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.