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Thread: (pics) D. adelae - First timer vs. Lowe's deathbox

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    grumpus's Avatar
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    (pics) D. adelae - First timer vs. Lowe's deathbox

    I got this at Lowe's today. It's just labeled "Drosera," but it looks to be adelae to my newb eye.

    All their CPs were on a bottom shelf in the indoor room of the garden center, getting NO light at all, let alone sunlight. They had a few "red pitcher" plants and smaller Drosera. They all looked rotten or dead except the one I got. There was one that just said "Butterwort" that looked like nothing more than a pot of rotten, damp moss. Maybe some or all were dormant - I don't know. But they looked terrible, had no water in their boxes except drops on the sides, and some were moldy inside. This does not surprise me, because these boxes are airtight and are taped shut.

    This is my first CP, but I've been reading up and preparing for a few weeks. The local university's botanical gardens have lots of CPs, including several outdoor bogs. They tell me just about every CP can live outside here (Charlotte, NC) year-round if planted in a bog, and outside in pots as long they're brought in on the very rare sub-15F night. So, I decided I had enough knowledge and lucky climate to attempt a rescue on what's supposed to be a pretty hardy Drosera, and this one actually looks pretty healthy to me, all things considered.

    Please chime in with suggestions, advice, bossing, questions, ridicule, or whatever.

    Ok, pics:


    The execution chamber. Most of the leaves are plastered to the sides. The only water is the condensation you see:





    The grower is Botanical Wonders. Here are the instructions:





    Just got home. I set up an Intensive care unit of an open top, vaporizer and the shade near an open window for about an hour while I did other things:





    I used needlenose pliers to take the pot out. The pot is 3 inches tall and 3.5 inches across the opening. The inside of the box is completely coated with mucilage. No water, just some damp dregs of moss:





    This plastic sleeve covers the bedding and lines two sides of the box. It is also coated thickly with mucilage. This sprout was stuck to it. Not wanting to kill my first CP the same day I got one, I placed it back onto the bedding with the (many) other sprouts:





    This root is about 4 inches long. It was curled up around the bottom of the deathbox. It looks like it's about to drop off, and another healthy-looking root has started to poke out of the hole with it. I'm guessing this is a desperation tap root, growing frantically in a plastic desert in search of precious water:





    I put the plant into the sun for a minute to get some decent light for close shots. You can see two flower stalks - maybe half-inch tall - and some of the babies sprouting up. Are these all offshoots? I thought they might be capensis as well, but I don't know:





    The stem is surrounded all the way to the bottom leaves with a very thick wad of dead/dying leaves, sphagnum (which seems to be the only bedding - that is sphagnum, isn't it?), and baby plants. There is really no separation between this clump and the rest of the bedding:





    I suspended the pot in some distilled water, just covering the bottom. I didn't want to damage the long root until I knew more. I also misted the plant lightly with distilled water after I took these pics:




    There is almost no dew on the leaves, but they seemed to want to perk up nicely. This sunlight is, again, just for pics. It's still sitting in bright shade under a window just out of the sunbeam's wrath. This is about 20 minutes after leaving the box:






    Handy cheapo thermometer/hygrometer. I've got this clipped to the plant's water dish now. I'd slip a CO2 tube up its nose if it had a nose:




    I've got it stable in an open room at about 77F and 40-45% humidity, but I have lots of things I can put it inside if it should have a more of an enclosure. At the very least I can put a plastic bottle or jug over it (with room to spare) temporarily. I'm keeping the deathbox, too - with some ventilation I think it would be a very nice mini-terrarium for a smaller plant (or all these babies?).

    I'd like to keep it outside as much as possible. My back yard borders a creek and stays very warm and muggy and buggy, with lots of afternoon sun. I think the plant will be able to live there once it stabilizes. In the meantime, I have some strong fluorescents I can rig up over it to nurse it along. My thought was to start slowly mixing some rainwater I just collected the last two days (I told you I've been planning...) into the mix with the distilled water as it gets soaked up, to help the plant get ready to try the great outdoors - and to give it a little more sunlight over a few days until it gets used to coming out of the cave it was in.

