benefit is that they add nutrition which the plants like. I use pine mulch from a local pine forest - in the US if you can get redwood mulch it will be even better as it's very acidic. My mix is seramis, grit, sand and this pine mulch.

    The plants need very stronly acidic conditions at the root. The general method to achieve this is to dilute a teaspoon or two of cider vinegar with a liter of rainwater and water the plants with this. Other vinegars/organic acids don't give as good results for some reason.

    Moderate shade. Soil moist in spring, allowing to dry somewhat more over summer until the plants die down (imitate the rainfall getting to the floor of a loose wodland as the trees start to shelter the floor really). I then put my pots out of doors for the winter to get the "normal" rainfall and frosts that they need for proper dormancy.

    I have bought wild-collected plants (well, sourced on private property, but still for all intents and purposes, wild) and I know they come from a region where they are not under threat. However, the very high mortality rate for them means I doubt I will try this method again. It just isn't fair on the wild populations when we can't get them to transplant at all reliably. You won't know if you've been successful until the second year of new growth starts with them in your care.

    Good luck!
    Rob Howe.

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Bruce. I liked that info too.

    Thanks Rob that was very detailed info. I like that Thanks.

    Since there were two different soil mixxes recomended I am going to split the plants up and try both mixes. I know that I have seen one pictured here that was collected from the wild and I assume it was planted in peat. It was growing and flowering. So since there are 5 mature plants we shall experiment. I have read that the mature plants don;t really use the fungal relationship like younger plants do. This is what Vermont slipper company says anyhow. I will be planting some of the soil that the plants were orriginaly growing in anyhow so hopefully I can inaculate the pots with whatever fungus was associated with the plants anyhow. Thanks again guys I knew someone would give me some good info.
    JB
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Mine grew very well, for a while, in a mix of rotted cedar mulch and perlite. By growing well, I mean it was getting larger and with increasing blooms. But squirrels uprooted it twice in the course of maybe five years and it never recovered from the last time, which happened shortly before Spring growth began in 2005. That's the worst of all possible times and I didn't discover it right away.

    I also had difficulty over-wintering the Cyp because it was in a shallow, 18" diameter pot (they like broad more than deep) and I wasn't able to protect it as well as I wanted from freezing & thawing through the winter. I also didn't water it often enough with that distilled water & vinegar mix. I mostly relied on rainfall and I now think I should have added the vinegar mix after some of the rains. Finally, I wonder if the cedar mulch broke down so much that it was no longer as hospitable a place for the Cyp.

    I had another that I gave to somebody back in the good days, when they were growing & blooming. I hope it's still doing well.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    something interested i've noticed in wild plants is that directly underthem, where the roots start to spead horizontally, theres a hollow pocket, like a bubble in the ground.

    dunno the significance of it, but like 95% of the time i've noticed this.

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Hmmm very interesting. Thanks Bruce and everyone else.
    JB
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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Ok I went to Lowes today to get some redwood mulch, pine needles and sand. The only thing I was able to find was sand. I got play sand, but the bag said it was 100% silica sand (quartz). Is this adiquate? I assume it is, since I was told to only used silica sand. Ok I am sure I can find pine needles, I just need to look in a different place. I don;t think I am going to find redwood mulch here. I see that ceder is ok, but what about in the begining while it is not broken down?
    JB
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