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Thread: Heliamphora Cultivation - NECPS February meeting

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    Heliamphora Cultivation - NECPS February meeting

    Hey everyone -

    The next New England Carnivorous Plant Society meeting will be held on Saturday, February 9 at 12:30pm at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

    The meeting program is: "The Cultivation of Heliamphora," presented by NECPS Treasurer, Dave Sackett. Come to the meeting and learn Dave's award winning tricks and tips for the successful indoor cultivation of Heliamphora!

    Also, there will be plants on display and a silent auction.

    Hope to see some of you there.

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    Don't eat me,... Mr. Flytrap thbjr's Avatar
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    WildBill, can you post notes from the meeting on growing Heli's., for those of us on the other side of the country. I need all the tips I can get for growing my H. minor.
    Thanks,
    Tom

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    Another fantastic NECPS meeting…

    There were several very nice Helis on display at the meeting and there was just a slew of plants on the silent auction table including several nepenthes donated by Ken, and a H. heterodoxa donated by Dave Sackett.

    Some of you may remember Dave’s flowering Heli that earned a first place at last year’s NECPS show. I will attempt to recap Dave’s Heliamphora presentation, (unfortunately, without his very nice slides):

    Lighting: They need bright light. Dave uses 4 tubes, cool white T8 bulbs, or LEDs.

    Potting Media: The media needs to hold moisture, but importantly also let air to the roots. He uses Cypress Bark Mulch topped with some live Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss. We were pretty amazed at this! Dave noted that it was much easier for the Helis to put out roots in this medium. Note that the potting media must never dry out completely. In a terrarium environment, he doesn’t have to water every day. He gets the mulch at his local Agway store.

    More on Growing Conditions: Helis grow in cool, humid environments and Dave finds that terrariums work best for him. Dave’s plants are in his basement – which stays around 50 degrees all year. Another tip from Dave was to have the potted plants sitting on a raised plastic grate so they don’t sit in water - which lead to root rot. This was news to me, and the first thing I did when I got home was to take my two Heli’s out of their water trays! Dave keeps a layer of water below the grate and uses a simple fish tank air pump to pump air into the water – nothing fancy. This keeps the algae down and also increases the humidity inside the terrarium. Dave also makes sure to water into the pitchers and he feeds them crushed up fish food pellets. He does not foliar feed them.

    Regarding humidity, Ken (TF: “Chloroplast”) mentioned that he found that the higher the humidity of his Heli environment, the more resilient they were to higher temperatures.

    Dave mentioned that if you are beginning with Helis, find a H. heterodoxa or a hybrid with heterodoxa because this plant is found at lower elevations and is a little hardier because it can take higher temperatures.


    Propagation: When there are too many pitchers, it’s time to divide. New pitchers that come up around the edges may simply come up and die because they don’t receive enough light. Dave propagates his Helis by division and noted that these plants are FRAGILE. The pitchers and roots are brittle and can easily break. The roots are long and feathery.

    Here’s his propagation checklist:

    1. Make sure you have room in the terrarium for new potted plants.

    2. Have all the potting materials ready. The cypress bark mulch needs to be soaked ahead of time – or it will never get wet enough. Dave uses rainwater for this.

    3. Remove the plant from the existing container. Sometimes he cuts the old container and throws it away.

    4. Very gently separate the potting media from the roots. He likes to push the soil away using a wooden chopstick.

    5. Break the rhizome where the plant would naturally divide, ie: a growth point. He does not use a knife for this, just his fingers.

    6. If a new division is has only a very tiny root attached, Dave will put a sprig of live Long Fiber Sphagnum moss on or next to the rootlet.


    I hope this helps many of you. I found it very helpful.


    Thank you Dave!!!!!!!!

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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Bill,

    I agree that Dave gave a GREAT presentation on the cultivation of Heliamphora.

    This year, I started using fir bark in my Heliamphora potting mix which has helped keep the mix from becoming compacted over time. I don't think there would be much of a difference between using Cypress bark or Fir bark in the particular mix I use, but I might give it a try and see!

    It was a great meeting. Enjoy your N. x Cathy Jo, and N. x Prosperity.

    Ken
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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    Don't eat me,... Mr. Flytrap thbjr's Avatar
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    THANKS for the summery, Bill. It's chock full of info I'll use for my H. minor.
    Tom

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the nice comments. It was a fun presentation to give and I am planning to expand on it for next NECPS show.

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    Cypress bark should be much more resistant to rot than fir bark. If your media doesn't get too wet, or if you're repotting every year or two, it may not make much difference.

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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Cypress bark should be much more resistant to rot than fir bark. If your media doesn't get too wet, or if you're repotting every year or two, it may not make much difference.
    Those were my thoughts exactly. I keep the medium constantly moist but not soaking wet.

    Many of my plants are juvenile so I repot them every 2-3 years, as needed.

    Since I already buy lots of fir bark for my Phalaenopsis orchids, I think I'll continue using it.
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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