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Thread: Drosera capensis water-float method?

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    You may have seen this already but John Brittnacher wrote a great guide for this technique here: http://www.carnivorousplants.org/how...afCuttings.php.

    My tips:
    (1) I tried adding 1/16 strength fertilizer to the water when I saw plantlets, just to experiment... thought it'd make them grow faster. That's a no-no. Instant algal bloom. I'm always amazed how algae find their way everywhere.
    (1a) If you start cuttings under mist, not in water, you can spray-fertilize them without causing algal blooms. The plantlets grew faster and I just scraped off whatever algae appeared. Best of both worlds.
    (2) @ Unstuckintime: Changing the water helps oxygenate it. This is key to root growth because the roots of all plants need air. If the water never changes, the plants will be unlikely to ever make roots. I'm not strict on when to change the water, but generally once a week. I'm not sure if there's an optimal interval or not. John Brittnacher told me 2 weeks fairly recently when he sent me some leaf cuttings.
    (3) I make sure the leaf is clean before I take a pulling. No dirt, no bugs, and hopefully as few microorganisms as possible. I try to pick a clean leaf and if it's got anything attached I'll tweeze or wash it off.
    (4) Test tubes rock for leaf cuttings. Water bottles are decent but take up a lot of space.

    In my experience with water rooting, transitioning the plantlets to substrate can be a pain. In fact, it might even be so tedious that one mistake can lose all the plantlets and hard work altogether. It depends on your conditions, specifically how much heat/light/humidity you can provide and how stable you can keep things.

    I had some capensis and filiformis leaves under mist in peat, and they struck very well. Plus, they were already growing in media and this eased the transition considerably. There were maybe 1/3 fewer plants with the misting system, but because they were so much easier to deal with I was very happy.

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    NatchGreyes's Avatar
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    I've done both methods. In all honestly, leaf cuttings placed in media, especially in their own little grow chamber, aka a used take out container, are easier. While they'll have a lower strike rate, the transition from water to media can easily cause losses greater than non-striking cuttings.

    As said above, newer leaves work better, but, in all honesty, for D. capensis, root cuttings or seeds work better.

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theplantman View Post
    (1a) If you start cuttings under mist, not in water, you can spray-fertilize them without causing algal blooms. The plantlets grew faster and I just scraped off whatever algae appeared. Best of both worlds.
    Under mist...? Would the cuttings sit on soil and you could use a fogger/mister in a terrarium? Or spraying it down each day?

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    kataok's Avatar
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    I've never had any success with the cuttings placed directly in media. Guess I'll have to keep trying..

    And I guess next time I repot I can take a root cutting and see how that works out for me..

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    NatchGreyes's Avatar
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    I've heard you can increase success with media cuttings by brushing the back of the cutting with rooting powder, but I've never tried this.

    Additionally, I recently learned, that if you microwave the media or pour boiling water on the sphagnum to wet it, you'll drastically decrease your incidence of mold, mildew, fungus, etc. (Something I wish I had known sooner). I'd highly recommend you do that, especially wherever you're trying to start seedlings/cuttings.

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Thanks! I might have some rooting powder in my gardening toolbox. I might have to try this.

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    theplantman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kataok View Post
    Under mist...? Would the cuttings sit on soil and you could use a fogger/mister in a terrarium? Or spraying it down each day?
    I used a large propagation bench which is under intermittent misting 24/7. It's hooked up to a mist timer. I believe it was set to come on for 30 seconds every 6-10 minutes or something like that. The settings have worked perfectly for years so I really don't manipulate them enough to remember what they're set to. It will be much more difficult to try cuttings without automation. I think you can achieve something decent with a sealed, 100% humid container but you will have to avoid placing it in high-light and high-temp environments or all you'll make is steamed leaves.

    Speaking of rooting hormone, whenever I do leaf cuttings of Drosera or VFT they seem sluggish to make roots. My first way to stimulate them to make roots is 1/16 strength fertilizer, ensuring it has calcium. I have also tried diluting Rootone in a spray bottle and misting the cuttings completely with this mixture. The hormone did work for VFTs, although it was still pretty slow. Little to no effect on Drosera capensis and filiformis. I didn't measure the strength I used--just kinda eyeballed it--so let me know if anyone is able to affect Drosera with hormone. Maybe treat half the cuttings and not the other half.

    If you're going to use a microwave to sterilize any kind of soil, make sure it's moist. Microwaves operate by jittering around water molecules until they heat up. The effect just isn't the same on dry soil.

  8. #16
    kataok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theplantman View Post
    Maybe treat half the cuttings and not the other half.
    Great idea! I should start some experiments! Perhaps this week!

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