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Thread: My Drosophyllum

  1. #33
    theplantman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlechtm View Post
    I have heard from other experienced Drosophyllum growers that their plants often die after flowering. Have you experimented with fertillizing (or fertillizing more heavily) while flowering and/or setting seed? This past winter and early spring, when the greenhouse was closed and winged food was scarce, I found they reacted well to foliar feeding with dilute Nature's Harvest. I'm planning to spray them again this winter, and -- if they do flower for me next year -- to supplement their wild-caught food with additional feedings. I'm curious if you have any experience with this.
    I have had trouble getting them past the seedling stage, but the one plant that survived really liked foliar feeding. My hunch is that the death at flowering is nutrient exhaustion. Let me know what you discover from this approach.

    I'm also wondering if perhaps the pH of the soil matters for their nutrient uptake.
    Last edited by theplantman; 10-13-2014 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #34
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlechtm View Post
    I have heard from other experienced Drosophyllum growers that their plants often die after flowering. Have you experimented with fertillizing (or fertillizing more heavily) while flowering and/or setting seed? This past winter and early spring, when the greenhouse was closed and winged food was scarce, I found they reacted well to foliar feeding with dilute Nature's Harvest. I'm planning to spray them again this winter, and -- if they do flower for me next year -- to supplement their wild-caught food with additional feedings. I'm curious if you have any experience with this.
    I don't have any experience with foliar feeding during the growing season when they are flowering as they are outside and constantly smothered with food caught on their own, but during the winter months in the garage I do foliar spray once or twice a month with a weak orchid fertilizer mix and they seem to like that. However, I was out of state much of last winter so they did not receive any foliar feeding for about four months and then they went outside in May, so it will be interesting to see how flowering affects them this first year flowering. I am especially interested in the one that put out 17 flowers on a single stalk (most producing seed now), the most I have ever seen on any droso I have grown. I usually get only 5 to 7 flowers per stalk. Right now they don't look to be suffering at all with flowering, although they are eating really well. I do think nutrition plays a role in how well they tolerate flowering, along with the intensity of light they receive. I will post an update how they fare over winter and into the next growing season.
    Last edited by DJ57; 10-13-2014 at 08:16 PM.

  3. #35
    David F's Avatar
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    At what point is it dangerous to transplant from the square inserts? How does that work?

  4. #36
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David F View Post
    At what point is it dangerous to transplant from the square inserts? How does that work?
    In my experience with the plastic inserts, I like to transplant before their roots grow too deep into the soil but after they are totally detached from the seed shell and the root is firmly planted in the soil, usually when they have formed around 4 or 5 leaves. They grow pretty fast once they sprout a few leaves, so I don't want to wait until the roots are midway or close to the bottom of the insert and risk damaging them, which could happen by the time they have 8 or so leaves depending on the depth of the insert/pot. If the media is really light and falls apart easily, a shorter root is better as opposed to a root that goes halfway down or more. If transplanting into a large enough pot, I remove and transplant the whole contents of the insert to minimize root disturbance, or scoop well below where I think the root ends and transplant the whole plug. Jiffy pots are nice in that you don't have to worry about digging them out or disrupting the soil, just plant the whole Jiffy pot.

    I have heard of others who have successfully transplanted larger seedlings/plants, but I can only speak of my own experience. I think a lot may depend on the type of media being used for germination and the vitality of the seedlings at the time of transplanting. Once I did transplant one well past the small seedling stage with near disastrous results (see the bottom of page 2 of this thread), and also a couple tiny seedlings before they were fully detached from the seed shell and roots firmly planted in the soil...those died almost immediately.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #37
    David F's Avatar
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    I appreciate the specific response and timeliness. When you say Jiffy Pot, I'm assuming you're referring to its biodegradable characteristic rather than just being a "Jiffy Pot" if this is going to be a "Sticky" in the forum you might want to specify what a jiffy pot is.

    I only mention this because I was confused at first. I was also confused about the word "plastic inserts" but I assume you are referring to those flimsy seed flats where no pot is especially distinguishable from the others because they are all connected.

