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Thread: Why does Drosophyllum often die after flowering?

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Why does Drosophyllum often die after flowering?

    I've been reading a while that in cultivation, many dewy pines die after flowering. Why is this? Is monocarpy common in this species in the wild as well? The two main reasons I've heard of is that the plant simply exhausts itself while flowering and setting seed, or that watering it after it has flowered causes the roots to rot. A few days ago I saw many mature dewy pines that were flowering or had just finished flowering, and some of them were dead or dying while others looked completely healthy. They were all about the same size and grown in identical conditions. On some of the plants, one of the branches would die while the others remained alive.

    Is there any way to prevent this from happening in cultivation? My plant has been thriving since I got it, and I would hate for it to put out a flower stalk next spring and then have it keel over. Can the flowers be cut off early on or does this harm the plant? Does making sure it gets enough insects during flowering increase its chances of surviving?

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    LOL! You are so fortunate to keep the plant alive long enough to see it flower! Is it grown outside or inside? If inside, that may make the difference. What I mean is that our artificial environments for some plants may be missing essential elements, like day/night temperature differential or humidity or sunlight or adequate food, etc... For many plants this isn't terribly important (D. capensis, for example). But to a dewy pine, with a Mediterranean climate, it may. You can try cutting flower scapes, because seed production is generally a major energy diversion.

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    There is discussion on this very topic in Stewart McPherson's new book Carnivorous Plants and Their Habitats Vol. 2. This has some of the most comprehensive information on cultivation of this species I've ever seen. Unfortunately I returned the copy to the LACPS library so you'll have to find a copy on your own. I don't recall what was said.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimscott View Post
    But to a dewy pine, with a Mediterranean climate, it may.
    Luckily she lives in a Mediterranean climate

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Spot on, Brian.

    Jim - Yep, that seems to be the key to the success (not really sure about using that term since I've only had the plant for a month) with this species, is replicating the climate it's native to. This species does have a reputation for being finicky and difficult to keep, which is probably quite deserved if it is grown in a climate that isn't of a Mediterranean type. And beyond the "hot, dry summer; cool, rainy winter" motif that is common between them, there are multiple types of Mediterranean climates too... Los Angeles, CA is considered Mediterranean but receives barely any rain even in the winter (it would be arid if it wasn't for the fog), while Perth, WA often receives rain not only in the winter, but frequently in the summer as well. Not sure how Drosophyllum would do in these "variant" Mediterranean climates, or if it requires the more "classical" type found in its native habitat in coastal Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and seen worldwide in the SF Bay Area, southeast South Africa, and some parts of Chile.

    Anyway, I think the 24 hour temperature and humidity differentials are very important for this species, probably moreso than with other CPs. The climate of my city (and much of the Bay Area) is almost exactly like that of the areas in which this plant is found natively, so there really isn't any reason why my plant shouldn't thrive, hahaha. In the summer, the days are usually 80-90 degrees with dessicating humidity (often less than 30%), but at night when the fog rolls in off the ocean, the temperature drops to 54-56 degrees with 90-100% humidity. The fog, apparently, is vital to the well-being of this plant, since it hates having wet soil and gets most of its water from the fog and dew. The only thing I do to take care of my plant is water it with a bit of distilled water once a week, but I have a feeling even that would be unnecessary because of the fog.

    Since you're in New York, the main problem I could see you having (aside from the winter) is the constant humidity in the summer. All plants native to Mediterranean regions, not just Drosophyllum, are extremely susceptible to root rot in the summer, since they have never had to evolve the ability to deal with warm, wet soil. If the soil's wet, it's cold; if the soil's warm, it's dry. Though I consider myself just a novice still, I would say if you were going to attempt this species again, find the breeziest place on your property and plant it in an airy, well-drained soil, and water it sparingly... That would be the best way I could think of for you to get the soil to dry quickly to prevent rotting.

    Not a Number - Awesome! I will see if I can find a source for that book... Hopefully at least the San Francisco Public Library would have it.

    Here is my plant a few weeks ago, when I originally made a thread about it on here:



    And here it is this morning... Looking pretty good, huh?


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    Tastes like chicken! Exo's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've tried to grow them from seed, but I find them more or less impossible to keep alive very long, it is my conclusion that it is most likely due it the humidity levels here.
    Some days it just isn't worth chewing thru the restraints.

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    SDCPs's Avatar
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    It is probably usually due to overwatering as they are setting seed. At least that's what I've read. You're 'sposed to watch them very carefully when they flower and just keep them alive for a month or so.

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's what I've been hearing a lot too. I kind of wonder though, because they are supposed to flower between February and May, but if they flowered in February they'd be getting be getting tons of moisture after flowering. Porto, Portugal picks up over 10 inches of rain in March, April, and May (which is similar to here, maybe even slightly wetter), so the plants must have some way of dealing with the moisture. Or maybe they only flower after particularly dry winters?

    Also, since I posted those comparison shots above, here's the one I took last night to further compare. It grows! I'm so happy!


    Dewy Pine

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