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Thread: I want Cephalotus but....

  1. #1

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    I want Cephalotus but....

    I'm a bit confused on the care. I've done a lot of reading on a few different forums and have seen them growing on windowsills, in terrariums, out of rocks, in driftwood, sitting on tables outside, etc so needless to say I've so enough to confuse me to the point where i really do not know what would be the best/easiest way for me to grow them. The most common things I've seen said were that they do not like a lot of water and need quick draining medium and that air flow is important other than those two things every other care tip seems to be depending on who you talk to....

    So the way I'd like to grow them is how I've seen a few people on here grow them in a glass aquarium with artificial lighting in a pot raised above the water level in the tank so it's not sitting in water(I seen some people use egg crates to keep plants above the water level in the tank) would this be a good way? Also I've heard mixed feelings about dormancy on Cephs...opinions?

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    Without knowing you past plant keeping experience, its hard to give good advice. Every growing area has its own unique issues, thats why you read hundreds of different methods. As always talk the advice for what its worth, do they have a few years of photo's showing healthy plants or do they just have a few month old plants. Alot of plants (Ceph's included) can look like they are thriving when they are infact rotting. So just be careful with what you read.

    As for care you want light and lots of it, and here is where I contradict myself...I have grown and still do grow Ceph's under low light with good results. Good airflow would be next on the list, and again...I've grown/growing Ceph's with no airflow at all.

    See the problem...there is not just one way to grow these guys you just need to find the way that works best for you and your conditions. The one thing 90% of the people agree with is overwatering kills alot of Cephs. Also keep water off the crown of the plant if that water will not completely dry out in an hour or so.

    A quick look around my grow space and you will find Ceph's growing in 10 or so different manners, from driftwood to the old peat/sand method. Now everyone of the Ceph's growing in an usual way are typicals, the clones I would not take the chance. They are in a peat/sand/perlite mix that I know is tested and works well for me. So when you read posts of people like me doing what seems to be old things with there plants keep in mind we are experimenting and may likely lose the plant.

    Until you are very comfortable with Ceph's I would stick with the tallest/largest pot with a standard mix. Peat/sand/perlite. Water by either submerging the pot (never the crown of the plant) in water or top watering. Once you get a feel for your mix and how long it will hold water and whatnot then you can start playing around with a tray method. You need to spend a month or so to get used to the mix you have. You can actually do this before you get a Ceph, mix up the medium and fill a pot like you would with the Ceph and see how many days it takes for that pot to start to dry out on top, once it *starts* to dry out is the perfect time to rewater in my opinion. Water earlier is generally not an issue, but that would give you a good idea of what to do.

    I've rambled on enough. Hope some of this mess is helpful.

  3. #3
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoppyCat View Post
    I'm a bit confused on the care. . .The most common things I've seen said were that they do not like a lot of water . . .
    Be careful with moisture/water --> perhaps "they do not like a lot of water", but I'm sure that's relative. Some succulents don't like a lot of water, either -- for instance Lithops are notorious for quickly rotting when given too much moisture. Cephalotus follicularis are plants whose natural habitat never dries out. Perhaps they just don't like to be kept wet, but only moist.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    SirKristoff's Avatar
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    Here is how my Cephalotus, in every, little single detail i can muster up.....

    Lighting - Dead center to the back end of my 30 gallon tank with 3x 2 bulb fixtures 24" each (6 bulbs total)
    one plant is raised up aboust 4 1/2" from the lights, the others are 6-7" from the lights and still thrive, just not as much color.
    Humidity - fluctuates from probably 50-80% depending on time of year and temp/time of day and night....being on the lower end (50-60% during the day) and high end (70-80%) night time....
    Temperatures - 70F in the day during this time of the year, 60F at night.
    Medium - Perlite/Peat/Sand with a top dressing of live LFS
    Watering schedule - roughly 1-2 times a week, or when necessary, when the pot is fairly light in comparison to when i just water the plant, i use the LFS as an indicator...
    I also feed my cephalotus with Betta Fish pellets, and they love it.
    Air circulation is critical, and try to keep the crown of the plant from getting wet as well while watering, as cephalotus are prone to a few different forms of rot, be it root rot, crown rot, or fungal issues (powdery white mildew seems to be the most common, and is mainly found on plants that do not get adequate circulation, and are left nearly waterlogged)
    Cephalotus generally hate their roots being disturbed, so if repotting is necessary, be as gentle and patient with the process as you possibly can, and the plant will show little to no negative effects.
    Do not believe that because Cephs are commonly slow in growth, that yours necessarily will be...
    This is my typical Cephalotus that i received back in june, this is what it looked like then, potted in a 2.75" pot

    This is the same exact cephalotus as pictured above currently, i repotted it a couple of months ago, now in a 4" pot


    And remember - what works for one grower will not always work for another.
    Cephalotus can be rather picky, and some times you will go through a few plants before you find that "spot" in your growing conditions that your plant just absolutely loves...it took me awhile to get it down, so with enough time, trial and error (unless you get it first try ;P) and patience, you should find them to be very rewarding, and beautiful plants to grow...something that will make your friends and family do a double take when they see them.
    Cephalotus are amazing plants for sure, i wish you the best of luck

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    Thanks for the info
    So no thoughts on Dormancy?
    I'm also curious on where to acquire a few plants..a lot of sites have them but I never know how good the site is....don't really want to pay $35-40 on something that is almost dead when I get it...

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    SirKristoff's Avatar
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    cephalotus doesnt really have a "dormancy" just a period of time where it produces non carnivorous leaves and very few traps...and it doesnt need this phase IMO

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