    I have another, unrelated question. Is there any evidence that drosophyllum are mineral tolerant (compared with other, more typical cps). I ask this because people often have paradoxical medias they use with their drosos. I see terms like "play sand", and lava rock, whereas common literature on other plants such as nepenthes, and even hearty sundews would suffer long term due to the breakdown/mineral leaching of those materials.

    I used to follow a forum thread on sands and whether their properties were appropriate for growing Venus fly traps. The conclusion was that even "highly acid treated" sands rinsed repeatedly are still not suitable. The make up of the sand dissolves into water over time in the form of ions (dissolved solids) which disables the plant ability to utilize water.

    A lot of growers of various carnivorous plants have great success, most of us follow general rules usually associated with temperature, water (its quality and quantity), and soil composition. There is very little experimentation with soils and I feel I only have a base understanding of why certain soils work well and others don't.

    What, if anything can we deduce from the drosos in their natural habitat if they can tolerate hard minerals? Research on drosos in Spain is highly limited, and they would never come in contact (as far as I can tell) with peat in the rough sandstone slopes. There is some conjecture that they grow in alkaline soil (PH above 7) yet we use peat and our usual soil components which have a PH below 7. Yet, even further throwing off, is the non-specific literature by Jan Flísek & Kamil Pásek. It references the drosos avoidance of limestone areas. Lime can be defined as a soil whose composite is condensed sand and releases bases (the opposite of acids) into water. The lowest soil PH they were finding drosos in was 5.3!

    It seems to me that "mineral" composition of soils is not the limiting factor of diversity and population of plants where dewy pines are concerned. Perhaps the lack of nitrogen cycling through the soil plays a roll, which would make sense because sandstone is still just recently formed rock and contains almost no trace of organically useful nutrients. However, the soils they are found in are not likely to be exceptionally low in other minerals that we would expect other cp's to die from. The harshness of drought and new/constantly breaking down sandstone are probably the biggest factors that allow drosos to compete in these areas.

    Due to frequent fires, slopes shifting, and lack of water: I wonder if anyone agrees that growing drosos could potentially be approached differently due to this information.

    This is all somewhat random, but I know the people reading this thread are interested in the form and life histories of this amazing plant. Also DJ seems somewhat of an expert, and I wonder what her thoughts on these ideas are.
    Last edited by David F; 10-26-2014 at 07:55 PM.

  6. #38
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    BTW: Not that is matters much, but it is "she" not "he"

    Good point about the Jiffy pots and plastic inserts I refer to, thank you. I have edited the post "How I germinate Drosophyllum seed" in the "How I grow Drosophyllum" thread on the sundew forum of TF to include a photo of both.

    Not an expert, just found what works for me, haha. Ah, excellent questions you raise about mineral tolerance of Drosophyllum and I hope someone more qualified than me will chime in here to shed light on this subject, I have no idea what the mineral content or pH of my mix is, much less how it compares to their natural habitat. You might be interested in reading this paper as it talks a bit about mineral levels and pH of soil in a couple natural habitat locations: http://www.carnivorousplants.org/cpn...38n3p71_74.pdf

    One has to keep in mind that most of us are resigned to growing CPs under artificial conditions and can seldom match their natural habitat in all aspects. Starting with knowledge of natural habitat, the key is to discover a particular CP species' range of tolerance in cultivation. I think this is one of the things that make this hobby so interesting/addicting.

    To understand why some soils work and others don't between species, you have to understand the physiological differences between species, what kind of root system they have and how they utilize the soil for water, nutrition, etc., based on adaptations due to environment. I have to admit my simple mind does not think too much about plant physiology or soil chemistry, the scientific aspects of it gives me a headache, I just use materials I have learned from other people not to kill whatever species I am trying to grow (people like you who strive to learn and share the more scientific aspects). I research about natural habitat as it relates to general habitat/climate and read what others have done successfully whenever contemplating getting a new species and that is it. Other than initial fiddling around in the beginning, I have done no experimentation with different soil "recipes" as it relates to mineral content or pH and have always used the same mix for drosos past the seedling stage simply because it works for me. I don't use a lot of peat in my droso mix and suspect they would grow just as well without it, but using a little bit of peat is convenient because it allows longer periods between watering and the peat also helps hold the ingredients together and thus less media loss (sand and small particles of pumice) through the rather large drainage hole of the terra cotta pots...cultivation versus natural habitat decisions.