    As I finish this post, the plant has been out of the box about 7 hours. We have about one more hour of sunlight for it to sit near, then I'll put it under some lights or whatever needs to be done.

    Now the's time for advice! Is there anything pressing I should do? Not do? What about the long root? What about the baby plants? The flower stalks? The substrate? Clue me in, people. I appreciate all thoughts and pointers. A life hangs in the balance. Don't leave it in just my hands!

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Yes, Drosera adelae for sure. The substrate doesn't seem to be that important but people seem to report best results in long fiber sphagnum (live or dead).

    This species puts out long roots no matter what. Mine was infested with mealy bugs so I soaked it in water for 3 days and took the opportunity to repot it. It was potted in almost pure sphagnum peat moss. I repotted it into a larger pot with a thick layer of dried long fiber sphagnum and the rest with live stuff. The roots were twisted around the inside of the pot like a Darlingtonia californica. It is kept in standing water constantly.

    I took some root cuttings and just planted those in my tub of live Sphagnum. These will propagate readily from root cuttings.

    Growing these well is mainly a matter of finding the right light levels to make it happy. They tend not to like much full sun.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    That's a good-sized plant and it looks like you're giving it a good start. Coincidentally, I recently put 4 plants in a tray of live LFS, where the roots can spread out.

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    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    I's say you could just cut off that long root and put it just under the "soil" line for more pups. I would try putting a plastic bottle over the top of it just to harden it off if it seems to have gone dry/limp. Gradually take off the bottle (leave it off for an hour a day, 2 hours, etc) until it is fine to stay out in the open. As for the flower stalks, that's up to you. If it were me I'd cut them if you're sure they're flowers just so the plant can recover. If you want to keep them though there are a ton of little plantlets there that will be fine should flowering be too taxing. As for light I'd keep it in bright shade. From there it's just normal sundew stuff: pure water, keep it moist not soaked, acidic substrate (peat/sand, sphagnum etc as NaN said) etc.

    Good luck with these little guys!
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    Trying to rebuild. Feel free to PM me with questions.

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    Is ready to take this hobby to a whole new level DavyJones's Avatar
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    If you want to be especially advantageous, you could just hack the whole thing off at the base and start afresh. Those old leaves will not create dew, as is my experience, and so you could end up with a much nicer plant just by cutting off the top and starting all over again. This plant is extremely resilient, and you will have a hard time killing it. I placed 4-5 small plantlets in a 6 inch pot, and then cut off the tops. In about a month new sprouts were coming up, and I have a 6 inch pot full of the buggers.
    "We are in a sense the Universe trying to understand itself. By Observing it we are observing what we are." - Phillip Plait

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Your plant will transition to looking like this:



    and then this:


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    Great replies, everyone. Thanks to all.

    I read some more about this species, and considered all your advice and decided that I'd repot it.

    I liked the idea of giving it a bath all the way down to bare healthy root to get rid of the smelly old peat you'll see below, purge the dead root ends, and make sure I wasn't bringing a population of unknown pests into the house.

    Here's what I saw when I freed it from the original pot. It was extremely compacted. I cracked it open for the pic and it smelled funky. It looked exactly like a square muffin of peat and LFS.

    A Sphagnumuffin:





    Bathed it down to the roots and snipped the dead ends, which had grown into a square at the bottom of the stinking peat:






    Since I now know this plant grows like a weed and is nearly impossible to kill, I decided to use the chance to experiment and learn, so I cut it back to about 2 inches tall with four good leaves and put it into fresh LFS in a 6-inch pot. If those old leaves aren't going to make dew anymore, I might actually go ahead and cut it all the way down to a nub and see what happens.

    For the heck of it, I also took one of the dozen or so plantlets that were springing up from the base and pushed its little root down into a 4-inch pot of LFS. After I cut a few air holes, this should make a nice home for quite a while:





    I'm still working out what to use as a dome for the 6-inch pot, but sitting in a pan under a cake cover is working for now.

    Thanks again for the tips. Now I'm just leaving them covered in a little standing water, giving them about 18 hours of light, including 2-4 hours of pretty good sunlight, and waiting to see what's what.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    You will want to have it totally opened and the light that shines from a southern exposure window, eventually.

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