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Thread: Going all-out to germinate some Drosophyllum

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    Going all-out to germinate some Drosophyllum

    Hi guys! I just received some seeds from John Brittnacher over at the ICPS, one of which is a packet of Drosophyllum. I have literally spent almost 10 solid hours over the weekend reading every last scrap of forum conversation about its germination, the ICPS grow guides, and every word written about the plant by D'Amato, Brittnacher, and Rice. I am determined to get this sucker to come up and I am going to try both proven ways and some unconventional ways. In addition to CPs, I have a nice collection of cacti and have raised about 20 species from seed, so I am at least somewhat going to assume that Drosophyllum has some similarities.

    First seed (chemical-intensive):
    1) No scarification
    2) 10% bleach soak, 10 mins
    2) Captan fungicidal dusting after bleach rinsed
    3) Turface and vermiculite media
    4) 4" clay pot, covered with film
    5) Watered solely with 1 tsp/gallon Banrot fungicidal water

    6) I am at least partially convinced that Drosophyllum may perish in cultivation because of a lack of minor nutrients, such as calcium, which are often present in Mediterranean soils. Many photos I have seen suggest that cultivated plants are expressing symptoms of severe calcium deficiency (burned leaf tips, curled leaves, inability to form roots correctly, inability to flower or set seed correctly). I am not claiming expertise, but I have a strong gut feeling that some of the common problems with this plant can be traced to calcium deficiencies. Calcium is often involved in meristematic growth, so if the plant were lacking it, you would see things like (a) low or nonexistent seed set (b) inability to flower or death at flowering (c) inability to form new roots, which may explain why transplant shock is such a problem here. Calcium is incredibly important in proper root growth and root tip formation. Most of the media I see recommended have no way of getting minor nutrients to the plant because they are sterile.

    So in addition to the above, I will load the media with a 1/4 concentration of a complete fertilizer and see if this stimulates growth along.

    I have ~15 seeds and I will try each of them in a variety of ways to eliminate different factors which may interfere with this plant coming up. I have other tricks up my sleeve too like gibberelic acid, smoke chemicals, microwave sterilization, and probably 15 different fungicides and bactericides.

    Wish me luck!! If anyone has any tips, please don't hesitate to post them here. Ideally, since Mr. Brittnacher was so kind, I would like to be able to repay him by supplying the ICPS with oodles of seeds.

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    All I do to germinate Drosophyllum is nip off the small end of the seed with nail clippers and sow directly onto pure vermiculite in peat pots. Works like a charm.

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    I did something very similar to what Cthulhu138 does. The one time I got Drosophyllum seeds was from Rob Ziemer years ago. I soaked them in a cup of water for 24 hours, then used a sowing needle to gently scrape the seed coat off just at the end / tip / point of the seed, exposing the small white tip inside. I then laid them on pure vermiculite and all of them germinated within a week.

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    Very interesting strategies--simple yet effective. How often and what method are you guys using to water them in that situation?

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    Mine germinate in a covered seed tray. I just water as needed to make sure the substrate stays moist at all times. Once the seedlings are 3" or so tall I plant them in their permanent pots.

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    I've planted seeds just straight into a big pot, 1 or 2 at a time to see if they grow, and I've had great success with just rubbing off a patch on the side of the seed. The seed is then put into about an 8 inch terra cotta pot, and the soil kept constantly moist until it sprouts. At this point I'm still trying to work out the watering regimen to keep the seedling alive until it's big.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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    I read that keeping drosophyllum close to each other can have a bad effet even if they are in different pot. So what I did was scarify the seeds with sand paper until I see a small white dot and sow them in individual 1 inch square cardboard pot in a 100% mineral mix (1/3 lava rock, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 perlite + a pinch of peatmoss) and put all the pot in a plastic container. 3 out of 6 seeds sprouted. I then put them individually in a 'Slack Pot' setting so that way, there was no risk of disrupting the roots and I was able to put the pot far away from each other.

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    I read that keeping drosophyllum close to each other can have a bad effet even if they are in different pot.
    I've read the same but I don't believe it. Not in different pots anyway. Pretty sure that's right up there with the tooth fairy and the yeti. Mine grew in pots right next to each other...and grew like weeds.

    A quote from "The Portuguese Sundew (Drosophyllum lusitanicum Link.) in nature and cultivation" (Jan Flísek & Kamil Pásek): http://www.bestcarnivorousplants.com...usitanicum.htm

    "Another widely perpetuated myth is that Drosophyllum plants do not grow close to each other in its native habitat due to the production of inhibitors which suppress the growth of surrounding plants (Pietropaolo et al., 1986; D’Amato, 1998). According to our observations in nature and cultivation and also investigations by Miguel Porto (personal communication, 2000), the plants can grow side by side (several centimeters distance) without any negative influence on their growth. The fact that at some localities Drosophyllum is dispersed over large distances is likely the result of very harsh conditions and high mortality of the small seedlings rather than inhibitor production."

    Very interesting strategies--simple yet effective. How often and what method are you guys using to water them in that situation?
    I top watered them only to keep the soil moist, never soaked. I read damping off was a huge problem with seedling Drosophyllum so I was cautious not to let them go dry or get saturated. I didn't lose any of the seedlings I had to damping-off.

    The number of medium sized plants I lost due to mom-not-watering-while-I-was-in-Colorado on the other hand......

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