    I have used washed play sand (the bags you would buy for filling a sandbox for kids) in peat/perlite mixes for temperate sundews, pinguicula, sarrs, and VFT without any problems, but these pots are outside year round and get flushed regularly by rainfall.

    There has been a lot of experimentation with soils used for various CP species, both when a new species is introduced into cultivation and those who like to test conventional methods on species that have been in cultivation for many years. Cephalotus is a good example of a CP that can grow in a wider range of conditions including soil type than once believed according to posts I have read on TF alone and my own experience. Darlingtonia is another good example of this, again by posts from others and my own experience. I have read posts here and on other CP forums from people who grow Drosophyllum quite successfully in totally different conditions/soil types than me. In short, I totally agree that growing Drosophyllum can be approached differently than initial literature suggests, and there is so much yet to learn about this species.

  7. #39
    David F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ57 View Post
    BTW: Not that is matters much, but it is "she" not "he"

    There has been a lot of experimentation with soils used for various CP species, both when a new species is introduced into cultivation and those who like to test conventional methods on species that have been in cultivation for many years. Cephalotus is a good example of a CP that can grow in a wider range of conditions including soil type than once believed according to posts I have read on TF alone and my own experience. Darlingtonia is another good example of this, again by posts from others and my own experience. I have read posts here and on other CP forums from people who grow Drosophyllum quite successfully in totally different conditions/soil types than me. In short, I totally agree that growing Drosophyllum can be approached differently than initial literature suggests, and there is so much yet to learn about this species.
    I can relate to this, after growing darlingtonia from seed. Their roots were nearly 2 feet long on plants less than an inch in length, they were growing in highly fertilized soil (osmocote, the nitrogen high stuff), a top layer of living sphagnum and a soil mixture below of 90:10 perliteeat and yes that's 90 perlite.

    They were growing very fast and colored up quite well, darlingtonia seem to be happy if you keep them cool and in bright conditions.

    Due to the extra work required to grow plants outside in my region, I usually grow strictly under lights, but drosophyllum seems to come from a climate that reminds me of where I live in Utah. Hot, intense sun and very little rainfall. I'm hoping to use this to my advantage by growing them inside for the fall/winter with as intense light as possible (florescent) and then moving them outside in the spring with the hopes that they will acclimate into the summer.

    I suspect that I will use a higher peat ratio than is conventional to most droso growers, since the soil will likely dry out extremely quickly. In my region the humidity is extremely low and hot winds blow in the summer.

    In regards to my inquiries about the soil composition and ion content of the water--

    I'll be experimenting with coconut fiber. The reason is it's bulky and non-compressing characteristics. Coconut fiber was brought recently to the attention of Steve and Matt who grow VFT's, though it seems they've dismissed the media's potential due to a few logistical reasons such as looseness of the soil and possible leeching of minerals and the added work of initially lowering the TDS of the soil; however, if drosophyllum doesn't care about TDS, then I don't care about it either.

    It's possible that if drosphyllum tolerate COIR, then their conventional soil could be improved as the physical characteristics of COIR are often found beneficial. For instance COIR is made up of varying grades of particle which roots love. The media itself resists compression in favor of it's springy fibers and light weight. The setbacks are similar to those for its use growin VFTs: Better aeration means faster evaporation, and the coir may not have an optimal PH for the drosos.

    I also see vermiculite as a second grade soil composition, as it breaks down over time and may contribute to compress the soil. The unfortunate side-effect of compression in soils is obviously to the plants roots. Since drosophyllum's roots are so sensitive, I think it's sensible to formulate a soil which shifts as slowly as possible from one state to the other i.e. decompressed to compressed such as COIR, PEAT, and VERM; fresh to broken down such as PEAT, LFSM, and perlite as it grinds against itself disintegrating and floats due to it's large surface area and hollow pores (which can be seen readily in a large bag of perlite).

    It's possible that if bottom watered, pure sand would be the solution, however the setbacks are obvious such as frequent watering, lack of any nutrients, and even sand is poorly aerated if it has nothing to declump it (like bigger chunks such as perlite).

    Pure sand mixtures should not be completely disregarded though, as I've germinated very healthy VFTs in pure silica sand before and their growth was comparable to plants germinated in peat and COIR substrates. COIR is interesting as it seems to accommodate cps which do not grow in "bog conditions" Drosos fall under this condition better than any CP I can think of.

    I feel confident that by using COIR over peat, the soil will sustain these large and fast growing plants longer, it may allow the media to retain a more even moisture content without sacrificing the aeration so seemingly important in growing this species. I'm also skeptical of using such a huge amount of perlite in a soil as I imagine it all migrates to the top eventually, possibly disturbing roots and changing the soil consistency. Using more sand is usually a personal preference seemingly akin to the newer people in the hobby who see all the cool kids doing it (don't quote me here, but it does seem like experienced/older growers are less into sand and find perlite more convenient and economical). Perlite has been around forever, and using sand seems less mainstream.

    I use silica sand, and I like it, but can you give me the synopsis/argument of using "playsand" and how you get it clean enough to feel comfortable using it? Are you one of those people lucky enough to have tap water which maxes out at 100 ppm or whatever and can just rinse the sand endlessly. If you are I'm jealous

    With that said, it doesn't rain here pretty much ever, but if drosos don't mind ions in their water, then play sand sounds like a fun time, as it contains a component of some literature states about drosos in the wild. They are found in "loamy" soils, which basically means there is sand, silt, and clay in some combination. Silt and clay in play sand could hold water better than in pure silica sand which is basically siltless and clayless version of other sands.

    There may be some who criticize the ideas I've presented. You can easily argue that perlite and peat are better because their PH and aeration balance are very good and economical. You are 100% correct and these are my initial thoughts as well. However, I enjoy contemplating the unexplored aspects in this hobby as the possibilities seem endless.

    Dave,

    I hope I'm not hijacking your thread, and hope to make a post one day how I grew drosos and was successful, so far I'm unsuccessful after germinating 3/8 seeds two years ago and loosing them in the less than 5 leaf stage, but the day may come when we compare notes so to speak hahaha.
    Last edited by David F; 10-26-2014 at 08:44 PM.

  8. #40
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    I encourage people to try unconventional growing techniques and share their experiences, this is how we learn. I believe there is no "one way only" to grow CPs, what works for one may prove disastrous for another based on individual growing conditions. It sounds like your conditions are very different from mine, so I would be very interested in hearing how it goes playing around with different soil compositions.

    In some locations in the wild Drosophyllum often get blanketed in fog rolling in from the coast, so you might try misting them in early morning or evening during hot dry weather. I do this when things heat up in summer and they seem to respond very well to it.

    I bring my drosos into the unheated garage for winter in front of an unobstructed south-facing window with T12 shop lights above them, then put them back outside in spring when weather/temps permit. Mine seem to tolerate light frosts outside in fall and they can experience this in the wild, so light is probably more important than temps when growing them inside over winter.

    I use play sand because it is cheap and easier to get than silica sand. I wash it once through a screen if using it for potted VFT but not for other things. I find VFT to be the most sensitive to soil conditions, in fact use them as canaries in the bog because they are usually the first to show signs that all is not well.

    Yes, I am very fortunate to live where I can use water from the hose. I could not maintain my outside collection otherwise. TDS runs anywhere from 30 to 80 depending on the time of year. I grow primarily temperate CPs outside, but do have a few indoor CPs and for these I use distilled or RO water because I don't top water and, being inside, the pots never get flushed by rain.

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